You are finally ready to upgrade your phone so you head over to your local major carrier store such as Verizon and get a quote on a phone. You’re shocked to see that the new iPhone you have been wanting so badly is whopping $1,250. You are thinking to yourself, “who on earth would pay this much money for a phone?” Verizon tries to make the deal sound super sweet saying they are going to finance the phone for you interest free and just tack it onto your monthly bill, but you still can’t swallow that pill. Then a light bulb goes off in your head and you think I can just buy a used iPhone from one of the many different social marketplaces and save at least 50%. You leave the store feeling like you just BEAT THE SYSTEM and start your search for a great deal. What you will soon realize is used phones are not drastically cheaper, the risk you take buying from an individual is great, and a guarantee, no matter how short, is worth its weight in gold.
The truth is just because a phone is used does not mean that the price is going to drop 50%. Most folks looking for the iPhone X are shocked to learn that even used they are still selling for $900 +. Pricing all depends on age, brand, model, storage, condition, availability and demand. Most used phones tend to drop in price when a newer version is released, but not by much and iPhones in particular hold their value extremely well. I tell everyone that phones are like gold and silver; they have a nationwide sale price that is relatively the same no matter what part of the USA you are in. Remember that 99% of people have access to the Internet so they can find out what phones are going for nationwide. What makes you think a person with a $1000 phone is going to sell it to you for $500? An alarm should go off in your head if someone is selling a $1000 for half price. I would be thinking hey this phone either is stolen, blocked, not paid off, or some other issue. Once in a while you may come across someone who truly doesn’t care how much they get out of their phone or just didn’t research the selling price but I can tell you from experience that doesn’t usually happen. Also if you are getting phones for cheap and they happen to be stolen, even if you don’t know they are stolen you can still be charged with buying and possession of stolen property. Remember if you buy a stolen phone and it has the find my phone tracking and the police find you, there is no way you will get your money back for that phone. The police will take the phone from you and return it to the original owner and you will be stuck holding the bag because I’m 100% sure you will not be able to find the person who sold it to you. Something to keep in mind when shopping for a phone is if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.
The risk involved with buying a phone from someone on social marketplace is sometimes not worth the savings. I personally know someone who owns two cellphone stores and before they had their own stores, would purchase used phones from people off these sites. One time he was meeting an individual to purchase $1,000 worth of cellphones. He was robbed at gunpoint in a parking lot in broad daylight and unfortunately was not able to get his money back as the thief got away. With that being said the main risk involved with buying online is buying a phone that is financed, stolen or locked and getting stuck with a brick. If you purchase a phone that is financed and the carrier it is financed through doesn’t receive their payment from the previous owner, they will block that phone on their network and you will be stuck with a phone that you cannot use on the network you purchased it for. The person who sold it to you stuck the carrier with the bill and also got money from you instead of turning in the phone to the carrier. Another risk is someone selling you a stolen phone. The best way to check a phone is to use one of the many free websites for checking IMEI numbers. Try www.checkesnfree.com and select the phones original carrier. Keep in mind you can check a phone today and check out as good then tomorrow it can be bad. A perfect example of this is when I hear customers say I’ll just get the person to meet me in the cellphone store of their choice such as Verizon to sell me the phone. I just laugh because it doesn’t matter where this person sells you the phone, they can still call and report it stolen the next day or within minutes of leaving. Once they report it stolen and file a claim, your phone is blocked and unusable and the person who basically robbed you gets a replacement phone in the mail. This is fraud and 99% of the time the carrier will do nothing to help you if this occurs because they want you to purchase phones direct from them. They got you for the money and got a new phone out of the deal. This personally happened to me when a customer brought an iPhone to sell to me at my store. When I checked the phone, all was good and I gave him the money. Next day I went to sell it and checked the IMEI to make sure it was still good and to my surprise the phone had been reported stolen not even 24 hours after purchasing it from the individual. I called At&t and gave them his information since I had a photo copy of his ID and told them I had surveillance video as proof of him selling me the device. I really thought I had a solid case against this guy for committing fraud. BOY was wrong! At&t basically told me there was nothing they could do about it and they were sorry to hear that it happened. I was so upset that I was out of my money and nothing was going to be done about the guy committing fraud. This is when I stopped buying a lot of phones from customers who were not regulars. Another possible problem could be that the person left their Apple, Samsung or Google account on their phone and sold it to you with that on it. In this case you will not be able to use the phone properly without getting the previous owner’s ID and password. In my store we are able to remove iCloud, Samsung, and Google lock on most devices but that is just another expense to add to the cost of the cellphone. Keep in mind that just because you remove a lock on a phone does not mean the IMEI is going to be clear. A phone can have a bad IMEI and be iCloud, Samsung, Google locked. So once you pay to remove the lock, now you’re faced with another problem of finding out how to clean the IMEI. We also offer IMEI cleaning in my store as well but you have to think, now you’re way over the price you were trying to pay for a phone. If you would have just visited a trustworthy cellphone store with a guarantee and spent a little more money on your cellphone, this headache would have never happened.
A guarantee is worth its weight in gold when buying a cellphone. Too often people have entered my store with this sad look on their face and the story always starts off something like this. “Hey I purchased this phone of eBay/OfferUp/LetGo/Craigslist/Facebook and the person sold it to me locked or with some type of issue and now they are not answering my calls or messages can you help me?” I cannot stress enough that it is always best practice to purchase something with some type of guarantee. My Pro Wireless for example offers a 14 day warranty on all pre-owned cellphones we sell. If you have any issue you can come in and have the issue resolved within minutes. Sure, we offer services that will clean an IMEI or remove a lock but by the time you spend hundreds of dollars doing that you have basically paid brand new phone money on a used phone. We purchase 98% of our devices from certified wholesalers and we pride ourselves on providing a safe place for customers to come and purchase used discounted devices. Always remember that you cannot put a price tag on peace of mind.
So you see folks, sometimes it is better to just visit a reputable cellphone store like My Pro Wireless and purchase your phones knowing you are guaranteed a no hassle experience. No one wants to lose money or get caught in cellphone scam. I will leave you with a saying I tell all of my customers and it can be applied to many things in life not just cellphones, “What is good ain’t cheap and what is cheap ain’t good.”
What is good ain't cheap and what is cheap ain't good