The Cautionary Tale of Second Hand Electronics

The Cautionary Tale of Second Hand Electronics

Range Govindan
Jan 5, 2012

As a fan of good deals, we're always aware of what's being sold around us, especially second hand electronics. If you've frequented Craigslist or some other online listings, you know what we're talking about. Some deals are just too good to pass up. Here's a reason though why you should skip them and go for new tech instead.

Whenever we need new tech, we tend to check the second hand electronics listing on a variety of sites in our city in order to gauge how much we'd save and if it's worth the hassle getting the tech used. While we've bought backpacks and other items second hand, we actually rarely buy any electronics second hand. There are many reasons why. The main one is that when something goes wrong, you're basically stuck. The seller doesn't offer any warranties and since you acquired the item used, you'll have to rely on the manufacturer's warranty, which can be somewhat tortuous.

It's especially annoying if this happens when you purchase an expensive item, like a tablet, a laptop or a computer. You should keep in mind that there's a reason why the tech is being sold and while most sellers are above board, it doesn't stop the con artists trying to sell you junk for big bucks.

Recently, we bought some Beats Studio headphones from Dr. Dre. They were new in the box, had never been used, and were 30% cheaper than retail. This seemed like an excellent deal, considering the high price of these headphones and the fact that all of the materials seemed to be included. This implied that the seller had actually bought these. While negotiating, we almost decided to skip this to just buy new ones, but ultimately we went ahead and bought these.

Two weeks later, they stopped functioning. We changed the batteries, contacted the seller, but it was to no avail. We had been had. We pondered our options while we brought the headphones in for service at a specialized store. A week and a half later, the headphones were repaired at the low cost of $25. The headphones could have easily been junked and the bill to repair them more than their initial cost.

It's a cautionary tale, especially if you've considered buying an iPad 2 or other more expensive electronic device second hand. In our experience, we think it's probably best to stick with new tech than take a chance with something that might break down.

(Images: Range, Flickr member Alexander Diep licensed for use under Creative Commons and Flickr member Bfishadow licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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