Is a Refurbished Phone The Right Choice for Me?

  • No matter what your smartphone requirements and preferences, Money Pug aims to help you find all the very best deals and reach solutions that perfectly meet your needs. We aim to make it as easy and affordable as possible for you to get the mobile phone that is right for you. To help you have your decisions we’ve also put together a series of guides to help you find your way through the maze and make the right choices for all your purchasing decisions. In this guide, we’ll look at refurbished phones, and help you to establish whether a refurbished phone is the right choice for you.


What is a ‘refurbished phone?

A refurbished phone is a pre-owned handset that has been sent back, usually though not always due to a fault, and repaired for re-sale. While most refurbished phones were likely to have been faulty at some stage, you may also find phones that were simply returned after customers changed their minds during the 30 day cooling off period. Whether or not they were faulty at some stage, all refurbished phones will have been checked and tested thoroughly to make sure that they are in full, working order.

Tests carried out by the seller will typically have included making sure that the battery charges, and that all buttons and cameras work as they should. Screen responsiveness and audio quality should also have been verified, as well as how the phone connects to WiFi and 3G/4G.

In keeping with Data protection law, all the data on the phone will have been wiped securely, so to all intents and purposes, you will be starting clean and clear with a new (to you) phone. Some sellers will also have upgraded the handset to the latest version of whichever operating system is used to power it.

The pros and cons of refurbished phones

Should you buy a refurbished phone? Well, we cannot decide for you whether or not this is a good idea for you. You yourself will have to make that decision. That said, we can help you to make up your mind with this handy list of the pros and cons of choosing a refurbished phone:


  1. Refurbished phones often offer considerable savings when compared to the cost of new handsets.
  2. When you buy from a big network or established retailer you will usually get a warranty (which will often cover the handset for 12 months).
  3. Refurbished phones will usually come with a charging cable or charger.


    1. Refurbished phones from unverified retailers may not have a warranty or be of guaranteed standards.
    2. You may not receive additional items that may come with a new phone handset, such as headphones.
    3. You almost certainly won’t get a refurbished phone in the original packaging, and won’t have the satisfaction of un-boxing a brand new phone.


Where can I get a refurbished phone?

  • Plenty of networks and specialist phone retailers offer refurbished phones, including O2, Vodaphone and You may also be able to pick up a refurbished phone from auction sites, high-street shops or specialist re-sale and recycling sites such as Envirophone.

Can I save money by choosing a refurbished phone?

The answer to this question will often largely depend on what handset you are looking to buy. With newer handsets, such as the latest iPhones, there can be little to no difference between the price of a refurbished phone and a brand new handset. With some brands, however, there can be significant savings to be had by choosing a refurbished handset. For example, you may be able to save around £100 on a Samsung Galaxy S7, and can also save a lot if you are not bothered about having the latest phone and go for an older iPhone model.

Will a refurbished phone come with a warranty?

  • Whether or not a refurbished phone will come with a warranty will depend on where you buy it. If you choose to buy from a major network or retailer, you will have the peace of mind that comes with 12 months of warranty. We recommend that you choose an option with a warranty if you choose to go with a refurbished phone. Getting a refund or sorting out any issues with a phone you buy from a private seller could be more troublesome and problematic than if you have gone with a network or larger retailer.

What is the difference between a refurbished phone and a used phone?

The term refurbished means that the phone has undergone checks and testing, and, as mentioned above, if you go through a major network or retailer, you will have the peace of mind that comes with a 12 month warranty. A ‘used’ phone, on the other hand, is a much vaguer proposition. There is nothing to tell you that the phone will be in good working condition, and no way of knowing how the phone has been treated before it made its way to you. A ‘used’ phone from a private retailer could be in any state, and though it could be cheap, it could also have a range of problems.

How are refurbished phones graded and what does it mean?

  • Refurbished phones are usually graded from A to D. Unfortunately, there is no universal standard, so it important to make sure that you are aware of exactly what you will be getting before you buy.

Grades, generally speaking, are as follows:

  • Grade A – appears new – few minor signs of handling or wear, if any.
  • Grade B – May have scratches, chips or other slight cosmetic damage.
  • Grade C – will show signs of wear and look used.
  • Grade D – will be broken in some way and show signs of having been well used. (Usually not available from networks, only on other retail sites.)

Some networks will have their own grading system and terms. Where this is the case, you will usually be able to find details explaining grading on their websites.

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