Guide to Buying Used Lab Instruments
Buying used lab instruments isn’t easy, especially if you don’t buy from a reputable service. Many problems can arise when labs buy used lab instruments from random sellers, such as buying broken lab items, an item that doesn’t exist or getting the wrong thing from a seller on purpose. At The Lab World Group, we’ve seen it all, and nothing upsets us more than hearing our customers getting ripped off by other sellers. That’s why we wrote this guide that will help you find the right product from a reputable source. As a buyer, it’s good to research the device you want, find the best seller for it, assess its quality, and check to see if it has a warranty. If these steps are followed thoroughly, you can exponentially minimize the risk of getting scammed by random sellers.
Research the Product
As a buyer, it’s essential to know what specific product you’re looking for, why you need it, and which one will suit your lab the best. Some things you need to go over are what my price range is, what quality do I want, what should be the size of my instrument (small or large), how much volume does it need to process/maintain, and what are other functionalities/attributes do I need (ex: refrigerated or heating). If, for example, your lab needs a freezer, you’ll want to know the size and temperature range it needs to be. If you’re in a smaller lab, you may need an under-counter freezer. If you’re dealing with temperature-sensitive samples, you may need an ultra low temperature freezer (-80°C).
Another critical thing to look at is product reviews. Going back to the freezer example, some freezer brands only last 5-7 years, while others can last a decade or more. Some might have known compressor or fan issues; others might have electrical problems. It’s essential to go over reviews to determine the best lab instrument models for your research facility.
Find A Seller
After determining which used lab instrument you want, you need to find a seller that carries the item in stock. Some lab instrument resellers are known to scam people out of their money. They can seem like a good company on book, but after working with them, you may notice that they’re trying to snatch up money as quickly as possible. Sites like eBay and Craigslist are known to house scammers, and if you choose to buy from either, we recommend eBay. With eBay, your payments are protected, similar to an escrow process. You also need to check if the vendor has good reviews on eBay; otherwise, stay away. Three ways you can determine if a lab instrument reseller is a good fit are if they’re reputable, trustworthy, and knowledgeable. You can determine this by looking at reviews online through various sources and seeing their BBB rating online.
Another thing to check is the seller’s shipping times. Some used lab instrument companies use a broker business model. This is where a broker will display an item online that’s not in stock, and once a buyer purchases that item, the broker will search through the ends of the Earth to find it, buy it, and then ship it back to the buyer. Brokering sounds all well and good until the broker realizes the device isn’t being sold anywhere, and you as a buyer must wait months for it to deliver. Or worse, you wait months for the device to finally arrive, only to find out it doesn’t work. This is all too common in the broker business model.
Other lab instrument companies sell through auctioning services. Buying lab products through auction can help you save a lot of money, but if you purchase through auction, make sure you’re confident the device is in complete working order by checking the photos and, if possible, a video.
At The Lab World Group, we consistently go out of the way to help our customers. We test, validate, and repair all instruments that comes through our inbound quality control process before it’s listed on our website. All of the products we have listed on our website are in-stock items. Our 2-3 day shipping time is unmatched against all other sellers, and once an item is delivered, we always follow up to make sure customers are satisfied with the purchase.
Assess Product Quality
Once you’ve found a reputable seller, you need to assess the quality of the product. Things to check are making sure the device is turned on, functional, and in decent shape. You can do this by looking through the product images, but the best way to check the quality is if the seller has a video. At The Lab World Group, we provide complete transparency with our product photos and videos to give you that additional peace of mind that it’s in complete working order. One thing to never do when buying used lab instrument is to NOT view the photos before purchasing. This is common when purchasing over the phone with a broker or with a non-reputable supplier. Always ask to see the images of the actual devices along with the serial number before you buy. There are also scams out there that will place pictures on eBay, Craigslist, and other websites and try to collect your money and not give you anything in return. Watch out for these scams!
Another thing you need to check is the lab instruments condition. Some lab instruments might have minor dents or scratches, which is perfectly fine as long as the device is in total working order and meets factory specifications. Checking and reading the conditions of the product is an accurate way to know what to expect before you buy.
Check For Warranty
When you buy used lab instruments, the seller must have a warranty. We’ve heard countless horror stories from our customers who’ve dealt with sellers that don’t have a warranty. Some stories included customers who purchased a used lab product that suddenly stopped working after a couple of days. Then these customers found that they couldn’t return the item because the seller didn’t supply warranties and had an “as is” policy. Some companies provide 90-day and 180-day warranties, but as they say in the lab instrument industry: “when you slap a warranty on garbage products, it’s still considered garbage products.” These warranties are meant to give a false impression of security to get you to buy. Companies who supply them will also leave it in the customer’s hands to pay for shipping and attach hidden fees for repairs. The Lab World Group guarantees a 30-day warranty with a headache-free process with no hidden fees or barriers attached. We have an incredibly low error and return rate with all instruments. We also provide priority customer service and will never leave a customer behind if they need help.
Buying used lab instruments will save you money and time if you purchase from a reputable supplier. It’s essential to research the product, find a reputable seller, assess product quality online, and check for a warranty. At The Lab World Group, nothing upsets us more than seeing any of our customers get scammed by other sellers. We’re experts with over 20 years of experience collectively with laboratory products and have always made an effort to make sure our customers go through a headache-free process. We rely on transparency with our customers. Our devices go through a complex testing process to make sure everything is working and optimized for factory specifications. When you buy from The Lab World Group, we guarantee excellent working lab instruments and quality customer service.