Should I Buy Pre-Owned Tech As A Gift?

It’s the time of the season where we have to start buying gifts again. That means budgeting out enough money to make sure everybody in your life doesn’t feel left out. This can be hard for those of us working to support a family or on a tighter budget this year. At times like these, you probably don’t want to the people you care about in your life with cheap gifts. Maybe, you even thought about cutting down on the list where you could feel kind of bad about it. One of the most common things you might be thinking of doing is buying pre-owned goods to give as a gift. Just how good of an idea is it to give as a gift to your loved ones this holiday season?

Basic Stuff

First off, there are just some people in the world that are creeped out by pre-owned Goods. This can be for a wider range of regions such as they feel it’s dirty or they don’t trust it. Make sure that the people in your life won’t get offended by you giving them used goods. If someone is generally uncomfortable with something, it’s best to just not do it no matter what it means for their gift this year. There are tons of sales and things you can look into to replace the gifts of people who won’t take pre-owned merchandise.

When you have your list down of people who are cool with pre-owned items, then we can start shopping. When it comes to tech especially though, you have to be a little bit cautious about just what you are buying. Truth be told, some tech-based items just probably should not be bought pre-owned unless you know what you are doing with them. Also there are a lot of scams and stuff out there if you’re buying online or from somewhere like a pawn shop. Everything you need to know about the tech items that are most likely to be on your list.


Video games quickly fall in price once the plastic wrap is taken off of them. This means that a lot of games literally will just go into somebody’s system until they’re done with it and trade it in. Out of used products, games should have the least amount of wear and tear if they’re taken care of properly. This is because unlike other items on this list, you don’t see many gamers swap games until they’re done playing them. Now depending on how long a game has been out this can change.

The older the game is, the more hands and homes it’s probably been through. This especially rings true for the more popular titles. If you’re looking for older copies of some of the more popular games like Call of Duty or Madden, then expect to see some wear and tear. These games will be the hardest pass as a good gift generally because of the condition they will be in. A lot of older games and don’t even come with its original case anymore and if they do it can be dirty or look just a little bit rougher than you would want.

Also, be warned that you should probably find a way to test a day before giving it as a gift. Even if a game has only a few minor scratches you’d be surprised what those scratches can cause if they’re placed in the wrong position. If you can avoid it, don’t buy your games from anywhere other than reputable sellers online or a store that specializes in taking in used games like GameStop. Don’t be afraid to ask to see the back of the disc when purchasing a game as well. You are the customer and generally, employees won’t mind helping you find a good copy if you’re giving it as a present.

Now if you’re planning on getting a console, make sure it comes with a return plan. Well, it might seem a little bit rude to play with somebody else’s gift this may be one of the best ways to find out if anything is wrong with your purchase. For gaming consoles, you should consider buying a one-year protection plan just in case anything goes wrong with it to save your giftee trouble. These are also generally available in games and can be a great idea if the person you’re giving it to is a small child or has pets.


Smartphones are one of those items I’m always a little bit more than hesitant to buy pre-owned. With that being said, I have also purchased every one of the iPhones I’ve ever owned refurbished. You can see huge discounts on buying pre-owned smartphones such as an iPhone or a Galaxy. Even if you do have a bunch of money to spend, this is just an offer to pass up if you find one online. There can be a lot of major issues that come with buying a pre-owned phone though and there aren’t many good places to buy them from.

No matter what you do though, never buy a phone from a place like a Facebook yard sale page. Phones are one of the most stolen items that are currently being resold. That means that you could easily buy an item that is still hot and can be tracked by the provider. It’s a pretty awkward day when you’re giftee goes to turn on their phone and finds out that it’s stolen. Always make sure you can back yourself up when buying any sort of technology like this. If you’re looking for an iPhone, remember that they can be locked if the information and account aren’t removed from them before you buy it.

There can also be a lot of internal issues with a phone that you may not see before purchase. A beautiful phone that cosmetically looks good doesn’t mean that the charge port or certain features work on it. For example, it is entirely possible that you could purchase a phone with a broken speaker even though it has no exterior damage. People will do anything to get rid of their broken technology while still trying to make some money off of it. This is why buying through places like eBay and Amazon where you have the option to get your money back if issues arise are best.

You also will want to make sure that you’re buying the right phone to the right provider. Some phones can be locked with specific providers meaning you won’t be able to use them with yours. These are often phones that are under contract or have not fulfilled their whole contract with the provider. At that point you will either have to pay them money to switch it to another provider or go under contract with the company themselves. This can be a hassle especially if you’re already on a great plan with your current provider.


Another item that a lot of people will never tell you to buy pre-owned is a computer or a laptop. This is because computers are delicate machines that can easily be messed up or have issues you could never detect until it’s too late. In a lot of cases, computer sellers online are completely fine and most things go over without a hitch. But just like phones, be careful where you’re buying from or you could end up with a total dud that can get you in trouble.

If you do find a computer that seems like a good deal, be sure to ask lots of questions about it. Ask to see the diagnostics and what shape the case is in. Make sure you know everything that’s on the computer currently when you are buying it. It’s completely possible that parts may have been changed or moved around since the last owner bought it. It’s best to see visual proof that you’re getting what you think you are. Once you receive the computer yourself don’t be shy about running some checks on it to validate your purchase. If a computer has been modified by the owner, do some research to make sure everything will still run smoothly. Never fall for the “Well it worked for me” mentality from someone else.


Pre-owned tech can make a great gift but you have to be pretty vigilant when purchasing it. A lot of high dollar items should only be bought using a reputable seller that you can trace in case of issues. Be sure to stay away from pawn shops or yard sales pages online where anyone can put these items up for sale with an easy to make profile. Always be sure to test out pre-owned items on your own to make sure everything is working properly. There is no shame in making sure your hard earned money isn’t going to waste, that and a broken gift is a pretty sad ordeal to go through.

Jessica has been working with the gaming industry for about two years now. She enjoys playing quirky Japanese games and learning about the newest trivia in the industry. When not working with games you may find her chilling with her naked cat Prince Noko... he's pretty cool we guess.