(P) What exactly is a refurbished phone and why are we reluctant to buy one?
First of all, it’s clearly not a new phone. But is it as good as a new one? What does ‘refurbishing’ exactly mean and why should it be seen as a beneficial choice for the consumer? Fenix.eco answers these questions.
Let’s say you decided to buy yourself that new shiny smartphone on which you spent a whole summer (or more?) saving money for. You’ve clearly been deciding on it for quite some time now, all you have to do is purchase it and let it dazzle you with its new features, its sleeker design and its far better camera. It arrives. The moment you’ve been waiting for is here. You turn it on, full of anticipation and excitement. As you’re ready to immerse yourself in its digital universe, you identify an issue: the touch screen doesn’t work, there’s a blue dot on the screen somewhere or maybe there’s no sound at all. Maybe the battery doesn’t charge to its full capacity. After going through a natural phase of solid disappointment and slight denial, you decide to send it back and patiently wait for another one. You decide to forget that episode ever happened and carry on with your routine. But what happens to the faulty phone?
Well, most likely, it’s going to be refurbished. Technical experts are going to find the issue and fix it. Good as new. But does that put a stigma on it or not? It most definitely shouldn’t. So why are we so skeptical when it comes to refurbished phones?
First of all, it could be that not all of them are new phones with a factory issue. Some of them are pre-owned phones that got a chance at a new life, with a new owner, through refurbishing. And we’re sometimes wary when it comes to previous owners: we don’t know them so we cannot know if the phone was properly taken care of before. But here’s something we do know: refurbishing is done to a high standard and also comes with a warranty. The length of the warranty differs from one refurbishing provider to another, but there are plenty of choices out there to help you decide. The warranty is essential and its length and applied conditions also depend on the grade of the refurbishment. Refurbished phones can vary from having had minor issues like scratches to have had more serious problems like a broken screen or a dead battery that were replaced.
On fenix.eco, all phones work 100% like new, come with brand new headphones and charger and a 1-year warranty, the longest coverage available from any provider in Romania, costing on average half the price of the same model bought new.
In terms of their aesthetic appearance, a clear guide on each product page explains the qualifiers:
Excellent: intact screen, possible minimal scratches on the casing invisible from a distance of 20 cm.
Good: intact screen, minimal scratches on the casing visible a distance of 20 cm.
Fair: minimal visible scratches on the casing. The screen might have minimal scratches visible only when the screen is turned on.
The website is currently only available in Romanian, but most internet browsers offer the option to have it translated in your language of choice.
Second of all, we like new things. New design, new technology, we even like the smell of new coming from opening the box. But what’s the actual cost of buying a new phone? Most people don’t know what happens behind the scenes of producing a new phone. Let’s go through the basics. First of all, smartphone production involves mining the rare materials which are used to keep the phone lighter, slimmer, sleeker and - of course - smarter each and every year. Materials such as palladium, platinum, yttrium, terbium, and gadolinium are part of a phone’s composition. And while the required quantities for one phone are extremely small, just think about how many smartphones are produced every day to satisfy the giant demand. Mining heavily contributes to destroying the environment, by wiping out entire forests from the face of the earth, messing with the composition and quality of the soil and basically reducing oxygen and giving out carbon dioxide.
Last, but definitely not least: status. We all know that a smartphone is more than a useful and dependable device. It’s also a way of showing off our status. What does buying a pre-owned phone say about us among the people we know and those we work with? Sustainability became a value in today’s society. Contributing to helping or saving the environment is not something that is only in the job of activists anymore, it’s part of our normal behavior, as it should be. So deciding to not contribute to the production of a new phone means taking a big step towards protecting the world we live in. This symbolic badge of honor matters more than a status signifier based on consumerism.
So what is, exactly, a refurbished phone? Technically, yes, it is a pre-owned phone that was brought back to its initial state and had its software updated to the latest supported versions.
But it’s way more than that. It’s a second chance: for smartphones, for your budget, but - more importantly - for our beloved planet.
(p) This article is an advertorial.