The almost insane rate at which manufacturers churn out new gadgets, in conjunction with the ever increasing demand, alludes to technological progress, and for the consumer, potential financial bankruptcy. Sometimes, the urge (or need) to purchase a gadget can only be solved by settling for the pre-owned kind.
Pre-owned gadgets don’t invariably mean tattered, overused pieces of near-obsolete machinery; most of the time the ones available in the market are still in good if not near-perfect condition.
However, “pre-owned” is not always synonymous to “secondhand”; some have been refurbished (returned to the manufacturer, lightly tested, cleaned, repackaged and then resold) and reconditioned (products have been thoroughly tested by the seller, repaired (if necessary), cleaned, repackaged, and resold).
Whatever it is, it’s almost certain that you’ll be able procure it at a reduced price. But just before you start with your hand-me-down gadgets shopping, here are a few considerations that you ought to keep in mind:
Do your homework: research about the item.
Study online reviews, forums and talks to owners of that gadget to have a clue about how it works and its potential problems. Also, find out about the items included in the package in case you purchase a brand new one? This will enable you to find out about whatever items are missing in a pre-owned package – allowing for the appropriate price adjustment.
Pay a visit to the store.
Our country has a thriving market for second-hand goods, especially electronic ones. While there are shops that offer only used items, others may stock both new and used goods. To get an idea on what the store specializes in, it is best to visit the store personally and browse through their selections.
In some shops, the pre-owned items are sold as they are: they obtain the items from the previous owners and sell them without making any changes or modifications whatsoever.
Others present the used items alongside the new ones with a tag indicating whether it is refurbished or reconditioned. Inventory and pricing vary unrestrainedly from day to day, if you’re looking for something specific, better check back often.
Make sure it’s worth the money (and risk)
One deal maker or breaker should be the device’s age (especially if the device is a PDA or a computer). Accept items that are around six months old. Stay away from those that are over a year old.
Decent warranty is a must.
It is always best to purchase the item from a reputable retail store or dealer to make sure the product comes with a decent warranty. If you are buying from an established seller, chances are there will be a warranty of some sort provided. Find out how long this warranty lasts and what it covers. Can you buy additional coverage? If so, for how long and how much does it cost?
While extended warranties seem irresistible at first, consider the price you’ll be shelling out for it. If the price is at least 10% of the price of a brand new version of the product, move on. Even if you choose not to get the extended warranty, the fact that it’s offered might indicate the company or manufacturer’s confidence in the product. A short warranty (below six months) could indicate a lack of confidence in the product.
Ask the necessary questions.
Start with the Return and Exchange policy. A good majority of reputable dealers won’t even ask questions should you decide to return the product within a month or so. If the item has been reconditioned, you need to ask which parts of the item have been replaced in line with the previous problem of the device.
Test the product for defects.
By any chance, test the device before closing the deal. This is mainly important if you’re buying from someone besides a retail chain. Although this won’t serve as an assurance that the device won’t malfunction later on, it at least brings a guarantee that you have a currently working gadget.
The price should be right.
The reason why it’s best to do preliminary research about the item (as mentioned above) is it will enable you to get an estimate of the cost of a brand new one, helping you avoid being conned with an unjust price for a hand-me-down. Ideally, the cost must not go higher than 80 percent – or below 50percent – of what the device costs new. Pre-owned items are supposed to be cheaper but not unrealistically cheap.
Keep every receipt and piece of paperwork
Whether it’s proof of your purchase, or a proof of a warranty, every piece of paper is important. Should you need to go back to the store to ask for a replacement, expect them to ask for the receipt – proof that the item has been paid for, and it was bought from their store (therefore under their responsibility). This is particularly significant if you paid for the item in cash.
Keep the documents in a safe area for as long as the warranty lasts. Make sure that it’s in good condition; it might not be accepted otherwise.