Recently I was in need of a laptop and decided to save some money by buying a used one from a private seller on Craigslist. Here are some of the things that I did to make sure I was getting what I was paying for.
- Ask for the serial number and if the seller was the original owner. In my case, I was buying a used Dell Latitude D630. Most Dell products have a service tag number which can be traced back to the original purchaser. If the seller doesn’t want to give you this information – they may be hiding something and you should look else ware.
- Verify the information. If you contact Dell support and give them the information, they will verify the purchaser with the service tag and product. With IBM and HP products this may be more difficult because they owner may not have registered the product.
- Check the warranty.
- Get pictures. If you want to verify it is in working condition, ask for a picture of it “working.” Make sure it doesn’t have physical damage.
- Clarify with the seller if the system comes with or without the manuals and CDs. I recommend that you make sure you receive as much of the original packaging, documentation, and CDs as possible. Make sure you receive the CD(s) for Windows XP.
- Pay with a traceable source of funds like a check or PayPal.
- If you are not prepared to do these things – buy refurbished equipment directly from the manufacturer. It may cost a little bit more – but the peace of mind will be worth it.