Thrift Store Shopping: Good Deals or Great Disasters?

Written by on November 27, 2013 in Money - No comments | Print this page

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thrift store shoppingBuying used appliances from a thrift store can seem like a money saving idea when it comes to the family budget.

If you shop wisely, it most definitely can be. However, you may find yourself getting more than you bargained for.

There are many hazards associated with the various used products, but learning how to detect the warning signs can help lessen the risk.

Before you spend your hard-earned cash on items that could have serious defects or is completely unusable, consider the following tips.

Always Test Product

When obtaining an used appliance or power tool, it does not come with a history report of the product. Many times a seller will try to get rid of an appliance that is broken but made to appear fully functional.

They may disconnect hazard lights or rig parts so inspect carefully. Try to look for signs of tampering. Before you purchase anything, you want to test the condition of the item and never rely on someone else’s word.

If purchasing from a thrift store, the item will probably be sold “as is”. You should refrain from “as is” purchases unless you have been able to fully test it. Should the product fails to do what is promised, you will not have the option of taking it back, and your funds will not be returned.

A lot of items are recalled each year due to safety concerns. According to Bottar Law, “The vast majority of recalls include childrens’ toys, but countless other recalls have concerned cars, household appliances, medications, furniture and power tools.

Injuries due to defective consumer products can result in permanent disability and life-altering damages, including death”. Therefore, it is good practice to know what you are purchasing.

Consider Size and Age

Some used appliances can provide you with years of service. Whether it’s a stove, refrigerator, microwave, lawnmower, or gas grill you can get substantial uses from something purchased second hand. However, keep in mind that electronics have evolved over the years. Products have become smaller and more energy efficient.

It is always good practice to measure the area you want the appliance place and the appliance itself to ensure a proper fit. Check to see if the prongs on the plug are in good repair and can be hooked up safely. Appliances made years ago have changed from their counterparts today. Be careful not to purchase something that will need replacement parts that are discontinued.

Check for Missing Pieces

While the appliance may look good from the vantage point of the store, once you get it home it will be all yours. You need to assess the piece thoroughly for any missing or loose parts. A microwave without a protective plate to cook your items will be as useless as a stove without any wire racks.

Important nuts and bolts could cause the appliance to not run properly, and you could spend a great deal of money to get it fixed. Imagine coming back from the grocery store with a large quantity of food to find that your refrigerator is no longer cooling properly. You could be out on both an appliance and food.

Electrical Shortages and Fire Hazards

There are several benefits to getting new appliances such as energy efficiency, and the latest safety mechanisms. Energy efficient appliances run using less energy and can allow a homeowner to enjoy significant savings on their utility bills.

It’s also better for the environment. The manufacturers can also put into place the latest safety mechanisms that will keep you safe from fire hazards and electrical shortages. Older models may cause power surges in your home.

Finding a great deal on used appliances can save you a lot of money. However, you need to weigh your purchases against what you’re actually getting. An appliance that you have to invest a great deal of cash and time into won’t be cost-effective in the long run.

Author, Domonique Powell, loves thrift shopping to see what treasures can be found. She urges you to be thrifty and wise. An online search of product liability attorneys brought her to Bottar Law which inspired this article.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/doctorow/8122304407/

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