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Can I return a mobile phone once it’s been opened?

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Last updated: 08 February 2022

Purchased a new mobile phone and then changed your mind, or found you don’t have network coverage at home? Usually, you can return the device and cancel your contract within 14 days for a full refund, or 30 days if the device is faulty. Typically, this applies even if you’ve opened the package, as long as you haven’t damaged the product.

Let’s take a look at the big four mobile networks and their returns policies:

EE returns policy

EE allows you to return or exchange mobile phones in-store due to faults or lack of coverage. They specify only that the box and contents are present, the product has not been damaged by you, and you have a valid receipt. If you’ve simply changed your mind, you’ll need to request a return online. But there’s no indication that EE won’t accept returns of phones with boxes that have been opened.

O2 returns policy

O2's returns policy permits you to return devices within 14 days (30 days for faults), even if you’ve opened or used them. The exception is with some accessories like earphones, for hygiene reasons.

Three returns policy

Three no longer permits you to return mobile phones purchased in their shops, unless you arranged for them to be sent to you separately or they have a fault. If you are eligible to make a return, you’re allowed to “do what is reasonable and turn on and use your device to inspect it.” However, Three cautions that if there’s any damage or the device has been used beyond what’s reasonable, it might charge you for the loss of value as a result of your usage.

Vodafone returns policy

Vodafone allows you to return mobile phones within 14 days (30 if there's a fault). It specifies that the device must be “as new, which means it’s in a good enough condition to resell it,” but allows you to have opened the box.


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Lauren Smith

Author: Lauren Smith

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