Buying a second hand laptop can be a great way to save money, but it’s important to be careful when deciding what to buy. Apart from the simple suggestion to stop purchasing a laptop from someone selling it from the trunk of their car in a parking lot, how can you purchase a used laptop safely? What are you meant to look for in a decent laptop and what are the warning signals that the offer may be a little too good to be true?

  1. How’s the laptop look like?

The first thing to look for is the appearance of the computer. Does it look beat up? Are there any bruises on the case that look like somebody prayed something off the laptop? You know what the used laptop looks like—small bits of wear and tear are completely natural. What you’re looking for is a mysterious harm the seller can’t describe. If there was a security cable attached and prayed (or cut) off, there will be damage that really doesn’t look right. This is a positive indication that you should get back away from trading.

Another thing you ought to look at is if the case is bulging everywhere. A bulging case is an indication that the battery is not in decent condition. If the vendor knows this, you’re going to need to swap the battery… you know what you’re getting into. The bulging battery is a fire hazard which will cause the trackpad and the keyboard to collapse. If you don’t know what you’re doing, because you’re able to pay more money to repair the battery, you may want to skip this one.

  1. Does it have the necessary equipment? 

If anyone stole a laptop easily, they may not have snagged the power adapter as well. When they don’t have a power line, and they can’t say why, this is a major red flag. Sometimes when people sell computers, they might throw in an extra mouse or a travel bag. It could be a positive or a negative indication. If someone’s car stole the wallet, they’ll have all the accessories to market, too! Take a look at why they have these extras to include. Check the bag for identification or any signs that may not have been theirs to begin with.

Don’t think about the vendor not getting the original package or installing the discs (not many machines ship with instal discs anymore). If the laptop is more than a few years old, the package is long gone and recycled. What you’re aiming for is that the machine comes with anything you’d like somebody to have had it for a while.

  1. Does it work?

Any of us don’t have a problem purchasing a dead laptop to find out where we can save ourselves into something workable. But there’s a distinction between purchasing a dead laptop, claiming it shows up with a blue screen of death or doesn’t boot into OS correctly, and buying a laptop the dealer won’t let you turn on until you purchase it. Until you buy someone’s used laptop, you can turn it on to make sure it has been restored to the factory settings. There aren’t meant to be confidential archives left on the desktop. You’re not allowed to see applications like MS Office or Photoshop mounted on your computer.

Even used, you’re going to get a computer that’s new to tech.

Check to see if WiFi is working, the speakers are working, the trackpad is working properly (and doesn’t look warped). Open a text editor on the machine, too, and type a little. Are all the keys working? Does the keyboard feel strange? If the provider doesn’t let you attempt these core functions, it’s not worth the chance.

  1. What’s the dealer like?

Does the vendor still feel worried about it? Are they just going to meet you in a parking lot? Are they going to take an e-transfer or just cash? Will you get a receipt with your name and contact details (which suits your ID)? Will the vendor tell you something about a laptop? Do they know the info, or at least let you turn it on and try it out?

If the vendor is offering a sweetheart price on an obviously costly laptop, it should give you a break. And if you want to sell anything fast, you also want a good price for the unit. Cutting a bargain for a kid who wants a school laptop is one thing, trading a RM3000 laptop for RM500 is suspicious.

If you’ve seen a laptop on the Facebook market, mudah, or shopee, check out the seller’s rating and if they seem to be selling a lot of items, including a few bicycles, a bunch of computers, a few tablets. This is your chance to exercise caution. When something really doesn’t feel good, you should trust the feeling and walk away. There’s still going to be other computers to purchase.

  1. Be careful of online sales only.

Buying stuff online sounds like second nature right now. And purchasing a new computer from a retailer or a reliable online shop is no challenge. What’s going to get a little iffi is buying a used laptop online. It’s a lot harder to check that you’re having the computer you’ve seen in the photographs, or even whether someone has a video chat with you. You can’t even search any of the above signs, because you don’t have options if you don’t get what you charged for.

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