July 14, 2016

Is Buying Used Electronics a Safe Bet?

Yes for most electronic devices, according a recent New York Times article. Because many pre-owned devices sold by a reputable brand generally undergo a battery of tests prior to being offered for resale, their quality remains high. That’s what the article’s author concluded after found after comparing Amazon, GameStop, and Gazelle’s pre-owned products programs.

Gazelle, for example, runs pre-owned electronic devices through a 30-point inspection, “testing everything from a phone’s camera lens to its wireless connection.” GameStop puts refurbished game consoles through stress tests, “running them for thousands of hours to see if its repairs are long-lasting.”

Many retailers provide 30-day return policies or product warranties in the event a product has a defect.  Some resold products are in perfect condition as they were unused and simply returned without their original packaging.  Others were kept in good condition or may have slight cosmetic issues but are fully functional. In short, if a consumer isn’t anxious to have the latest gadget, wants to save money, and doesn’t mind that the product may have light scratches or scuffs, purchasing used electronics is a good option,” the article states. 

There are other benefits to purchasing pre-owned electronic devices. When consumers purchase such devices, they “do the world a favor by putting more use into the energy, metals, plastics and human labor invested in creating the product,” Carol Mars, a senior research lead for the Sustainability Consortium told the Times.  But she cautions consumers about buying pre-owned large-screen televisions and computer monitors because “a lot more can go wrong with larger screens than with computer equipment.” She added that “the jury is also still out on buying used wearable devices like Fitbit trackers because they make up a fairly new category.”