Have you got countless broken screens with a LCD that still works? All over the world, broken screens are bought by various Buyback suppliers. These broken LCD’s are the raw materials for refurbished screens. But what actually happens to a broken screen? In part 1 of the Buyback and OEM Refurbished series, we tell you all about the process of how Buyback screens become OEM Refurbished screens and explain which grades of quality there are in the market.

The journey of a broken smartphone screen

To begin with, most purchased screens are sent to Hong Kong. From Hong Kong, the screens are sold to Chinese dealers who have their own shop on the electronic market in Shenzhen. The Chinese dealers transport the screens to Shenzhen.

In Shenzhen, the broken screens are bought up by manufacturers. These are manufacturers that are specialised in refurbishment. New glass plates are mounted on the LCD’s and if necessary, the backlight and polariser are replaced. After the screens have been repaired, the refurbished screens are sold again to Chinese dealers who have their own shop at the electronic market in Shenzhen.

OEM Refurbished LCD’s with the desired materials

Our sourcing team in Shenzhen buys custom-made OEM Refurbished LCD’s with the desired materials. These materials are selected by our specialists and then offered to manufacturers that assemble the screens. We are also supplied by our own Buyback programme (buybackLCD.com), in which we are very strict as to which quality of donors we purchase, because this greatly determines the final quality of the OEM refurbished display. If we buy screens in our own Buyback programme that do not meet our quality requirements, we do not use them for our own OEM refurbished quality. We simply sell these screens in China.

Our team in China is very well aware of which manufacturer is specialised in refurbishing which model per specific iPhone series. Some factories, for instance, are specialised in the 6 series and others in the 7 series. Therefore we make distinctions between which factory we choose. We hand in the donors, pay a refurbishment fee and after a double test carried out by our controllers, we get the OEM refurbished displays back. These screens are sent to our warehouse in the Netherlands and are ready to be sold again!

The quality gradations of screens

When someone buys refurbished screens, he/she will begin by grading the quality of the screen. In China, there are five different grades of quality on which the prices depends. Naturally, the end user doesn’t want to pay the same price for an LCD with dead pixels as for a perfectly functioning screen. The worse the cosmetic damage, the less consumers want to pay for the screen, and the price of a Buyback screen depends on this. For this reason, the same grading applies to both Buyback and OEM refurbished screens.

View the differences between the qualities in the market below:

  • A quality: No sign of ageing or defects to the LCD and the touch function whatsoever.
  • B quality: Slight signs of ageing or defects to the LCD and/or backlight. Max. 2-3 dead pixels. No defects with regard to the touch function.
  • C quality:heavy signs of aging or medium defects to the LCD. At least 3 dead pixels and/or light pressure damage. No defects to the touch function.
  • D quality: Many defects on the LCD. Especially obvious pressure damage. No defects to the touch function.
  • Functional defects: Touch defect or a loose flex cable, which can cause the image to jump.

Other specific abnormalities in various models. For instance, special attention is paid to OLED screens for the iPhone X series, considering the seriousness of the cracks in the screen. If the screen is too badly broken, the LCD (soft OLED) can crease and the touch function might become defect after refurbishment.

refurbished en buyback LCD screens

Hidden defects are not always revealed

During the refurbishing process, a number of screens always breaks. And not a single manufacturer on the market can make all A quality Buyback screens to perfection. This is because during checks, some hidden defects are not revealed. This could, for instance, be dead pixels that are under a crack and which only be visible after refurbishment. Sometimes, dirt also gets between the glass or the polariser during the refurbishment process. Usually, a manufacturer is able to repair 50 to 60 percent of the actual A quality Buyback screens which are bought.

Pricing of Buyback and OEM refurbished screens

In addition to the grading, prices are also based on supply and demand. If the demand is greater than the supply, prices will rise. However, the demand for OEM refurbished screens has decreased due to the arrival of the China copies. As a result, the price you get back for a Buyback screen has also dropped.

The selling price for refurbished screens is determined by three factors:

  • The purchase price of the Buyback screen;
  • The purchase price of materials (for instance, glass, backlight and a polariser);
  • Percentage of loss during the buyer’s checks.

In the next blog article of the series, we will tell you more about how exactly Buyback screens are tested in China.