Expert Tips and Guide to Purchasing a Used Laptop

Are you in the market for a used laptop? Refurbished laptops can be a great way to save a bit of money while still receiving an excellent product. However, a regular, old used laptop will be a dicey deal more often than not. Make sure you understand the essential differences between a good quality refurbished laptop and a very risky used one.

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Most importantly, know the reputation of your seller. Used laptops sold by a third party are being sold for a reason: they are faulty, they are severely out of date, or they are quickly approaching their expiration date.

Never purchase used laptops from a third party seller – unless you’re a computer expert – or you’ll end up spending more money on repairs than on the actual computer itself! Third party sellers include all the regular online markets, like eBay.

On the other hand, purchasing a refurbished laptop directly from the manufacturer can be a great choice. These laptops have often been sent back to the manufacturer because of an aesthetic defect, a minor and easily fixed software/hardware problem, or the owner is keen on upgrading to a newer model.

Once the company receives the returned computer, they fix it up, tack on a warranty, and sell it as ‘refurbished’. The key point to note here is that the manufacturer has guaranteed that the product is in perfect working order and they have issued you with a warranty to prove it. Before you purchase any refurbished laptop, make sure it comes with a manufacturer’s warranty.

Popular manufacturers that distribute good quality refurbished laptops include Lenovo, Dell, and Apple. These products are often offered at a considerable discount, with possibly only a scratch to show for prior use.

Third party sellers may also advertise refurbished laptops, but these can also be a risky purchase – it’s difficult to know when you’re being swindled. If you stick to a recognized manufacturer and purchase directly from them, you will save money and still receive an excellent product.

If you do decide to take a chance and purchase a used laptop from a third party seller, take care to follow these principles:

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  • Check the feedback: Most of these sites have a review section where you can see other customers’ ratings for individual sellers. Also check unrelated sites to see if you can find alternative reviews of your seller.
  • Review the payment method: Make sure you trust the payment method! Money transfer through Western Union may be problematic – avoid that route if you have a choice.
  • Look at the photos: If a seller is advertising a used laptop and the photos are of a brand new computer in the box, or of links to the manufacturer’s site, be warned. Used laptops should look used.
  • Do research:  Know the product – what you’re supposed to be getting – and cross check the details with other sites. A deal that is too good to be true is probably just that.

If you are interested in saving some money, but are still searching for a top of the line product, refurbished laptops are your best bet. Unless you are tech-savvy or have a computer whiz for a partner, it’s best to stay away from any third party seller. Good luck and good hunting!

The DNetWorks Team