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Buyers beware: Is a demo computer a new computer?

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Are computer sellers living in a dream world? Or do they not understand English?


I’m trying to buy a pc on BOB but the poor descriptions by sellers (or lack thereof) and the high prices they want make me wary of buying a pc through BOB.


Sellers must be living in a dream world because the prices they want and the indicative market prices which they state are often way beyond comprehension. I thought that used computers in particular would be cheap on BOB. Apparently not!

A seller selling a used 1st generation core i7 thinks that he can fool people by indicating the same market price for his computer as for a new 4th generation core i7. Come on guys your old computers with old technology cannot be valued the same as new computers.


I note too that sellers often do not give the computer model number or processor number. This makes evaluating the computer difficult. Often the buyer has to ask the seller – what processor, what model, etc? A computer may be listed as core i7 but often the listing does not indicate that this is an older, slower 1st generation processor. I have seen, for example, a computer advertised as new model Dell core i7 or latest series Dell core i7 but when looking up the specs on manufacturers website on the internet I find that the model is not new nor is it the latest series and has in fact been discontinued a year or two ago. The model listed is a 2010 or 2011 3 series model when the 5 or 6 series model is currently being sold. Is this fair?


Buyers who are not knowledgeable about computers, and unfortunately the majority of buyers are not, would not know that the above computer is an old model with old technology, and would think that they are getting a bargain. The buyer too is to blame for not asking questions.


I find myself more often going to the manufacturer’s website to get information about the product which is time consuming. Surely sellers should give detailed facts about the products which they are selling.


In my view a computer falls into 5 categories. These are:


1 Brand new - sealed in a box, untouched, like a virgin, perfect condition.

2 Demo - not sealed in a box, touched and handled numerous times for explanatory purpose, excellent condition.

3 Used or second hand - generally an older model computer bought and used by someone who wants to get rid of it, condition may vary from poor to excellent.

4 Refurbished - a base computer built with parts not all original, not all new parts but in working order.

5 Scrap - a computer not in working order and from which some working parts may be taken.


Sellers seem wary to indicate that what they are selling is second hand or used computer as if buyers would not consider buying these. Are there any second hand computers for sale on BOB or are the only computers for sale on BOB new or demo models?

A buyer would appreciate a correct description with the correct processor number or model number. Many older model computers are in fact better than some of the newer models. Some 2nd generation processors are just as fast or even faster than some 3rd generation processors. So a buyer may in fact be looking for a particular older model. Full and correct information in the listing allows the buyer to make an informed decision. An informed buyer is more ready and willing to buy than one who has to keep on extracting information from a seller and guessing what is being sold.


Computer sellers on BOB have also greatly contributed to the development of the English language. I have seen strange new English terms to describe computers. I have seen the term “brand new demo”. What does this mean? Is this different from a used demo? A demo model can never be brand new no matter how much the seller would like it to be. It is soiled goods. Calling it new does not make it so.


I have been advised by employees in two different large computer shops that some of their models which are sold as demos have been on the shelf for up to 12 months. I was further advised that some of these models are kept switched on 24 hours a day. So a demo model on a shelf for 6 to 12 months, switched on for 24 hours and played with by all who pass by can hardly be called new. It may in fact be in a worse condition than a used computer which has seldom been used which has been taken good care of by its owner. A seller is usually unaware of the history of a demo (unless it is in his shop) and therefore cannot guarantee that the demo computer is “just like new” or “perfect condition” just because it is a demo.


I have seen the term “ex-demo” used to describe a computer. What is this? A computer that was a demo and was then sold? It used to be new, then it became a demo and now it is an ex-demo????


Of course the seller always has a reason to explain why the pc is a demo and why it is in perfect condition. Box damaged in transit, wrong order, sent to incorrect address, unwanted by customer and returned to manufacturer etc.


I could go on and on but as a last point I want to say that these listings remind me of the used car salesman who wants to sell you a car and tells you that it is in perfect condition because it was owned one little old lady who only drove it to church on Sundays.


Are computer sellers ex car salesmen?

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