Want to save a few hundred dollars when buying a smartphone? Online marketplaces and seller platforms offer countless used phones priced well below their original cost.

But are the offers too good to be true? “Buying a used smartphone is basically worthwhile for anyone looking for high-end quality but who wants to spend less money on it and who does not expect a flawless look,” says Viviane Osswald from Chip magazine.

“Especially for buyers of Android phones, a second-hand purchase could be worthwhile because these devices fall in price faster than iPhones.”

On the other hand, “if the device is only marginally cheaper than new although it is already several months or a year old, the purchase is not worthwhile,” says tester Alexander Kuch.

Sources for private sellers include sites like eBay, Facebook and Locanto and flea-market apps such as Shpock and Letgo.

In addition, there are numerous professional providers of used smartphones on the Internet including Asgoodasnew.com while Backmarket.com bundles together sellers and repair shops.

If you buy a used phone from a local dealer, “you should check the device for visible damage, make sure it has all the accessories and switch on the device in the store,” Alexander Kuch advises. The same applies when buying off a private dealer.

To work out whether the cost of the phone is reasonable, it helps to look at the market price from other sellers of the same device. Kuch recommends sites such as eBay and Amazon for this.

“The price should be realistic. If a price is unusually low, you should be careful and compare the offer with other portals,” Viviane Osswald says.

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That’s because the joy of a cheaply bought second-hand smartphone can quickly turn into frustration if the device has flaws. Faulty headphone jacks and batteries that don’t last tend to be the most common complaints with used phones. – dpa



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