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How to buy second-hand or used gadgets

It’s a big always a gamble, but the odds are in your favor

Buying a second-hand tech product will save you money compared to buying it new. It also gives a device a second life instead of throwing it away for recycling. And especially during these times when demand is high for all kinds of tech, buying refurbished is sometimes the only way to get your hands on a product when your pocket is strained and new products are not being imported.

Those are all good things — yet “refurbished” is still a loaded word for a lot of people. New means new, a product that nobody else has used. On the other hand, buying something refurbished can be a gamble, despite the fact that the product is probably more affordable.


If it has been refurbished, that likely means the product was either broken or roughed up enough to warrant a repair. It could also mean that whoever bought it simply decided they didn’t want it and put it up for sale. The definition of what makes for a refurbished product varies depending on the seller, though something that brings some worries is that there are no laws in Nigeria covering the sale of second-hand products. We’ve seen severally how those who buy second products get so frustrated and can do nothing about the situation.

So, buying secondhand gadgets brings up a lot of questions. Did the original manufacturer refurbish the product, or was it done by a third-party company? Was the product restored to a like-new state, or will it look visibly used when you receive it? Was it professionally cleaned and sanitized, and does it come with new accessories? Does it have a warranty, and who will be accountable if it breaks?

It’s easy to see why a lot of people might prefer to just pay more for something new. However, it’s possible to both save money and not get swindled when buying refurbished products. Below, we’ve laid out some tips that you can follow when buying refurbished tech as well as links to trustworthy retailers. None of this is fail-proof, but it will make the process a lot safer — and you can end up with some great devices at lower prices.


In general, if you purchase a refurbished product from its original manufacturer or a licensed reseller, it’s far less of a gamble than buying from an unknown third-party retailer. The manufacturer or reseller is likely to have higher standards for refreshing and repackaging the product, and — crucially — should have access to authentic materials and components. But there are also many companies that exist solely to refurbish products, and they can do a good job, too. You’ll just need to be extra vigilant, ask the right questions, and make sure all of your questions get answered.

In other words, if you’re buying a refurbished product, it helps to have criteria. This will quickly become second nature once you start making a habit of looking at refurbished tech. Here are some questions to start with:

  • What condition is it in? Is it in like-new condition or somewhat used?
  • Does it come with all original accessories and documentation?
  • What kind of warranty does it have, and who is providing it?

The answers to those questions aren’t necessarily obvious. Sometimes, the product might be visibly damaged, come in a different box, or only have a six-month warranty. That’s all right, so long as you know in advance of buying it. In fact, you can often use this info to your advantage to save some money, as resellers may sometimes lower the cost if the product isn’t in perfect condition. You’ll just have to decide what you’re willing to settle for.


Sometimes products will be listed as “open-box.” This term can mean something different depending on the retailer, but most use it to mean that the product was opened by a customer who bought it, then it was returned to the store in its original box with all of its accessories. In other words, it didn’t need to be refurbished because the assumption is that it either wasn’t used at all or was only used once and then repackaged. Generally, it’s safe to assume that an open-box product will in good condition, though it never hurts to ask for clarification or seek the info somewhere on the webpage.


Ultimately, that’s your call to make. It’s definitely a bad idea to buy a refurbished headphone, especially in-ear headphones. I think it’s natural to have that reaction, considering how intimately you would use a product like that. Many, but not all, companies thoroughly clean refurbished products before reselling them. Though, for some people, something that has been used that way is forever unclean.

In my opinion, the most important thing to make sure of when buying a refurbished product is that the warranty is good enough to support you if the device fails. And if the retailer says that your product will arrive in a clean, well-packaged state, make sure that what you receive is representative of their claims.


Refurbished products don’t usually get the spotlight from big retailers. You also won’t find them sitting on the homepage of Jumia, Apple, Google, Nintendo, Sonos, or Olympus, to name a few. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find refurbs on these sites. Asides Jiji, Ritelink sells secondhand gadgets that have been repaired and restored to perfect condition.

For us all parts and accessories that would have been included with the original product are present, and our thorough inspection process ensures that the product is clean and in working condition.

Products purchased through our Outlets are subject to our standard return policy. In terms of warranty coverage, it says that refurbished products sold through its Outlet “often include a limited warranty through Ritelink.” Given that we don’t broadly give all refurbished products a warranty, it’s worth investigating a product before you buy it.


The chances are in your favour that your favorite brand sells refurbished tech. For instance, if you are in the market looking for a secondhand laptop you can run a search on our website.

In fact, there are some sites that are dedicated to selling refurbished products. Though, you might have to do some extra snooping around to find what you’re looking for.

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