Of How To Not Buy A Phone

If you read my  previous article on Hot Phone Deals you know how against my better judgement I was duped into a messy phone deal which left me without a phone and my pockets several dollars less….

 smartphone thief scammer

The next step was to get a replacement phone on a very limited budget which meant that I would have to get a second hand phone sold by Street Dealers. Most shops tend to sell over-priced phones, a quick Google check of phone prices can give you a price range of how much a phone costs but when it’s now in a shop you can find the price inflated at least two fold because they went to offset costs for shipping, import duty  and still make 100% profit…

Budget Smart phones

You could say why not order my phone online… Good question, but online shopping in Zimbabwe is an extreme sport. Our bank accounts are not automatically linked to VISA or MasterCard services especially after the crazy fiasco where the Reserve Bank unilaterally raided Nostro Accounts then Nicodemusly converted everyone’s United States Dollar balances into Zimbabwean dollars at a rate of 1:1… Anyway, the easiest way to get a VISA or MasterCard is apply for one of those prepaid cards, where you first make a deposit at you bank to pre-fund the card with US Dollars and then do your online/international transactions…

CABS introduces prepaid MasterCard | The Chronicle

There’s also the little thing of finding a reputable online store which delivers to Zimbabwe, then waiting 30-90days.. If you order from the wrong place the difference between what you ordered and what you actually get can be hilarious disastrous..

Online shopping what we order vs what we get meme

As I did not have 90 days to wait for a phone to arrive nor a respectable budget I decided to risk the local streets for something pre-loved and this time I would be vigilant.

When you are buying a preloved phone there’s a few things you will want to look out for:

What to check when buying a phone

•First, just eye ball the phone and look out for any evidence that it has been opened or repaired and if it has, inquire what the problem was because it could happen again as soon as you take the phone home…

•Next try making and receiving calls with the phone, you would be surprised how someone will assure you a phone works fine only to find that the speaker does not work or the mic is dead and you might have to use earphones or a handsfree kit (if you are lucky that the jack even works, so check that too and the Bluetooth and WIFI!!)

•Then you check how long the battery says it lasts and if it’s a type which replacements can be found should its standby time be poor and most importantly check that it charges.

Do not hand over the money until you are satisfied, and do not hand back the phone for any reason, it will be switched on you so fast, you wont know what happened….

•Also if the price is too low for the phone, ask why, do not thank your spirits for giving you a bargain price.

I went there fully prepared and aware and vigilant, what could possibly go wrong?

The phone I ended up with was not the phone I thought I was buying….

It was an imitation phone, a clone phone, a fake…well, at least it was still a phone unlike the dummy phone I had gotten previously…

This one looked like a phone, it behaved almost like the real deal, but upon careful scrutiny you would notice a few things, some minor and others glaringly inconsistent; for example the material did feel as robust as it should, the screen resolution not quite there, the pictures it took looked nothing like 24MP camera pictures, and the storage that’s supposed to be several gig only a few 100mb, you realised it after installing a couple of applications and boom: Internal Storage Running Out

….and when you return, to try and find the person who sold you the phone; what are the chances you’ll find them again…

No returns, No Refunds, No Exchanges No Guarantees

Welcome to the big city


PS read the article The Apps That Live In My Phone to check out the bare minimum apps that worked on this clone of a phone…



  1. just in time for when I’m planning to buy one. I have used my J1 Ace since 2016 and it was a secondhand. With my limited budget, I recently saw the Premio Axe 2. It only costs around R1000 with great features. the camera pixels for me are no1 because I need to take photos of my designs. Luckily, the Premio Axe2 has 5 mp front and 8mp back. More than good enough for that price.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. For those kind of features sounds like a bargain!!! Some brands unnecessarily hike up their prices just because its a particular brand, I have noticed the are some upcoming phones which can give you what you need at affordable prices too…

      I just Googled the Premio range of phones look awesome at reasonable prices too, I suddenly wish we had an Ackermans shop, I would totally buy one

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Buying pre-loved phones from hustlers is quite tricky and try as we might we don’t always get to thoroughly inspect before finalizing the transaction. It is only time that reveals what we miss.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Hubby and I have separate phones and both are 5 years old. There is a feature in both phones where you can optimize the battery, which increases the life of the phone. I love it and don’t plan on buying new phones anytime soon. I get them online through my wireless carrier. Perhaps a bit expensive but I know what I’m getting and they last a long time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yep you get what you pay for… ironically my one year old phone (which I bought just after the one I wrote about in this post) just decided to stop working, a day after its 12 month warranty talk about (im)perfect timing…

      Yep sometimes you just have to pay for the more expensive which does what it says it will do…


      Liked by 1 person

      1. just decided to stop working, a day after its 12 month warranty talk about (im)perfect timing

        Sounds like perfect timing to me – on the part of the totally unethical and unscrupulous manufacturers, that is… would you mind sharing the name of the manufacturer, so that I can make a point of avoiding their products in future?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It was from Huawei…. My current phone is still from Huawei 😅 on one hand their pricing is agreeable compared to getting similar specs on alternative brands ….. On the other hand there’s a trade off in durability, style and finish unless maybe one opts for the flagship models 🤔

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Not familiar with that one but will definitely keep an eye out and see how such can get to my neck of the woods where one is always seeking out opportunities everyone is like a pseudo-entrepreneur trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents

        Liked by 1 person

  4. 😂😂😂 the level of scamming never ceases to amaze me
    It’s hard to live in the internet hood! Online shopping is a risky business for most African countries …

    Good insight …and tickling way of telling it 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. the scams people dream up are unbelievable!!!
      You could even be scammed o your every soul of you are not careful

      Online shopping still has a long way to go and here’s a bit of business investment idea whoever is going to model a drop shipping business arrangement is going to direct the future e-commerce.

      Hahahahahaha glad to share my insights as well as amuse

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am so sorry but this September I will not skip reading a post these are just hilarious. I am enjoying hangu. I was caught unaware vigilance got you home with a fake, but like you said at least its a phone. Which reminds me of a tweet I saw a couple days ago the stated how Zim has reduced people to being grateful for ‘at leasts’. At least mvura yakauyawo ka 1 in a week or at least magetsi ambouya even though its short lived.


    1. we have become a nation of at least… indeed and also chikuru kufema
      hahahaha glad you can laugh and hopefully never to make the same mistake again hahah


  6. This incident reminds me of when I saw a phone online, made arrangements with the sellers and met them to pay for phone. Everything was working perfectly (in my opinion), in the presence of the sellers. Later the phone refused to connect to the internet and i visited my telco. to manually connect the phone to the internet but that never happened. I called the sellers several times but their phones were off. That was when it dawned on me that had been scammed. I vowed never to purchase an electronic gadget online. I need to go to a recognised shop, physically, assess the gadget and take a receipt for the purchase.

    Liked by 1 person

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