You are in the market for an iPhone – a used iPhone – and have started to research online (kudos for taking this step to protect yourself before making a purchase). Before taking a leap of faith, you should ask yourself some basic questions (break it down to the 5 W’s and an H for good measure). Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?

Where?

You can get a used iPhone from just about anyone (seriously, ask your mom before starting your iHunt). The first thing you should ask yourself is where are you going to purchase your used iDevice? An online flea market like Craigslist has a million listings (most of these guys and gals are professionals – not the helpless person selling their last prized possession in order to feed Harry the Hamster). Be ready for real sales gimmicks – not a real person on your level (unless you are a professional flipper then you are probably not reading this anyways). The deals sound great. The time is limited. The device is going to sell fast. The device is the best one available. This sounds like a car commercial when you break it down to its basic tenets.

Some online forums like eBay offer larger variety – but you are not able to see your product until it is too late. iDoctor has seen many folks come in with FAKE iPhones purchased off of eBay. We are not certain of the circumstances, but heard that the customer was stuck with the device and not able to collect a refund (buyer beware). Are you certain you can identify a real iPhone from a blurry picture?

Some websites specialize in iPhone sales. Gazelle and a few other similar sites take in large numbers of used phones and sell them. We do not endorse any of these places, but suspect the devices are tested before they purchase them and before they sell them. You can expect to pay a little premium for these devices, but you get what you pay for, right?

Friends – some people are wary of doing business with friends. Perhaps your friends are shady and you can count on them to hose you. Perhaps you actually like your friends – if this is the case, have a professional look over the device before purchasing it at a fair market value. That way you preserve your friendship in the event the device is junk-ola.

What?

What are you looking to purchase? iPhone? iPod? iPad? Do some basic research and make sure the device will serve the basic needs you require. Some phones will work on certain carriers and not others. An iPhone that was used on Sprint network will not work on Verizon’s network (and vice versa). Phones purchased on these networks will not work on AT&T network or T-mobile (and vice versa). Know what you are looking to purchase before calling around for a device – this will give you the opportunity to find the best value within the category you are looking.

Why?

Just need something to access the internet? Something to take quick notes? Want to look cool? Documenting your life one picture at a time? A little research will give you expectations and reveal limitations of the device you are eyeing up. There is no need to get a 64GB iPad 4th generation if all you need is to play kids movies for 30 minutes in the morning. Alternatively, a 16GB iPad is not going to suffice if you are traversing the globe taking pictures, watching movies, and playing some crack-like addictive game. Figure out why you need a device to narrow down your specifications.

When?

When do you need the device? Your flip phone from 1999 finally died because you put it in the dryer after it fell in a puddle of oil during a failed DIY attempt at auto repair. There is no way you can go another month disconnected from the world – so this will eliminate some retailers that require a lot of digging to get to. Limited options will alter your purchase strategy.

Who?

Who are you purchasing from? Is it Dr. Know…or Dr. NO ? Unless you KNOW them, be prepared to say NO. Keep your guard up and remember – you get what you pay for. The device might be a good deal for the money (think about that one for a bit).

How?

Do you need to wire several thousand dollars to a Prince that is trying to validate his royalness via advanced DNA testing before you can get the iPhone with the proof that will change the world? Is the transaction cash only? How will you deal with any problems that arise after the tail lights disappear off in the distance? How will your life manage to continue if the device isn’t all that (or worth a bag of chips)?

Bottom line of this blog – prepare yourself. Do your research and ask questions.

iDoctor would be happy to give an assessment of a device before you purchase it. Many other repair shops would probably do the same. Don’t get burned by the scams out there.

Have questions? We would love to help!

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