Do you buy used phones?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| June 4, 2013

As a gamer, I've spent a lot of my time in retail locations staring at games that have a "used" sticker on the front. As you are more than probably aware, these used titles have a cheaper price tag than their new, unopened and unused counterparts. For a lot of different reasons, buying a used game is sometimes the only way someone will experience a title at all, unless a huge sale pops up at some point or another.

For console gamers, used games are part of the industry and part of the equation. We've just grown accustomed to them over the years. At the same time, we've grown used to trading in our own previously owned titles to get a little cash back, or maybe in-store credit towards our next game. It's a process that most gamers have done probably more than a few times.

It's a process that most of them either love or hate.

But obviously buying used things, or selling your own things, isn't compartmentalized solely to the video games industry. If you look on the Internet for a couple minutes, you'll be able to find more than a few ways that you can get your hands on all sorts of different used items. It's a way to save money, even if in some cases it's not all that much money.

Sites like eBay, Swappa, or Craig's List have made a name for themselves over the years for making it easy to get your hands on things at (usually) a cheaper price than you would if they were new. There are other sites that put a bigger focus on you, the owner, sending your item in for "quick cash," so they can turn around to sell it on their own.

Depending on where you live, if you head into the "cell phones" section on Craig's List, you'll probably see a laundry list of devices up for grabs. The same goes for eBay or Swappa. There are so many different options out there, and many of them --at least in my area-- are all high-end devices. Handsets like the Galaxy S III, iPhone 4S or iPhone 5, with some HTC Ones and Samsung Galaxy S 4s in there for good measure.

In most of these cases, the price these people are offering are at least $100 less than what you'd pay full retail. In some rare cases, the phone you're being sold is "brand new," with the plastic still on the device. (There should be trepidation in these sales, more so than any other.) More often than not, though, you'll find folks selling their older phones for around $200 off the full retail price tag, which is a pretty good discount in most cases.

So it's easy to see why so many people use these sites to get their hands on a device they want, especially if they don't want to sign a new, two-year agreement to get it. Sure, you'll still be paying more than you would if you did sign that contract, but it may be worth it for some.

I've used different sites to get my hands on particular handsets in the past, and overall my experience has been pretty great. But I'm sure we've all heard horror stories in the past. Maybe the device stops working a few days, or even hours, after you bought it. Maybe there was always something wrong with it that was missed during purchase. A lot of things can go wrong with the sale of a phone.

So tell me your stories. Have you purchased a used phone in the past, and was it from one of the popular methods on the Internet? Or was it from a friend or family member? Or are you someone who would rather spend the extra money to get a brand new phone, even without the contract? Let me know!