Buying a New Phone How to Tell if its New or Refurbished

Buying a New Phone – How to Tell if it’s New or Refurbished

Buying a New Phone – How to Tell if it’s New or Refurbished

So, you’re buying a new phone!

When buying a new phone it’s important to be able to tell whether the device is actually brand new, or has been refurbished for resold. Protect yourself from this danger by making sure that you’re well-informed before making a purchase. Even if you’ve already bought a phone, this information is useful to have on hand for the next time you plan on buying a new phone.


Some people actually prefer refurbished model. They are often excellent quality for the price. However, if you’re intent on buying a new phone, and are going to pay new phone prices, then obviously you’re not going to be very happy if you’re giving anything less.


Let’s look at a few ways to find out the truth about your phone.

Call the Carrier for Historical Information

Most smartphones are locked to a mobile carrier, so a great way to find out the status of your phone is to simply call the carrier. If the phone has been previously registered, they will be able to tell you, and you will know if that phone has been used by someone else before. In that case, you will be able to take action accordingly. Now, not all carriers are exactly the same, so there could be some exceptions, but generally they will have a history on the usage of each phone and be a good first source of information.


You should be aware that if you are buying an unlocked smartphone, then you won’t be able to contact one carrier and find out if the phone was ever used with any other carrier. That increases the risk involved, and if you are 100% keen on buying a new phone, you may not want to go for one that’s already been unlocked. Add to that the fact that unlocking often voids any warranty associated with the phone, and you may have heard enough to make a decision.

Contacting the Manufacturer for Repair History

Suppose you’re buying a new phone and you do want one that is unlocked. There is still a way to find out if it’s been refurbished. This also applies for locked phones for which the carrier is unable or unwilling to share information. Most damaged or faulty phones are sent back to the manufacturer for repair. Records of each refurbishment are kept, which can benefit you if you want to find out if your phone has been through that process before or not. It may be a bit of a hassle to get a hold of someone, but if you really want to make sure that your phone is truly brand new, then it’s well worth the wait. Make sure you have the serial number ready, as that’s probably all they will need to confirm whether the phone has been serviced before or not.

Other Ways to Tell if Your Phone is New or Not

One other thing you can do to find out about your phone is to review the warranty information.  Warranty on brand-new phones usually covers the phone for 1 year, whereas warranty on refurbishments only last 90-days from outside warranty companies. Take it as a red flag if you are buying a new phone that has a 90-day warranty but is marketed as a “brand new” smartphone. There is a high likelihood that it’s been refurbished.


Last, but not least, look at the phone itself and the packaging. New smartphones are neatly laid in original branded packaging. Phones that are in plain boxes or without a box at all are very likely refurbished. If the packaging seems legitimate, then before buying a new phone, be sure to check that the serial numbers on the phone and the box actually match. If they do not, then the packaging isn’t original, and the phone is likely refurbished. Check the phone itself to see that it is flawless. There should be no scratches or imperfections, and if there are, it’s probably not brand new, even if it is in excellent condition at a glance. Take off the back cover and check for signs of work or tampering, or a tell-tale sticker indicating previous refurbishment.