Tips on buying second-hand products

Before buying second hand products, always think of your safety. Whether buying used articles such as cars, toys, electrical appliance, portable fire extinguishers, motorcycle helmets or vehicle jacks, you're your top priority must be safety. You cannot expect top quality from used articles so you should be more cautious when buying such items. Consider the following tips:

1. Many products, by law must comply with mandatory safety standards before they are sold in a business situation. These include such list products such as electric fans, flat irons, LPG, portable fire extinguisher, safety belts The Bureau of Product Standards of DTI is mandated by law to regulate compliance to standards of these products. In most cases, the product was safe when new, but after normal wear and tear, it may be hard to tell whether it is safe or not.

2. Scrap materials used as substitute for high cost and brand new construction materials such as "kabilya" or steel bars, nails, GI sheets and plywood bought from junkshops may be at give-away prices as these are priced per kilo. But they may pose hazard to lives and safety as well as damage to our property. (These construction materials are all under mandatory product standards).

3. Look for safety instructions or warnings that may be missing when buying used electrical appliances. Wiring problems can lead to house fires. Try to plug the appliance prior to purchase for several minutes before deciding to buy it. Typical used appliances sold are toasters, ovens, turbo broilers, rice cookers, refrigerators and washing machines. Make sure metal products are not showing sighs of corrosion.

4. Consider too if spare parts of these second hand items are still available.

5. When buying used items for your kids like basketball nets, cots, strollers, and bean bags, check there are parts that can cause choking, suffocation or strangulation.

6. You may still be entitled to a refund, replacement, or repair of a purchased second hand item. However, if the item is marked as damaged or as-is, you are accepting the product in that condition. When buying second hand products, remember the golden rule. If I am buying 'as is' or 'as traded', there is no guarantee that a) it will work properly and safely or b) continue to do so for any length of time after purchase.

7. Try to compare prices between new and used articles. If the difference is not all that big, your investment and your peace of mind that the brand new product is safe and covered by a warranty is very much worth the extra amount. A cheaper product may be a false economy if it injures someone or risk a fire in your house when you bought second hand appliances.

8. If you are buying an item that has been re-furbished, find out what refurbishments have been done. Also, determine if any of the major parts which have not been re-furbished are likely to fail, given the age and use of the machine (if it can be determined). Best to be prepared for repair expenses, if ever.

9. Ensure you know the warranty details. Are you getting Parts and Labour or just labour? Will you have to ship the product back to the supplier at your expense (this is the usual case) or will you cop both shipment and return costs? If the warranty states 'or replacement product', is that product a similar product of similar age, or is it to be replaced with a new product within the allotted time?

We hope these tips will help us become savvy shoppers. After all, we all deserve value for money...


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