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How to buy used electronics

WE BUY used cars, used furniture, and sometimes even used clothes, but buying used electronics seems the riskiest of all, because you never know if they are going to stop working as soon as you get home.

Still you can save money by shopping for used electronics and you will probably come out on top if you ask the right questions and take the following steps:


1. Research.

Some products last a long time, some do not. Also, there are versions of particular products that may have a known fault to them. Read online reviews, then you can ask the owner questions to get an idea of if the product may have these problems. You can look closely at the used electronic in person to see if these defects are present. Another thing to consider, what does the device come with if you buy it new? This way, you'll know if there is anything missing, and the price should be adjusted to suit.

2. The lingo.

A refurbished product hasn't necessarily been used; it may have been sent back to the manufacturer for a cosmetic reason, fixed accordingly, and sold as refurbished (often with a manufacturer's warranty). A reconditioned item, on the other hand, has been used and fixed up; they usually come with a warranty from the company who's selling it, but not from the manufacturer.

3. Repair.

If the manufacturer did it, then there is less risk involved than if it was done by a third party. You might also be able to find out what about the product was fixed or changed.

4. Warranty.

If you are buying from a retail chain or other reputable seller, chances are there will be a warranty of some sort provided. Find out how long this lasts and what it covers. Can you buy additional coverage? If so, for how long and how much does it cost? Even if you choose not to get the extended warranty, the fact that it's offered might indicate the company or manufacturer's confidence in the product. A short warranty (about 6-months and under) could indicate a lack of confidence in the product.

5. Return and exchange policy.

Most reputable places won't even ask questions if you return a product within a month or so.

6. Testing.

If you are buying from someone besides a retail chain, this is especially important. While this won't guarantee that it won't break later, it at least makes sure that you have a currently working product.

7. Receipts and/or paperwork.

If you have any sort of warranty for the product, you will need this to receive a repair or replacement. This is especially important if you are paying with cash. Only a receipt can prove that you purchased it and when. Keep that receipt in a safe place for at least as long as the warranty lasts. Make sure that it is in good condition or it won't be worth it.


Finding refurbished electronics

THE hunt for refurbished electronics are for those looking for the best bargains. Basically, the item is not new, but remanufactured to the original specifications.

Technicians make sure the product is in grade-A condition, so it provides the same service lifespan a brand new product. Here's how to find refurbished electronics:

* Identify the specific products you are looking for. Try to get as much information about the product as possible to compare against model numbers, and other specs in online catalogs or inventory databases.

* Do a quick online search. For example, entering "refurbished plasma TV" may get you to a number of refurbished electronics vendors who will show you specific offers and details on particular TV models.

* Use visual "e-catalogs" to find the products that you are looking for. Take note of special features and specifications and plan your purchases.

* Review the online retailer's site for return policies, shipping policies, warranty and other important information. Most of these sites should also have a phone number you can call.

* Look for refurbished items from regional electronics stores. Locate stores in your area, and ask if they offer deals on refurbished products.

* Find manufacturerdirect outlets. Often, shoppers can get factory-direct refurbished goods from the electronics manufacturers' factory outlet stores.
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