Great Deals with a Hint of Caution!
Get what you want for cheaper!
Craigslist and Kijiji are today’s way of getting good deals on electronics, finding jobs and even getting a ‘new’ wardrobe. It is amazing the stuff you can find in these places, and much more amazing the prices available.
There have been people who got their whole dining table set for just about $50 and in very good conditions. I have a friend who got her photography kit (camera, bag, chargers, lens and all of that) for just $250 flat, when the retail price for that same set – at that time – was a little over $500, not counting on the warranty and taxes. Her camera is in a great shape; she has it for a while now and never gave her any problems at all.
If you are looking to purchase a new kitchen table, camera, or whatever it is, you might want to check these spots before putting your money on the first big store in the mall.
It is expensive being cheap!
Well, I always get my stuff from the big stores like Future Shop, H&M, and all these places that we all know so well and dearly. Despite that, when it comes to electronics, I always end up with the rotten apple! My computers always end up having some kind of problem. My last Samsung net-book has gone back to be fixed 5 times in 2 years and something tells me that in a couple of months the same problem will pop up right when I need it the most– exam/paper season!
I have always been skeptical of buying things from Craigslist and Kijiji, but I am getting a little tired of paying so much for warranties and taxes and the products themselves, when all I get is bad stuff and awful customer service. So I thought I would give it a try.
I did do my little research at first, to see how many people complain versus number of people that are satisfied. Honestly, I do not know anybody (in person that is) that has a complaint from getting stuff from Craigslist. But I have read about a few online.
What I have noticed is that the complaints come usually when dealing with electronics and technical equipment. Again, most of my friends do get their photographic equipment through Craigslist, so I get a bit confused.
I have actually just read a posting on a Canon EOS T2i for $900 flat, with charger and a 16 GB memory card included. I was all happy, until I looked up the current retail price on different local stores and noticed that I can get the same camera with batteries and charger AND lens for $800 CA.
So… as many of you might have learned already (hopefully not the hard way), these places are great but sometimes they are a rip off. As my grandparents like to say, “sometimes it is expensive being cheap!”.
Take some time – Do your Research!
I get scared away fairly easy and right away I started saying to myself – “this is useless, I’ll have to save up and pay more for better”.
On the other hand, I keep on hearing my friends finding all these great stuff for half of the price. Whenever I ask them they just say they looked it up, set up a meeting and got their stuff, nothing to it – “just take the risk”.
As I mentioned I always get rotten apples on my yard, so I don’t think it is that wise for me to just take the risk with no preparation.
Well, for all of you who share my same bad luck, there are a few things you could do:
1. Research the heck out of it! Go to all local stores (big and small) that carry what you want – check the prices, the warranty options, get a quote from the sales people and all of that. Contrast it to the ad – what do you get, in what conditions for how much?!
2. Get in contact for more information – ask questions about the product being posted and why that person wants to sell it? – are they moving away, upgrading, etc. This gives you a sense of the product's state and the person’s credibility.
Note: also ask about specifics of the product – for how long has it been used, for what purposes. You should always request photos, and if they are serious they would not have a problem in providing them for you.
3. Get a friend that knows the product! For example, if you are trying to get on with your passion for photography and want to get a more “serious set”, you might want to invite a friend or someone that knows photographic equipment well enough to make a good assessment.
Tip: Mention to the person offering to sell, that you are taking a professional/a competent person with you to make an assessment.
4. Set up meeting in public place! – Please do NOT EVER set up to meet with a stranger in private or not so public places! You never know who you will meet.
Warning! If you do meet in a public space like a library, patio café in a busy street, etc. but the person says they forgot something, so you both have to go somewhere to get it – DO NOT MOVE or JUST RUN! Especially if you are alone! This is a trick to get you alone!
5. ‘Test Drive’ – if it is a camera or any kind of electronic device, you should be able to try it. Hold it and give it a try, take a few shots/record something or listen to the sound – depending on the device there are things to look for like image quality, button features, sound check, etc.
Note: Before the meeting, mention that you would like to test it – if they have a problem with it, cancel the whole deal. Also, if you go meet up and the device is out of battery or something – meaning you cannot try it – do not take on the deal!! This can also be a little trick!
Main Lesson: Be prepared!
It is always good to be prepared. My friends have shown me that if you take a little risk you might just get a great deal, but I have learned from my bad luck with electronics that you are never too safe from rotten apples. So do your research, ask lots of questions, and always bring a friend with you that actually knows about the product!
Have a safe deal!
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