Our tips for finding a reliably refurbished Samsung handset
A top-of-the-range Samsung smartphone can set you back well over a grand; as much as £1,900 for the high-end Galaxy Fold. Even older models in the Galaxy S20 and S20 Ultra can cost upwards of £800 if you’re buying them new. Get these same Samsung phones in a refurbished state, however, and you could find yourself spending a fraction of the original cost.
Buying a refurbished phone is a lot like buying a used phone, in that it will likely have been previously owned. The important difference is that a refurbished model will have undergone some level of checking and – if necessary – restoring to guarantee its quality. Many outlets that sell refurbished phones will also include some kind of warranty, to protect you in case something goes wrong with the device.
Where to buy a refurbished Samsung phone
Sellers of refurbished phones come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from mobile networks like O2 and Giffgaff to independent sellers on eBay and Amazon. In all cases, you’ll want to check that they are registered as a trader, and that their merchandise is described as ‘refurbished’ rather than simply ‘secondhand’ or ‘used’. Below, we’ve covered some of the most common sources for refurbished Samsung handsets.
The ‘Renewed’ section of Amazon is where you’ll find refurbished devices. Unlike the general ‘marketplace’, smartphones here have undergone Amazon’s inspection and testing. Suppliers could be qualified manufacturers or specialized third-party refurbishers, but they will all have been judged to meet inspection criteria. You can find more details on this process via Amazon’s own description. Samsung smartphones bought through Amazon Renewed also come with a one-year guarantee. Buy now from Amazon
It might sound like a record shop, but Music Magpie is a reliable seller of refurbished phones. All of its Samsung handsets come with a one-year warranty, and the site helpfully includes a refurbishment quality ranking, from ‘pristine’ to ‘good’. There’s also free delivery on all of its products. Buy now from Music Magpie
Your first port of call with eBay should be the website’s dedicated refurbished section. This is where you’ll find sellers that have given a guarantee of their checking and testing, as well as a 12-month guarantee to cover mechanical failure and defective parts. The handsets come and go when returns come in, so you’ll need to check eBay’s listing to see what’s currently on offer.
Mobile operator O2 offers its own batch of refurbished Samsung handsets under the ‘Like New’ banner. These have gone through the company’s testing and come with a 12-month warranty. O2 offers its refurbs as part of either pay monthly or pay-as-you-go payment plans – handy if you’re looking to get a contract settled at the same time as buying the device.
Giffgaff’s refurbished models come with a 12-month warranty and the company guarantee of quality, which ranges from ‘good’ to ‘like new’. You’ll need to see which Samsung models are available at any given time, given how stock can fluctuate.
Checklist for buying a refurbished Samsung phone
Check the guarantee
If you’re looking for a refurbished Samsung phone, it should have a guarantee that the handset has been properly tested. Even if you’re buying from a major online marketplace, such as Amazon or eBay, you’ll want to be mindful to check that you’re looking at a guaranteed refurb rather than a ‘used’ or ‘secondhand’ phone, which might not have any assurance of quality.
Check the return policy
Many sellers, including those we’ve listed above, will include a warranty on the refurbished phone – generally for one year. Be sure to check this is the case before you buy, if only for piece of mind that if something stops working you have recourse to get it fixed. Warranties vary depending on the seller, and smaller private sellers might not offer one at all.
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Check the grade
Refurbished handsets vary in quality, given they could’ve been returned after a matter of days or several months. Sellers will normally have grades for how pristine the handset is. Although there is no standard naming convention for how these are judged, they will normally be segmented into three or four categories. The top will be ‘like new’, with hardly anything in the way of signs of previous ownership. Grades below this are more likely to have a few bumps and scratches.
Check what comes with the handset
Just because the refurbished phone is ‘like new’ doesn’t mean it will be sold to you like a shop-bought handset would. A refurb is unlikely to come with the pristine packaging of a fresh-off-the-shelf phone, and depending on the seller it might not even come with a charging cable. Check before you buy, so you’re not left shopping around for a Samsung charger or headphones at the last minute.
Check the IMEI number
This hopefully isn’t something you need to worry about if you’re buying a refurbished handset from a certified trader, but the IMEI number on a handset can identify if it has been stolen. This is a unique, 15-digit number to identify a specific phone, and can tell whether the device has been reported as lost or stolen. You can check this for free online. For details of how to find your IMEI number on a Samsung handset, read this guide.