Last Updated on July 24, 2019 by Husain Parvez
Buying a used iPhone 4 is a great way to save some money while getting the phone that you want. However, the used market can be full of traps where one wrong turn can cost you dearly a number of different ways.
With that being said, that’s why we decided to make this article for you where we explain some things that you need to know before buying a used iPhone or any used electronic for that matter. So, let’s get right into it!
Used iPhone 4 Buying Guide
Amidst all the chaos in the used market, there are primarily 5 things that you need to know before buying a used iPhone 4 or any used electronics:
- Your seller
- Payment methods
- Extra fees and charges
- Condition of the item
- Locked and unlocked devices
1: Know Your Seller
First of all, knowing that you’re buying from a trustworthy seller is very important. And when we say trustworthy we don’t just mean a big name like Amazon or eBay, but also their individual sub-sellers – the ones that use the platform to sell their products.
Buying from the wrong guy can put you into a lot of trouble. Things like:
- Broken products that can’t be returned
- Misinformation about the product and its condition (More on that later)
- Hidden fees (Also more on that later)
- And possibly more
To find the right seller, the first thing that you can do is to look only at reputable platforms like Amazon, eBay, Swappa, Newegg, or anything like that.
When it comes to used iPhones, we generally prefer Swappa because they are the pros of selling used phones. Not only they are extremely reputable and trustworthy, but they also mention every detail that you might need like the condition of the phone, its carrier, and more.
Speaking of information, that’s another important thing that you want to look out for. More on that further below.
2: Choose a Safe Payment Method
Finding a good seller is one thing. How about finding a good payment option as well? There are many people out there who are still shopping online with their credit/debit card without knowing that this poses two big risks:
- Identity and banking information theft
- Lack of buyer protection
If you got a reputable seller, then you obviously don’t need to worry about identity theft or anything like that. Amazon, Swappa, Newegg, eBay, all these big names can’t potentially risk scamming you.
However, we’re talking about the used market here and there’s no guarantee that someone will not at least try to. For example, take a look at this item. A graphics card that normally costs 300+ euros for 63? And it’s also brand new? Boy oh boy what a crazy bargain this is, right? Except it’s clearly a scam attempt.
And mind you, this is on one of the world’s biggest shopping websites. So, if there are people who are willing to try and scam you on the big platforms, imagine how bad things can get when we’re walking on thin ice with unknown sellers.
A secure payment method like PayPal can help you protect yourself from both scams and identity theft. That’s because if you buy something by using PayPal and you realize that you were scammed, you can always reach out to them, provide proof that this happened, and the seller will be forced to issue a refund. In most cases, it works.
Even when things don’t go according to plan, having a small layer of protection instead is always better than nothing. Because let’s be honest, chances are that our banks are not going to lift a finger in case we buy the wrong item.
3: Watch Out For Extra Fees And Charges
One thing that lots of people don’t know is that you can end up paying extra money upon delivery. So, you basically buy whatever you want, pay for it while thinking that you’re done, and only once your used iPhone 4 arrives at your doorstep you are asked to pay the extra fees and charges.
Not all regions do this. But, the EU is definitely a continent that has this law. It doesn’t apply for every single item. After all, those who check for imports can’t possibly have the time to go through the process of taxing every little thing. And for this reason, only items that have a specific price and above will be checked and will have to be paid for import fees.
Unfortunately, a used iPhone 4 usually costs more than enough to be placed on this range and unless you get lucky, chances are that you’ll have to pay the extra fees for it upon delivery. Of course, that is unless you buy it from a seller who is within your country. That, or someone who is living outside of your country but offers a warehouse that’s inside.
American buyers don’t really have to worry too much about this as the major platforms like Swappa and Amazon all have warehouses within the USA. Just do make your research for the individual states. Just in case.
Apart from that, watch out for the obvious stuff. Shipping costs, standard taxes, anything like this that commonly appears only after you’ve inserted the payment and delivery details. So, don’t be in a massive hurry to press that “buy” button.
4: Watch Out For The Condition Of Your Used iPhone 4
This is another thing that lots of people forget to check out. Sometimes, it’s not even mentioned in the details – in which, case, maybe you should look for another website/platform/seller.
The condition of your used iPhone 4, or any used phone for that matter, reflects the overall shape of the device. Scratches, cracks, broken things, anything like that.
Generally speaking, the more flaws that a phone has, the cheaper that you can get it. And remember: If something looks too good to be true, then it most likely is!
Now, different sellers may use different terms to describe the condition of a device. But, generally speaking, this is what you can expect:
- Good/Refurbished/Like New: These terms are often used to describe a phone that’s almost brand new without scratches or marks
- Mint/Fair: Scratches and other signs of wear/use may be present, but the device works normally
- Bad/Damaged/Parts and Repairs only: The phone is damaged to the point where normal operation is tough or impossible.
Again, don’t forget to read the individual descriptions of your particular seller. He/she may have different conditions in mind when using each and every one of these terms.
5: Watch Out For Carrier Locked Devices
There are numerous countries that offer carrier-locked devices. A carrier-locked phone will basically refuse to work with any other carrier apart from the one that it is locked down to.
For example, if you get a used iPhone 4 that’s locked to AT&T, then it doesn’t matter what you want to use. That phone will only work with AT&T. Period.
And if you happen to do the mistake of falling into that trap, then your only choice is to either use the carrier that you’re locked to or pay for unlocking services to get yourself out of that situation. The last thing that anyone would want after getting a new/used device is to pay extra money just to be able to use his phone.
Thankfully, most reputable sellers always mention if their phones are locked or unlocked and they also mention exactly what carrier they are locked down to. So, keep an eye out for that.
Safely Buying a Used iPhone 4: Wrapping Up
That’s all for now. Hopefully, our little guide helped you out and you’ll be able to buy a used iPhone 4 without anything going wrong. To wrap things up, this is all we talked about and that you need to remember:
- Buy from a reputable seller
- Choose a safe payment method
- Watch out for extra fees and charges
- Keep an eye on the condition of the device
- Careful with the carrier-locked devices
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