Selling broken phones: Everything you need to know

Want to sell your mobile phone, but it isn't exactly in mint condition? Don't worry - there's still a very good chance you can sell it to a mobile recycler. Here's everything you need to know about selling broken phones to mobile recyclers.

There are three main conditions recycle stores in the UK use to value your old mobile phones - you’ll need to select the right one to get the most accurate quotes.

  • 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…

  • The screen is cracked
  • It has excessive scratches, dents, or chips
  • Microphones or speakers are broken
  • Buttons and keys are faulty
  • Battery is broken or missing
  • It doesn’t power up
  • SIM gate is broken
  • Operating system is missing or corrupt

Don’t worry - you can still 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

Be warned: 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 counted 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.

You can perform a check on CheckMEND to see if your phone has any dirty history.

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 it so long as it still works.

To sell a water damaged phone, search for it on CompareMyMobile.com, 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 an accurate 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 - then when it’s fixed, you’ll be able to sell it on. Or, you can fix a damaged phone to sell it as ‘used’ rather than ‘broken’, if that’ll net you more money overall. Here's some information on how to go about that:

Or, if you’re handy with the ol’ DIY, you can get things like screen repair kits from Amazon and other shops.

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 company that promises to recycle it the right way.