Buying Gadgets from Strangers: 3 Rules
Before you plop down your hard-earned cash for that dream second-hand gadget, here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Demand the Gadget’s Serial Number
After you get the serial number, search for it online, on Google, Yahoo, Bing, and any other search engines you can think of. Chances are that, if the gadget you’re about to buy is stolen, the previous owner dutifully reported the theft on user group forums, blogged about, or found a way to publicize the theft online. He or she most likely posted what was stolen (including the item’s serial number), where, and how.
What if the seller refuses to divulge the serial number? Walk away. Why would a seller not reveal the serial number of the item he’s selling? Unless he has something to hide of course.
2. Pay Only Through COD
Sure, if someone scams you through your credit card or a bank deposit, you can always contest these charges and eventually have them reversed. But that’s unnecessary trouble, especially when you can demand to pay only on a cash on delivery basis. And why not? You’re the one risking your money, right?
3. Get Complete Contact Details of the Seller, and Confirm Them
It’s a worst case scenario: everything checks out, you’re enjoying your gadget, and suddenly the real owner pops up; you’re slapped with a fencing charge. In some jurisdictions, the last declared holder of a stolen item will bear the burden of proof, unless he can lead the authorities to the original seller.
In short, make sure you know who to contact if you encounter problems with your new purchase. Aside from warranty purposes, you also need to know who point the finger to in case you’re accused of fencing stolen goods. Most important is that you confirm the contact details and identity of the seller yourself.
Actually, I’d prefer not to buy gadgets from total strangers, but I do understand the chance for genuine bargains is there. Just make sure to keep these 3 rules in mind to protect yourself and your investment!