One of the primary questions that people ask themselves when buying a new phone is how to get a good deal. If you want a phone jam-packed full of the most powerful specs then you’ll have to pay a premium for it; it makes sense to try and cut the costs in any way that you can.
The problem is, it can be difficult to sort out which deal is best for you and whether the deal is legitimate. Smartphone users will reach 3.8 billion by 2021, accordng to a Newzoo report on the matter. With such a large pool of potential targets, there are lots of scammers and those who would like to swindle you out of your money. This makes it all the more important to stay smart, stay aware and to follow these handy tips to ensure that you don’t get duped.
How to Evaluate the Retailer’s Website
Before you spend a dime or hand over even a sliver or personal information, you need to evaluate the retailer’s website. If the phone deal is not being offered by a well-known brand then you’ll want to do your due diligence and check that the site is legit before you buy your phone. You wouldn’t want them to run off with your payment info – you’ll be left out of pocket with no smartphone to show for it.
Determining that a site is legit doesn’t take much digging or technical know-how. One very apparent signal about a site’s security is whether or not that site uses HTTPs. HTTPS encrypts any data that flows between you and the site, meaning that it is very difficult for hackers to perform phishing or spoofing attacks and get ahold of your data. It shows that they take your security seriously. You can tell that a site is using HTTPS because in the website address bar, you’ll see a locked padlock. The URL of the website will begin with “https://” as well.
Make Sure the Phone Has a Warranty
The next step before you buy is to check whether or not the phone has a warranty. Warranties are offered by most legitimate retailers and they help to give you added confidence that the phone you’re getting is in working order. Or, if it isn’t in working order, you’ll be able to get a refund or a replacement phone.
This point is especially pertinent if you’re buying a used or refurbished phone as you will be unable to verify who owned the phone previously and exactly how it was used. All leading refurbished retailers will offer warranties with their products. This includes seller refurbished phones (phones refurbished by a third-party) and these can range from a span of a few weeks to an entire year. Manufacturer refurbished phones have warranties too, with phones sold by Apple through its Apple Certified Refurbished program including a one-year limited warranty. This covers hardware faults and defects but not accidental damage. It should be noted that warranty lengths will differ from brand to brand, for example, Samsung phone warranties last for two-years instead of just one.
How Has the Phone Been Refurbished?
Speaking of refurbished handsets, it’s a good idea to ask how the phone has been refurbished or tested too. Most refurbished retailers will outline their testing process, including the factors that they test (e.g all hardware and software components) and how their tehcnicians are trained. While the refurbished process may differ from retailer to retailer, it at least gives you some added confidence about the care that has been taken to get the phone in working order.
Another useful factor in this is the cosmetic quality of the phone. If you’re buying a refurbished iPhone, for example, then the difference between good or excellent cosmetic quality will determine whether the back panel is a bit scuffed. Per that testing process, the iOS should work as intended, the famous Apple camera-quality should have been preserved as will the phone’s powerful specs, but it may not look brand new. Considering the cosmetic quality allows you to set your expectations.
Has the Store or Deal Been Mentioned in the News?
For some added confidence before splashing the cash on that phone deal, you can check whether that store or that particular deal has been mentioned in the news. If an authority news publication has specifically discussed that retailer and its offers, this is a sure sign that they can be trusted. Journalists must research their subjects properly and leading authority sites and news outlets are unlikely to discuss just any old store, which usually means that you can trust them.
The Moz top 500 list of authority sites is a good place to start if you don’t know what a trusted news publication looks like. Some choice picks include CNET, Forbes, and The Huffington Post. Not all retailers will have been discussed by these publications but if you get some positive results by typing “[retailer name] + [authority news publication]” into Google then you know you’re onto a winner.
The cost of buying a phone is often one of the biggest chunks out of your budget. You want to spend that money wisely and hopefully, with this list of tips and tricks, you’ll be able to better assest if a phone deal is legit or not.