When was the last time you bought a second-hand product? Buying used items can be a great way to save money (and our Earth’s resources!), but it’s important to practice a bit of caution. In this blog post, we’re sharing our top three tips if you’re considering buying a used cell phone.

While Consumer Protection BC doesn’t oversee any cell phone laws, we do get a lot of calls and questions about this industry. (Tip: the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission and the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association have some oversight of this industry, so be sure to check out their information.) Here are three things to consider if you’re purchasing a used cell phone:

Tip #1: Make sure the phone isn’t stolen.

Canada holds a national “blacklist” database with information about wireless devices that are reported lost or stolen to a participating Canadian wireless service provider. Search the database to see if the cell phone you’re thinking about buying has been reported lost or stolen.

Tip #2: Watch out for scams.

The old saying “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is” is definitely true when it comes to buying used cell phones. Be sure to test the phone thoroughly, to meet the seller in a public location (and tell a friend where you’re going, first) and to be prepared to walk away from the deal if something doesn’t feel right.

Tips #3: Carefully check the condition of the phone.

If it’s an older phone, be cautious of shortened battery life (as it generally decreases after about a year) and look for cracks and scratches. Check inside the back of the phone or the headphone jack to see if the water indicator is alerting you to a potential issue (you’ll want to research the model of the phone, but there will usually be a strip that turns a colour, like pink or red, when it comes into contact with a liquid).

If you have a tip, leave it below in the comments section!


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