Used camera equipment provides a great opportunity for photographers to expand their collection without having to pay high prices for new.
Buying equipment face to face gives you the advantage of getting to see and test it yourself before going ahead with the purchase, however this limits you only to local offerings and significantly reduces the amount of choice you have.
Buying online is a great way to conveniently access some of the best deals on used camera equipment – just be sure to follow our 5 top tips for smart and safe online purchases.
1) Know What You Want
Before you even begin to search for the best online deal it’s important to know what you are looking for and what you want. Do you want a camera for a certain purpose? Maybe you are looking for a camera suited to sports photography? Or are going travelling and in need of something lightweight and compact? Whatever it is, do the research and narrow down your list beforehand to make finding the best second hand deal easier.
Knowing what you want also gives you the chance to research prices online for similar or new versions so you are able to spot a good deal when you come across one.
2) Buy from a Specialist Online Retailer
Buying from an online retailer who has a thorough quality control process for checking their second hand items is vital and by choosing a company who specialises in camera equipment you stand a much better chance of them being properly tested.
Specialist retailers are also more likely to be able to help answer any questions you have and provide more information on the cameras condition, it’s specifications, lens condition and even suggest similar items that may be of interest or better suited to your needs.
3) Warranties, Guarantees and Returns
Before you purchase from an online retailer, be sure to make yourself aware of their sales policies. Does it come with a warranty and if so, how long for and what does it cover? Is there a money back guarantee? How do you return the items if required?
Most reputable online retailers will provide a decent warranty and guarantee which means you can purchase with the peace of mind knowing that your money is safe, and you will receive the item you wanted or you’ll get your money back.
4) Trustworthy Websites
It’s worth having a thorough read through a website before you make your purchase to look for things such as - where they are based, information about the company, their social media, reviews and feedback. This should be able to give you a clearer idea of who you are buying from and help determine if they have a history of positive or negative feedback and reviews.
A reputable retailer will proudly promote their reviews on their website and link to a review platform like Reviews, Trust Pilot or similar, which will allow you to read all their reviews – the good, the bad and the ugly.
5) Ask Questions
You don’t have to just take the word of the websites description. If a company wants your business they will happily answer any additional questions you may have and it is also a great opportunity for you to get a better sense of who you are buying from, whether it’s by email or phone.
Ask them for specific information and to clarify any vague references within the description. If the condition is described as ‘good’ then ask them to shed some light on what this means as it can be different depending on a person’s opinion of ‘good’. Does it have any exterior damage, marks, scratches or wear and tear? Is the lens or screen scratched? Ask for photos of it if possible.
The answers to these questions don’t have to necessarily be deal breakers for you but as long as you know the answers you will be able to make a better, more informed decision on your purchase.