Deep Scratch or Crack?

Chris W. on Swappa
Chris W.

Any opinions on how to tell what a seller describes as a deep scratch vs. cracked?

How can someone tell the difference?

I don't mind a couple of scratches, however would be concerned of structural screen integrity of a crack.

Thanks in advance for your input!

Will Verduzco on Swappa
Will Verduzco

Hey there, Chris!

If you're shopping for a used phone elsewhere, it can sometimes be hard to figure out whether you're looking at a crack or a deep scratch. And you are correct that a cracked screen can compromise the structural integrity of the phone; it can also impair its water resistance as well.

Fortunately, things are quite a bit easier on Swappa. Phones can't have cracked screens and must work in order to be sold here.

All phones listed on Swappa:

  • Must be fully functional
  • Must have a clean ESN/IMEI and be ready for activation
  • Have no major damage such as cracked or chipped glass, water damage, or other structural integrity issues
  • Have a functional battery that can hold a charge

Learn more about our listing criteria on the Swappa FAQ: Listing Device Criteria

Chris W. on Swappa
Chris W.

That's great to know Will! I appreciate that about Swappa.

What would be the criteria to be able to tell the difference when looking at the phone to know if its just a scratch or a crack though?


Will Verduzco on Swappa
Will Verduzco

Hey again, Chris!

We don't allow products with cracked screens or cracked rear glass to be sold on Swappa. However, we do allow scratched screens, as long as the phone still works properly and the damage is listed in the listing description. Learn more about Swappa product condition requirements.

So if you're buying from Swappa, we've got you covered. You shouldn't encounter cracked screens on any phone you buy on Swappa.

But if something falls through the cracks and you buy a phone that was damaged in transit or wasn't as described, please reach out to the seller by leaving a comment on your private sale page and checking the "Swappa I need help!" box to alert Swappa staff. Alternatively, you can open up a ticket with Swappa Support on our Help Page.

Nathan T on Swappa
Nathan T

I'll add to this that often times cracks have a clear starting or ending point at the edge of the glass, or at a clear point of impact. Scratches tend to be more random in their locations. Sometimes it's hard to tell with the photos, so I normally just ask for a better photo if it's questionable. But Swappa is normally good about taking care of that step ahead of time as well.


When you can look at the phone physically, cracks can be distinguished from scratches by holding the phone to a bright light. When lit up, you can see the side of the crack going through the screen.

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