What to do when buying a phone

Black Friday and the Christmas season are fast approaching. Many persons may be looking to grab a smartphone to capitalise on the deals and discounts.

But hold up!! Whether it’s a personal upgrade, replacement or gift, there are a few things to do before you make that important purchase.

Buy from a reputable store or person

Sure, an iPhone X that costs J$20,000 might look tempting. But it doesn’t make sense to shell out cash and receive a knock-off, busted or stolen device. Do your investigation. Read posted reviews on the seller’s page or social media profile. Or, if a friend has done business with a seller before, ask about their experience.

Doing business with a reputable store or person can take the stress out of a transaction and you will most likely get good customer service and a warranty. 

Ask about a warranty

A warranty is a written guarantee given by a manufacturer (or seller) to the buyer. It promises to fix or replace an item if needed within a certain amount of time.

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When buying a phone, ask about a warranty. Some sellers may offer 6-month or a 1-year warranty on items and may fix or replace them if the device malfunctions or stops working during a set time. But be careful, read your warranty carefully as some things might not be covered. Don’t intentionally dunk your phone in water and expect the seller or manufacturer to fix the damage or replace the device.

Check the hardware

It’s always important to carefully inspect the phone you’re receiving, especially if you’re buying a used or refurbished device.

Remember to check the device carefully for defects.
  • Check the screen for cracks, scratches and if the touch functionality is working properly.
  • Make sure the charging port and charger work. 
  • Turn on the Bluetooth and WiFi to see if they work.
  • Play sounds from the device to ensure the speaker(s) work.
  • If possible, try making a call from the device.
  • Check the cameras. Make sure the image looks clear on the screen.
  • If buying online, ask the seller if you can see pictures of the device.

This list is not exhaustive, just a few things to consider.

Check the IMEI number

Every GSM mobile phone has a unique IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number. It’s usually a 15-digit code that identifies mobile phones. This can be especially useful if you’re buying a used phone. The IMEI can help you determine if the device was lost or stolen, so you don’t make a shady purchase.

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You can check an IMEI at IMEI.info for free or CheckMend.com for a fee.

Also, if your own phone was stolen, your carrier should be able to use your phone’s IMEI number to blacklist the device from their network so no one else can use it (provided that you verify your account and or provide proof of purchase).

You should be able to find your IMEI on the box that came with your device, on the back of your phone or by dialling *#06# on your phone (go ahead, try it).  

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Negotiate the price

If the seller is flexible you can talk your way into a better deal sometimes just by negotiating the set price. This might save you a few dollars that you can use to buy something else. Of course, this will only work if the seller allows it. Don’t expect to walk into a store and tell them you want J$10,000 off a device.

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Armed with this knowledge, you should be in a much better position to get a new smartphone for the new year.

— Written by Renor C.