How to Successfully Buy Used Stuff Online

May 27, 2014

Do you want to save more of your hard-earned money? Are you interested in keeping the landfills clean and taking care of the Earth? Is it just more fun to own something secondhand and imagine the story behind it? Whatever your reasons for wanting to buy used stuff online, it’s a great time to do so because everyone seems to be selling!

But how can you separate the good deals from the bad ones? No one wants to get scammed, but unfortunately the internet by its nature is a bit less transparent and more complicated than simply shopping for something in person, so you have to take care. Here are 4 things you always want to do when you buy used stuff online.

Only go for what you can see. Since you don’t have the option of checking out the merchandise you’re buying in person like you do if you physically walk into a store, it’s imperative that you get to see pictures of anything you’re thinking about buying online – especially when it’s used. Most sellers are smart enough to do this automatically, and many sites even allow you to filter results to ignore those without pics. However, if you run across a seemingly good deal and there’s no picture with it, contact the seller and ask for one.

Keep an eye on shipping. If you’re looking for the best price on something, make sure you’re checking out the total price – including how much the seller is going to charge to ship the item to you. Some sellers will put their regular price just a smidge below everyone else so that people will click on their listing, but then overcharge for shipping to make up for it.

Be specific in your searches. One of the great things about buying online is that you can pretty much find anything you’re looking for – no matter what it is. But it’s important that you’re careful about how you search. Type in “iPhone” and you’re likely to find a lot of things in the iPhone category (i.e. iPhone charger, iPhone case) that aren’t actually printers. This may not seem like a big deal, but you wouldn’t be the first person to buy the wrong product because you weren’t paying attention and it seemed like a really good deal. If something seems way, way cheaper than it should, make sure you read the product description carefully.

Check the seller’s trustworthiness. Most sites like SheepBuy where you can buy used products from individual sellers have some kind of system in place that allows buyers to review their purchases from that seller and rate their satisfaction. Getting scammed doesn’t happen all that often with used products, but if you’re worried about it, sticking only to those with high ratings is a smart move.

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