10 Best Places to Buy Used Cell Phones

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Woman looking at a used cell phone to buy

Looking for the best places to buy a used cell phone? Look no further. Nowadays, a shiny, new flagship phone can burn a hole in your wallet.

Look at the iPhone 13 Pro Max and the Samsung Galaxy S21 – you’re paying over $1000 for all the features packed inside each phone.

Not to mention the cost of the ongoing cell phone plan. However, gently used phones are sold at a more affordable price.

Fortunately, plenty of sites will sell you a used phone at a budget-friendly (or friendlier, at the very least) price.

Top Sites to Buy a Used Cell Phone

Below are the top most trusted sites for purchasing a used cell phone.

Read on to discover which one is right for you.

1. SellCell

sell cell - buy and sell cell phones

Want to compare all sellers in one place? SellCell compares sites like Amazon, DeCluttr, Gazelle, and more.

SellCell is known for selling your phone but is also a place to purchase a phone.

In addition, SellCell provides a Trust Pilot or Better Business Bureau review with each seller. They also offer financing.

In the example below, we looked for an iPhone 11 and found the following

2. OCBuyBack

OCBuyBack has a great customer service rating. However, you may not find the expansive range of used cell phones to choose from that you might find on other sites.

You can find both Apple and Android phones for sale on OCBuyBack. Some phones are locked, and some are unlocked.

All phones sold on OCBuyBack come with a 6-month warranty. Warranties include product defects or malfunctions independent of your use.

See the OCBuyBack website for full details on the guarantees. OCBuyBack has a 30-day return policy as long as the phone is not damaged. You’ll find that prices for used phones on OCBuyBack are mid-range compared with other sites.

3. Decluttr

Decluttr is a site that will happily sell you its used phone inventory. The used phone selection at Decluttr is far more affordable than what you’d pay for a new phone.

However, the prices you pay on Decluttr are a tad higher compared to the used phone prices offered by eBay or Amazon.

However, what you are getting out of Decluttr is free tracked shipping on all technology as well as 14-day returns.

You also get guaranteed refurbished quality devices and 12 months limited warranty on tech.

4. Swappa

Swappa is a user-to-user marketplace that ensures only gently-used technology is sold to buyers.

Not only will you be able to find more affordable prices by cutting out the middleman.

Furthermore, there are no selling fees, though buyers will have to pay a small fee that comes attached to the sale price.

5. BuyBack World

buyback world - buy better

BuyBack World sells both Android and Apple cell phones. The condition of the phone is listed on the website listing: Average, Good, or Excellent.

Phones are extensively tested and certified, and function details are included with each listing. Some phones are unlocked, and some are locked.

BuyBack World offers a 30-day no questions asked return guarantee on Certified, Pre-owned devices.

If the phone you purchase is new, sealed, and in the box, you’ll pay a 15% restocking fee.

6. Amazon

Amazon lets you purchase used phones directly from manufacturers such as Samsung, Motorola, Apple, Huawei, or any local sellers.

Keep in mind that phones sold by Amazon are certified and backed by a 90-day warranty.

That means that if you find that the product doesn’t fit the description or it encounters some type of failure, then you’ll be able to replace the product.

However, the warranty only applies to Amazon certified refurbished phones, and warranties on other phones will vary by the manufacturer or seller.

7. Gazelle

Gazelle is one of the leading “reCommerce” sites around. The company purchases used smartphones and tablets from sellers.

Then they’re inspected, certified, and sold to consumers at a more affordable price.

Products also receive Gazelle certification, meaning no contracts or strings attached.

Furthermore, each item has passed a 30-point quality inspection, and as the cherry on top, buyers have access to a 30-day risk-free return policy.

Special Offer: $25 off your first purchase of $250 with Gazelle.com

8. Walmart

Walmart sells a wide variety of used cell phones. All phones include Walmart’s 30-day return guarantee.

Some phones are unlocked, and some are locked. You can get the Walmart Protection Plan for phones when you pay an additional fee.

Financing with Affirm is available on many used cell phones.

One nice thing about buying a used cell phone through Walmart is that they have a wide variety of phones.

Note that some phones may be sold by third-party sellers. If that’s the case, guarantee details may change.

9. Best Buy

Best Buy sells an expansive selection of used cell phones, both Android and Apple. Some are locked, most are unlocked.

Some are certified refurbished, and some are not. Best Buy offers a 14-return period on used cell phone purchases.

Best Buy has a “Compare” feature that lets you compare multiple cell phones if you want a good look at available phones fitting your desired specifications.

Choose from available used phones at Best Buy stores near you, or get your phone shipped. Shipping may be free if the purchase qualifies.

Best Buy’s wide selection and competitive prices make it a smart place to look for used cell phones.

10. eBay

With eBay, you can purchase (or bid, if you’d like) with peace of mind if you follow the general guidelines and read valid reviews.

Always check the seller listing of the used phone for an uploaded, genuine photo of the phone and an authentic, detailed description.

Benefits of Purchasing a Used Cell Phone

There are plenty of advantages to buying a used cell phone, including:

Saving Money

This is the most important point of buying a used cell phone. You can purchase a used cell phone for less than the price of a new phone.

For example, a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge with 32GB of storage can be purchased for $250 on Swappa used, while a new one would be priced at a little over $600.

The same goes for the following iPhones:

  • iPhone 12: $720 used, $829 new
  • iPhone 11: $395 used, $549 new
  • An iPhone X: $310 used, $499 new

Note: Price examples can change. Check with each site for the best prices.

Environmentally Friendly

If a phone can be used, why toss it out?

According to the WEEE, in 2022 alone, more than 5 billion mobile phones were thrown away.

Purchasing and discarding a phone harms the environment, so opt for a used phone.

Less Stress

This is more dependent on the person, but when a used phone isn’t nearly as expensive as a new phone, you’re less likely to experience anxiety when damaging the phone.

In fact, a used phone is a great option for a child, as the most predominant age children receive their first cell phone is ten years.

What to Consider when Purchasing a Used Cell Phone

There are several points to consider when purchasing a used cell phone, such as the:

Condition

What is the condition of the phone? Is it in poor, fair, very good, or like-new condition?

Review photos, descriptions, and certifications closely to ensure you know what you’ll get.

Price

Compare the specified used phone prices among various sites to ensure you’re saving the maximum amount possible.

Warranty

Without question, a used phone should have a warranty. Ensure to investigate the details of the manufacturer’s or store’s warranty.

For example, a refurbished iPhone purchased directly from Apple will come with a one-year warranty.

Activation

Is the phone locked or unlocked? If you purchase the phone locked, you may have to do some additional legwork to unlock the phone.

We recommend selecting an unlocked phone, which provides optimal flexibility and allows you to save more by switching to a low-cost carrier like Mint SIM or US Mobile.

Some carriers may even offer free cell service. Make sure to read the fine details to get the best deals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to buy a used cell phone?

There are some risks in buying a used cell phone, like the cell phone not working properly or the seller not sending you the phone. To protect against this, use a payment method like PayPal, which offers some buyer protection.

Will any used phone work with my current carrier?

Some cell phones are not designed to work with all carriers. To ensure that you get a phone that works with your carrier, make sure to buy an unlocked phone. These phones are designed to work with almost any major carrier.

How do I check to verify that a phone is not stolen?

Ask for the IMEI or MEID number for the phone. Then, enter that number here. The site will do a quick search and will let you know whether or not the phone is reported stolen.

Summary

While all these sites are great to use during your hunt for a used phone, to save time and money, we’d recommend using SellCell

There, you’ll be able to compare prices on popularly used phones, which typically allow you to save an extra $50 on your purchase.

Furthermore, for maximum frugality, once you’re finished with your old device, you can sell your old phone for cash online.

Rob Webber has contributed to this article. He is the Founder of MoneySavingPro.com and a Forbes contributor. He has ten years of experience helping consumers save money on their cell phone, TV & internet bills.

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8 Comments

  1. Where and how can I get fairly used phone within Virginia USA

  2. Chris Klow says:

    Great list. I would like to recommend a website to sell your old and used phones. Please add this to one of your articles. The website is TelecomRecycle. I sold my business phones here and get a fair amount of money in return. They promptly respond to your query.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion, will have to check into it!

  3. Henry White says:

    I am wanting to get rid of my LG5 phone for it does just what it wants to and i have paid too much for this darn thing so i am trying to sell it and i will be buying me a iphone 8 for sure.

  4. John Witcombe says:

    I found your blog very helpful! It is very hard to get the best places for buying used cell phones. I also want to buy a new phone, but due to a financial issue, I have decided to buy a used phone instead of a new one. My friend suggested I trade in my old phone towards another upgraded phone at Recell Cellular. I will also check these websites for the best buying.

    1. I think it’s great that you are buying used and also checking around to find the best deal and the right phone for you. Good luck.

  5. Stay away from Decluttr. I ordered an iPhone from them that arrived locked. Decluttr kindly said they would send a return label so I could return it. Decluttr would not give me a refund till they received it and would not send me a replacement while I was shipping the locked one back. Decluttr also didn’t send the return label. I called back and finally received the label. I sent it back. It was received by them, but they claimed it hadn’t been received. When I sent them a screenshot of the USPS delivery, Decluttr said refunds are processed within 3 business days. It has now been 8 business days and I still haven’t received the refund. I called several times today and after the recorded greeting the call is dropped.

    My experience with Decluttr has been the absolute worst I’ve ever experienced with an online retailer. Find some other source for your used phones.

    1. You could also try emailing them or contacting them by regular mail – just go to their terms and conditions page on the website and click, “our details and company information”, to get the address. Another idea is to report them to the Better Business Bureau or try to contact them through Facebook or Twitter.

      I’m sorry you’re having trouble with them and I hope you’re able to get the issue resolved shortly. Thanks for your comments.