iPhone Testing Methodology (and why I don’t cancel eBay orders straight away)
As a hobby I buy broken iPhones, fix them, and resell them for a profit. I don’t consider it a business and is purely a hobby that I do in my spare time.
That said, I apply a strict testing methodology to every device I sell. Any anomalies are always listed in the listing, or I fail the device and the anomaly is fixed.
The testing I perform on every device is as follows:
- Does it turn on (and if so, does it boot up all the way?)?
- Can the device be set-up fully without issues (iCloud, TouchID, etc.)?
- Does the home button/TouchID sensor have issues?
- Is the battery in good health?
- Do all buttons work, and if so, do they stick?
- Does the device accept test SIM cards from major carriers, and does it connect to a network without issue (inc. mobile data)?
- Is the screen functioning correctly, and if so, does it have significant scratches that will impact the device’s value?
- Is the housing free from major scratches?
- Does the Lightning port accept a cable normally (inc. ensuring that it doesn’t disconnect from shaking it around)?
- Do the cameras and LED flash work?
- During a test phone call, can the other end be heard (and can they hear us?), and does the display turn off when the top of the device is covered?
- Does NFC work (aka, a test contactless payment)?
If a device fails any of these tests, new parts may need to be installed. If certain tests fail (such as if the device is network locked), the device will be sold noting the failures.
These tests ensure that (matches the test number above):
- The device can turn on and be used.
- The device can be set-up and used by the buyer without hindrance. This test includes checking for activation failures.
- Checks if TouchID works properly. Sometimes the home button functionality works but TouchID does not, and vice versa.
- Ensures that the battery is able to support a day’s use. Apple’s threshold is 80% but I personally use 90%- this ensures that the battery likely won’t need to be replaced for a while after sale.
- Ensures that the volume/mute/power buttons work, and whether they stick down when pressed. Also checks if both speakers and Taptic Engine works.
- Is device network locked or blacklisted? If so, with which carrier(s)? Ensures an accurate description of what networks the device can be used on.
- Ensures the screen is of good quality and works as intended. Good quality screens can be had for quite cheaply so I’ll install a new screen if I think the current screen’s condition will decrease the value by a significant amount.
- Checks to see if the housing has any major scratches or marks. If it has major scratches (or the camera cover is broken), the housing will be replaced.
- Ensures that the device won’t stop charging if the cable is accidentally bumped. If this happens then the bottom flex (with the port) will be replaced.
- 99% of the time this test passes without issue, the other 1% of the time it’s always been the front camera.
- If this test fails, the flex containing the front camera, earpiece speaker, and earpiece will need to be replaced. If this test passes and the screen is replaced, this flex is always moved over to the new screen.
- With replacement housings this test can sometimes fail.
Common issues I deal with are broken screens and TouchID not working. I use high-quality replacement screens and replace the broken TouchID sensor with a “HX Home Button”, which works as a home button but TouchID is gone forever (due to Apple pairing the sensor to the device).
I’ve never failed to get a non-water damaged device to turn on to some degree, even if there is no backlight. Many of the “doesn’t turn on” devices on eBay (which are sold by private sellers who are simply selling their broken device, which is not a prior repair attempt) simply need a new battery. Sometimes they require an SMC on the logic board to be replaced (but this is rare).
iPhones do not turn on if the battery is completely dead (even if plugged in).
Why I don’t cancel eBay orders on request of buyers for “unwanted” reasons
Every cancellation initiated by a seller (even if they choose the “buyer requested cancellation” option) goes against their record. If they have too many cancellations, eBay will limit their account (to the point where the account is permanently banned from selling- this is how my first eBay account got banned from selling although eBay admitted it wasn’t my fault).
Recently I’ve had a ton of cancellations, from buyers that said that they “accidentally” bid/sent an offer to fake accounts who placed a bid/offer and won the item but never paid. If I cancelled all of them on my end my selling account would’ve gone to “Below Standard” and I my allowances would drop significantly (at the moment I can list up to 100 listings and a total of £7,150 worth of sales, per month).
Hence when I receive a cancellation request from a buyer now, I simply tell them that I will wait until 48 hours have passed after the listing ended so I can open an unpaid item case. This results in an unpaid item being recorded against them and no cancellation being recorded against me. In my eyes this is the best option as bidding on an item, winning the auction, and then cancelling wastes my time and money (because I can’t get the insertion fee back…).
In a perfect world eBay would allow sellers to charge the buyer for their unrecoverable fees for the original listing plus the costs to relist, but it just doesn’t work that way unfortunately (and as far as I’m aware, restocking fees [which is what this would technically class as] are illegal in the UK).
For comparison, my current fees owing to eBay total £104. When all 7(!) of my current unpaid item cases/cancellations are closed, that will fall to around £45. I don’t mind paying eBay fees, but I do mind being charged fees that I can’t get back simply because the buyer changed their mind (which according to eBay T&C they are not permitted to do once they’ve placed a bid or sent an offer).
Sure, we’ve all misused the “Retract Bid” and “Retract Offer” forms, but I’d personally prefer buyers misuse them to retract their bids/offers rather than wait until the auction ends/offer is accepted to tell me that they don’t want the item.
If you want me to cancel your bid or reject your offer because you no longer want the item, please don’t wait until the auction/listing is over.
Also if you (the buyer) complain to eBay that I want to go through an unpaid item case rather than just cancel the order, you’re welcome to do so. eBay will simply ask you not to buy items that you don’t intend to pay for, probably along with an extract from the terms and conditions that you agreed to adhere to.
(aka, eBay will just tell you that the seller has the right to go through an unpaid item case instead of a straight cancellation, if they do not want to impact their seller account)