Selling broken phones: Everything you need to know

Want to sell your mobile phone, but worried that it isn't exactly in mint condition? Don't fret – there's still a very good chance you can get cash for it. Here's everything you need to know about selling broken phones to mobile recyclers.

Recycle stores in the UK value old mobile phones using three main conditions – to get the most accurate quotes for your device, you’ll need to select the right one.

  • New – This means it's brand new, and has never been turned on
  • Good, working, or used – A phone that’s been used, but is undamaged and functioning fine
  • Broken – Doesn’t work, has a major flaw such as a smashed screen, or is just very, very scuffed

Not sure whether yours counts as working or broken? This guide will help you figure it out.

Sell your broken phone

So can I sell my broken phone?

Yes, you can. A mobile phone qualifies as ‘broken’ if it’s in any of these conditions:

  • Screen is cracked
  • Excessive scratches, dents or chips on the body
  • Microphones or speakers are broken
  • Buttons and keys are faulty
  • Battery is broken or missing
  • Touch screen is unresponsive
  • It doesn’t power up
  • SIM card gate is broken
  • Operating system is missing or corrupt

If your phone has one or more of these problems, don’t worry – you can still sell it to a mobile recycler and get some cash for it! Enter your phone’s model into the search engine above and we’ll find the best prices for you. Just remember to select the ‘Broken’ option.

Sell my phone

Bear in mind:Recyclers usually want to take a look at your mobile first-hand before giving a final offer price. That means your initial quote could be a bit lower once the buyer has received your phone – so be prepared.

If you aren’t happy with the altered quote, you’ll be able to get your phone back, but some companies will charge for postage if you do. Always check the terms and conditions of the individual recycler before sending anything off to them.

What’s NOT accepted?

There can be a fairly thin line between a phone that’s ‘damaged’ or ‘too damaged’, which often changes depending on the recycler. However, you almost certainly won’t get anything for a phone that’s in any of these states:

  • Reported stolen
  • Network barred
  • Blacklisted by CheckMEND
  • Water damaged or with liquid ingress
  • Twisted or snapped in two
  • SIM or memory card glued in
  • Broken hinges on flip phones
  • Fake device

These are considered as beyond economic repair – or, in some cases, illegal phone sales.

Every phone has a unique code (IMEI) number which acts as a tag. If the owner reports it as stolen, it will come up on the recycler’s system and the phone will be given to the police. And you definitely won’t get any money for it.

Read more about selling stolen phones here.

Bought your phone second-hand and wondering about its status? You can perform a check on CheckMEND to see if your phone has a murky past.

Can I sell a water damaged phone?

This one's a bit trickier, as it depends a lot on the recycler. Some companies won't buy water-damaged phones at all, while others are happy to buy them so long as they still work.

To sell a water damaged phone, search for it on, and select the 'Broken' condition on the results page. This will show you all the recyclers who buy broken or damaged handsets of that model. All you need to do is click through and check their terms and conditions – they'll state whether or not they accept water damaged phones.

How do I sell a broken phone?

Selling a broken mobile couldn’t be easier. Just follow these steps:

  • Use the search bar at the top of this page to find your phone’s brand and model. Select ‘Broken’, pick an offer you like the look of, and click through
  • Enter your details. The recycler will then send you a post pack so you can mail your phone off to them
  • Once they’ve received your device, the recycler checks out what condition it’s in
  • Exact quotes: If the phone matches the terms you agreed on, you'll be paid as soon as it arrives with the recycler
  • Estimate quotes: If it doesn't meet the condition terms, or if you were only given an estimated ‘up to £___’ price, the recycler will give you an accurate quote of its value. They’ll email you the new quote, and you can then decide whether to accept or reject it

Sell your phone

How on-site valuation offers work for broken phones

Many recyclers will only give you a final offer for your device once they've checked it over, especially if it’s broken. They’ll calculate the price based on how much it’ll cost to repair or salvage its parts, and send you a revised and accurate offer.

Once they’ve done that, you'll have a few days to choose if you accept the offer or not before the payment is automatically made.

If you don't want to accept the offer, the store will return the phone to you. Some will do that for free, though others will charge you for the return postage.

Repairing your broken phone

If your phone is too damaged to recycle, one option is to get the phone repaired – once it’s fixed, you’ll be able to sell it on.

By fixing a damaged phone, you’ll be able to sell it as ‘used’ rather than ‘broken’, which should net you more money overall. You can get your phone fixed from a reputable business, such as Currys. Do consider the cost of repairs, though.

If you’re handy with DIY, you can get things like screen repair kits to fix things yourself.

Whatever you do, though, please don’t throw it away. One mobile phone battery is still enough to pollute 60,000 litres of water, which isn't good for the environment.

You can either remove the battery and take it to a battery recycling bin – found in most supermarkets – or donate the whole phone to a recycling company.

Is it worth selling a broken phone?

Absolutely – rather than having an unused device collecting dust at the bottom of your drawers, why not get some extra cash for decluttering it?

Plus, you’ll be giving your old phone a new lease of life. Depending on its condition, it may be resold as a second-hand or refurbished device, or recycled and reused in other items.

What are the benefits of recycling my phone?

As well as putting some extra money in your pocket, recycling your phone is better for the environment, too.

Electronic waste is a huge problem, and chucking your phone directly in landfill can pollute the air and contaminate soil and drinking water.

By recycling your phone, you can save it from ending up in a landfill site as waste. Even if your device is broken beyond repair, it’ll be safely disposed of in an environmentally friendly way.

Who buys broken phones?

At CompareMyMobile, we only work with reputable recycling companies that we’ve reviewed and rated ourselves. There are many recyclers that will consider buying your broken device, including:

  • musicMagpie
  • Phones 2 Pounds
  • Rapid Phone Buyer
  • Envirofone
  • Gadget Reclaim
  • Gecko Mobile
  • Kaso Recycle
  • iSmash

What if I can’t wipe my data?

Before sending your phone to the recycler, you should make sure your files are saved and all your personal information is deleted. Luckily, it’s a pretty quick and easy process:

  • Back up your device to make sure you don’t lose any important data, such as photos, videos and contacts. You can back up to your computer, an external hard drive or cloud storage
  • Sign out from all your accounts, such as apps, cloud storage and Apple Pay/Google Pay
  • Clear your browser history and saved passwords
  • Remove your SIM card
  • Follow instructions to perform a factory reset on your phone

You may also want to note down your phone’s serial number and IMEI number, in case you later suspect that your data has been stolen from your recycled phone.

But as long as you follow the steps to wipe your data, you shouldn’t have any problems down the line.

However, if you’ve already sent off your device and you’re unsure whether you properly deleted your data, don’t worry – recyclers use software to securely and remote remove any data that’s left on a device.