Certified Pre-Owned phones: What you need to know

Interested in a certified pre-owned phone from Verizon but not sure how it works? From condition and battery life to user satisfaction and cost, we’re answering all of the questions you might have about used phones versus new. 

 1. What’s the difference between refurbished and CPO phones?

If you think you may be in the market for a previously owned phone, it’s important to know that anyone can sell an old device and call it a “used phone” or a “pre-owned phone.” That’s why it’s important to understand the difference.

Refurbished phones: This typically refers to devices that have undergone some sort of repair. The previous user’s data has been wiped and the factory settings are typically restored, allowing you to set up the device the same way you would a brand-new phone. 

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) phones: This refers to all of the pre-owned smartphones Verizon sells. These devices have been inspected and are in full working order. “Certified Pre-Owned” is also potentially more accurate than “used” or “refurbished” — some smartphones are returned in full working order after only a few days. While these devices are definitely pre-owned and cannot be sold as new, some may not have been used at all by previous owners.

2. Where do pre-owned and used phones come from?

It’s a common misconception that all pre-owned or refurbished phones were returned due to defects. While it’s true that some pre-owned devices require repairs, many people bring back smartphones within the allowed return window simply because they’ve decided they want a different model or color. Other pre-owned phones find their way back onto store shelves via trade-ins. 

3. What kind of shape are these phones in? 

Refurbished phones may seem identical to brand-new devices, or they may have a fair number of dings and scratches. (Generally speaking: the more scratches, the more price savings.) 

When phones are returned or recycled due to defects, the refurbishment process may involve repairs such as new internal components, new screens and fixed ports. But before these smartphones can be sold as Certified Pre-Owned devices, they must be fully inspected by Verizon to ensure they work properly. 

All of Verizon’s Certified Pre-Owned devices are assigned a grade according to their cosmetic condition. Check out the videos below to learn more about our different CPO grades.

Great CPO Phones

A phone in “Great” condition may have a few light scratches and scuffs.
Great CPO Phones.

Great CPO Phones

A phone in “Great” condition may have a few light scratches and scuffs.
Great CPO Phones.

Very Good CPO Phones

A “Very Good” device will be slightly more scratched up
Very Good Phones

Very Good CPO Phones

A “Very Good” device will be slightly more scratched up
Very Good Phones

Good CPO Phones

A device in “Good” condition will have more substantial scratches, scuffs or dents on the phone case and may also have minor scratches on the screen.
Good CPO Phones

Good CPO Phones

A device in “Good” condition will have more substantial scratches, scuffs or dents on the phone case and may also have minor scratches on the screen.
Good CPO Phones

All certified pre-owned and refurbished phones sold at Verizon will have a rating associated with them, and that will give you an idea what kind of condition they are in. Overall, refurbished phones are safe to use and come in varying condition levels. And, if a device has only light scratching or scuffing, you may be able to cover them with a fashionable phone case.

4. How do I know a pre-owned phone or Verizon device is reliable? 

All Verizon Certified Pre-Owned devices have passed Verizon’s Total Quality Inspection, which ensures: 

  • The battery charges up, and the battery charge indicator works.

  • All ports are completely functional, and all card slots work.

  • Each pixel on the display works, and images on the screen are clear and bright.

  • Wi-Fi and other connectivity functions work properly.

  • Speakers, microphones and Bluetooth audio all work.

  • All buttons and soft keyboards work 

  • The software is up to date.

A warranty is one way to reduce concerns about a used or refurbished device. Certified Pre-Owned phones are also eligible for Total Mobile Protection insurance, which covers loss, theft, damage and many defects that pop up post-warranty. If you purchase a Certified Pre-Owned device with a credit card, your card may also provide extended protection. 

If battery life is one of your top priorities, you can rest assured knowing that battery health and maximum capacity is thoroughly tested before certifying the device. And, if there is a manufacturer issue that occurs within 30 days of purchase, you can learn about our 30-day device return and exchange policy here

5. Why would I get a pre-owned phone instead of buying new? 

The short — and most common — answer is budget. 

A Certified Pre-Owned smartphone will often sell for far less than an identical new model and also qualify for our payment plan. This allows buyers to move up to a model they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford or to simply save if they don’t really care about unboxing a brand-new phone. Buying a Certified Pre-Owned model is also an affordable way to replace a lost or broken device, especially if you weren’t planning to buy a new one for another year or more. 

Some people are also drawn to refurbished phones due to the reduced environmental footprint. Purchasing a Certified Pre-Owned device helps to keep old phones out of landfills and saves energy, water and other resources required to make new devices. 

6. Why not buy “regular” used phones? 

Buying a used phone from a trustworthy source that vets for quality and certifies a phone’s pre-owned status is important in terms of knowing what condition your phone is in, and how to keep it protected in the event something does go wrong. You may find lower prices from individuals selling their used smartphones online. But a lower price may not turn out to be a better “deal” if the phone comes with technical problems (or, even worse, turns out to be stolen). If you buy a used phone from someone you don’t know, you’ll be unprotected when something goes wrong. And, Verizon’s Customer Service and Support can help with anything you need after purchasing your CPO phone. And, you can learn about Verizon’s 30-Day return policy here.

7. How do other people feel about their used phones? 

According to one consumer survey, more than two-thirds (67%) of refurbished phone owners said they had no complaints about their devices — very near to the portion of new smartphone owners who said the same thing about their devices (69%). In fact, more than 4 out of 5 people who bought a refurbished device said they were “highly satisfied” with their products. What’s more, Verizon is rated in the Top 5 list for used phone sales in the United States, according to a recent ComScore study.

Quality savings and protection from Verizon.

Now that you know a little more about Certified Pre-Owned phones, are you ready to take the plunge? Verizon CPO devices are guaranteed to be fully functional and are eligible for Total Mobile Protection. It’s a win-win: a quality device at a lower price. Shop for a new-to-you device now.  

Interested in finding the right pre-owned smartphone to fit your lifestyle? Check out a large selection of refurbished devices available at Verizon. And if you're a loyal Apple iPhone user, take a look at used and refurbished iPhone devices available at Verizon.

Frequently Asked Questions

The term “certified pre-owned” refers to all pre-owned smartphones Verizon sells, which are vetted for quality and given a quality rating by Verizon before being sold to the consumer.

Yes. It is safe to buy a pre-owned phone from a trusted source that vets them for quality and ensures they are in good working condition. Verizon rates all certified pre-owned phones and makes that rating known to the consumer.

It is important to buy your devices from a trustworthy source. With Verizon, Total Mobile Protection and certified pre-owned ratings ensure that customers are protected when buying a certified pre-owned phone.

All pre-owned phones at Verizon are sold as “certified pre-owned” devices. Devices in the “Like New” condition are the closest to a brand new device of that respective model, while phones in “Good” condition may be refurbished with minor external wear and so on.

Your phone may have substantial trade-in value. Visit our Trade-In page to find out what your phone may be worth.

Yes. You can access Verizon’s customer support site here, or visit your local retail store to chat with an in-person representative.

In terms of accessories, a charger is provided when purchasing a certified pre-owned phone from Verizon.

If there is a manufacturer issue with the device, you can return or exchange it within 30 days. Learn more about our device return and exchange policy here.

Yes. Certified pre-owned phones purchased from Verizon are compatible with Verizon’s network.

Yes, Verizon offers monthly payment plans for qualified customers.

Related Pages

Add, manage, and cancel all your subscriptions in one place. Plus get discounts.

Sign up for +play

Check out the latest deals from Verizon on smartphones, accessories and more.

Explore Deals

Only pay for what you need. Check out our latest unlimited phone and data plans.

Choose your plan