How to Buy Used Electronics

Five Tips on Buying Refurbished Electronics

By John Focht

When it comes to electronics, all of us want the latest and the greatest. Keeping up with the Joneses takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to electronics. Sometimes though, we are just not afforded the ability to buy something brand-spanking new and we need to go the used or refurbished route.

Be sure to do your homework before going down that path: buyer beware. Here are five handy tips to guide you along the path to buying refurbished electronics.

Buying from a Reputable Dealer

When it comes to buying refurbished electronics, the number one thing you want to do when buying refurbished electronics is buy from a reputable dealer.

There are a number of online stores and traditional brick-and-mortar shops to buy refurbished electronics from.   Do your research on the company to confirm you are buying from a reputable dealer.  Search online for reviews or check with the better business bureau to certify there are no complaints against the dealer.  If there are, move on to the next store.

Does it Work or has it been tested?

Before you do anything else, ask the salesperson if the product has been tested. If it has not been, you should leave the store.  When buying online, contact the website owner to find out if the product has been tested.  If they do not respond, or do not provide you the ability to contact them, move onto the next site.

If you are in actual store, you should feel very comfortable asking if you can test the product right there in the store. Any dealer who is worth standing behind the product should have no trouble ensuring you the product was tested or allowing you to test it yourself before purchase.

Warranty, Exchange, and Refund Policy

Safeguard yourself before walking out the store door or hitting “buy” from the online store. Understand what the warranty, exchange, and refund policies are.  Remember, you are not buying new.  It’s important for you to understand before walking out the door if sales are final.

When talking to a salesperson, ask to see the warranty, exchange, refund policy in writing. Safeguard yourself against a salesperson who is just trying make a quick sale.  When buying online, search the website for these policies.  Don’t get stuck with a product that does not work.

Seller Rating

When buying online, research dealers that have a high-quality rating system from customers. Buying used electronics through a reputable website like Amazon or eBay allows you to see right there what the seller’s rating is.

Be sure you are reviewing what the “seller rating” means on each website you visit though. A rating of 10 on one site might not mean the same as a rating of 10 on another.  Don’t assume all ratings mean the same thing.

Understand the terminology and the product you are buying

Finally, what does refurbished even mean? Understanding the terminology is a critical first step for you in buying refurbished electronics.

According to Street Directory, refurbished can mean a number of things.  It can refer to an overstocked product that is no longer produced; a product with damaged packaging; a product that was used in stores for display purposes only; or a product with cosmetic defects.

When it comes to buying electronics though, refurbished means anything that is not new. This means you could be buying a five year-old iPod or you could be buying a product that was opened but never used.

Find out the history of the product from the dealer. You may actually be getting a brand new item that is deemed refurbished because it was opened, but in fact was never used.

This article was originally published on the Yahoo! Voices Network