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This article was originally published in Dutch by the Dutch Consumers Association (Consumentenbond).  Click here for the original article


About the Certificate for Refurbished iPhones

A refurbished iPhone is usually cheaper than a new one, but there may be something wrong with it. The Refurbished Certificate offers a quality guarantee and should give buyers more confidence and security.

1 Why would I buy a refurbished iPhone?

A reused smartphone – refurbished is what it’s called – is more sustainable than buying a brand new one, and also cheaper. Compare the prices with the current new prices, because sometimes the difference is not that big. In a previous test of refurbished iPhone 6s devices, the price shell was often only a few tens. This difference is bigger if you choose an older model or a device that is in a less good condition. The downside is that those iPhones look visibly used.

2 What does the Certificate mean for refurbished iPhones?

Since 2019, refurbished devices from a number of providers have been certified to give buyers confidence that their iPhone is in good working order. The Certificate is an initiative

of business association Techniek Nederland. From the beginning, three major providers of refurbished iPhones have been connected: Forza, Leapp and Renewd. Later they added Swoop and iUsed. The providers have to adhere to a list of 50 checkpoints. And they must pay attention, for example, to the battery, screen, buttons, camera and accessories. Research agency TÜV Nederland carries out random checks to guarantee quality. The affiliated companies also have to meet financial conditions.

3 Why did they create the Certificate?

The refurbished devices have an image problem. Many consumers prefer not to buy a second-hand iPhone because they expect problems with it. Indeed, our (Consumentenbond) earlier research showed that some providers sold phones of lower quality than had been promised. The Certificate initially only applies to iPhones, because they cover almost the entire refurbished market. But iPads and MacBooks also carry the Certificate.

4 Are there differences in quality within the quality mark?

There are three categories of refurbished iPhones, based on their external condition: as good as new, slightly used and visibly used. The websites of the providers clearly show the differences in quality. If you buy from another party, this is not always clear. At, the condition of the phone is sometimes hidden in the product description and specifications. A phone in the third category can have deep scratches and dents. Always pay close attention to this when ordering.

5 What about the warranty on the battery?

With the Certificate, iPhones come with a two-year warranty, also on the battery and accessories. At the time of purchase, the battery capacity must be at least 85%. On an iPhone, this information can be found under ‘battery condition’. Please check it immediately after purchase. If the battery falls below 70% capacity within the warranty period, it will be replaced free of charge. So don’t expect that the battery is replaced immediately in the event of reduced performance, as Apple indicates that performance decreases significantly when battery capacity drops below 80%.

6 What about water damage?

Since the iPhone 7, smartphones are water and dust resistant. But there’s no warranty of water damage on both new and refurbished devices. A refurbished iPhone with a quality mark is checked for water damage before sale. Over time, water resistance decreases and the chance of moisture damage increases. For a refurbished iPhone that’s more likely, because it’s been opened at least once.

7 So you can’t trust a refurbished iPhone without the Certificate?

The affiliated parties want to show that the Refurbished Certificate has considerable added value. The Certificate separates ‘chaff from wheat’, they say, and ‘there are plenty of providers where you only have to put a cloth over a second-hand phone’. Nevertheless, there may well be parties that offer good quality, but do not have the quality mark.

8 Are there many complaints about refurbished iPhones?

Online there are few complaints about providers of refurbished iPhones. We, too, hear little about them. On the website of the providers there are often positive customer reviews, but you have to take them with a pinch of salt. Entrepreneurs can use all kinds of tricks to collect positive reviews, according to previous research we did (Consumentenbond).

9 How does the Refurbished Certificate respond to customer complaints?

If you have a complaint about your appliance, you have to go to the seller. Doesn’t he solve the problem? Then there’s the litigation committee. Techniek Nederland takes decisions of the Disputes Committee into account in the assessment of the affiliated providers.


Interested in more information about Refurbished iPhones or Renewd in particular? Feel free to contact us at [email protected]!

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