Dos and don’t of buying a used phone or laptop

Buying electronic items such as laptops and phones second-hand is a great way to get the latest gear for a more reasonable price.

However, navigating the used electronics market can be tricky. To ensure you make a smart purchase, here are the dos and don’ts of buying a used laptop or phone.


Research thoroughly

Before diving into the market, research the specific make and model you’re interested in. Look for reviews, specifications, and common issues associated with the device. This will help you make an informed decision.

Buy from trusted sources

When buying used electronics, opt for reputable sources such as certified refurbished programs, authorised dealers, or well-reviewed sellers on online marketplaces. This reduces the risk of purchasing stolen, counterfeit or defective devices.

Check the device’s condition

If possible, inspect the physical condition of the device. Look for scratches, dents, or other signs of wear and tear. Don’t forget to examine the screen, keyboard, and ports.

Test the device

Again, if possible, ask to test the device before buying it. Ensure it powers on, connects to wifi, and runs basic applications smoothly. This way, you can spot any potential performance issues.

Check warranty coverage

If the device is relatively new, check if it’s still under warranty. This can be a significant advantage as it may cover repair costs in case of issues.


Ignore red flags

Be wary of deals that seem too good to be true. For example, if a seller is offering an unusually low price, it might be a scam.

Overlook the battery

Batteries degrade over time. Check the battery health and see if it holds a charge as expected. Replacing a battery can be costly.

Forget about compatibility

If you want your new phone or laptop to work with your current accessories, make sure they are compatible with the device. Not all laptops and phones have the same specifications.

Neglect research on the seller

When buying privately, don’t rush into a purchase without checking the seller’s reputation and reviews. Avoid sellers with a history of negative feedback or suspicious activities.

Neglect security

After purchasing a used device, perform a factory reset to wipe all previous data. This ensures your personal information stays secure.

Buying a used laptop or phone can be a smart way to save money, but it requires careful consideration and doing your due diligence.

Research the device, choose reputable sources, and inspect the device first if you can.

Following these dos and don’ts will get you the device you want at a much better price, while avoiding the lemons.

Have you ever bought a used phone or laptop? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: How to clean a laptop screen or computer monitor

Brad Lockyer
Brad Lockyer
Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.


  1. I’ve bought and sold 900+ items on Gumtree and EBAY. I always trade with payment by PayPal. NEVER PayID or bank transfer.

    EBay have good buyer protection for items not as described. Ask questions before you buy. Sell on Gumtree as EBay charge 13.5% commission.

    Always look at the sellers rating.

    Inspect if you can.

    Beware cash transactions as there are forgeries about. Also beware scams such as ” I’m working offshore my brother will pick up.” Also I overpaid so refund me, then they cancel the order.

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