Did you know that the average cell phone will be used by two to three people before being scrapped? The rise of trade-ins and the demand for quality pre-owned phones is skyrocketing. With that, more carriers, providers, and manufacturers are moving used models to B2B channels (like B-Stock’s mobile marketplace) selling bulk quantities of phones directly to resellers.

But for a buyer looking to get into the secondary mobile market, how do you know what you’re bidding on and buying? What normal ‘wear and tear’ means to one provider, could mean multiple cracks and cosmetic damage to another. These differing of opinions could potentially leave a buyer in the lurch.

New Universal Condition Codes

In early 2019, the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (who advocates on behalf of America’s wireless industry), or CTIA, released universal grading scale criteria for carriers and manufacturers to follow when selling their used inventory. The new grading system, adopted by some but not all manufacturers and carriers, is being pushed by CTIA, industry stakeholders, and secondary market resellers like B-Stock to create a single industry-wide standard. It looks something like this:

Mobile Grades Breakdown

Grade A

  • Like new condition
  • Negligible scratches and blemishes.
  • Tested and fully functional with clean ESN and no user locks (for example FMIP / iCloud locked).

Grade B

  • Light wear and tear
  • May have one or several light scratches that do not catch a fingernail or tool. No cracks present on the device or display.
  • Tested and fully functional with clean ESN and no user locks (not FMIP / iCloud locked).

Grade C

  • More aggressive wear and tear
  • May have cracks on certain surface areas such as camera lens, rear lens but not on display cover lens (Glass panel and Digitizer).
  • Tested and fully functional with clean ESN and no user locks (for example FMIP / iCloud locked).

Grade D

  • Heavy cosmetic damage with cover lens cracks
  • Will have excessive damage on multiple surface areas and cracks on the display cover lens but not on the LCD. In addition, there may be missing parts, liquid damage and screen burn present.
  • Units are tested but may not be fully functional. Clean ESN but units may be user locked (for example FMIP / iCloud locked).

Grade E

  • Heavy cosmetic damage with LCD damage
  • Will have excessive damage on multiple surface areas including the display internal structure. Damage may range from but not limited to liquid damage, missing parts, screen burn etc.
  • Units are tested but may not be fully functional. Clean ESN but units may be user locked (for example FMIP / iCloud locked).


B-Stock is hopeful for the adoption of these universal condition codes across all of our mobile liquidation marketplaces. Already, we have required all sellers on B-Stock Supply to adhere to the new codes making it easier for our buyers. You will see this on our B-Stock Supply marketplace:

  • Inventory conditions for cell phones are now limited to: New, Used, or Salvage.
  • We no longer recognize the condition types of “Customer Returns”, “Refurbished”, etc. for cell phones and other mobile devices.
  • “New” items are brand new items with original packaging.
  • “Salvage” means the phones have not been tested.
  • All other phones are now described as “Used” condition and must include a Grade as outlined by CTIA standards.

We are optimistic that all manufacturers, providers, and carriers will soon choose to use the new grading system creating a universal standard for the secondary mobile market. Meantime, be sure to read the individual manifests and marketplace conditions carefully. Stay tuned!

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Amberly Bliss, Owner

Retail Deals

"I feel so confident shopping and bidding on items knowing that I am going to get what I paid for. And if not, there’s a killer customer service team that’s going to make sure everything’s alright in the end. That’s huge. It’s hard to take that risk when you’re first starting out."

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