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A Guide On How Not To Buy Second Hand Electronics


Second Hand Electronics buying is an art than a process. If you cannot master this art then you will end up buying Counterfeit Gadgets. And Products that do not last long too. I will give you the tips for how (or how not to) buy second hand Electronic products. What happens when People want to buy second hand vehicles? They usually take an experienced mechanic to check it out first and then perform a test drive.

There may be hidden problems that the trained eye and ear of the mechanic can detect (but yours will not).

Here are the tips you should check out for before buying a second hand electrical gadgets. It maybe a TV, Microwave oven, Smartphone or Car Battery, Laptop, Generator e.t.c. you name it

Follow these tips and you will actually steer away from buying a disaster to buying a very good product. I will not delve much into the law thing but I advise you not to buy items from total strangers. Do not buy very expensive phones from close friends (who cannot afford what they are selling).

Avoid Risks

You can risk buying from auctions. But chances are that there will be no prior testing. Always buy from physical shops where you will be issued with a receipt and limited warranty.Before you start, try and find out the history of the product you want. Ask these questions. Who was the previous owner? How long have they owned it. Why is it being sold and any other question you might see as fit for asking according to how the conversation goes. Vendors usually lie about most of the stuff though.

The Tips

1.The first thing to check is physical appearance (or damage). In this category check for things like scratches, dents and screws. As scratches may be expected on a Smartphone. They are not required or Television screens or HiFi systems (generally products you place in a living room). But scratches can be tolerated in equipment that will be hidden from guests like washing machines for example. Dents mean the product was dropped or hit with something hard and are never a good thing. If you notice dents then don’t buy. Screws are another very important thing to check, all same type screws should be of the same size and colour. Mismatching and missing screws mean that this product has been repaired before and maybe the owner is disposing it because of the many repairs he/she has carried out. The power cable should always be checked and should not have scratches that expose the conductors inside. If its too damaged and almost half the length is insulated using insulating tape then you should ask for a replacement. And another thing if you see a product with what seems to be like two power cables joined together with insulating tape, then most probably you are about to buy a stolen item. You see when thugs enter a home to rob, in most cases they cut the power cables off Electronics for fast and easy “theft”.

2. Functionality. If the product has passed the first step, then functionality is the second thing to check. If it’s a TV check for everything like picture settings, remote control functionality and that all the ports (AV IN and OUT, HDMI Port(s) and buttons on the TV itself. Always check for yourself and do not trust the seller. Press the buttons yourself. If it is a microwave oven, then obviously it should heat food. If it is a Generator then obviously it should generate electricity.

3. Stress Testing. This is the most important and always missed step. You know when Automobile engines are being produced; they are usually tested until some engine parts turn Red Hot. If you are buying a HiFi system, always turn the volume to the maximum and listen to the sound quality for some hours if possible. This is also a good test to check the battery life of a phone or laptop. Just open a video or audio file and play it at the maximum volume (this is done after fully charging the battery). If it’s a microwave oven then place at least 4 litres of water and heat it repeatedly until it boils. The stress test usually brings out the devil in second hand Electronics most of the time.

4. Bang testing. (If you are not a qualified technician then do not carry out this test) Now I don’t know if any seller will allow you to does this but Technicians like me usually do this test when checking for open circuits. Bang (or according to size, hit slightly) the item when under stress test. If any unusual thing is detected then don’t buy the item. This test can also be carried out by tilting some Electronic gadgets with the exception of Home appliances like Microwave ovens, Washing Machines and refrigerators. Also bending Power Cables, VGA and AV cables can also unearth hidden open circuits in cables.

5. Peripherals. Ask for the peripherals like Remote Controls, AV and Power cables, Antennas (Home Entertainment Systems), Inlet and outlet hoses (Washing Machines), Plates and turn tables (Microwave Ovens). I am sure you get the picture.

6. Warranty. Ask for a valid warranty with a stamp and date. Second hand Electronics should generally have a Month to 3 Months Warranty.

7. Ask for you receipt with a stamp and date too.

The best way to buy Second Hand Electronics is to be accompanied by a Qualified Technician.


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