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Refurbished phones and Back Market: Is it any good?

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Last update: March 27, 2024
Roams UK
Author: Roams UK

Most people are reliant on smartphones while also worrying about environmental impacts. Mobile phones and their components are notoriously unsustainable, especially as they become redundant and discarded so quickly.

The easy solution? Refurbished phones. The entry of the phone refurbishment company Back Market into the UK may make it even easier.

Let’s look at what a refurbished phone is, the pros and cons of buying a refurbished phone, and whether Back Market or others might resolve any doubts you have.

What is a refurbished phone?

You may have mental images of someone selling their dropped handset, to someone who just replaces shattered glass and resells without checking usability. It’s usually more complicated and less underhanded than that.

A refurbished phone was returned for exchange or sold to the manufacturer, network, or a third party because it’s broken or the user wanted a change or upgrade. In many cases the phone is restored to like-new quality, though it may not have original packaging or accessories.

It’s possible to buy a refurbished phone that doesn’t work properly and lose money, but there’s less risk than you fear. Here’s how to avoid pitfalls and find the best refurbished phones for sale, either through Back Market or other avenues.

What does a Refurbished Phone mean?

Some refurbished phones are so much cheaper than new ones, you’ll think there must be something very wrong with them. However, as long as you purchase from a reputable source, you can be sure of two things.

  1. The handset will have been returned to original working condition on a practical level.
  2. As to appearance, refurbished mobile phones in the UK are generally graded:
  • Grade A - Looks new or very minor signs of wear and tear.
  • Grade B - Scratches, chips, other light cosmetic damage.
  • Grade C - Clear signs of wear and use.

If you want a refurbished phone that works like new and looks box fresh, this can be difficult to find at the lowest prices. Also, remember that used refurbished phones are supplied more randomly than new phones. If you see the make and model you most want, you must act quickly since you can’t know when it will be available again.

What is a certified refurbished phone?

You can get a headache looking for a refurbished phone without filters, as there are so many phones and sellers. The best advice we can give you to narrow it down instantly is to make sure you buy a refurbished phone with a warranty.

Any refurbished phone seller worth its salt, whether online or in stores, will offer a 12-month warranty, plus perhaps the option to buy additional cover. If you insist on this and have a preferred make and model, shopping should be a breeze.

Do official trademarks like Samsung or Apple sell refurbished phones?

For a truly reliable refurbished smartphone, turn to the top manufacturers themselves or other trusted Big Name sellers.


Apple refurbished phones are fully-tested like-new iPhones with a one-year warranty, backed by its Certified Refurbished promise.

Apple replacement parts, cleaning, inspection, new battery and shell, full packaging, the latest operating system and accessories are all promised, plus free shipping and returns. You’ll usually save 15% against new. You can save more buying from third parties, but may not find the quality or assurance.


Samsung refurbished phones, called Certified Pre-Owned, go through over 400 rigorous tests of features and functions by the same engineers who build new phones. So they come with the same one-year warranty and associated goodies. Generally speaking, your savings with refurbished Samsung phones will be 36%.

Third parties

Try sellers with integrated feedback systems, such as Amazon and eBay. Although buying from third-party sellers within them, you’ll see reviews to gain trust, there’ll be a one-year warranty, and hosts will back you in case of problems. You can also, as with direct Apple and Samsung refurbished phones, purchase additional protection.

Back Market

Founded in 2014, Back Market entered the UK refurbished phones arena in 2020. Its mission is to restore trust and desire for refurbished devices, and it has a great rating on Trustpilot. It connects trusted refurbishing factories with customers.

Because you’re not buying directly from the manufacturer, the device may not look as new or come with original packaging or accessories. But there are five grades to choose from, and a one-year warranty plus 30-day money-back guarantee.

Inventory changes often, so check back if you can’t find what you want.

With refurbished phones, you get what you pay for. As long as you:

  • know what sort of device you want.
  • insist on a warranty.
  • know how picky you are about appearance and original extras.

Try buying a refurbished phone to make great savings on as good as new models while having peace of mind.

Our methodology
Roams offers a free information and comparison service, which tries to help anyone find the product that best suits their needs. To ensure that the data presented is correct, extensive market research and product analysis is carried out. Our database of mobile phone and internet rates is updated every day. The content is frequently reviewed by a team of writers with previous experience and/or specific training in telephony.

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Actualizado por Roams UK

Roams offers its advice on recurring-use services to enhance consumer savings. Its expertise is already valued by thousands of users, who trust Roams comparisons in different sectors to hire the best option.

Nadia Pérez
Edited and revised por Nadia Pérez