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Why You should not buy a used smartphone or electronic gadget in Kenya

Purchasing a used smartphone can be such a tempting endeavor especially considering the price incentives involved. I for once have on several occasions opted to buy a used smartphone instead of a new one and the price difference has just been phenomenon. And as you’d find out from other consumers in this category, there are several factors besides just the price difference that drive most of them to purchase second hand tech gadgets such as mobile devices instead of new ones. However, unlike brand new phones, the outcome isn’t always a bed of roses; sometimes, you’d get a deal that’ll probably sort your mobile phone needs for a year or more, but on unfortunate occasions, you’d end up with a junk, or worse land you in jail.

Just taking a stroll on some of Kenya’s buzziest streets in Nairobi like Tom Mboya street, you’d be amazed by just how many used phone “entrepreneurs” we have in the capital, truth be told – most of them are far from legit. I’ve heard stories where unsuspecting consumers were conned using their hard-earned money to purchase devices that are often replaced with a piece of junk during SIM swap. What happens is, you’d be approached by a gentleman pretending to sell a used smartphone that’s working perfectly. After you’ve been taken through the functionalities of the phone and pay for it, the device will then be conspicuously replaced by one that’s not working when the “entrepreneur” pretends to swap his SIM card so you could go with it only to find out when he’s long gone.

Being conned is just the tip of the disadvantages associated with buying a used phone. Today, the directorate of criminal investigations (DCI) warned Kenyans against purchasing electronic gadgets such as mobile phones, Television sets, Laptops and so forth from vendors with no permanent addresses for a good reason. Consider buying a mobile device that had been involved in a criminal activity, the end game in such unfortunate circumstance is probably to end up in jail for something you were not part of.

But if you have to (for a good reason), you’d need to be keen on checking out the requisite authorization documents that are clearly displayed including licenses, permits and other local or and National approvals. Secondly, always insist on issuance of a receipt clearly itemizing the particulars the gadget you are buying and keep the receipt or secure it electronically by photographing it and archiving it among your photo albums either in your phone or laptop/desktop.

Why should not buy a used electronic device in Kenya;

  • Susceptible to be conned
  • Criminal history of the gadget could land you in jail
  • In some cases, the sellers aren’t always honest about the device’s functionalities


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