What to Ask when Buying Pre-Owned Tech Online

Monika Sachan

Free Selective Focus Photography of Person Holding Iphone Displaying White Screen Stock Photo
Man holding a smartphone – Image Courtesy of Pexels

You can take a gamble when buying pre-owned tech online from poor retailers. So always stay vigilant and ask many questions when buying something secondhand. Here are a few.

Check if it Comes with the Required Accessories

Modern electronics and tech stuff need specific accessories. When you buy something pre-owned, it might not have what you need, and this can be a nightmare when you just want to use your new gadget. For example, you might order a pre-owned iPhone SE 2020 only to find you don’t have a charger or a USB cable. So always check before ordering. Fortunately, you can usually find what you need online pretty cheap with OEM or aftermarket products.

Inquire About the Condition

You don’t know the condition of something you are buying until you get it. No retailer is going to say something is in poor condition before selling it to you. All they might say is something like “almost new” or “well used.” These are both ambiguous and depend on what your definition of these is. Email or phone to enquire about the actual condition and ask questions. Additionally, an image on a website might be a generic manufacturer one and not the item you are buying.

What “As-Is” Means when Buying Pre-Owned Tech Online

Some tech retailers will sell you an item “as-is.” This means you get it in its current state without repairs. For example, a smartphone may have 5G but it doesn’t work. Consider these:

  • Ask the retailer if there is a new warranty in place that covers pre-owned items.
  • Be aware of “as-is” sales, which means you get the item whether it works or not.
  • Consider that a short warranty term might not be worth the savings in case of failure.

You need to enquire about sales like this because you have limited options once you buy it. Also, a resale to a new owner can sometimes void the manufacturer warranty of an item.

Ask About Who Did the Refurbishment

Secondhand retailers often buy techs like PCs, phones, and game consoles that need some repair and then have a third party refurbish them. However, the original manufacturer might also do this. This is great news for you since some third-party repair work can be shoddy. If possible, always try to get products that are manufacturer refurbished. Experts at the original company will repair an item to almost good as new with the right tools and spare parts.

Always Ask About Returns

Some problems in products don’t show up right away and could take a week or a couple of months to show their issues. For example, don’t buy a refurbished Xbox if you can’t play with it for at least two weeks, and send it back for free if it isn’t up to standard. Many retailers will offer items like this on “final sale” status, which means you can’t send them back once you have them. So be aware of this and ask about returns. A final sale is also offered on new items.


You can do a few checks first when buying pre-owned tech online. Make sure it comes with all the accessories you need, check if the item is sold “as-is,” and inquire about returns.


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