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's amazing the stuff you can find in these places, and even more amazing the prices available.
There have been people who got their whole dining table set for just about $50 and in excellent 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 great shape; she has had 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 leaving your money on the first big store in the mall.
Becareful Though, Sometimes It's Expensive Being Cheap!
Have you ever gotten a rotten apple deal? I have, and it's not fun, let me tell you! Purchasing from Kijiji and Craigslist can increase the chances of getting a bad product. That being said, all the crapy products I've ever had were actually purchased at big stores like Future Shop, Canadian Tire, among others. For instance, my last Samsung netbook has gone back for fixing five times in two 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 the 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 usually arise when dealing with electronics and technical equipment. Again, most of my friends do get their photographic equipment through Craigslist. So, I guess you have to do your due diligence.
Plus, some of the 'deals' are not really deals, which you can catch with a little research. I just read a posting on Kijiji, about 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 could get the same camera with batteries and charger AND lens for $800 CA. So much for the deal! If you're not careful you can also get damaged goods - below are some of the things you can do to avoid this.
So, as you may have learned already (hopefully not the hard way), these places are great, but sometimes they can be a rip-off. As my grandparents like to say, “sometimes it's expensive being cheap!”.
A Few Steps to Avoid Scams
I get scared away easily, 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 in my yard, so I don’t think it is that wise for me to 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 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 trick from scammers!
Other Places to Get Great Deals:
With Kijiji and Craigslist, you often have to pick up the item in person, which might not be convenient or even safe. There are other places where you can still get good deals, but not have to leave your house (well, you may have to pick it up from your local postal office).
E-bay: you can browse thousands of items, from a broad range of categories. Just click to purchase and wait for it to arrive at your door.
Amazon: I personally prefer Amazon to Ebay, but that may be because I simply don't get how to use Ebay. Amazon also has a wide range of categories and products, and you can purchase new or used. What I really like about Amazon is that you can compare different vendors and go for the best deal! Unlike Kijiji and Craigslist, Amazon usually has excellent deals, from reliable vendors. For instance, I just found a great Canon photography kit, much more advanced than my current DSL camera, for half the price of mine.
Main Lesson Here: Do Your Research!
It is always good to be prepared. From what I have seen and heard, you can get great deals online. But, from personal experience, I have also learned from that one is never too safe from rotten apples! So do your research, ask lots of questions, and always bring a friend with you who knows about the product!
So do your research! Hopefully, by following the steps above you can, at the very least, reduce your chances of falling for scams or getting damaged goods.
Have a safe deal!