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Things You Shouldn’t Buy Used

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In Liz Weston’s latest column on MSN Money, she shares a list of ten things you should never buy used. Those familiar with this older Your Take on What Would You Never Buy Used? will see a lot of familiar items (mattresses!)

Here’s her list:

  • Laptops
  • Car seats
  • Plasma and HD TVs
  • DVD players
  • Vacuum cleaners
  • Digital cameras, video cameras
  • Shoes
  • Mattresses
  • Wet suits
  • Helmets

There’s a basic logic on what you shouldn’t buy used and it’s straightforward.

  1. Don’t buy any used safety equipment unless it’s been thoroughly inspected by professionals – this explains why something like a car seat and a helmet is on the list.
  2. Don’t buy any extremely personal products, especially if it conforms to your body. This explains wet suits, shoes, and mattresses.
  3. Finally, don’t buy something in which you can’t confirm, visually or otherwise, that it’s hasn’t been abused. It’s hard to determine how well maintained TVs, DVD players, vacuums, and other electronic devices have been care for by their previous owners.

That said – don’t let those three rules stop you from getting a good deal if you can overcome the rule. For example, if you can get a mechanic to thoroughly inspect a used vehicle (or buy it from a dealership that offers a warranty and a certified inspection), by all means take advantage of it. The list and the rules should be viewed as a guideline, rather as an immutable law.

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17 Responses to “Things You Shouldn’t Buy Used”

  1. Martha says:

    This is a great list for those in college! I seem to remember being willing to sleep on mattresses that I have no clue who slept on them before; whether provided by the university or those in my sorority house! :)

  2. Ice says:

    I purchased a clearance twin size mattress from Sleepys yesterday for only $65. It was a $450 value mattress. The price was reduced because it was a display mattress and 20% coupon discount. But I added a mattress protector for additional $60, which gives the mattress a 10yr manufacture warranty that does not come with clearance mattresses.

    It’s a good purchase for college students and those that moves often! =D

    • Shirley says:

      That IS a good buy! I would buy a mattress that was marked down because it was a display model.

  3. jesinalbuquerque says:

    Underwear. (LOL. The system said my message was too short and sent me back to add more verbiage. Considering the message, hardly worth the effort.

  4. Anthony says:

    Wow! I completely disagree with the first 7 items. I would buy any of those used…

    • cubiclegeoff says:

      I see your point, except for car seats. You don’t know what has happened to it and what condition it’s been in, and is your child worth the risk?

  5. Erik says:

    I would buy any of those electronic items used in a heart beat.

    They may be (possibly) abused but they are also a hell of a lot cheaper. Basically, if the thing turns on, does its purpose and doesn’t fall apart when you pick it up it should be fine. Its all common sense – you wouldn’t buy a couch with a hole in it, then don’t get a laptop with 10 keys missing. *shrug*

  6. Shirley says:

    Shoes are more important than you might think. They quickly take on the wear pattern of their first owner and that can actually do damage to the next owner’s feet, legs or back.

    Whatever the savings, it’s not worth the chance. You only get one pair of feet and they have to last your whole life. Take care of them and treat them well.

  7. Strebkr says:

    Electronics can be a great deal. You have to know something might happen to it down the road, but if the deal is good enough then you have nothing to worry about. Risk vs Reward.

  8. Alan says:

    Laptops – Refurbished laptops are great if you’re looking for a good deal. They last just as long as a new laptop.

    Car seats – I wouldn’t buy used. Safety of your child vs saving a few $$$…

    Plasma and HD TVs – I wouldn’t buy used. Plasmas tend to have a burn in effect. LCDs aren’t so bad.

    DVD players – I don’t see why not, they’re dirt cheap anyway. If it plays DVDs then saving a few $$$s ain’t that big a deal.

    Vacuum cleaners – I wouldn’t buy used, tons of allergens and other microbes from previous owner would be stuck in there.

    Digital cameras, video cameras – Refurbished ones are great here as well. Same as the laptops.

    Shoes – Never…that’s just gross.

    Mattresses – Its illegal to sell a used mattress, but if the store had a display model for a great deal, sure why not?

    Wet suits – Don’t have any experience with them…but I put them in the same category as the shoes…

    Helmets – NEVER, being a motorcycle rider I know the importance of a good helmet, the outside might look fine, but its the inner reinforcements that are important. Even dropping your helmet on the floor reduces it’s effectiveness. Against you’re safety vs a few $$$s.

  9. Nate says:

    With the exception of the laptop, cameras, wetsuits and mattresses, we’ve purchased every other item listed here used. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t or might wear out sooner. We’ve learned from some experiences and don’t buy some of these items used anymore, but it can still be a good idea to save money. Inspecting the quality of the product is key (that’s why it can be tough to purchase online at times).

  10. freeby50 says:

    I wouldn’t buy a used TV since it doesn’t seem you can find very good bargains. A new 32″ TV is $300 on BestBuy and people on Craigslist are trying to sell 32″ for $280 to $350. If you can’t get a used for a better discount then that then buying used doesn’t make any sense.

    However I don’t agree with the argument against buying used TVs given in the article. They seem to make the argument that you should buy new for fear of the TV breaking down. Newer TVs really don’t break down that much and thats not a very good reason to avoid buying used in my opinion. The article even says that defect rates are down to just 1%. I really don’t see how 1% defect rate is anything to demand paying a bunch more money to get an extended warranty.

  11. Joe says:

    I’ve heard of not buying used shoes before. But I thought electronics like a DVD player or camera were decent buys since most people get rid of their old versions simply because the got a fancier new one.

  12. daenyll says:

    I would consider the electronics depending on price and maybe the vacuum. If it were a canister vac and you replaced the filters, as long as the actual mechanism still works I don’t see a huge problem with any allergens(no more so than an apartment with carpet would pose anyway).

  13. skylog says:

    shoes? no thank you. mattresses? um no. i would consider most of the electronics items on the list, but there are good reasons to also avoid them.

  14. coolinmoolin says:

    There are several things listed above that I don’t want to buy it used

    # Shoes
    # Mattresses
    # Wet suits
    # Helmets

    But for any electronic devices, I can tolerate it as long as it have been inspected carefully by professional.

  15. John. says:

    I have had great luck with shoes from thrift stores, and find much better ones than I could ever afford new. Good shoes can last an awful lot longer than you would expect.


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