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Should You Buy a Used Camera On Amazon?

January 21, 2016

Amazon is a great source for deals on camera equipment, but you can always save more money by going to the used section. While some photographers prefer only to use new equipment, others recognise that it is possible to save cash and get great kit with no defects or problems through second-hand sellers. Much has been written about the dangers of buying cameras through eBay, however, and buying something online is never going to be the same as holding it in your hand before you make a decision. So should you take the risk of buying a used camera on Amazon, or not? Here are a few things that might sway your opinion.

Used camera

Photo by Chancema

How to check for safety

There are a number of considerations that you should look at first before you make any purchase. This will help you to decide whether or not the particular camera you are looking at is a good buy. First of all, take note of the product condition rating that the seller has given. These will often note whether or not it is in a good condition. For example, it might be rated as “used – as new”, which means that it has not been damaged in any way and will work just as well as an item which is brand new out of the box.

Underneath this the seller will give more information, detailing exactly how much the camera has been used – and sometimes also a reason for selling, to demonstrate that there is nothing wrong with the camera itself. You can also take a look at the rating of the seller, which will come as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the higher rated they are and the more you can trust that the item will come as described.

Reasons For buying a second hand camera on Amazon

If you are looking for reasons to buy a used camera from Amazon, there are many. First of all, consider the fact that you will be able to have peace of mind over the safety of your delivery. Unlike with other second-hand options, you will have somewhere to complain to if your item does not arrive. The Amazon team will take any complaints seriously, and a refund can easily be arranged directly into your account. Should the camera turn up looking more damaged or used than described, you may be able to send it back and get your money refunded.

There’s also the point that Amazon is a more trusted marketplace than most. With the ratings system you can easily check out whether a particular seller is going to be delivering on their word, and you can be sure that the marketplace is monitored carefully by Amazon staff. This means that you can count on good customer service and a generally high quality of items.

Amazon also gives you the option to buy the camera brand-new, so you have the chance to take a look at what it would normally sell for and see how much you will actually be saving. In some cases you just will not be saving enough, so make sure that you take this into account and verify how good the deal is before you buy. Remember to add postage fees.

Reasons Against buying a second hand camera on Amazon

Although Amazon can be more trustworthy than other sites, there is still room for error. Sellers on the marketplace can do whatever they like – even if they have a 100% rating until you, they may well take a chance and decide to send you an inferior camera to see if they can get away with it. They can also get things wrong, such as sending you the wrong item, since they are after all only human.

There’s also room for interpretation in the way they describe their items. They may say there is only light scratching to the surface, but when it arrives there is a thick gouge in the camera body. They may describe it as nearly new, when in fact it has been used only for two months – but by someone who shoots a thousand frames a night. There is no way to really and absolutely tell what a used camera is going to be like until you get your hands on it and try it out. In this sense, you might be better off going to a second-hand camera store and picking something up directly.