London-based Pablo Gonzalez-Iglesias became an expert in buying and selling cell phones when, like many others, he was cheated on too many times. Indeed he started Vendi, The UK’s fraud-free marketplace for buyers and sellers to get the best deals on smartphones, tablets and mobile accessories in the country. Here are his tips on how to save money on smartphones and make money when you are ready to sell.
We love our smartphones, headphones, and tablets, but as more expensive devices hit the market, people see their cell phone bills skyrocket. Taking a smarter approach to buying and selling our devices can help us stay connected without breaking the bank. And after buying and selling tens of thousands of devices with my Vendi marketplace, I know all the tricks of the trade. So I want to share them with the savvy money savers and makers at MoneyMagpie.
In this guide, I’ll help you find the most affordable equipment and accessories, avoid the many nasty scams that plague today’s bargain hunters, and help you get the best value on selling your old gear to make room for the to make new ones.
Buy a phone right away – you can even save up to 300 euros on the flagship
Buying a smartphone directly can be cheaper in the long run than signing a two-year contract. Even buying a flagship phone with all the bells and whistles can save you up to £ 300 over the term of a two-year contract. And if you are smart when If you buy the phone, you can save even more.
A SIM-only option gives you optimal freedom, flexibility and control. You own the phone completely and have a choice of buying new or used. With a contract, on the other hand, the phone is always new and its costs are hidden in monthly minutes and data costs.
Of course, if you want to spread the cost of buying a phone straight out (like the cost of a contract phone is spread over several months), there are many services available to help you do this. The good news is that if you own your phone in full, if you want to upgrade and use the money on your next device, which you can’t do under a contract, you can sell it.
Of course, a SIM-only deal will likely still get you a minutes and data contract, but these are far cheaper than those that come with a phone, and shopping nearby brings great bargains.
Buy new or used?
Rising prices and the growth of e-waste – non-recyclable electronic waste – have inspired buyers and sellers alike to find a cheaper, more sustainable way to buy new phones and accessories and to stop device landfilling.
In fact, more people are buying used smartphones and fewer new ones than ever before, which is great news for buyers, sellers, and the environment! Last year around 137 million used smartphones were sold in the UK, Europe and the US, with used smartphones now accounting for around 10% of all smartphone sales.
Even though the top of the range phones are now north of £ 1,000, even the phones bought three or four years ago are still of better quality than something new that was bought in the £ 200-300 range back then.
So buying used cars is good for the environment and you can get good brands for less. But what if you want a new phone and don’t want to pay full price? In this case, patience is a virtue.
Buy New – Patience pays off with savings of up to 70%
Did you know that even the latest top-of-the-line devices like the Apple iPhone 12, Samsung Galaxy S21 and Apple Airpods are 18% cheaper if you wait just a few weeks after launch?
Here I’m going to drop some social science. The “Stanford Marshmallow Experiment” was a patient study in the 1970s. In it, a child was offered a choice of a small but immediate reward or two small rewards if they waited a while. In follow-up studies, the researchers found that children who waited longer for preferred rewards tended to have better life outcomes. As with marshmallow experiments, also with smartphones.
If you can wait a month or two or even a week after a new phone start (or tablet or phone accessories like earbuds), with your patience, you can get the latest, newest gear at a fraction of the price. On Vendi, for example, we have top-notch Apple and Samsung phones, as well as Apple Airpods Pro and Galaxy Buds, which offer 18% to 70% off MSRP a few weeks after launch, even if the mainstream stores are still selling them full Price.
Smartphone marketplaces – outsmart the rogue dealers
The only place you can get up to 70% off the MSRP for new products is of course an online marketplace. An online marketplace is an e-commerce website that offers many different products from many different sellers. You know the well-known “generalists” like Amazon and eBay. But nowadays they have a niche and some specialize in clothing (Depop) or sneakers (StockX) and consumer electronics (Vendi). If you shop at a specialized online marketplace, you are likely to find the best deals, even at sales events like Black Friday.
Unfortunately, given the growing popularity of small vendors selling new and refurbished products, as well as consumers selling and buying used products, many marketplaces have a lot of seedy vendors selling fake-looking fakes. Unfortunately, criminals and organized crime gangs have flooded some of the famous names with counterfeit products whether they shop online or in-store, as shockingly none of these websites have consumer electronics verification or authentication.
Cynically using bogus and shoddy parts, a single rogue dealer could use hundreds of online accounts to sell tens of thousands of counterfeit Apple and Samsung smartphones and accessories. Samsung is the most copied phone in fact. Last year alone, more than 5.7 million Snide cell phones were flogged. Since these top-end brands are priced high but the imitations cost little, scamming innocent buyers and resellers is big business. And because so many online reviews are now fake, unsuspecting buyers are easily tricked. Even a user with a large number of 5-star ratings is no longer automatically trustworthy, if at all. The rule of thumb is often: “If (the price) looks too good to be true, it probably is,” but savvy scammers rate the fakes reassuringly close to real bargains.
That is why it is worth visiting Vendi, the fraud-free marketplace. To keep customers safe, the clever AI and highly skilled team of authentication experts physically review each listed product to review before it is sold. By using a large number of checkpoints provided by manufacturers, including IMEI numbers, and checking databases to ensure that the product is not only authentic but has never been stolen, Vendi ensures that everyone is familiar with can buy and sell with full confidence. And that’s why our sellers don’t have or need reviews because the product is exactly as described.
Buy to sell – you know which brands hold their value
‘Flip Phones’ are dead, long live the flipping phones! When buying a used or new phone directly, think about its resale value. Part of the joy of owning the handset is being able to sell it and settle for the money to use on your shiny upgrade.
Apple and Samsung are the most expensive brands for a reason. They hold their value longer, with Apple losing the lowest value (45%) in the 12 months after they were released. Apple also offers critical software and security updates longer than any other brand, which means the phones have a longer lifespan. Samsung is the next best company with good value for money.
On the other hand, if you’re buying one that is losing most of its value, like OnePlus (lost 95% within a year), it may make more sense to buy cheap than chips and hold onto them for as long as possible without worrying about resale value, but maximum use value.
When to sell Notice before the new model is announced
You barely have your newest, best new phone when it looks like another flashy new model is about to hit the market, making your model feel a bit old. Worse, it degrades the value of your existing handset. So the key is to find the optimal time to sell your phone. Ideally, sell your phone before the new one goes on sale. Unless you need to have the latest and greatest and can’t sell yours until the other one becomes available!
Your phone will likely lose around 25% of its value when the other goes on sale. But even the announcement can set the prices on existing equipment, which jiggles like plates in a China store and can crash any minute. So keep your eyes peeled for announcements like Apple’s Macworld, which almost always showcase new products on store shelves months in advance. If you can get yours up for sale before the announcement, do the following: It could add a whopping 25% to your sales value!
Where to sell
There are many places you can sell your used equipment for money. You can get the best price in a marketplace. But as with buying, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and Gumtree can be exhausting and even dangerous places. When it comes to expensive smartphones and accessories that are easy to buy and sell, sellers who insist on collecting the product in person can pose a risk. Trust me, I was there and had to involve the police as a result. I know from bitter personal experience that no matter how much money you are trying to make, your personal safety is of the utmost importance. So the safest way is the best: avoid personal purchases.
Many sellers, whether you’re selling a single phone or have a burgeoning backroom empire flipping multiple phones for extra cash, find most marketplaces frustrating. With gadgets in particular, time wasters and poor payers can crash sales.
If you don’t sell a lot of things often, you may also have zero or many reviews. Although untrustworthy bots are responsible for a lot of fake reviews these days, you will struggle to sell if listing on a review based website.
Checking devices means that no checks are required. The independent authentication ensures that the device is not only legitimate, but also described by the seller and 100% trustworthy. And that’s exactly what we do at Vendi. So it’s easy to list the product and sell it. It will be picked up by you and delivered to your buyer with a professional delivery service.