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A guide to finding that must have gadget for less money, from the UK's leading online auction house.
3 Mins

Get that must-have gadget for less

Ben Smith
Ben Smith

Many of you will remember that must-have toy in the late 90s – the Thunderbirds Tracy Island. No, not the one fashioned from old toilet rolls, tissue boxes and an empty cream cheese box by a glamorous Anthea Turner on Blue Peter. The plastic one available from all good toy shops.

These days, the must-have gadgets do ever more clever tricks and are getting pricier to match. And of course they aren’t just for kids, with many of us dreaming of that dream piece by Smeg or Sage.

But never fear, here at William George there are gadgets galore and the canny buyer among us can be confident about picking them up for a song. Here are our top tips for finding a bargain in the world of gadgets.

Returns auctions

One of our most common auction types are retail returns auctions so be sure to keep an eye out for them. Here you’ll find some real bargains and with stock from the likes of John Lewis, Homebase and much more besides.

These are products that have been returned to a shop for a variety of reasons – wrong item bought, scratched or damaged, or a customer simply changed their mind.

Often there’s nothing wrong with them but sometimes there is – but if you’re happy with a gadget that works perfectly while not quite looking as new then there are some fabulous deals to be had. Honestly, does it really matter hugely if your four-slot Dualit toaster has a scratch on the back?

Take a gamble

We regularly get listings of raw returns – this is stock that has been returned to a store, as discussed above, and is being sold on unchecked.

As mentioned, products can be returned to a shop for any number of reasons so there’s a good chance that must-have gadget will work perfectly. If it doesn’t, why not have a go at fixing it yourself? It’s a growing hobby and there even “repair parties” around the country where you can get help from budding experts.

Failing that, you could take it to tradesman who can repair it for you. Usually you’ll find it’s still cheaper than buying at the retail price.

There are some eye-wateringly good bargains to be had if you’re happy to take the risk.

Buy in bulk

Here’s where there can be some serious savings to be made – and with a bit of hard graft you could even turn a profit.

Pallets of returns are exactly what you’d expect – a pallet filled with returned stock, usually bundled together with similar products.

Sometimes you’ll find graded returns – where it’s marked according to the condition – and sometimes it’s raw or ungraded.

The description will give a full list of what to expect and often includes the recommended retail price (RRP) so you can see what you’re buying.

If there’s one high-end product in there that you’re after and would usually cost hundreds or thousands of pounds you could be quids-in.

Take a Sage The Oracle Bean-to-Cup coffee machine which this author seriously desires (hint hint readers) – it can cost upwards of £1,700 brand new. If you found one of those in a pallet of returns sourced from John Lewis with maybe 15 other small electricals and snapped the pallet up for £1,000 you’re laughing.

Even if you pay more, you’ve got a good chance of making at least some of your money back by reselling any unwanted items. Either that or you’re set for life with microwaves and toasters, and a present for Great-aunt Enid. A fantastic way to do the Christmas shop in one swoop or kit-out a new home.

Shop around

Look at what your favourite gadget is going for in the shops, check online for the price elsewhere and come to the auctions here at William George armed with that knowledge. The more you know the better chance you have of winning the lot and grabbing yourself a bargain.

Go on, treat yourself to a new coffee machine, it’s been a rough year...

Head over to our latest auction of returns sourced from John Lewis right now and letting the bidding commence!