You may have considered it when shopping for a new computer, cell phone or smart watch, but is it really worth the cost savings to purchased used technology? We joined the Guy Phillips gang at KTRS for Tech Talk last week to chat about the right way to purchase used equipment to maximize your investment. And, speaking of modern technology, even with the storm of the decade hitting the Midwest, Chadd Haselhorst, was able to call in to be Guy’s technology expert this week without having to be out and about in the blizzard conditions surrounding KTRS’ studio! Together, we cleared the air on how to know if you're buying used or new and some tips to keep in mind to be sure you're not wasting your money on a hunk of old and unusable technology.
How will I know I’m buying used?
There are a few basic terms that indicate when an item is not a brand new, straight from the factory item. Refurbished, reconditioned or certified pre-owned essentially mean the same thing depending on who you buy from. It's an item that was returned in working order or may not have worked properly when originally purchased and has been repaired and is once again fully functional. You may have even heard of the term “out of box” which just means a returned item that wasn’t used but the seal on the original packaging has been opened and, therefore, can't be sold as new any longer. Chadd mentioned that Amazon has an “Open Box Storefront” to resell returned items at a discounted price.
Where Should You Purchase Used Technology?
Be wary of where you're purchasing your second-hand electronics. Third party sellers like Amazon may offer a warranty but read the T’s and C’s to make sure you know where warranty coverage falls short. Chadd recommends buying directly from a manufacturer such as Apple, Samsung or Dell because they guarantee used pieces of technology. If something goes wrong within a period of time, they offer a guarantee for the product, usually one year, and you’re not out a ton of money for repairs or left with an unusable “brick” of electronics.
If a third-party seller doesn’t offer a warranty, take that as a sign that they may not be offering the most reliable equipment and you're buying at your own risk. Be aware of items listed as open box or refurb and do your research on 3rd party resellers.
Does purchasing used really save you money?
Absolutely! There is usually a 15-25% cost savings and some can be even more depending on the technology your purchasing. Chadd mentioned that smart phones are probably the most frequently purchased used electronic but, in addition, computers and tablets are a great refurbished item to look for as well. Tablets, in particular, can generally be found at a discounted price up to 35% off.
How do I know my new gadget isn't going to be obsolete in a few months time?
This is where purchasing from a manufacturer rather than a third-party seller is advantageous. Most refurbished items sold by the manufacturer will be from the current generation and are sent through the same stringent testing processes that new equipment would go through - including having the latest operating system. That should be enough to give you some peace of mind that you’re purchasing a like-new piece of equipment.
The moral of the story is that buying "used" is a great way to save some money but be sure to purchase from a reputable seller. Always check the warranty coverage and be aware of any gaps that you may be responsible for in the event of a malfunction.
Be sure to subscribe for a weekly wrap up of Tech Talk with the Guy Phillips Show! We'll be back with Guy and the gang every Friday at 4:20 pm. In the meantime, check out the audio of this week's episode with more great advice from the SumnerOne experts. Give us a listen live on The Big 500 KTRS each and every Friday!
Originally published January 18, 2019, updated February 11, 2019