Buying stuff second-hand is an excellent way of maintaining the health of your wallet; our culture is obsessed with the idea of ‘newness’, and things lose half of their price the moment they leave the shop – you can get them for a fraction of their real price when buying used.
But buying second-hand is always accompanied with risks. Caveat venditor goes down the drain, it is caveat emptor all over again – so let’s see how you can protect yourself.
So you’ve found what looks like an excellent deal – a car that is considerably cheaper than its market price. But, as we all know, there is no such thing as a free lunch, and if this ‘considerably’ turns into ‘suspiciously’, there is a good chance the car in question is a salvage vehicle. It is wise to check it for yourself by buying a vehicle history report for a humble sum of $10.00 – or by getting it for free from a website like VinFreeCheck.
Remember: furniture you buy is going to be a part of your household for years to come. You will shortly forget that it was such a bargain; yet you will have to bear it for God knows how long. Thus, you should carefully examine everything.
Firstly, was the piece damaged and fixed? If so, was it fixed properly? Try it out, don’t be shy – sit in chairs, check if bureau drawers go back and forth smoothly, if tables are rickety. If something is damaged, it doesn’t necessarily mean the deal is off – just estimate if it can be used, if you can repair it, how costly will it be, and if the seller didn’t mention it previously, ask for a lower the price according to the item’s condition.
Second-hand flat sounds weird, but it’s always what you buy unless you buy off-plan. Depending on the purpose for which you buy, you’ll have to pay attention to different things. However, the tricks used by unscrupulous agents always the same. Be on your guard if the agent says he already has a better offer, and if you want to buy it you have to pay more, or aggressively persuades you to seal the deal right now and offers a discount or other bonuses. Make sure you get a detailed report on the flat’s condition – thus you will be able to initiate proceedings against the agent if you later find out that some flaws were concealed (e.g., if cracks in walls were papered over).
Second-hand clothing has no seller’s or manufacturer’s guarantees, so you should be really careful when checking them for damage. Although prices are usually more than affordable, it is still annoying to bring home a pair of jeans only to discover that they have a broken zipper. And, although it is not deception per se, some thrift shops don’t have dressing rooms to encourage you to buy without trying things on – so wear something thin when going there.
Cellphones and other gadgets may turn out to be a real bargain when bought second-hand – or a real disaster. It is all about knowing what to look at.
Ask for a receipt to make sure you don’t buy stolen goods. Research the device thoroughly before buying so that you know all its functions and can check if they work properly before money changes hands. Never buy an item without personally inspecting it first, checking if the touchscreen, sliding panels, keypad, whatever, are in working order.
A savvy buyer can save a ton of money by buying second-hand; you should simply relearn the skills of a cautious buyer that were replaced by guarantees and return policies in most people.
Featured photo credit: for second hand rose/Jason Brackins via flickr.com