old tech

5 Things to Think About When Buying Used Electronics Online

Gone makes it delightfully easy to sell your unwanted electronics, but buying electronics online from sites such as Craigslist and eBay can be hit-or-miss. Buying used electronics is an easy and environmentally-friendly way to save money however we tend to worry that we might get a bad deal on what seemed to be a great steal. Relying on insufficient, one-sided information can be risky business so here are some things to keep in mind when looking for a new (old) laptop or phone.

Age Matters

iphone 6

No one wants to be stuck with the oldest generation iPhone. When buying a used item, ask when the seller first purchased it. If the seller doesn’t know this information, ask for the serial number on the device and look it up. When paying for the item, keep the 50-30-10 rule in mind. The rule is near-to-new items should be sold for 50% of their retail price; slightly used items at 25-30% of retail; and well-worn items at 10% of retail.

Are Conditions Looking Good?

When buying a used item, making sure the device is in good condition is probably the most difficult step. If you are buying online, you have no way of knowing whether you’re buying the item in the picture or description. If the item in the picture or ad looks too good to be true, it probably is. Let the seller know you would like an updated image of the device.

Talk to the seller about a return policy or warranty if you are not satisfied with the item. Ask them about the battery life, any incidents they’ve had with the device, and what accessories come with the device. A quick response from the seller usually eases doubts.


Amazon and eBay have built admirable reputations in the third-party retailer market. A problem with these sites is that you don’t have first-hand access to their products. Although there are now product testings and reviews that help you decide whether the item is worth buying, it is always better to try out a device yourself. Find local deals that beat out these competitors’ prices so you can test the item personally.

Best Time to Buy

Back to School

Computer and tablet manufacturers tend to release newer versions and alternative products at odd times of the year. Apple could announce they are rolling out a new iPhone or Mac at any time, sending Apple lovers in a frenzy to sell their current device and buy the upgrade. The good new is most phones and laptops will certainly still be in great shape.
Around the time that students are heading back to class, people also think it’s time for an upgrade with so many great promotions. Shopping around this time of year means you could get a good deal for a barely-used or acceptable phone, tablet, laptop, or TV.

Don’t Settle

Vendors selling “refurbished” items can be a bit vague. Refurbished could mean the item is brand-new and was simply sent back to the factory, but now it cannot be resold as “new.” Refurbished items could also be items whose boxes were opened and used, or malfunctioned and then repaired. Asking the vendor about the item is one way to make sure you’re not getting ripped off. Research for recalls or malfunctions on the used item you’re looking to buy.

Using your best judgment is always the best guide when buying second-hand electronics. If the offer looks too good to be true, trust your instinct. Research, ask questions, and read item or seller reviews. If you want to be at the other end of the deal, Gone can help you sell your unwanted electronics. Buying used electronics is smart shopping, helps the planet, and beats buying an upgrade at two or three times the price!




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