There are few things you might want to buy that are as expensive as electronic devices. It’s a sad fact of life, unfortunately. When you’re looking to buy one, you might be tempted to buy pre-owned just to save yourself the hassle of dealing with pushy store representatives trying to sell you extra items and to save a bit of extra cash, but buying pre-owned electronics can be a double-edged sword. It’s okay to buy a few things used, but there are some electronics that you should make sure not to purchase secondhand to avoid issues with them down the road. Just a side note, here: when we say pre-owned, we don’t mean refurbished. That’s another story. If an electronic has been returned to the manufacturer and refurbished, it’s sold to you in like-new condition and is usually okay. But if you’re buying from a small secondhand retailer or straight from the previous owner, be aware! A smart consumer never buys devices that are just going to break shortly after purchase, so steer clear of these electronics if you don’t want to end up spending more money in the long run.
Laptops are probably the worst thing you can buy pre-owned. Buying any type of computer pre-owned is probably a bad idea because of the heavy use computers often get. Even if the hard drive is completely cleaned out and the operating system is re-installed, there still might be hidden issues with hardware or other parts of the computer. Buying pre-owned laptops is an especially bad idea because of their portability. The chances that they’ve been taken to quite a few different places and probably suffered more wear and tear than a normal computer would makes them a bad idea to buy pre-owned, no matter how attractive the price is. Buy a cheap pre-owned laptop and you’ll end up paying just as much to keep it and repair it as you would have spent on a new laptop that doesn’t have any problems.
Similar to laptops, HDTVs can take a lot of money to repair if something’s wrong with them. So much, in fact, that buying a pre-owned one for a cheaper price and then paying to fix it if something happens can sometimes be more expensive than it would have been to just buy a new HDTV. TV repair is expensive and requires specialty and precision, so it can be hard to find someone who’ll work on them and even harder to do it yourself. Even if you know what year a TV was manufactured, you don’t know if the previous owners took good care of it: how often they left it on for extended periods of time or if they cleaned the screen with the right type of cleaner.
If you’re a photographer, whether it’s for profession or hobby, you might have a DSLR camera. Buying used camera lenses, unless they’re certified as refurbished, is a terrible idea. Any damage to a lens is going to show on the pictures you take, so even if the lens looks fine on the outside it might affect the quality of your pictures if you take a chance and purchase it used. When it comes to camera lenses, it’s always better to buy straight from your camera’s manufacturer or from a licensed electronics retailer, that way you know you’re getting a fully functional product. As a general rule, even refurbished camera lenses are probably a good thing to stay away from. Even if they’re in certified like-new state, buying new for this particular item is always best!
Yeah, we know. The pre-owned cell phone market is really big and you can usually find someone selling their old phones right after they get a new one for a fraction of what you would normally pay. It seems great. But here’s the thing, cell phones have been through a lot. Because people carry them everywhere, they show wear and tear quicker than some electronics even if they have cases and screen protectors. The other thing is that when you’re buying pre-owned phones, you don’t know if they’re still attached to an account or not! If an account gets cancelled for non-payment, the phones are usually locked onto that account and although they can sell them to you, you won’t be able to activate them. There’s no protection for buyers against this, so unless the phone is certified refurbished straight from the manufacturer or the cell phone provider it’s best to buy new when it comes to everyone’s favorite portable electronics.