Consumer Reports: Here's how to get the best deals, avoid scams when buying used appliances

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Posted at 10:15 AM, Feb 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-10 11:15:25-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CONSUMER REPORTS/WTVF) — Lots of people buy used cars. But what about used appliances?

There are all sorts of places these days you can buy used appliances. You see them for sale on online platforms like Facebook and Craigslist and even NextDoor.

You can even find some real deals, but there are some things you'll also want to watch out for.

Buying your next appliance second hand can be a win-win: You’ll save money and the planet, according to Consumer Reports.

"Maybe you’re on a tight budget or you’re just trying to prevent yet another hunk of metal from entering the landfill. But you could also be getting a high-end appliance with features you wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise,” said Perry Santanachote, Consumer Reports home editor.

Consumer Report says when it comes to second-hand appliances skip yard sales and online sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. These types of sellers usually can’t offer you a guarantee or warranty on the appliance.

Instead, hit a local, reputable repair shop or used appliance store early and often to find the best deals. You could save 50% or more — even if the appliance hasn’t been used at all!

Your best bets for buying used: washers, dryers, ranges and refrigerators.

But no matter what you’re shopping for, find out how old the appliance is so you can calculate how much life it has left and if it’s worth the price.

“If you're spending a couple hundred dollars on a 10-year-old refrigerator with an average useful life of 12 years, you need to balance that value in your mind. Ask yourself if it's worth it if you’re only going to get two years out of it," said Santanachote.

The brand you buy often makes a difference, too. Data shows some are more reliable than others.

“Consumer Reports' reliability surveys of thousands of members found that LG, GE and Kenmore all earned a good or higher reliability rating for their fridges, ranges, washers and dryers," Sanatanachote said.

If you find something you love, Consumer Reports says take a closer look before you buy.

Plug in the machine. Look for any damage, rust, check the buttons and knobs, do a smell check for mold and read the manual to make sure all the parts are included, too.

Consumer Reports recommends that you always look for the manufacturer’s sticker and check to see if it’s been included in a safety recall. If the machine doesn’t have a model number and serial sticker on it, you're better off moving on. Because the machine could have been recalled or scrapped and illegally salvaged.

Finally, don’t be afraid to negotiate. You could end up saving even more.