The demand for consumer electronics like mobile phones is always high because of how indispensable they have become to our lives. It is usually difficult to obtain genuine phones or laptops in countries like Ghana because they might not always be cheap, available or of good quality. e-commerce platforms like Tonaton are attempting to solve this problem by providing a digital space for dealers to compete and provide the best prices to consumers. There is always the fear of buying fake or damaged phones or laptops on the Internet given the range of choices and the growing number of counterfeit brands on the market. How do you shop comfortably without the fear of being swindled? Below are some tips for avoiding fake or damaged phones and laptops while you shop.
Electronics are priced in different ranges to meet various consumer budgets. High-end devices tend to cost more because of the massive research and development that goes into making them. Technology companies often manufacture mid-range and low budget devices as well for users who do not require the same level of sophistication as premium users. With e-commerce platforms, dealers price their items just below what you will find at the Apple Shop or certified Samsung shops in malls. Your red flag should go up when you find a phone that is way below what it is going for on the market. Anything priced far below the normal range is most likely damaged or a replica. For example, on Tonaton, a brand new iPhone SE costs between GH₵2200 and GH₵1800 based on the storage space. Should you find one going for ₵1400 then it might be damaged or refurbished. Always have a general idea of the money you will need to spend before clicking your way to a purchase on an e-commerce platform.
Packaging and Condition
With packaging, it is important to understand the different conditions in which phones and laptops are sold. Brand new devices are usually sealed in the original packaging provided by the manufacturer along with warranty information, serial numbers and bar codes that can be verified online. These are the safest to buy but tend to cost more than the next category: refurbished devices. Refurbished phones and laptops have been available all over the world for a long time but very few people are aware of them. Established retailers like Amazon give you the option to buy a refurbished goods like laptops, which are devices that have been fixed after being damaged. Certified refurbishers on the global e-commerce website ensure that the gadget performs as good as new. They often have no official packing or warranty information. Although you will be saving money by purchasing a refurbished device, there’s no way to determine that it was refurbished correctly with authentic parts so it would be wise to avoid this kind, unless you’re willing to take the risk.
Feel and performance
Counterfeiting is relatively easy today and many factories replicate premium phones and laptops. Aside being a waste of money, they can be harmful because some of the components may not be put together well and are prone to overheating or in rare cases, exploding. It is always wise to literally get your hands on whatever gadget you want to buy before purchasing, especially if it is on an e-commerce platform. Counterfeit phones often weigh less than what they should and the build tends to feel fragile. The screen also looks dull and the camera mediocre. With android phones like the Samsung Galaxy range, you can type certain codes to run diagnostic tests to verify the functionality of sensors like the gyroscope, accelerometer, and altimeter. For Windows-based laptops, you can check the operation of all the internal components, under the performance tab in the task manager. Make sure that the memory, processors and CPU clock speeds all match the specifications you require. Use the device and make sure that the interface is not lagging or unresponsive.
Interaction with the merchant
Finally, pay attention to the behavior of the merchant throughout negotiations. If they are in a hurry to conclude the deal or lack critical information about their product, that’s a red flag and usually an indication that something is up. Take your time to probe and prod the device until you are completely satisfied before handing over any cash.
Shopping for consumer electronics via e-commerce platforms can be convenient but it is not completely safe. Protect yourself from swindlers and counterfeiters by being, alert and circumspect. These tips may be specific to phones and laptops but the knowledge can be applied to other areas of online shopping.
Written by Hakeem Adam
Circumspecte offers insights and perspectives on business, development, lifestyle, culture, careers and human interest issues related to Africa and Africans.