Mississauga, Canada (PressExposure) March 21, 2009 -- "I think most people purchase way more power than they need in a computer," says Joe Kraynak, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Computer Basics (Alpha). "I have several computers in my home. One is over five years old and can do just about everything my family and I use it for -- typing and printing documents, checking email and surfing the web."
So how do you know what to look for? Here are some tips for getting a good deal on used computer equipment online:
Tip No. 1: Buy refurbished from the manufacturer's web site What makes an item refurbished? It might have a scratch or a dent. Maybe it was a store model. Or maybe the box was opened by a customer, who returned the item without using it. Either way, refurbished computer equipment is usually sold at a discount, directly from the manufacturer's web site, such as Apple, Dell or Hewlett-Packard. Make sure the refurbished equipment comes with a warranty and an option to return, in case the computer or accessories are not everything you thought they'd be.
Tip No. 2: Beware of private sellers You might find what looks like a good deal on Craigslist or eBay, but it's hard to protect yourself against fraud or disappointment when working with private sellers. If you buy from a private seller, call the manufacturer to verify whether the machine is still under warranty and whether the warranty is transferable. If it's not, you should expect a very deep discount on that machine. After all, computer equipment eventually fails -- and you could end up with a failed machine the very next day and no way to return it.