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Refurbished or not, this is going to happen. I have seen it in one way or another with every phone i have had. The issue is that the light has to leave the screen in certain way to be able to generate light and color for each pixel. Polarizing screens are used to accomplish this. That way, the crystal that is controlling and individual pixel can rotate and let light through so it can be seen and then rotated back and due to the polarization of the light, won't come out of the screen. If you compare to others of the same model, you will see the same thing.
This video explaining lcd technology might make it a little clearer.
If Apple made them with amoled screens like galaxy devices, this would be less of a problem as each pixel generates its own light and does not rely on a rotating crystal to let light through the polarized matrix like lcd panels.
Thank you for the physics lesson.
Your key phrase is 'in one way or another.' My old phone is a 5c and my wife has an iPhone SE, and yes, the polarizing effect is present on both of those phones, but the screen remains visible in any orientation. The effect in the refurbished phones I received was much more dramatic, to the point that the screen was not usable in portrait orientation. I compared it to new iPhones in the store of the same model and demonstrated the effect to the Apple staff, and all agreed that it was not normal. Thus I'm fairly sure this was a problem specific to the refurbished phones. Perhaps I should have a larger sample size, but I didn't feel it was necessary for my purposes.