What to know before you buy a refurbished phone

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Here's what to know about refurbished phones before you buy one. (KTRK)

Need a new smartphone, but don't want to spend a lot of money? Have you ever considered a used phone?

Also known as refurbished phones, they can be a great alternative. But before you tackle the used phone market, Consumer Reports has some advice.

Search "refurbished phone" online, and you'll see thousands of sellers' offerings at very low prices.

"Oh, it's definitely tempting, but you don't know where that phone has been," said Tercius Befete, Consumer Reports Tech Editor.

But it can be a great way to get a new-to-you phone at a great price. Consumer Reports says buying one directly from the manufacturer is a reliable option.

Companies like Apple and Samsung promise pre-owned phones go through a stringent refurbishment process, are fully inspected to meet company standards, replace any damage with quality parts and offer 12 month warranties like they do for their new phones.

"That'll ensure that it's not just cleaned up, but restored to its original condition, with original parts," said Befete.

Big retailers like Amazon and Best Buy also sell refurbished phones but usually with only 90 day warranties.

Remember to ask about the return policy. Typically, using the phone for at least a month is a good amount of time to help you notice any defects.
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