Buying Used Gear

Instead of buying brand new equipment, cost conscious consumers can maximize their purchasing power by buying overstock, obsolete or soon to be discontinued models. You can also buy used equipment from factory outlets, local thrift stores, local retail stores with consignment bins, pawn shops and on-line auction houses (like eBay).

Buying used equipment can potentially save you lots of money. It’s a great way for folks on tight budgets to get the equipment they need. It’s also a great way to support the environmentally friendly organizations that recycle the gear. That said, it’s important to be very cautious when buying used computer equipment. There are two reasons for such concern. First, used equipment is less reliable than new equipment. Second, the price of new computers is at an all time low. It’s reasonable to assume that in many cases, the combined cost of used equipment and replacement parts could easily equal or exceed the cost of a new computer. Used computers typically cost between $50 and $250. They typically carry a 90 day warranty for all parts and labor.

Obsolete equipment can usually be purchased for a fraction of its original cost. The trouble is, you often don’t know much about the history of the computer you’re interested in. You don’t know how it was used by the previous owner. Moving parts like hard disks and optical drives are prone to failure after several years. Keyboards and mice ware out. Many other non-moving parts (like batteries) have limited life spans and will probably need replacement after you take ownership. Although damaged or worn out parts can easily be replaced, costs can add up to the point where you question the wisdom of buying used gear in the first place.

If you decide to buy used equipment on-line, make sure the vendor is highly reputable and has an spotless history of dealing with returned merchandise. If you’re dealing with a local vendor, carefully examine the used equipment and test it thoroughly before completing your purchase. If you don’t have the skill to test the equipment yourself, find a friend who does. In all cases, get a receipt and written warranty.

Two of the most popular on-line sites for used equipment are:
Craig’s List

You can find refurbished computer equipment on the following sites:
Tiger Direct Overstocks and Refurbished Gear
Dell On-line Outlet Store
HP On-line Outlet Store
Apple On-line Refurbished Store