How to buy second-hand tech without getting ripped off

It may be marketed as the world’s most powerful personal device, but the new iPhone doesn’t come cheap. In fact, the top of the range iPhone 7 Plus will set you back a cool NZ$1,429. The good news is, the second-hand electronics market is saturated with bargains. This means that with a little sifting you can snap up a great deal.

Here’s how to pull it off:

  • maxresdefaultKeep your wits about you

Unfortunately, the reality is that if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. For example, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to pick up a fully functional iPhone 6 for $100. Be realistic, and don’t let an irresistible deal cloud your judgement.

  • Research online

The internet is a goldmine of information, which makes it easy to research what models best suit your needs. If you stumble across a phone or tablet you like, simply type the model name into Google and it’ll pull up pages of reviews. CNET is one of the best resources out there, offering unbiased editorial reviews and ratings for a kaleidoscope of tech products.

  • Price up the market

To start with you’ll need to develop an understanding of what a good price looks like. This means finding out how much the item originally retailed for, if it’s still available on the market and whether the manufacturer has launched an updated model.

  • Factor in variables

When deciding whether to snap up a deal you should always factor in variables. Think about physical condition, which includes scratches, cracks and any imperfections. Is the packaging still available, and does it come with accessories? Is it covered by a warranty, and how old is the device? A good seller should be able to answer all your questions!

  • images-1Sweep the market

Now comes the fun part. The internet has opened an enormous realm of opportunity for second-hand buyers. TradeMe is a great resource for local NZ buyers, with Locanto also a popular platform. You’ll generally need to pick up the device in person, which has its pros and cons. You’ll get to see the product in person, meet the buyer and gauge a better idea of what condition the device is in. If you don’t mind paying for postage eBay is another option. You can buy locally in NZ or Australia, or tap into the colossal Asian electronics market. Shipping can be slow and expensive though, so you’ll need to factor this in.

  • Time your buy

When it comes to buying second-hand electronics timing can be crucial. For example, second-hand prices for the iPhone 6 plummeted the day the iPhone 7 was released. Things to consider include when your gadget of choice was launched and if there’s a new version on the way. Post-Christmas gives way to some great second-hand tech deals, with loads of unwanted presents hitting the market.

  • Snap up a deal

Often, the best deals are circumstantial. For example, a seller may have splurged on a new camera only to discover they don’t like photography.  Maybe they won a tablet in a raffle but already have one, or have simply reached the end of their phone contract and received a brand new device. Backstories often reveal a lot about a device, its condition and whether it’s a genuine deal.

  • buy, online, shopping cartPayment

One of the biggest risks of buying second-hand is getting ripped off or scammed. Never hand over money before you’ve got the product in your hands, and avoid direct bank transfers if possible. If you’re buying online it’s best to stick with trusted payment platforms like PayPal, and never surrender your card details to a seller. If you’re on eBay you can check a seller’s feedback. Ultimately, the best way to avoid 99% of scams is to deal in person and locally.

  • Street smarts

One final thing to keep in mind is your gut feeling. If a buyer sounds dodgy or you suspect the item may be stolen or too good to be true, just walk away.

  • Ask for help

If you’re feeling a little intimated by the second-hand tech hunt don’t be shy about asking for help. If you have millennial grandkids, chances are they’ll be more than happy to help you sift through listings, contact buyers and hunt down a great deal.

Happy bargain hunting!