Buying a used/pre-owned phones Online or Offline: factors to be considered

When you love the latest or trending gadgets like me but money is serving as an impediment to acquiring them, you will always think of a plan “B”. Yes, the plan B to using a device when you have a tight budget is by buying a used(also known as pre-owned) ones. You can also opt for verified refurbish if you have a reputable seller. Without prolonging things, let us go straight to the business of today. As usual, I love my African people. My, post today will be beneficial to all and at the same time taking giving special attention to my African brothers and sisters.

used, refurbished and preowned phones



Even a mobile phone geek like myself can run into troubles buying a used phone. However, the last time that happened to me was when i was very much inexperience in the art. I have been buying used phones for as far back as 2005. I will not lie to you when it comes to using expensive phones, I confidently opt for the used which is cheaper. With my experience, the only way I can get a bad used phone is if the person I am dealing with is an outright fraud, If you want to be like me, you need to read and assimilate the following tips:


This sounds like a simple thing to do right? Well, it is not that easy. Before you become an expert used mobile phone buyer, you need to have a minimum spec in mind. Better still go and meet someone that is already using the type of phone that you want to buy and ask extensive questions while at the same time observing it physically. Another tip is that you can visit reputable sites like, read the phone’s features, specifications, users opinions and reviews.  For example when I wanted to buy a used galaxy s5 for a client I gave him options of sony Xperia z2, htc one m7 and s5(all within same spec range) He preferred sony to other but sony was more expensive, I later discovered htc m7 can develop a digitizer problem so I discouraged him. He ended up buying s5 because of the price, flexibility and the mint condition. Another thing you must know is the price. Know the price that it is being sold as new. If you’re in Nigeria, sites like Jumia or konga can give you an idea. If you are so inquisitive like me, you may even try and ask around if the phone is repairable and the cost of the parts. The condition of the phones also matters. If you buy a rough and scratched s4 for $149, know that you will buy its near new mint counterpart for like $270 or $300 even though they are both used. Also if yu are buying a phone with full accessories like charger… you pay a higher price. Another pointer is the time the phone was released. The older the time the phone first hit the shelves, the cheaper it is going to become when buying it as used. In my case, I do not venture into buying a used phone newer than 6 months.



This alone can either make or mar your buying experience. If you are buying online, you are to a large extent safe as long as you patronize reputable international or domestic websites. For near trouble-free webites especially for those in the USA you can patronize; ,, If you are in Nigeria, you caan use be very very careful as we have a lot of scammer. with olx, make sure you meet before transacting the business, do not go to the seller with physical cash, test very well before payment, do not pay any amount upfront), jiji is also a good one. Like I said, Nigerians should be careful when buying used items online from domestic websites because of scammers.  For any online purchases, always avoid patronizing sellers with no stars, no positive reviews. Still on online stores Be sure to make sure there is a return policy.


You can ask your friends and family if they have, or know anyone that has, an older phone that they’d be willing to part with for cheap(Note; it is against my personal principle of life to buy properties from my friend or family when I know they are selling it because of a problem. However, if they are selling because they want to upgrade, no problems). You can do this by calling or texting people, or use social networks like Google+ and Facebook(Like I said earlier meet the person in a safe place before transacting)

Now let me tell you how I do mine. I have at least three very sure people from whom I can buy my electronics. I met two of them online and I met the last person offline through a friend. Today, we are like brothers. They can send me phones upfront and I can send them money in advance. They will never sell a phone with hidden faults to me. I mostly help people to buy game consoles, used phones and laptops for them I receive my commission from them, not from the buyer. While buying from a social network can be safe, it’s important you trust who you are buying from. Stick to “true” friends and family if possible, and not the friend of a friend of a friend. Knowing where they live doesn’t hurt either. 😉 Make a mistake? You’re on your own. There’s no protections once the purchase is made.


Going to meet in person? Here’s some tips for before the meet-up


When you meet the seller online domestically like in Nigeria, olx and the likes or a social network or other sources that calls for an in-person meeting? Honestly, in some ways, this is best because you actually get to look at the phone before you say yes, instead of relying on pictures. Before you set the meet-up, here’s some things to keep in mind:

  • Before scheduling a meeting, let them know you will want to insert your own SIM, you’ll want proof it can charge, proof it can power up and you’ll be checking to ensure its in 100% working order at every level. If they seem cool with it, you found someone who is either trustworthy or very confident they can scam you even if you are as thorough as you can be.
  • Make sure you meet in a public location as opposed to a home, when possible. It should also be during the day for both safety reasons and because it makes it easier to see the phone.

Inspecting the phone

This is the last but not the least. Please for your own good, master all the tips am about to provide below they are very important to safeguard your purchase. Mind you, even when you meet the person, you may still run into trouble. Like I said earlier, please patronise only trusted people. Following these steps helps you detect problems early, so you can deny buying the phone.

Stuff to bring with you for the inspection:

  • Bring a battery pack or a laptop, as well as a charging cable
  • A MicroSD card if the phone has a slot for it
  • Headphones
  • An active SIM card that is compatible with the phone you are testing
  • A flashlight
  • Also bring another phone
  • Go with at least one other person


  • Before you even boot the phone up, give it a visual examination. Start with the screen, how scratched up is? If the phone has physical keys, are they in good condition (press in okay, etc). Is the front camera’s glass cracked or damaged in any way? Next, move to the sides, checking for scratches and dents, testing the buttons out for how well they click and press. Finally move to the back, checking the camera for scratches or a broken lens, as well as scratches and other damage to the back.
  • Next, remove the back if it has a removable back. Check the battery and other components. Also, take note of whether or not the battery is original or a 3rd party battery. This can make a very real difference when negotiating the price. Be sure to open all slots for microSD and SIM, check for visible damage signs. Speaking of checking for damage, don’t forget about water damage.
  • Now it is time to put in the SIM card and microSD, and turn the sucker on. Be sure to mess around with the phone’s software, get a feel for how fast it is, how the UI layout is (if it isn’t stock, etc). Make sure you feel comfortable with the phone. Also send a text, make a call and browse the web to ensure the SIM card is working  well in the phone. And be sure to make sure your microSD card is recognized and working fine. While you are at it, check out all the ports. Plug in them headphones, test the sound with a song, a Youtube clip, whatever. Plug in your own charger cord to either your laptop or a power pack to make sure it is charging. Check any cables they’ve included as well — though if they aren’t working, as long as yours are, this probably isn’t a massive deal.
  • If you are buying a fairly used iphone, make sure there is no iCloud lock on it. I mean the seller must log out of the iphone and allow you to login using your own apple id.
  • Spend no less than 2 hours operating the phone.
  • make voice calls and video calls with it
  • Insert at least two different sim cards to be sure the phone is fully carrier-unlocked
  • Perform battery endurance test by pressing the phone and running several apps on it
  • If you are buying in Nigeria especially from computer villaGE, PLEASE WALK INTO A SHOP AND DO YOUR PURCHASE. Please avoid the road side no store sellers.
  • Please avoid a price that is too cheap otherwise, you might be buying a stolen phone
  • check the network bands that they are all working. my friend bough a used samsung galaxy S3 phone that has only 2g. So, beware.
  • Check that the bluetooth is working.



  1. pls am using alphabox x6 and I want to put bisskey on kwese sports free pls help me

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