I’m all about saving some dough at the local flea market, and there is a ton of stuff that you can score for cheap used. But buyer beware: purchasing some things second-hand can actually end up costing you more in the long run—and some of these items can be downright dangerous. So think twice about picking them up at the next yard sale or passing them on when you’re finished…
1. Laptops: Laptops are prone to all sorts of abuse and problems because of their portability. That MacBook may appear like it’s in perfect condition, but do you know how many times it’s been dropped, or if the battery is going to die on you in five minutes? Not to mention all of those viruses that could potentially be lurking on the hard drive. Unless you buy refurbished, you won’t get the warranties or tech support that come along with buying new. Once that laptop stops working all together, you’ll wish you just spent some extra cash on a brand new one.
2. Mattresses and bedding: Is it really worth saving a few bucks to possibly be sleeping with other people’s bacteria, mites and mold? No! Even the best mattresses only have a life span of eight to ten years, so you may be finding yourself stuck with an expired mattress. Used bedding is particularly dangerous in cities, where bed bugs are always a concern. So just don’t do it.
3. Blenders: To work their best, blender blades must be extremely sharp. If you buy one used, you may be stuck with extra chunky smoothies—not to mention rust and other harmful bacteria in your “healthy” snack. With food appliances in general, you never know what the former owner used to chop. For example: if they attempted to ground hamburger, your bargain blender is likely contaminated. Better to stick with an inexpensive one than risk sickness or injury.
4. Cribs and children’s furniture: Yes, there are many expenses that come along with a new baby, but most items are necessary to purchase new to ensure your child’s safety. Used children’s furniture, especially cribs, can be a safety hazard because you can’t be certain of a potential recall or if the crib was installed correctly. And have you ever seen a baby bouncing around in one of those? They get a lot of wear and tear from one baby!
5. Software: Don’t be surprised when you get home to use your “new” used software, and before you can even install it, a special code is needed. Manufacturers put this code on the product so it doesn’t get bought and sold used, leaving you with a worthless disk. Before buying used, try going online to see if any updates are available for download. If you’ve used the product before (like Microsoft Office) you might be up for a free upgrade—bugs not included.