Buying used items can save you a whole lot of money, but there are some items that you shouldn’t even consider getting second hand. They may be unsanitary, unsafe, or simply a waste of money. The seller may not be trying to rip you off in any way, but the thing is just not something you should buy, even if the price seems to be very low indeed. When should you resist the temptation to hunt around for used items?
Baby car seats
A baby’s car seat isn’t just there for legal compliance. You buy it to keep your little one safe in the event of an accident. A shocking study on baby car seats found that one in ten showed signs of having been in an accident before. If the seat is weakened, you may not even notice, but the used car seat could mean your baby doesn’t get through a car accident uninjured.
A new crib is an expensive item, but it’s worth investing in your child’s safety. We found that many cribs had been taken off the market owing to poor design features that resulted in injuries to kiddies. Don’t take a chance. You would certainly not consider a crib to have been a good buy if it hurts your child.
Heaven knows what may be lurking in the stuffing of a used mattress. If there’s nothing worse in there, there will be skin flakes from its previous owner. In a worst-case scenario, there could be bed bugs! For the same reason, used pillows are out of the question. It’s bad enough knowing that hotel linens are full of other people’s sloughed off gunk without bringing it into your home.
A vacuum cleaner
Apart from being full of embedded dirt from someone else’s house, people don’t usually sell a perfectly good vacuum cleaner. Chances are, a used vacuum cleaner doesn’t work as it should, or you can’t get the bags. There is bound to be a reason why it is being sold, and if it breaks, there will be no guarantee to fall back on.
A TV set
With technology moving forward in leaps and bounds, getting old electronics is bound to be an unsatisfying experience, even if the item basically works. Besides, if it breaks, there’s no warranty. Getting a second hand TV could prove to be a costly mistake.
By all means, buy a used table. It’s easy to clean up and refurbish, but upholstered chairs are like mattresses. They collect all manner of dust, dirt and odors over the years, and you don’t want to end up saddled with the problem.
After an accident, a helmet should be discarded. How do you know that a used helmet has never been through a spill? You can’t be sure. Besides, bike helmets have interior padding that absorbs grease from the hair and skin, plus yukky skin flakes.
Obviously, you wouldn’t want to risk bacteria from used makeup. But even if the product is still sealed, it’s wisest to avoid it unless you know when it was manufactured. Makeup that stands for a long time is likely to have expired.
The only time you can consider getting a used computer is when it comes from a reputable store that refurbishes the machine before sale. You can also pick up display models for a song. Either way, the device should be backed with a guarantee. Never just buy an old computer. Having it fixed could cost more than you saved!
By now, you are aware of what may be hiding in the stuffing. Don’t think you can just wash it out in your machine. All sorts of things can survive a wash, including dust mites that can cause allergies. No matter how cute a used stuffed toy may be, don’t buy it.
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Even if the outside and inside of used shoes look clean, nasty bacteria and fungi may be lurking. The last thing you want is a case of athlete’s foot, so even if it’s a to-die-for pair of designer shoes that looks like it has barely been worn, don’t buy it.
Old non-stick cookware
Even when there are no signs of rust or flaking coatings, you should avoid used cookware. Older pots and pans may have been coated with materials that can slowly leach toxic chemicals into your food. Choose new cookware for safety.
Used or re-tread tires
Once again, safety is the issue. A blowout could result in a nasty accident. Even used tires with new tread may not be safe. Choose new tires even though they are a lot more expensive. Even supposing used tires don’t cause an accident; they won’t last as long, so they may not be a saving at all.
Washers and dryers more than 5 years old
Large appliances older than five years old are probably quite worn out already. Apart from being unlikely to last long, they will also cost more to run than a new item. Modern appliances are much more energy efficient!
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Washing used fabrics in hot water is usually enough to disinfect them, but bed bugs are another matter. If these unpleasant and tough little critters have lived in that bedding, you could end up having to call an exterminator. Look out for sales at the shops instead.
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