Wednesday, January 4, 2012
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"Iphone" was the #1-searched item on Kijiji in 2011. It's no surprise, really. I monitor Twitter all the time for mentions of Kijiji, and it's among the most talked-about things there. But it's also the most complained-about thing there. Buying a used iPhone, Blackberry or other phone on Kijiji can save you money, but you could also run into a few problems.
Yes, you can save some cash. Stupid and impulsive people sign up for phones they can't afford. When the bills come due, they 'lol' and sell their phones. You can benefit from their stupidity. Likewise, they can benefit from your stupidity. Buying a Kijiji iphone or a Kijiji Blackberry can be a great deal or an opportunity to pay "stupid tax."
First of all, you could end up buying a stolen phone. You may or may not care. The original owner may care and track down their stolen iPhone, send the police, and then you'd have some explaining to do. Saying you bought it for fifty bucks from some guy in the Tim Horton's parking lot probably won't cut it. You'll have stolen merch on your person.
The phone could be broken or defective. It could be anything from a cracked iPhone screen, a bad antenna, a dying battery, or a locked-out number. @SpiceWeekly wrote today on Twitter, "Friend bought BlackBerry-worked-but went to charge it and port is busted. Person selling tons on site." None of this is Kijij's fault -- ultimately it becomes your fault for not checking out the gear.
Smartphones in Canada are typically locked to a single carrier. If you're a Telus subscriber and buy a Rogers phone, you could screw yourself. It's possible to jailbreak a phone and unlock it, but you're probably voiding the warranty.
You may not get a warranty. Again, that may not be important to you.
So, here are some tips:
- Deal in cash. Whether you're buying or selling, never deal with anyone who wants to pay you with a money transfer.
- Deal in person at a safe location. No, you're probably not going to get mugged or stabbed -- but better safe than sorry.
- Know what you're buying. Know how an iPhone or Blackberry should work. Know how to test it. Go through the menus and submenus. Test out the camera. Test everything that could be broken until you're satisfied that your Kijiji iphone, Kijiji Blackberry or Kijiji Android gadget is worth paying for.
- Know that you won't be getting a refund. If you buy it and it's junk, you can't get your money back. If you want customer support, buy your phones from the Rogers store and pay full price.
- Be wary of phones without accessories. "Iphone only - no cables, no charger, no manual, no box." Sounds stolen to me.
- Be patient. I see so many tweets saying "I just emailed 50 people about buying an iphone and no one is answering me dammit i just want a phone grrrr lolz." If you want a phone that badly, buy one new.
- Be reasonable. Yes, you're looking for a deal, but know what the phone is going for on Kijiji so you can offer a fair price. Don't waste the seller's time.