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Tips on Purchasing A Pre-Owned Telephone System

A Pre-Owned Telephone System can be A GREAT Deal…or A Real Disaster!
Learn How to Make the Right Decision

Taking five minutes now to read this article may help you save a considerable amount of money (and hours of frustration) when choosing the popular "pre-owned system" route.

Considering the purchase of a "pre-owned" telephone system? Great! The potential savings can sometimes be significant. The purpose of this article is to provide anyone considering the purchase of a pre-owned system some insights and guidelines on how to be an informed buyer when considering such a purchase. Listed below are several such insights you may want to factor into your decision.

1 One of the most common sources of pre-owned systems is the large pool of systems removed from service due to excessive maintenance problems. A standard scenario occurs when a company replaces their problematic system with a new system. The old system is often taken as a trade-in or sold outright, passing the problems to an unknowing buyer or vendor. Systems such as these are in abundance on the used telephone system market and can be purchased for very low prices, especially in high storm areas such as Florida or Texas. Sometimes companies think purchasing a pre-owned system at such a low price may be worth the risk. However, it is not until the company has paid for both the system and installation that they realize just how expensive such a pre-owned system can be. In fact, after considering the lost business from problems such as dropped calls as well as the lost man hours in training staff and trying to make the system work, such a purchase can cost in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars in non-recoverable installation and maintenance costs.

2Since most businesses recognize the risks of buying a used system directly from the previous owner (buying someone else's problems), a large number of pre-owned systems are sold by telephone equipment dealers. Most of these dealers will sell the equipment and install it for an additional cost. Some will even provide a warranty. This would seem to protect you, but there are still a couple questions you will want to ask:

  • -Is the dealer a reputable company that will stand behind their warranty and work? This is especially important in a pre-owned system purchase, as there is rarely a manufacturer's warranty backing the product. The entire parts and labor warranty is usually provided by the installing vendor, making that company's reputation and stability critical to your decision. Many used system brokers are one or two man operations that go away as quickly as they crop up. And when they go away, so do warranties, installation information, and backup files.

  • -Is the dealer experienced on the equipment they are providing and installing? Many companies take trade-ins of equipment on which they do not have experience and then sell these to companies looking for a bargain. Unfortunately, these purchasers often feel the brunt as the telephone company learns about the system "on the fly" and does not have the parts or expertise to support it. This can be a painful experience for both sides.

3 When comparing costs of "new" and "used", always factor installation labor into the decision. The installation labor is usually about the same price for new or used systems, and these costs need to be accounted for during the life of the system. That makes the right decision here that much more important.

4 Always make sure you receive user guides and, if applicable, an administrator guide specific to your system. This is critical! Without a user guide, it is very easy for everyone attempting to use the system to become frustrated. A great investment turns sour when the product is not used correctly.

5 Ensure that your vendor has a quality assurance testing program and procedure prior to allowing pre-owned products to be sold. This is a critical step for protecting you as the buyer.

Purchasing a pre-owned system can be a real bargain… or a very costly headache! Just ask the right questions and choose your vendor carefully. You really can save a significant amount of money!


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