I’ve managed to live pretty well, thanks, on a middle-class salary surrounded by lots of premium items I’ve bought used online. For the purposes of this article, let’s define used as anything that has been opened from its original packaging, including refurbished items. The great thing about buying used is that unless there is an obvious cosmetic flaw, no one will know you bought used unless you tell them. This article looks at the pros and cons of buying used things online.

As a general rule, I will not buy anything used unless: 1. The item is not available as new or 2. It saves me a relatively large amount of money; the exception for me is CDs and books that are hard to find or just save yourself the hassle of looking for them in a store. I will only buy a used item if the seller has good reviews from a trusted online site or if the seller is a reputable company like Best Buy, Amazon, or an Amazon Partner Store. Whenever I can, I try to use PayPal instead of credit cards to pay, as it is an additional source of protection if I have problems with the product or the sale.

I will not buy anything used online unless the condition is described as very good or better. I think most people describe things one level better than they are or if the item is sold using the words “Sold As Is” which means the buyer cannot return the item once they have received it. . Let the buyer beware! This to me is an obvious sign that the product is a “lemon” or potential lemon or that the seller is someone I don’t want to do business with. I also won’t buy anything from a buyer if the price is ridiculously low, as that to me is a sign that the seller is not doing well. There are no free lunches, just stop thinking about buying the item and immediately forget about it without losing any sleep. Yeah, every once in a while, we read about someone who makes money and buys a Picasso or something at a garage sale for $25, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be you or me! Definitely don’t buy anything used from someone in another country for more than $50 or you’re just asking for trouble, as there’s a strong chance the item could be damaged during shipping. Have fun getting your money back, or you’ll just be completely burned out and really have no recourse against someone outside of the US.

As a general rule of thumb, I wouldn’t buy items with a limited lifespan like DVD players, DVD recorders, anything that actually uses lasers as they wear out, TVs unless the price is so low that you can afford it to break down a day next and discard it. , for example. I wouldn’t buy anything either, this is my own personal taste and bias, that someone used, someone fell asleep, someone partially swallowed like a 1 gallon jar of protein.

What I do buy used, once the “good condition” above is in place are: 1. Stereo equipment like high quality CD players (lasers seem to last a lot longer on those!), inexpensive computers, CDs, books, furniture, lamps, photographs and prints, sports equipment, bikes and scooters, and hard-to-find items. Most of these items can be resold in their original condition or for parts. Note that for computers (laptops), you should require the seller to restore the computer to its original state and remove anything that was added unless you want them to leave it on and that the seller is responsible for cleaning the computer for damage. of viruses. , spyware and adware. I also wouldn’t spend more than $375 including shipping unless you buy it with some sort of warranty and have the option to extend the warranty.

My track record of buying used merchandise following these rules has been excellent. I only received one item that was apparently internally damaged during shipping and got my money right away from the eBay seller who had great feedback. I bought a $1500 laptop for $700 refurbished with a 1 year warranty from a well known big computer retailer and there was a problem with the hard drive and they replaced it right away with one that I’ve never had a problem with. In fact, the only time I ever got burned was when I was stupid enough 5 years ago to buy a laptop from someone I didn’t know on Craig’s List who lived out of state. I learned my lesson then: don’t buy anything used from someone you don’t know on a website that isn’t responsible if someone advertising on it rips you off. To be fair to Craig’s List, I think they warn people about getting scammed etc, and I’m solely to blame for what happened.

The bottom line is that you can save a lot of money by buying used things online, but you need to know carefully what you’re doing before you buy anything. Use the tips I’ve listed as a rough starting guide.

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