How to Buy Great Used Electronics

Apple Computer On Table

The idea of buying used electronics can be an exciting prospect, but it can also be tricky to navigate all of the options. Whether you’re timing your search for an older phone to the release of a new iPhone or you are open to the idea of buying refurbished, looking at pre-owned items opens up a world of choices, but also a few risks. Knowing all the possible pitfalls ahead of time can help you save money and stay up-to-date.

By browsing stores that sell older electronics, you could get great deals on last year’s models or even find rare or out of production items. Perhaps you aren’t just looking for a modern laptop or phone within your budget. Even after legacy technology has been sunset, it still has its fans. Retro gaming or related hobbies will likely require the purchase of electronics that had a previous life before coming into your home.

Electronics are essential for many kinds of work, school, and recreation, but no matter what your household needs are, they can be an investment. It’s fun to have all the latest and greatest tech, but it’s no secret that older electronics are often a gold mine for cost-conscious online shoppers. We have a few simple tips to make sure you get the most bang for your buck when considering a purchase with that “Pre-Loved” label.

Used Item Terms and What They Mean

If you aren’t sure where to start or what all these terms mean, eBay’s item condition guide is a great place to start. Amazon Warehouse also has a great FAQ that sums up the terms their merchants use. While these terms may differ from store to store, Used-Like New means that you can expect an item that is very lightly used, with mild cosmetic issues. Functionally, they should be very similar to a new item. Terms like Refurbished and Renewed typically refer to items that have had parts replaced but should have the appearance and capabilities of a new item. Different stores and marketplaces may use different terms, but they will generally fall into these two categories.

Check the Seller’s Score

Whether you’re shopping for used electronics from eBay, Amazon Warehouse, or some other site, it’s important to keep an eye on what percentage of people had a good experience buying from that seller. What you’re looking for is a lot of high-scoring reviews, which will give some indication that the merchant is consistent in their quality, as well as experienced with shipping the products they sell. This goes for most online shopping experiences but is especially vital when buying used.Whether you’re shopping for used electronics from eBay, Amazon Warehouse, or some other site, it’s important to keep an eye on what percentage of people had a good experience buying from that seller. What you’re looking for is a lot of high-scoring reviews, which will give some indication that the merchant is consistent in their quality, as well as experienced with shipping the products they sell. This goes for most online shopping experiences but is especially vital when buying used.

Buy Certified and Check Warranties

Many certified businesses specializing in used electronics will also offer warranties and be upfront about cosmetic issues on the device so you know what to expect. Merchants that refurbish products will also often offer refund policies. Their whole business relies on bringing reliable used electronics to customers, after all! They may even have a guarantee on their products and offer repairs if something comes up within a certain period of time. However, keep in mind that not all used electronics sellers will offer these services, so it’s important to check before purchasing.

Sometimes the original manufacturer will also offer refurbished products at a discount as part of buy-back or recycling programs. They will have their own policies and standards. If you’re looking to get rid of your old electronics, you should always check to see if the manufacturer has a recycling or refurbishment program!

Film Yourself Unboxing It

Unboxing videos aren’t just for YouTube tech reviewers and influencers anymore. Filming yourself unboxing a recent purchase helps protect your purchase in the unlikely event that an item arrives with some kind of unforeseen issue. This may be a good policy for new items purchased online as well, but it can be especially valuable in the pre-owned and refurbished electronics market.

Refurbished Products are a Compromise You’ll Be Happy With

Refurbished goods are products that were pre-owned but typically have been repaired by a trained or certified seller for re-sale. Although they are not always as cheap as some used items being resold by an individual, you can still get them for much less money than if you were buying them right off the shelf. As we mentioned earlier, many refurbished electronics come with some kind of guarantee or warranty from the re-seller, which gives them a leg up over other used items.

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