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Buying Second-Hand Tech: What You Need to Know

Man repairing an iMac

Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels from Pexels

According to a 2019 report, the world’s population produces approximately 50 million tonnes of electronic waste every year. As a consumer, you have an important duty to minimize your technological impact to reduce global e-waste.

Developing new electronics takes up an absurd amount of energy in resources. Choosing to buy refurbished or second-hand tech can help reduce environmental waste.

But purchasing used devices can be complicated if you do not know where to start and where to go. Read the following section and discover what you need to know before buying used tech.

3 Things to Consider When Buying Used Tech

When buying second-hand electronics, you need to consider several factors before making a purchase. Here are three crucial pointers to evaluate when shopping for used tech:

1. Age

All computers, phones, and other devices eventually reach an end-of-life point. During this period, they will no longer get new updates from their manufacturer. Without regular updates, a device can be more susceptible to viruses and malicious attacks.

This is why you must determine how old a device is before buying them. Doing so can prevent you from getting a product that could be vulnerable to cyberattacks.

2. Quality and Performance

Even a six-month-old laptop is not impervious to damages, like scratches and scrapes. Even if a device is relatively new and looks free of any physical damage, it may not be in the best condition internally.

Regardless of what second-hand technology you buy, you need to carefully evaluate its quality and performance. Before purchasing a used product, make sure it still works and meets your expectations. 

3. Expert Recommendations

Today, advancements in technologies come fast. So it is recommended to talk to tech experts in your industry regarding pre-owned devices. Consult someone in the sector or another entrepreneur who has just gone through the second-hand buying process. 

Otherwise, you can scour websites with reviews of the technologies you want. These websites can help you determine whether the products you want can hold up for a long time.

 Man repairing a smartphone

Where to Buy Used Tech

Buying pre-owned electronics is much like shopping for a second-hand car. You should almost always stick to certified sellers. Sure, you can always find good deals online, but these deals provide zero payment protection to buyers.

When buying phones from uncertified sources, you may even come across defective or stolen products.

If your business is a part of the industrial sector, you may need particular machines that are more difficult to find online.

For example, if your company operates heavy machinery, you may be looking for pre-owned coordinate-measuring machines (CMMs) for quality control processes. 

In this case, buying directly from certified sellers is a must. Used CMM machines from CMMXYZ undergo thorough evaluations to ensure all machine components are functional, including air lines, probing systems, and cabling.

You can visit industry-specific forums where private sellers are marketing their pre-owned technologies. You can find them on online selling sites, like eBay or Facebook Marketplace.

But these sites may not always have reliable sellers. If you go to a private seller, you can gauge reliability by:

  • Checking when the seller opened their account

Generally, reliable sellers have been using an account for over a year. Try to avoid brand-new sellers. If you are on Facebook Marketplace, check the seller’s profile to ensure they have a genuine account.

  • Reading the rating system

Look at the feedback from previous buyers. Today, many online stores have a rating system, where customers can mark down a seller for poor conduct and low-quality products.

  • Looking at the seller’s other products

Check out what other offerings the seller has for sale. If they specialize in second-hand and refurbished goods, it is highly likely that they are selling high-quality pre-owned products.

Today, electronic waste is the largest growing waste stream. Constantly buying new appliances and refusing to invest in pre-owned technologies contribute to this growth. 

To help address this problem, focus on holding onto your working electronics for as long as possible and try to buy second-hand machinery for your business. Just remember to be smart when shopping for refurbished devices so you can get the most out of your money.