New technology can be expensive, which is one of the reasons there’s such a large market for items like used smartphones, tablets, and computers. If you’ve ever looked on sites like eBay for a used smartphone, you’ve seen that there are literally hundreds of sellers, some are trustworthy companies, others are simply individuals trying to sell their old devices.

While you can save quite a bit buying from someone looking to sell an iPhone or other electronic, there can be some disadvantages if you’re not careful. 

Pros of Buying Used Electronics

Price: The biggest advantage, of course, is the price. Often times you can even find the newest smartphone models being sold used online! Typically people hold onto laptops longer than smartphones so it might not be as easy to find the newest laptop model used online, but it is possible. If you’re just doing normal day-to-day tasks on your laptop (browsing the internet, typing documents) an older laptop can be a great option to help you save a lot of cash!

Selection: If you don’t mind purchasing devices that are a model or two older, you have more options to choose from. 

You May Not NEED New: You might barely notice a difference between the newest model and one model older. For example, buying from someone who is looking to sell the iPhone 6 vs. the iPhone 6S might not matter depending on how you’re using it. It’s completely possible that you may not even notice things like the slightly improved camera or speed.

Depreciation: Have you ever heard someone say “as soon as you drive a car off the lot it loses value”? It’s the same with electronics. Once you purchase a new device, take it out of the package and start using it, it starts losing value. When you sell your phone, computer, or tablet in the future, you’re only going to get a fraction of what you originally paid for it new. When you buy used, the difference between what you paid for the device and what you can resell it for can be much smaller!

Cons of Buying Used Electronics

Untrustworthy Sellers: When you’re buying used phones and computers, you should be looking out for anyone that seems sketchy. Avoiding Craigslist and sellers and individuals with no ratings on eBay can help you avoid problems. If you’re buying from a company that resells phones, look up their reviews online.

Warranties: Many used phones are out of the manufacturer’s warranty period, which can mean trouble if you run into a problem. On the other hand, many warranties only cover hardware issues, if there were any defects with the phone’s hardware, the previous owner has more than likely already taken the phone in to be repaired. To be on the safe-side, look for a reseller that offers a warranty. Many resellers will offer a warranty, although they’re typically shorter than a manufacturer warranty, to help ease your mind.

The Verdict

Overall, buying used electronics is a fantastic option for anyone not looking to shell out hundreds of dollars more for a new device—just make sure you’re buying from a reputable seller!