3 Things you need to know about used products

Why you should buy used products

What you may not know about used products 


If not for price difference, I don’t think anyone will want to buy used products. Everyone wants something new. That feeling you get when you tear off the factory wraps of your car or cut the seal of new phone or accessory. Even better is that satisfaction that you are the first to use it. Using a mobile phone as an example, you are sure that no one else’s details have been input on your mobile phone  and so on. 


Budget however makes us rethink at times. Most used cars sell for half of the purchase price of a new one in just 3 years, within which it would have been under the manufacturers warranty. This means that if there has been any problem, it would have been fixed to the manufacturers quality level. 


So if you want to buy a good used car and cant afford to pay for the cost of a new car, going for a 3 year old car that has just come out of warranty might not be a bad idea. 


This however is not a very good example that justifies this article. Let’s talk about used electronics, using mobile phones as an example. 


Some of the mobile phones that are being sold as “used” have not in reality, been used. 


I have used this technique to purchase so many items that have been discounted up to 50% sometimes and even more. 


What is it that you need to know… 


3 things 

  1. Some of the products that are marked and sold as used, are just returns 
  2. During shipping or packaging, some products become dented and lose their cosmetic finish. 
  3. Refurbished items 


There is a third category, that included products that have been repaired to manufacturers standard and so are “new again” in effect. But I have chosen not to include this category because, they have been opened and the inside might have been tampered with. 


So do these 3 reasons mentioned above, discourage you from buying? For me, it doesn’t and is a matter of choice. Let’s talk more about them. 


Returned Items

Most big merchants that we know, offer returns on their items (based on certain terms and conditions and you). When these items get returned for any reason, they can no longer be sold as “new” and are then classed as “Used”. One of the reasons for returns is “product not as described” which means that the previous buyer may not have used it at all. So, if the product was in a “returnable condition”, then the products are definitely usable. Sometimes when it is a defect, they fix it and then sell it as new 


I have made very good buys of used products from these merchants’ outlets and haven’t regretted any of them. 


Argos – We have no affiliation with them 

Amazon  – We may get a commission from some products you buy from here, within 24 hours of your clicking through to Amazon 



“Dented” Items

Some products become scratched or receive some form of dent during packaging or shipping and as part of quality check processes by retailers, products in this category are singled out by most retailers not to be sold as new products. 

So how do they find this out? 

As part of quality control processes, random items in every batch of items delivered to retailers are picked and checked. The process includes opening up the products and properly testing them. There are a lot of techniques involved, including visual inspection, to decide which part of the delivered batch could have been subjected to some form of damage, and so on. Lets not deviate so much… 

What you need to know is that defective products would most likely have been detected at this stage (although not all the time) and while they might have been cosmetically damaged, they are still good function-wise. 

Retailers make some form of judgement on how much this will be sold and most of the time, the price knocked of the products are considerably more than the damage to it. If you are not worried about looks, this is it – a perfect opportunity to save some money. 

Retailers will most likely specify the damage to the product in their description and they are almost always exaggerated. 


Refurbished Items

When it comes to software, defects could occur regularly, partly due to poor testing during manufacturing, or some form of oversight.  

Recall the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 battery problems that resulted in the phablet being permanently withdrawn from the market? This is an extreme case, but just an example of the responsibility of manufacturers to their consumers. 

As part of the responsibility of manufacturers, products that malfunction within the warranty period, may need to be fixed for the customer free of charge (depending on the terms of sale). 

There are a number of possible scenarios that could occur 

  •  The customer returns the product and is issued a replacement while the defective product is sent out to be fixed 
  • During quality testing of the products, some are found to be defective and sent away to be fixed. 

In any of the 2 scenarios mentioned above, the product will come back into the market as a “used” product, although some retailers will be more specific to refer to them as refurbished. 


Most big retailers will not include “refurbished” items in their used category, which leaves us to the first 2 mentioned above –  the returned items and the dented items. 


This does not mean that products that have been previously used, are not included in the “used” category, but it is most unlikely that this is not the case for big retailers and even when they do, it must have been thoroughly tested and quality checked. 


In conclusion, 

I wouldn’t advise you to get a used product from a private seller on eBay – it may or may not be good, but when it comes to some big players in the retail industry… 


…You have nothing to lose. 


Worst case scenario – return it. 


Give it a try. 



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