tips on buying a used computer, and not get scammed/swindled

Buying a used local machine is probably the best way to get the most bang for your buck. Countless people are always upgrading, not necessarily because they need the speed, but just because there is something marginally faster on the market. While this type of behaviour, and having more money than sense, will never fill their void, their loss is your gain.

This is how you minimize the probability you won’t get scammed and you are getting the best deal:

Oddly enough, the #1 thing to make sure you are not getting scammed is common sense:  Are you meeting them in their home?  Here you can be 99.99% sure the computer is fine, as described. Nobody scams people out of their personal residence. This is the #1 green-flag.

HOWEVER, just because they aren’t scammers, doesn’t mean you are getting a fair deal and solid hardware. There are 2 things apps you want them to run before you come to purchase it:

  1. Userbenchmark* Have them send you the results link.
  2. CrystalDiskInfo* Have them send you screenshots of every SSD & HDD in the system.
*(Do not send them links to the software, it makes you look shady – everybody should know by now not to open up links people send to you via text)

(Someone asked me if one should ask them to send you an Event Viewer. They probably just reinstalled windows so it’s blank and useless. )

The benchmark results may also allow some leverage. Is some hardware drastically underperforming? Are the HDD pretty old? They could just run a sloppy ship, they’ve never tweaked it, and they’ve never installed windows proper, but now you can see if there are any red flags. If anything isn’t performing more than 40%, I’d factor this into your pricing negotiations. Yes, they could have run the software wrong, if the background CPU usage is very high, and they can’t get it slower, something is wrong.

Questions to ask (if they haven’t explained it in the ad, don’t ask questions they’ve already answered)

  1. Is Windows legit? Activated? Do they have the key written down somewhere? (One can use Speccy to get it) Has it been removed from their Microsoft Account?
  2. Was the GPUs used for mining? (they can lie…)
  3. When and where they purchased it from. If anything is still under warranty, do they have those receipts?

Ask for a 1 week warranty. While you can test some things with the above tools, you really can’t test everything. This isn’t an “I’ve changed my mind” or “I found a better deal” warranty, this is just in case the hardware is not as described. Like it’s rebooting randomly or freezing. If they won’t do it, walk.


The advice for selling a used PC is the reciprocal of this guide.


Where to buy local machines? 

Facebook Marketplace

Your area may have an alternative that people use more than CL. Google or ask locals to find out

Reddit /r/hardwareswap