Refurbished vs. Used vs. Certified Pre-Owned

The last decade-and-a-half has seen a dramatic change in the UK technology scene: the introduction of the smartphone. Nowadays, just about everyone is carrying one of these devices around wherever they go. They allow us to keep in contact with one another, stay abreast of current events, entertain ourselves, and listen to our favourite podcasts, audiobooks and music while we’re going for a mid-morning stroll.

If you’re in the market for a new phone, then you’ll have a range of options to consider. You might buy a phone that’s brand new – but then, you’ll pay a premium for doing so. What about the range of used options available? Here, let’s take a look into some of them, and see if we can break down some of the jargon.

What is a refurbished phone?

A refurbished phone is one that’s been used and then returned to the shop. It might have had a fault right from the factory, or it might have simply been deemed surplus to requirements. The shop will then have repaired it before reselling.

When shopping for phones of this kind, you can often pick up something that’s just as good as new for a knock-down price. But it is important that you check the physical device and the model number, so that you can see just what you’re getting.

How to shop used phones?

If you’re looking for a bargain, and superficial nicks and scratches don’t matter all that much to you, then the used market is something to consider seriously. You can buy used phones from online marketplaces like eBay, Facebook or Gumtree, or you can buy direct from the owner. High-street stores like might also offer used phones, or you can buy direct from a retailer.

If you decide to buy directly from the previous owner, then you’re running the risk that there will be something wrong with the phone that either hasn’t been discovered, or that’s been actively concealed. Make sure that you take precautions.

What is a certified pre-owned phone?

A certified pre-owned phone falls into a slightly different category. They’ve been thoroughly checked prior to sale, so you’ll have some assurance that they work properly. The price of this labour will tend to be factored into the cost of the device. So, you can expect to pay a slight premium when you’re buying something that’s certified pre-owned.

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