Being in the cell phone repair industry for over 10 years has given us a unique perspective in understanding of trends within the cell phone community. As a result we have seen the popularity for second hand phones increase over the past few years. Especially now that the prices for high end iPhone's skyrocketed to over $1,000.
Chances are that you stumbled on this article because you're considering purchasing a second hand iPhone 11 Pro from a random person online to save money. If this is you then consider yourself one of the lucky ones because I'm going to save you a lot of money and explain why you shouldn't buy a used iPhone 11 Pro in 2020. To clarify our emphasis in this statement, consider this. We currently don't purchase any iPhone 11 Pro's even though we purchase used phones. Let us explain
*Please note this is not a buying guide for the iPhone 11 Pro. Here is a in-depth article about everything you should look for when buying a used iPhone*
Even though this is not a buying guide, we figured adding this section was important considering it's the most common way to detect if a particular used iPhone is a bad purchase. iCloud Activation Lock and reported lost/stolen pretty much go together but they should still be checked individually regardless.
The iPhone 11 Pro was released on September 20, 2019 and there is a high probability that the majority of these phones were financed through their respective carriers.
A large portion of these people selling their used iPhone 11 Pro's are individuals that have left their carrier with a balance still owed to the phone and are likely having a difficult time activating it with the new carrier.
If a balance isn't paid off before they leave, the carrier will eventually initiate a hold or potentially blacklist the phone. In short these iPhones eventually become useless and become extremely difficult and expensive to unlock the iPhone.
The best way to check if any balance is owed to the device is call the carrier person claims the phone to be. Simply explain to the carrier that you are trying to purchase the iPhone and want to verify that it's paid off.
Say you got a good deal by buying an iPhone 11 Pro for $600. You followed our advice and everything checked out. Later on the phone stops working. Turns out that person reported the iPhone stolen.
We see this happen to a lot. Person buys a phone from some random person and a few hours, days, weeks, or even months later they claim it through their insurance as lost/stolen. With $200-$250 deductible, they just got a new phone and $350 out of this sale.
Why would anyone do this?
Because it's easy money and very difficult to get your money back. Most of these people block your phone number or avoid you all together.
For us, it just doesn't make sense. Why would anyone sell a perfectly working iPhone 11 Pro? The phone was just released at the end of last year. We get it sometimes people just need the money, but then you run the risk that they eventually leave the company if they are struggling financially.
In conclusion, you can't always predict what will happen. I've heard stories of people getting an excellent phone because they just wanted to get rid of a phone. But those types of deals don't happen enough to outweigh the high price tag someone will pay if the device goes bad.
Our professional opinion, even though there isn't a definite answer to this question, the best time to purchase an iPhone 11 Pro is after the release of the new model. This is when we begin to purchase them (we still try to read the situation and the person's body language) because most of the people selling their phone are those who plan to use that money to upgrade towards the newer model of iPhone.