If you have an older Android phone and want to check if it’s refurbished, check out these instructions.
Whether you’re buying a new phone or getting an existing one swapped out/repaired, you might want to keep an eye out for the casually slipped-in refurbished models. Repair shops, wireless carriers, and eBay sellers would love to hand you a refurb in place of a factory-new one. Why? Well, factory-new phones are that are new-and it costs more money for carriers or stores to swap out broken models with factory-new ones. And, since it’s hard to tell (sometimes) if a phone is a refurb, many will try to “slip one past ya.” Fortunately for you, I’m going to share with you a simple technique for sniffing out a Refurbished Android Phone.
Note: This article was originally written over 10 years ago. Android has matured a lot over that amount of time. We’ll come out with an updated version of this soon and link to it.
If the code below does not work for you, try this method instead.
Tap your Phone app and open up the dialer.
Using the touchscreen keypad, dial ##786# (aka ##RTN#).
No need to press dial; the phone should automatically open up to the RTN screen. From here, tap View
Note: If this code doesn’t work, try *#*#786#*#* instead. Stars and numbers must be entered in the correct order.
Scroll down the RTN screen to Reconditioned status. Here there are only two possible status entries:
- Yes – Your phone is a refurbished model.
- No – Congratulations, your phone is not a refurbished model. Instead, it is factory new.
Why should I care if my phone was refurbished?
Refurbished or “reconditioned” means your phone was previously used or damaged and then returned, repaired, and polished up to make it look “like new.” In most cases, this means there is no longer anything wrong with the device, and it should work just like a new one. However, sometimes ‘refurbs’ have issues. The warranty is usually never as good for a refurbished device if it even has one at all… The build quality might also be lower on a refurb since third-party replacement parts are sometimes used rather than the OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufacturer).
Refurbished devices also have a lower sale value, and this also applies to resale value. If at some point you want to sell your phone on eBay or elsewhere, a refurbished phone won’t garner the same price point as one that is straight from the OEM.
Before buying a phone, or after receiving one you bought online – the first thing you should do is check to see if it is a refurb. If the sale description did not mention that it was a refurb, you can return it and get a full refund or file a fraud claim.
For example, I recently had Sprint send me a replacement after experiencing problems with my phone, and sure enough –it was a refurb. I spoke to Sprint about the finding, and they sent me a new one.