Consumer Reports takes a look at refurbished cellphones

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Need a new smart phone, but don't want to spend a lot? Have you ever considered a used phone? They are also known as "refurbished" phones, and can be a great alternative.

In a partnership with Consumer Reports, 7 On Your Side's Michael Finney has some advice before you tackle the used phone market.

Would you buy a used cell phone? "I feel like I don't want something that somebody already had," one person said.

Search "refurbished phone," and you will see thousands of sellers' offerings at very low prices. "Oh, it's definitely tempting, but you don't know where that phone has been," said Tercius Bufete, Consumer Reports Tech Editor.

But it can be a great way to get a "new-to-you" phone at a great price. Consumer Reports says, buying one directly from the manufacturer is a reliable option.

Companies like Apple and Samsung promise pre-owned phones go through a stringent refurbishment process, are fully inspected to meet company standards, replace any damage with quality parts, and offer 12 month warranties like they do their new phones.

"That'll ensure that it's not just cleaned up, but restored to its original condition, with original parts," said Bufete.

And big retailers like Amazon and Best Buy also sell refurbished phones, but usually with only 90 day warranties.

Going used can mean having a smart phone that's almost as good as new, again.

Consumer Reports also says its important to ask about the return policy. Typically, using the phone for at least a month is a good amount of time to help you notice any defects.

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