Buying certain items used can be a financially intelligent strategy. Why pay the premium for a new item when you could often save more than 50% on the price by purchasing it used? However, not everything should be purchased new. In fact, saving money on certain products can affect your health and safety, as well as give you a headache. There are 10 things you should never purchase used.
- Mattresses/Bedding – Think about the activities you partake in on your own sheets and mattress. Then imagine buying someone else’s! Used mattresses contain a medley of bacteria, bodily fluids, mold, and bed bugs. Some unscrupulous retailers ignore federal guidelines that mandate proper labeling of used mattresses. Mattresses typically last 8 to 10 years before it’s time to purchase another one. It’s better to be safe than itchy!
- Cribs – Taking care of a baby can be very expensive, and some parents have to cut corners. However, used children’s furniture, cribs especially, can be a real safety hazard. If you buy a used crib online, you cannot be certain of a potential recall or even if the crib was installed correctly. Unless it’s from a trusted source, you should not jeopardize the safety of your baby with a used crib. Even used car seats need to be in good condition and meet current safety standards.
- Laptops – To the average consumer, buying used electronics can be a gamble. If you comb Craigslist or eBay, you will see hundreds of postings for used laptops. However, these fragile pieces of equipment might have been spilled on, banged on, or left with no warranty. Attempting to save a few hundred dollars on a used laptop that may only last one month wastes more money than purchasing one new. Unless you are buying a refurbished laptop with a warranty certified by the manufacturer, save up and buy a new one.
- DVD Players – Used DVD players also pose a problem if purchased used. Depending on how long the player has been used, the output quality could be very low. The internal lasers that read the DVDs wear out over time, and the cost to correct the problem is just not worth it. DVD players are selling for as low as $25 in retail stores, which is very competitive with used versions.
- Flat Screen Televisions – The excitement of enjoying a bargain by buying used electronics can cost you more than anticipated. Flat screen televisions, plasmas and HDTV’s use expensive bulbs that can cost about $300 to replace. If Joe from Craigslist is selling his used plasma to you, but cannot remember when he bought the TV and does not have a warranty, it would be just your luck that the television bulbs burn out within a week. With expensive repairs and defects, buying a used flat screen television might not be a wise investment.
- Undergarments – These items are designed to be used by the original person who bought it. Bathing suits, underwear, wet suits and lingerie are rampant at thrift stores. Buying used underwear is not only unappealing, but could pose a health hazard. Dried stains, bugs and skin infections can make you prone to a bacterial outbreak. Don’t ever buy used undergarments due to the unsanitary risk.
- Appliances – Like electronics, appliances are a machine that can be damaged beyond what you can see. Used appliances are tempting to buy used, but if a single expensive part is broken and there’s no warranty, it is useless. Also, most of the older, used models are not energy efficient, which will increase your household bills.
- Makeup – Makeup is another product that poses an extreme health hazard. Several online websites sell used makeup, but is it really worth it? Used makeup is a breeding ground for bacteria and a number of contagious diseases like pink eye and cold sores. How much more can it really be to just stop by your local drugstore?
- Shoes – Garage sales and thrift stores always seem to have a few pairs of used shoes and socks for sale. The fact is used foot ware is prone to fungi. In addition, that shoe has been worn and molded by someone else’s feet, which will most likely make them uncomfortable for your feet. You are better off stopping by Payless and picking up a cheap pair of shoes.
- Hats – This is the last hygiene plea for all used sale fanatics. Buying used hats is a sanitary faux pas. Used hats were likely not cleaned before they were donated. Skin infections, old sweat stains, hair products and lice don’t sound too appealing. In this case, infection is guaranteed.
Of course, there are are stranger used items that people try to sell, including prescription medicine. Exercise a little caution when you decide to buy used because some items are better off buying new – even if you have to pay a few more pennies.