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Top tips for bidding and buying secondhand electronics from online auctions
3 mins

Top tips for buying secondhand electronics


With the ever-increasing popularity of online auctions, buying secondhand electronics has become more accessible than ever. Our auctions offer a wide range of tech items at competitive prices, making it an enticing option for electronics enthusiasts and budget-conscious buyers, You’ll find retail returns ex-display and damaged goods, so there is generally a wide range of electrical items on offer in varying condition at any one time. Purchasing secondhand electronics requires planning and consideration to ensure a successful experience. In this blog we’ll look at the essential factors to consider when buying secondhand tech. Let's dive in!

Evaluate the item’s condition

Make sure you carefully study the description and photos of the lot you’re interested in. Since you can't physically inspect it before placing a bid, take your time. Look out for lots that provide multiple high-quality photos from different angles and scrutinize these images to identify any signs of wear, damage, or missing parts. Pay attention to close-ups of screens, connectors, and buttons to ensure they are intact and functional. Detailed photos and copy can give you a better understanding of the item's condition and help you make an informed bidding decision. We encourage our vendors to give as much detail as possible in their descriptions and to be completely honest about an item’s condition. If you spot something you want to know more about, use our chat function to pop your query over.

Research the value and decide your budget

Before you start bidding, it’s always advisable to research the market value of the tech item you're interested in and decide your maximum budget. Look for comparable listings in live auctions or check recent sales of similar items. This research will give you an idea of the fair price range for the item. Set a maximum bid that aligns with the value and your budget, keeping in mind any additional fees. If you do get outbid we’ll let you know and you can decide whether you want to go higher.

Familarise yourself with the fees

You’ll see these clearly displayed within each auction. You need to add these onto whatever the final hammer value is of the tech you’re bidding for. Buyer’s Premium (or BP) varies between auctions, then you sometimes have VAT of 20% on top of that. Then there’s just the delivery cost to factor in. You might be able to collect your purchase depending on where and what it is. Again, the information is shown within the details of each auction.

Buy from a reputable source

Buying online without seeing what you’re purchasing is a bit of a leap of faith unless you know you’re dealing with a trustworthy marketplace. You can have peace of mind with William George as if in the unlikely event the item turns out not to match the photos or description, you won’t lose your money.

Consider purchasing a pallet

We hold regular auctions of retail returns with a number of these live at any one time. These provide a great opportunity to get your hands on some big brands at bargain prices and these usually include pallets of small domestic appliances. You’ll be aware of what’s included in each pallet before you bid, as this will always be included in the description, so you’ll have a list of exactly what you’re bringing home, you just won’t know the condition until you open up your purchase. Of course, there is risk involved with this, but it offers an opportunity to buy desirable brands including Smeg, Dyson, Samsung and Bosch at very low prices. Many of our return auctions are sold on a no reserve basis so there truly are some bargains to be had!

Usually condition reports aren’t available on pallets of returns, but sometimes they might be graded – typically grade A is new and unused and B is used with cosmetic marks etc.

Many of our customers buy from these sales for personal use, but buying returns also offers a great way of making money by splitting up the pallet and reselling the items individually. Having knowledge about electronic goods is a bonus, as if you have the skills to return the goods to being in mint condition, you’ll be in a great position!

Buying secondhand tech items from online auctions should be an exciting and rewarding experience and by considering the factors outlined above you can navigate these auctions with confidence. Remember to ask questions if in doubt, and always make informed decisions. Following our tips, you're well-equipped to find excellent tech deals and enjoy the benefits of secondhand electronics while shopping in online auctions. Head over and see what's available right now - happy bidding!