How to be a good second-hand shopper

Everyone wants to save when they shop. This is why so many invest in
second-hand shopping – as preferably sticking to a budget, while still acquiring items they feel are necessary. However, simply choosing to shop second-hand doesn’t eliminate dangers and errors. To that extent it’s important to work on ways to be better at second-hand shopping – since, obviously, the price you pay for second-hand items is that they’re more likely to have aspects wrong with them.

First, it’s important to know precisely where you’re shopping. If you’re going to a store, it might be wise to check customer review sites to see if there are complaints about how it has dealt with customers. The BBC, for example, offers numerous guides from consumer watchdogs, to aid you as a consumer. Being aware of everything from law to the latest scams better prepares you as a second-hand consumer.

Alternatively, you could be engaged in transactions that are more direct, like private car sales, which means that you will have less oversight: whether as the seller or the buyer.

Of course, even second-hand cars can be put on to showroom floors or sold to dealers – the bonus here being that the dealer handles all the paperwork, both for the consumer and the seller. With that, as a seller, you lose out a great deal in terms of payment for the car; as a consumer you might end up paying more since the dealership has done large amounts of work to get the car there (including the hassle of paperwork).

But there are other benefits to second-hand shopping, too.

Consider, for example, second-hand clothes shopping. As The Private Life of a Girl blog highlights, the benefits are important:

“Low cost | Entire outfits for under £10, enough said;

Local support | The local community and its charities benefit greatly from second hand shoppers.

Eco-friendly | Second hand shopping is pretty much the only environmentally friendly way to shop for clothing.

High quality | Vintage clothing is constructed to a higher standard and made from higher quality materials.

Unique options | Highstreet clothing all looks the same, which can’t be said for second hand shops.”

For many the realisation that you can get completely unique items and that you are being eco-friendly will be enormous. You are, by choosing to shop second-hand, already doing a great deal of good. But, that good also benefits you in enormous ways as a consumer.

Importantly, being aware of scams and how you can be cheated matter – as indicated, regularly consult consumer watchdogs sites to make sure you won’t be the next target.