Buying Used Tech Gear: It's Okay Today
Do you want to buy some new tech gear, but your budget is a little tight? Does buying second-hand electronics make you nervous? Well, hopefully I can help put your mind at ease. I buy used tech gear a few times a year (both for myself and for others,) and it’s something I advocate to friends and family on a regular basis. Armed with some research and a few pointers, you can safely and successfully buy used.
The simultaneously frustrating and incredible fact of buying electronics is that they don’t stay “new” for very long. Kraft Dinner boxes can be labelled “new” right on the box for over a year, but that just doesn’t fly in the world of technology. By the time a new Apple iPad hits the shelves, the inventors are already working on the next two generations that will hit the market over a year later. Brand loyalists will continue to buy each and every model that is released. And while they feed their addiction to that new-tech smell, you can pick up their “old gear” for a good price. You just have to keep a few things in mind:
Do your research
Part of making an informed decision is researching what you want to buy. There are hundreds of review sites out there and if that specific electronic device is known for being a lemon (or consistently receives one and a half out of five stars,) then maybe think a little harder on whether or not you want to try it out for yourself.
Inspect before you buy
One thing to remember when purchasing electronic equipment is that it’s best if you can inspect it before you buy it. This is a no-brainer if you’re buying in-store, but it’s usually impossible if you’re using an online auction site like eBay. Sellers often post stock photos they’ve grabbed from product websites instead of a photo of the actual item you’re bidding on. And don’t forget the shipping & handling fees, plus border fees if you’re buying outside your country.
Right now, I’m in the market for a camera – a Canon Rebel, or perhaps a SONY DSLR… I’m still undecided over what I want, but I know I’ll buy used. Have you seen the price of a new Digital SLR recently? Spending more than $2000 on a new camera just isn’t in my budget right now. Especially when I can get the same specs for half the price and professional photographers are known to keep their equipment in fantastic condition. I’ll probably be able to purchase the whole kit too (camera body, lenses, memory cards, even a bag to hold it all in) from one seller. Not many retailers offer affordable package prices for camera kits these days (it’s like buying a car, where the seat belt costs extra,) and if they did, the camera itself is usually at the lower end quality-wise.
Another benefit of purchasing electronics on local classified sites is that you can often pick up your item on the same day that you’ve seen the ad online. Instant gratification! And remember that if you keep your electronics in good condition you can list your gear on one of the UsedSites and put the money you make toward an upgrade. All in all, most electronics have a good shelf life, so you can live a in a frugal world and still have great technology to keep you going.