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How to buy a second-hand phone, without risk or stress

Buying a second-hand phone can be a scary prospect, despite the obvious cost advantages. After all, how can you be sure you aren’t getting a dud? But thankfully it’s easier – and less risky – to buy a used mobile in the UK than ever before. Here’s how to safely buy a second-hand phone either online or on the high street.

These days you don’t have to spend a fortune on your new smartphone, even if you have plenty of demands from your brand new blower. After all, the likes of the Moto G4 Plus and Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus offer HD screens, dependable cameras, fingerprint security and smooth-enough performance for under £200.

That said, you really can’t beat the likes of an iPhone or the Samsung Galaxy S7 when it comes to blistering speeds and premium features – and it’s possible to pick them up at a reduced price if you go second-hand. Likewise, if your budget really is rock bottom, you can still grab yourself a decent mobile companion if you don’t mind a previously used handset that’s a little bit older.

Here’s how to find and buy a second-hand mobile phone in the UK, without any risk or worry about receiving a dud.

How to buy a used phone: O2’s Like New program

UK network O2 offers a range of second-hand mobile phones on contract as well as SIM-free, through its Like New program.

When O2 receives a used mobile, the device is put through five stages of testing to ensure it’s good to sell on. These stages test the battery, cameras, speakers and mic, screen and connections, to ensure that everything is in full working order.

With that done, each handset is either labelled as ‘perfect’, ‘almost perfect’ or ‘perfectly fine’. Perfect phones are as good as new, while at the other end of the scale you might encounter some light scratching and scuffs. But even the perfectly fine mobiles will be in full working order, despite a bit of cosmetic damage.

When you bag yourself a Like New phone, O2 will give you a 12-month warranty. That means you can get the handset replaced if it stops functioning as expected, so you don’t need to stress about your new purchase dying on you.

Check out O2’s Like New page for more info.

Read next: Selling your old phone? A simple factory reset might not be enough

How to buy a used phone: eBay

One of the most obvious places to buy second-hand items is the online king of unwanted goods, eBay.

You might immediately get a bit sweaty and nervous at the thought of buying an expensive mobile on eBay, but you don’t need to stress. Thanks to eBay’s Money Back Guarantee, you’re sure to get what you wanted – or a full refund.

eBay even has its own refurbished tech hub , which stoks some older and newer handsets at a reduced price. At the time of writing, you could bag yourself several models of iPhone as well as recent Samsung Galaxy mobiles, including the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.

How to buy a used phone: Giffgaff Marketplace

Giffgaff’s new Marketplace service gives customers old and new the opportunity to sell or buy a pre-owned phone on both pay monthly and SIM-free terms.

Handsets are graded by condition from ‘good’ to ‘excellent’ and all come unlocked, which the network says it offers exclusively. Orders placed before 10pm also come with free next-day delivery.

Phones purchased through Marketplace can be bought outright or tied to a monthly, handset-only contract and picked up alongside Goodybags, with £10 free credit on offer at the launch of the service.

How to buy a used phone: CEX

If you’d rather check out second-hand mobiles in person, rather than purchasing online, then there’s always CEX.

This popular high street chain offers second-hand blowers to suit every budget, from cheap mobiles to premium flagships – each at a reduced price as they’ve been previously used. However, like O2, CEX carefully examines each phone it receives to make sure they’re good to sell on.

And as the chain is spreading across the country, chances are you’ll have one nearby so you can drop in and inspect your potential purchase in person.


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