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Don’t Get Duped! A Guide to Buying Second-Hand Tech


They say that devices are getting cheaper all the time, but so many of the best are still egregiously expensive. So the second-hand market for them becomes an attractive place. You can get amazing deals there, to be sure, but you need to be careful. Here’s a quick guide to going second-hand and coming out on top.


Knowing the right price

So the reason you’re looking to get a second-hand device is probably because you want to save some money. But are you sure you know how much money you’re going to save if you go with a particular deal? Get a good idea of what this device is going for on both the new market and the second-hand market. It’s possible that there’s a good deal going for a new one, or that the RRP isn’t as high as you thought it was. Protip: if you’re looking on eBay, check the prices of both Buy It Now offers and bids.


Remember your requirements

Remember precisely what it is you want the phone for and remember to judge its suitability based on this. You may need something that runs pretty much perfectly. You may be okay with something that has some broken features that you didn’t care much about anyway. A lot of people may be looking for second-hand devices because they make really good test devices for software or game developers, for example. In such a case, you’re going to want a device that’s unlocked. You can get it unlocked yourself, of course, but you need to be careful that you’re not being charged too much for a second-hand device that’s locked. Getting it done yourself is probably going to cost you, so keep that in mind.

Be willing to make repairs

I’ve seen really good, high-end technology go for ridiculously low prices just because the previous owner assumed it was basically just junk. Why? Because it no longer worked. But that doesn’t mean the device is a bad investment, even if it’s not going for pennies. You’ll have to be willing to make the additional investment of repairing it. If you can, get some sort of diagnosis of the problems from the current owner. There is a chance that the phone is well and truly borked. But in most cases, you should be able to get any problem repaired if you work with the right service. Look for some helpful information about repairs when you’re making your decision.


The physical inspection

Really, you shouldn’t buy a second-hand device without getting an opportunity to physically inspect it. If that means meeting up with a potential buyer, then so be it. You need to make sure that all the covers, ports, and flaps can be opened and accessed. If you have a laptop with you, you should be checking cables and connectivity. If it’s a phone, putting your SIM card in and checking the calling and texting functionality is also a must. It’s true that many sales websites will protect you if the buyer screws you over in any way, but they may not be able to cover you completely if one or two features you need don’t work perfectly.