Time to part with lots of lolly, fa la la la laaa, la la la laa.
Bought a laptop from the auction, fa la la la laaaa, la la la laa.
Got it home and now it's crapped out, fa la la la laaaa, la laa laa laaaaa.
Jesting aside, buying a second hand laptop can be fraught with problems, depending where you buy it from.
Without exception, all the laptops I've seen at the various auction houses I wouldn't entertain. They look nice on the outside, all nice an clean (for the most part). It's when you start looking what's on the inside that you realise it's about to expire.
My rule of thumb for selling second hand pc's is - would I use it? If I answer no, then I don't see why I should expect my customers to either.
How do you know what to look for?
Firstly, look at the brand. Proper brands (Acer, HP, Toshiba) will usually be OK, although I wouldn't touch Acer or HP myself but if it's a cheapie brand, then don't expect it to last very long.
Well, if it's running, see who the previous owner was. If it says 'owner' or 'user' then you know it's been reinstalled with an illegal operating system (unless it has the manufacturers installation disc with it). Check that the operating system is the same one that's on the label on the laptop.
Check the size of the hard drive. If it's 80G or less, it's probably the original or a second hand one and if it has windows xp on it, it could be over ten years old. If it has a small hard drive and anything newer than windows xp, then it's definitely an illegal operating system and you should steer clear because it probably won't work properly. Again, check the labels on the laptop.
Another thing to look at is how much memory does it have. You need a MINIMUM of 1G to run xp or vista and more for win7. When xp first came out, it would run on a pc with just 128M of ram (memory) and many still have just 256M. Avoid these like the plague.
What programs does it have installed, if none, once again, it's probably a hookey OS so don't expect it to run properly. I have a customer who had a 'modified' copy of xp installed by somebody wanting to show off how clever they were. That has now crapped out to such an extent it's almost unusable and he needs a proper copy of windows installing now.
I'm always suspicious of 'modified' copies of windows. What has been modified, what has been added. It could easily have spyware added in, trojans or anything they desire.
I've also seen laptops for sale on facebook and enquired about them. Some definitely have the wrong version of windows on them because I checked with the manufacturers website. When I asked the seller (someone who sells them for a living) about this, the answer I got was 'that's what it had on it when I got it'. My comment about that is - liar.
I did ask some other questions as well, including recovery discs. He's selling machines with win7 on them 'with the disc that came with it'. Thing is, on checking, some of those machines came with vista ONLY - never had win7 on them at any time. That means you are paying over the odds for an old pc - and one that I wouldn't use.
I don't consider €200 to be a fair price for a five year old laptop. Why? Because the life expectancy is five to seven years for a decent model in good hands.
- check the manufacturers website to see what version of windows it should have
- check labels on it - all laptops less than 8 years old will tell you the windows version
- check size of hard drive
- check how much memory (don't touch anything with less than 1G)
- make sure you have minimum 6 months full warranty (repair, replace or cash back)
- avoid 'modified' copies of windows
- insist on official recovery discs (it's built in to some pc's - HP & Compaq and others - make sure they work
- don't buy cheap models or nondescript brands
- do your research and know what spec you want
- buy from a recognised bona fide trader, not from facebook or the man in the pub
Sorry, I don't currently have any used laptops that I would sell to my clients.