Buying used products

Whether you are buying goods from an ad in the newspaper or online, a leaving-the-island sale or from a neighbour, remember: caveat emptor! Buyer beware!

Tips for buying used products:

  • Inspect the goods you are buying; 
  • Inquire as to the age and quality of the product and whether it is still covered by warranty. If the product is electrical, plug it in to see if it works. For mechanical or technical products, take someone with you who knows about the item, or make the sale conditional.  In the case of a car, ask for service records and it is a good idea to ask for a day to have it checked by a mechanic. Compare the mechanics’ opinion to the cost of licensing to decide if it will cost more to have it licensed than it is worth;
  • Remember that all sales are final. Once you exchange money and receive the item the sale is complete;
  • Ask for a receipt which shows what you have bought with the date, name, address and telephone number of the seller, and any conditions of sale;
  • If you pay a deposit, get a receipt and make note of the agreement you have with the seller regarding remainder of payment, collection of product and time frame.  Make sure both parties sign the agreement.

Buying used children's products

Buying second-hand children’s products is an affordable way to create a nursery. But it can also be dangerous as some items can be out of date and no longer safe if they don’t conform to product safety standards.

Do your research and choose carefully as safety is the most important issue to consider. Before using products that are used, thoroughly clean and disinfect the items.

There are children’s products, especially cribs and bassinets, that have caused deaths and have been the subject of numerous recalls. Check the recall list before you purchase any children’s product second hand.

Before purchasing used children’s products consider the following:


  • Make sure the wheels are still rolling smoothly;
  • Check to see if the frame is still sturdy;
  • Test the stroller’s brakes;
  • Look closely for any damage like sharp edges or uncovered springs;
  • Verify that the stroller hasn’t been recalled by the manufacturer;
  • Check the age. Strollers that are 10 years and older are not considered safe for use. The plastics used to make the stroller begin to deteriorate at this age and the model may not comply with the current safety standards or regulations such as lead testing.


Used cribs can host a variety of hidden hazards that you may not detect. Unless the crib can be fully assembled and operates correctly, contains all the original hardware and the instructions are included, do not buy it.

If you decide to buy a used crib, follow the checklist below.

  • Make sure the crib is not the subject of a recall;
  • Slats should be spaced no more than 2 3/8 inches apart;
  • Make sure there are no missing or loose slats;
  • Do not buy a crib with drop side (millions of cribs with drop sides have been recalled);
  • Make sure the crib has a properly-sized mattress. The mattress is too small if you can fit more than two fingers between the edge of the mattress and the side of the crib. An infant can get his head or body wedged in the extra space and suffocate;
  • Corner posts are no more than 1/16 inch high. They can be catch points for objects or clothing worn by a child and cause strangulation.
  • No missing, broken or loose hardware;
  • No decorative cutouts in the headboard or footboard. Cutouts can entrap a child’s head; and
  • No unsecured mattress support hangers that can be easily dislodged. Children can be entrapped and suffocate.
  • Check that there are no broken or wobbly bars;
  • All bolts and screws should be firmly in place and not protruding;
  • The corner posts should not stick up more than 5mm.
  • Make sure that the mattress fits the crib snugly and that there are no gaps which would allow a child to become trapped beneath it;

Car Seats

  • Check that there are no broken or wobbly bars;
  • All bolts and screws should be firmly in place and not protruding;
  • The corner posts should not stick up more than 5mm.


  • A wide base to stop the chair tipping;
  • A five-point safety harness (shoulder straps as well as waist straps and a crotch strap) to stop the child climbing out;
  • No sharp edges, or open tubes or gaps where fingers could get caught;
  • The tray can be secured so the child can't remove it;
  • There should be no splits in the chair's seat or back - a child could pick out or choke on pieces of foam padding;
  • If the chair has wheels there should be brakes on at least the rear wheels.

Bath Products

  • Used baby bathtubs are fine as long as the lining isn’t full of mould or mildew. However, if the tub has an odour of either of these, stay clear of it.
  • Do not use second hand bath seats, bath rings, and inflatable tubs since they have been responsible for many deaths among babies.
  • In addition to mould and mildew, look for scratches or other signs of wear and tear in the plastic. Old plastics are more apt to leak chemicals and the scratches can also harbour bacteria.

Buying Used Appliances

If you are replacing a household appliance and are considering buying secondhand, proceed with caution. Here are some useful tips:

  • Look at and price new appliances before you go shopping for a used one, so that you are aware of the value and don’t overpay.
  • Be mindful of what features are important to you.
  • Check with appliance dealers – they may have “scratch and dent” items or refurbished appliances in their warehouse that they are willing to sell.
  • Look at appliances very carefully to see if it appears to have been well cared for, if it may have been repaired or if it is missing any parts.
  • Plug it in and listen to it. Try the controls and make sure that everything works.
  • Ask how old the appliance is. The life expectancy of most major household appliances varies from one to 17 years based on the type of appliance. Deduct the age of the appliance to find out roughly how many years of service you can expect to get.
  • Try to estimate the amount of use the appliance has had. If you are buying from a private owner with a large family, any major appliance has probably had a plenty of use – a washing machine, for instance, will probably have been used almost daily by a large family.
  • Ask why the appliance is being sold.
  • If you are buying from a dealer, find out if the appliance has been rebuilt, repaired or put back in stock and if delivery and installation are included in the price.
  • Find out where you can get parts and service. This is very important. The appliance may be for sale because parts and service are no longer available or because service is poor.
  • Ask about the warranty. If a motor has been rebuilt, you should get a warranty covering it. If you are buying from a private owner, the warranty may still be valid. Ask for it – read it – some warranties are in effect only as long as the appliance is owned by the original buyer.
  • Get the use-and-care manual it if is available. If not, contact the manufacturer, giving the model number, and ask for a manual.
  • Check that the appliance has not been recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) which is enforceable in Bermuda.
  • Before you buy your used appliance ask your insurance representative for information on insuring the appliance.