On Your Side: Check these things before you buy an appliance or tool at a garage sale

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 6:09 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - On Your Side recently told you about things to skip at garage sales. That list includes cribs, car seats and helmets.

Now we’re talking about questions before buying a large appliance or yard tools at a garage sale.

Buying used is a great way to save money and still have a necessary household product. If you spot a lawnmower for sale, there are a few things to inspect before you hand over cash.

“You want to look for any indicator of how it has been treated over the course of its life to get some sense of how much life it might have in it. Flip it over and check the blades. Look to see if there are any grass clippings under there. If there are, there’s a good chance they haven’t been cleaning it out after most uses,” said Paul Hope with Consumer Reports.

Look over the blades.

“If they feel they have been recently sharpened, that’s a good indicator it comes from someone who took good care of it,” said Hope.

Electric and battery-powered lawn tools are tricky.

“You might get eight years of life from a lithium-ion battery. So if it’s four years old, you are halfway through that lifecycle,” said Hope.

You’ll probably get more use if you invest and buy new.

If you spot a good deal on a large appliance, like a fridge, washer, or dryer, ask the age and why they’re selling it. If there’s a problem, use caution.

“It can seem like a great deal, but if you have to put in a few hundred dollars on top of whatever you’re paying, it might make sense to buy new,” said Hope.

See if the seller has their original receipt, owner’s manual, and owner registration cards.

If you’re hosting a garage sale, don’t get ripped off. Crooks love to buy your high-dollar items with fake cash. Use a counterfeit detection pen to spot fake money. Be wary of customers who want to buy your electronics, tools, or jewelry and need change.

To report a correction or typo, please email digitalnews@ky3.com