Smart Buyers Guide: Smartphones & Tablets

Before purchasing a used smartphone or tablet, be sure to take these steps to ensure that you will be satisfied with your purchase for years to come.

Will it work with your service provider?

Ask the seller what network the device is tied to. If the device is locked to a specific service provider other than your own, this device likely will not work for you.

Is the device clean?

Before purchasing the device, ask the seller for the IMEI number. You can then call your service provider and ask them if the IMEI is clean to verify that the device is not stolen or the prior user’s account does not have a remaining balance that will hinder the device’s activation on your account. If you are purchasing an iPhone, you can also ask for the Serial Number to verify service and support coverage at Apple’s website.

Does the device work as expected?

Inspect the device at your meet-up: Make sure the device can be turned on, the screen is working correctly, all buttons are operational and that the charging port functions correctly. Don’t forget to plug it in and verify that it’s holding a charge – Consider meeting at your favorite coffee shop that you know has plenty of outlets for you to test the device.

Is the device locked?

When inspecting the phone, be sure to verify that there is no passcode on the device and that the device has been wiped clean. To do this, have the seller factory reset the device before your meet-up to ensure that you will be able to pair the device to your own account.

Take extra precaution.

To ensure the device can be activated under your service provider’s contract, have the seller meet you at your local service provider retail store, such as AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, or Sprint store. These stores should be able to verify the IMEI & whether the device can be added to your contract in one step. You can then have the device activated while simultaneously making your purchase. ☺

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