Buying a second-hand computer

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As a rule we don’t recommend buying second hand computers. But many people do anyway.

10 February 2003.

Generally we find second hand computers more trouble than they are worth. With cheap computers costing less than a thousand dollars, buying a second hand computer seems false economy. But some people insist on buying second hand and sometimes they even get a good deal.

If you are looking at buying a second hand computer there are ways to improve your chances of getting a good deal.

Make sure you get the software.

The biggest objection with second hand computers is that you rarely get the software. This can turn into a very expensive problem. The only good second-hand deals we see are when the buyer gets the software disks and the licences.

Check that everything properly

This goes without saying, check the computer before you take it. Check the video works, the CDs and floppies are working and the modem works. Replacing just one part can make a second-hand computer uneconomical.

Pay the right price.

Just because the system cost $5000 three years ago doesn’t mean it’s worth that today. A three-year old computer is, at best, worth a quarter of what was paid for it. Check the prices of new computers with the latest specs before buying second hand.

Don’t buy at auction

In our experience computer auctions are for mugs. People pay too much for old computers and equipment, often without even knowing if they work. It’s extremely rare that software and licences are included with computers at auction. If you insist on bidding on computers at auction, factor in the cost of new software and the risk of buying a dud.

It is possible to get a good deal on a second-hand computer but we don’t often see them. All too often we have seen people pay too much for too little. With new computers available for under a thousand dollars it just doesn’t make sense to buy a second hand computer.

PC Rescue Pty Ltd
Suite 236, 4 Young Street Neutral Bay NSW 2089
ABN 082 635 765
Technology Publishing Australia, 2011