‘Refurbished phones’: what does it mean?

The term ‘refurbished phone’ generally refers to a pre-owned handset that has been sent back due to a fault and has been repaired for re-sale.

Not all phones described as refurbished were at one stage faulty, though. Some networks and retailers classify 'refurbished phones' as handsets that were returned by customers who changed their mind within the 30-day cooling-off period after they signed up for a contract.

Before being put on sale, all refurbished phones have been thoroughly checked and tested to ensure they’re in full working order.

Tests carried out by the seller typically include whether the battery charges and checking the buttons and cameras work. The seller will also verify audio quality and screen responsiveness, as well as how the phone connects to Wi-Fi and 3G/4G.

In keeping with Data Protection Act, the seller will securely wipe any data on the phone. So to all intents and purposes, you’ll be starting afresh.

Some refurbished phone sellers update the handset to the latest version of the operating system that powers it.