Is it safe to buy Refurbished Phones from China?

Let’s face it. Good prices on refurbished phones are really tempting. Even if you have no plans on buying a refurbished phone, when you see a good deal on one, you simply cannot resist buying it. 

buying-refurbished-phones-chinaRecently, a lot of Chinese websites are offering refurbished phones at tempting prices. Should you just close your eyes and bite the bullet or should you think twice before making the purchase? If you chose the latter, read along.

I don’t want you to read this 2000+ word article just to find the answer to your question. So, I will answer it right here.

Is it safe to buy refurbished Phones from China? I will say no! There you go. It’s what is wise. I recommend almost no one to buy refurbished phones from Chinese websites like or And here’s why.

If you are looking to buy any other product that isn’t a refurbished unit, you can go ahead and buy it. In fact, I encourage you to give them a try. I have a detailed article where I explain how safe it is to buy from Chinese online stores. 

But with refurbished phones, there is too much risk. If you don’t want to gamble with your hard-earned money, it’s best to buy a new phone. Or you can buy refurbished phones near your area.

The thing with refurbished phones is that they are prone to failure. Unlike brand new phones which are made by machines with high precision, refurbished phones are likely repaired by humans who as we all know make more mistakes.

And when you buy a refurbished phone only later to find that it is defective, you will have a hard time sending it back to the supplier. It’s not like the supplier won’t honor the return, they will. But it will cost you a lot of time and money to send the product back for return.

It isn’t like going to the show downtown and getting the money back, it clearly isn’t. Also, some sellers can be fishy and not be clear about the condition of the refurbished phone. It may come looking brand new but at the same time, there are chances that it will come in all scratched up.

Here are some of the important questions people ask about buying refurbished phones from China. Do check them out before making your purchase decision.

Frequently asked questions about Refurbished Phones from China

Whare are refurbished phones, actually?

Well, when a phone is sent back to the manufacturer or a retailer because of some defect or if the buyer is no longer interested in keeping the phone, the seller accepts it and then sells the returned phone as a refurbished phone.

If the phone is returned to the seller, the seller first repairs it and makes sure that is functioning just like a brand new phone and only then sells it as a refurbished phone.

During the refurbishment process, the company will make sure that everything is functioning as it should but also in many cases change the housing and the battery so that the user gets a brand new feel when it arrives in their doorsteps.

Apple is known to have the best refurbishment process. Apple refurbished products are top-notch in quality and also come with a year warranty. A long warranty is a sign that the product is well looked at before it is sent to the customers. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t sell refurbished iPhones from China.

Where can I buy refurbished phones in China?

There are a lot of online stores where you can buy refurbished phones. Some of the popular places to buy refurbished phones online are:

  1. AliExpress
  2. DX
  3. DHGate
  4. Made-in-China
  5. hk-refurbished-stock

Is it safe buying refurbished phones from China?

It is quite safe to buy Chinese online stores and even from offline stores. Most of the time, the phone that you buy will be in the stated condition and should be mostly free from heavy cosmetic wear. The phone that you buy should also be free from any defect that will hinder the functioning of it.

But if the refurbished phone isn’t in the state as stated by the seller, the hassle you will have to go through to return may not be something you really want to deal with.

Sure, 99% of the sellers that are legit will honor your decision to refund the order, repair it if there’s something wrong. But the real question is, do you have time to wait for one extra month for the phone to reach back to the vendor, 10 days for the repair process and another 25 days for the phone to get back to you?

Are all refurbished phones defective units?

No, contrary to what most people think, not all defective units are later sold as refurbished phones. When someone buys a phone and doesn’t like it and wishes to return within the return window, the company later sells the returned phone as a refurbished phone.

So, you cannot always define a refurbished phone as a phone that is defective, returned and repaired. But when it comes to phones that are refurbished in China, most often, it’s a repaired phone.

Unlike in the US, you will find that third-party sellers repack the phone and sell it as a brand new unit if a buyer sends it back for one reason or the other. So, the chances are really high that the refurbished phone that you are planning to buy from China is a repaired phone. It’s a fact that I really can’t keep away from my readers.

Are all refurbished phones used phones?

Yes. When a manufacturer sells a phone and the user finds something isn’t working right or if he/she doesn’t like it and wishes to return it, the seller has to sell the phone as a refurbished phone.

So, even if it is used for a day, the refurbished phone you are planning to buy most likely is a used and returned product. All you can hope for is that the phone that you are getting isn’t all beaten up or used roughly.

Do all the vendors use the same refurbishment process?

This is one question that is really hard to answer. A refurbishment is either done by the manufacturer itself or it is done by an authorized third-party vendor.

If the refurbishment is done by the manufacturer, it’s way safer to buy such phones. A manufacturer always has a concern regarding the company reputation. It will do its best to make sure that the phone feels, performs and looks like a brand new unit. They will also provide a six-month to a year warranty on the phones they sell.

On the other hand, the third-party vendors are always looking to make as much profit as possible. If a seller wants to gain reputation and wants to stay in the business for a long while, he/she will definitely have the refurbishment process on par with the manufacturing refurbishment process.

However, if it’s a vendor who is looking to make some quick bucks, the refurbished phone may not last as long as you wish it did. If a vendor is not providing at least 6-month warranty on a refurbished phone, just close the tab and look for another vendor. You definitely don’t want to waste your hard-earned cash on a sketchy product.

How easy is it to return refurbished phones with defects?

If you buy a refurbished phone from China and for some reason, you want to send it back to the seller, you are screwed! If you live in parts of Asia, you will have to pour hundreds of dollar to send the phone back. Also, needless to say, it will also eat up a lot of your time and energy.

Is buying refurbished phones from China worth your time and money?

That brings me to the last frequently asked question, is it even worth your time and energy to buy refurbished phones from China?

I will say no. You can read an article where I encourage you to buy electronics and other products from China. But refurbished phones is a completely different thing. It’s more or less like gambling.

It would be acceptable to buy refurbished phones from China if you could easily and conveniently return the phones. But like I earlier stated, you can’t. So, it’s best to stop being greedy and buy a new phone or buy refurbished units locally.

Dipesh is a geek from the heart. He loves gadgets and is trying out new phones every week. For him, life is either technology or it's nothing!

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