Purchasing second-hand appliances
When it comes to buying used goods the Consumer Protection Act 1999 and the Sale of Goods Act (as amended) 2002 have limited application.
Essentially, the principle of “caveat emptor”, or let the buyer beware, applies – this is especially important to remember when buying used items that are costly, such as major appliances.
If you are replacing a household appliance and are considering buying secondhand, proceed with caution. Here are some useful tips.
- Look at and price new appliances before you go shopping for a used one, so that you are aware of the value and don’t overpay.
- Be mindful of what features are important to you.
- Check with appliance dealers – they may have “scratch and dent” items or refurbished appliances in their warehouse that they are willing to sell.
- Look at appliances very carefully to see if it appears to have been well cared for, if it may have been repaired or if it is missing any parts.
- Plug it in and listen to it. Try the controls and make sure that everything works.
- Ask how old the appliance is. The life expectancy of most major household appliances varies from 1 – 17 years based on the type of appliance. You can find out this information on line. Deduct the age of the appliance to find out roughly how many years of service you can expect to get.
- Try to estimate the amount of use the appliance has had. If you are buying from a private owner with a large family, any major appliance has probably had a plenty of use – a washing machine, for instance, will probably have been used almost daily by a large family, once a week by one or two people.
- Ask why the appliance is being sold.
- If you are buying from a dealer, find out if the appliance has been rebuilt or repaired and if delivery and installation are included in the price.
- Find out where you can get parts and service. This is very important. The appliance may be for sale because parts and service are no longer available or because service is poor.
- Ask about the warranty. If a motor has been rebuilt, you should get a warranty covering it. If you are buying from a private owner, the warranty may still be valid. Ask for it – read it – some warranties are in effect only as long as the appliance is owned by the original buyer.
- Get the use-and-care manual it if is available. If not, contact the manufacturer, giving the model number, and ask for a manual.
- Check that the appliance has not been recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) which is enforceable in Bermuda.
- Before you buy your used appliance ask your insurance representative for information on insuring the appliance.
Buying secondhand can be rewarding but it does have its risks. Use the same good judgment and planning skills you would if you were buying brand new to avoid getting ripped off.
- Sales are final once you exchange money and receive the item;
- Ask for a receipt which shows what you have bought with the date, name, address and telephone number of the seller, and any conditions of sale;
- If you pay a deposit, get a receipt and make note of the agreement you have with the seller regarding remainder of payment, collection of product and time frame. Make sure both parties sign the agreement.