How do I get Refurbished laptop?

Laptops are more affordable then ever. Prices have dropped enough to make laptops available to most consumers who need a mobile computer for school, work or personal use. Even though they are more affordable, buying a laptop is still a major investment. One way to soften the financial blow is by purchasing a used or refurbished laptop from either a private seller, a retail vendor or a liquidator who is clearing out off-lease laptops. While the price may be lower, there are many things consumers must learn before buying a used laptop. Shoppers must: know the seller, know the products, and know where to buy.

1) know the seller
There are several red flags to watch out for when determining with whom you are dealing (and if you should deal with them at all!):

-Check the feedback. Is there a feedback system on the site? If the seller seems to be amerchant, do they have consistent track record providing the product you want to purchase? If the seller seems to be an individual, do they have more than one model for sale? It would be unusual for a private seller should to have more than one model for sale at a time - if they do, be suspicious.

-Check the payment method. Are the payment terms odd or inconvenient? Do they only accept Western Union? (Never send money via WU to someone you don't know. There is no recourse if you have trouble, and scammers know this!)

-Check the seller's location. If the seller is international, this shouldn't be an immediate red flag, but if they are international and offer free shipping, this is a major red flag. This wouldn't be cost efficient for anyone but a scammer.

-Check the photos. Are there any actual photos of the laptop? Generally, a scammer doesn't have the actual product in hand to take photos, but keep in mind that they can easily swipe photos from a personal website. The absence of real product photos does not indicate a scam, but it should be considered as a part of the bigger picture.

-Check the time. Is the seller in a major hurry? Is it a 2-day auction? Legitimate sellers can also be a in a hurry, but if you feel that the seller is really rushing, make sure to take this into account.

-Check the deal. You know what they always say: "If it sounds too good to be true..." I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but totally unbelievable deals are just that - not believable. 

Bottom line: If you feel suspicious, listen to your gut. A private seller that is trying to come off as a retailer will probably have holes in their story that you can expose by cheking for red flags. A private seller trying to scam you probably won't have their ducks in a row well enough to pull off a swindle on an educated consumer. 

2) Know the Product
Some things to keep in mind when shopping for a used (not refurbished) laptop:

-You will probably need to buy a new battery. There are specific draining and charging procedures for laptop batteries. Chances are that the seller did not always follow these procedures (does anyone?). Make sure to account for the price of a new battery when you are shopping so you aren't hit with an unexpected after-purchase cost.

-You really have no idea what that laptop has been through. Laptops were created to be mobile. You really don't (and can't) know how many times that laptop was dropped, spilled on, walked on, etc. While the seller is obligated to disclose any known defects, you can't be certain to you are hearing the whole story. These undisclosed accidents could cause you problems down the line.

-Expect some scratches. With movement comes scratches, so depending upon the age, expect a certain amount of wear and tear. If you are prepared for this, you won't be as disappointed. If it doesn't affect the performance of the computer, try not to worry about it.

3) know where to buy

While you can scour any laptop-related site for potential for sale ads, you also end up wasting a great deal of time that way! Instead, there are a handful of high-traffic websites out there that consistently have used laptops and refurbished laptops for sale.

If you are in the market for a used or refurbished laptop, you should take some time to get familiar with market conditions and the systems that tend to become available. If you are researching on Ebay, watch some auctions to see how the bidding goes. Get very comfortable with used laptop pricing before you get emotionally attached to any one system. If you are shopping in a more retail environment, like, you won't need to watch prices change like an auction, but the inventory changes often and if you don't see what you want there now, keep checking back. Make sure to check return policies on refurbished systems to avoid any possible buyer's remorse.

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