Buying repurposed or second-hand items can save money and the environment but cannot guarantee the same consumer protection rights as when buying new items. It is important to check the product’s condition before buying repurposed goods and MRM recommends you seek assistance from an allied health professional to ensure that a piece of equipment is suitable for you through a pre-purchase evaluation of the equipment.
Assistive Technology Australia has created the following checklist guide to assist Australians in their online purchasing of repurposed equipment:
- Is the item sturdy and stable?
- Is the User Manual available, for example full instructions for assembly, use, maintenance, and safety instructions?
- Are all parts in working order?
- What is the manufacturer’s life expectancy for the item?
- Was the item broken or damaged during previous use?
- Does the item have tears, sharp edges, or points?
- Is the item missing any vital parts?
- Does the item have a history of being in an accident or being damaged?
- Are there hygiene issues associated with purchasing this second-hand item (for example, urinal, mattress, etc.)?
- Does the item have an Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) number? Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is Australia's regulatory authority for therapeutic goods. Visit: www.tga.gov.au.
Repairs / Maintenance:
- Is the item still covered by the warranty?
- Has the item had regular services/checks by a recommended provider?
- Are there logbooks available for the item?
- Is the item still being manufactured and sold by a reputable supplier?
- Was the item banned by the manufacturer/supplier for safety reasons?
- Was the item recalled by the manufacturer/supplier for safety reasons?
- Was the item repaired previously? Who completed these repairs?
- Are new parts that replaced broken parts still compatible with the item?
- Did the item have any changes made or adaptations added to the original item that will make it unsafe?
- Can the item be fixed, if necessary, by the original supplier? Have you checked for mandatory safety standards?
MRM team recommends that SELLERS check the product is clearly identified, and all the important details are described, delivery options and costs are clear, and that you provide up-to-date contact details should anything go wrong for the buyer. BUYERS check the fine print. Safety standards apply to many products sold in Australia. Look for statements that the item is certified to the relevant Australian standard.