When it comes to buying a refurbished smartphone, it’s safe to say that you’re spoilt for choice. The likes of Apple and Samsung have Certified Refurbished stores of their own, or if you want bigger savings, you can buy from a reputable third party.
Two of the most widely recommended and well-established such third parties on the refurbished smartphone scene are I Need A Mobile and Music Magpie. Established for over a decade, these are two brands you can trust. But which is best?
Before we look at the history and reputation of both companies, let’s consider how they procure smartphones to sell on as refurbished.
Music Magpie started life out as an online marketplace where people could get money for CDs, DVDs, and games they wanted to sell and get rid of. It remains such a marketplace today, but people can also send in their old phones for cash, and these phones are what get sold on as refurbished by the company. In other words, all phones are used.
I Need A Mobile
I Need A Mobile specialises in refurbished devices exclusively. We get many of our smartphones directly from networks, retailers, and manufacturers. Most smartphones were returned to a retailer or network within 30 days or traded in through a buyback scheme. Like Music Magpie we also have a smartphone recycling business at https://sell.ineedamobile.com. We buy smartphones at top prices and offer a same day payment.
Reputable companies like Music Magpie and I Need A Mobile have a thorough refurbishment process that covers both software and hardware. Our processes are similar, but there are a few key differences.
Music Magpie runs a 70-point diagnostic on all smartphones. This includes the software, battery, display, hardware, and connection ports. Devices are repaired where necessary and sold in fully working condition. They do not routinely replace cases that are scratched and so you may find they sell a wider range of lower-grade devices.
I Need A Mobile
We also run a diagnostic on all smartphones we purchase, and we also routinely take smartphones apart to inspect for water damage and faults. We perform repairs using OEM parts and we are always keen to fix cosmetic damage wherever possible, so that we can sell smartphones in as high a grade as possible.
Both Music Magpie and I Need A Mobile use genuine parts in repairs. The key difference between us is we are keener to make expensive repairs even if it cuts our profit margin. We want to sell the highest-quality phones possible.
Music Magpie and I Need A Mobile are aligned in how we grade refurbished smartphones.
We use a three tier grading system that looks like this:
- Pristine (equivalent to Grade A)
- Very Good (equivalent to Grade B)
- Good (equivalent to Grade C)
Pristine refurbished smartphones look like new. They have no marks, scratches, scuffs, or signs of wear.
Very good refurbished smartphones are in lightly used condition. They can have light scratches on the screen and body, but nothing noticeable from arm’s length. These devices have often lived in a case with a screen protector.
Good refurbished smartphones are allowed to have visible scratches on the screen and body, and they may have wear on the corners. We tend to stock a smaller range of devices in this grade than Music Magpie because we want to sell the best.
Music Magpie and I Need A Mobile both offer payment via PayPal, Credit/Debit Cart and Klarna which is a buy, now pay later option.
Music Magpie and I Need A Mobile both have a robust refund policy. I Need A Mobile has a 30-day return window, while Music Magpie offers a 14-day return window.
I Need A Mobile – 30 days
I Need A Mobile provides a 30-day money back guarantee. If you have found a fault with your device or you have changed your mind, you are entitled to a full refund or replacement and we will cover the return postage if there is a fault.
You can find out more about our refund policy here.
Music Magpie – 14 days
Money Magpie provides a 14-day money back guarantee. If your product is within the 14 day period, you can return your product to Music Magpie for a refund. They will reimburse you for postage if your smartphone is faulty.
You can find out more about Music Magpie’s refund policy here.
Warranty / guarantee
Music Magpie and I Need A Mobile both provide a 12-month warranty/guarantee on all refurbished smartphones. This warranty covers technical defects and faults arising from any improper workmanship, repairs, or materials.
The warranty does not cover accidental damage, screen damage, liquid damage, issues caused by chargers or issues caused by third party software. Your warranty will also be voided if you open up the device or attempt a repair yourself.
In our case, if you believe your smartphone has experienced a technical fault, we ask that you send us your device for diagnostic. If we discover a fault that is covered under warranty, we will repair your device at no extra cost to yourself.
Company history and reputation
I Need A Mobile
I Need A Mobile was founded in 2010 as a mobile phone recycling company.
In 2010, the iPhone 4 had just been launched and Samsung’s first Galaxy S smartphone was launched that June. We like to think that we came into the mobile business at the right time. Since 2010, our business has flourished.
We are proud to have a fantastic reputation with our customers. We are rated 4.5 out of 5 on TrustPilot based on over 1,600 reviews, and we are also rated 5 out of 5 on Review Centre and 4.5 out of 5 on Google Reviews. We actively seek out reviews from customers to ensure new customers get a fair depiction of our service.
Music Magpie was founded in 2007 as an online trade-in company for CDs, DVDs, and games. They began their mobile phone recycling service at around the same time as I Need A Mobile and their business grew exponentially.
Because Music Magpie offers a range of products and services, reviews for the refurbished side of their business can be difficult to ascertain since a lot more smaller value items are traded like games/CDs etc. Thus a much larger quantity is sold allowing for a larger quantity of reviews. However, what we do know is Music Magpie has a 4.5 star rating on TrustPilot based on over 130,000 reviews. They are definitely a company you can trust to buy a refurbished phone from.
Both I Need A Mobile and Music Magpie offer high-quality refurbished devices with a 12-month warranty. I Need A Mobile has a superior refund policy (30 days versus 14 days) and a similar number of Grade A Pristine devices.
The main reason to choose one over the other is price, since both companies have a fantastic overall review rating among customers. I Need A Mobile’s prices are far cheaper than Music Magpie on over 80% of models, but you should compare prices to make sure.