Cheap second hand stores and online personal ads may seem like a thrifty destination for home decor and furnishings. However, buying used furniture from unreputable stores comes with some scary (and expensive) risks! Learn about the sketchy risks of buying uninspected used furnishings here.
1. You may fall prey to criminals.
In recent times, garage sales have gone digital thanks to the rise of sites and apps like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and OfferUp. Though these and other similar solutions are great ways to get rid of items you no longer use, they can also serve as a good front for people with ulterior motives.
Anytime you physically exchange something with a stranger from the internet — you are exposing yourself to criminal acts like cons and robberies. To help you avoid these situations, popular peer-to-peer selling apps like letgo have dedicated guides for safe online shopping. Some of the most common tips for avoiding cons and robberies when buying items from or selling to people on the internet include:
– Meet in a public place: Rather than giving strangers your home address to exchange an item, choose to meet in a well-lit, public place, preferably with a friend by your side.
– Stick to cash: Whether you’re selling or buying, it’s easy to get defrauded with fake checks, bad money orders, or wire transfers. Do you best to avoid sending or accepting non-cash payments, as these are most likely to be faked.
2. Your items may not be as advertised.
If you’ve ever been on an online dating site, you’re probably familiar with the disappointment that comes when the person you’re meeting does not look like their profile picture. It’s amazing what good lighting and photo-editing software can do for both people and items — so don’t be surprised if you choose to buy something from a stranger online and the product is not as advertised.
On the other hand, if you choose to shop for used furniture and appliances in-person at a cheap second hand store, you may find your experience equally disappointing. Appliances may not work, desks may be wobbly, and you may move your “new” used couch into your home only to discover a questionable stain on one of the cushions. Yuck!
When shopping for vintage furniture, choose to go to gently-used furniture stores that pre-inspect each item. For example, each item at CORT Furniture Outlet is pre-inspected, certified on a scale from “noticeable wear and tear” to “showroom condition,” and then priced accordingly.
3. You might be bringing pests home.
There are plenty of critters who love calling old upholstery “home sweet home.” Some of the most common pests that may hide in used furniture are fleas, roaches, and bed bugs.
On one hand, fleas and roaches may be easy to get rid of with easily available chemical insecticides. However, do you want to use potentially toxic ingredients on the same surfaces you and your kids lay on to watch movies and play video games? Probably not!
On the flipside, bed bugs are notoriously difficult to get rid off — which is why many leases include a bed bug addendum that makes tenants responsible for any infestation-related costs, reports legal help site Nolo.
One of bed bugs’ preferred sources of sustenance is blood, which is why they’re known to leave painful, itchy bites on humans and domestic animals. Lastly, if you accidentally bring bed bugs home, they’re likely to spread to your carpet and other furnishings, meaning that even getting rid of the originally-infested items won’t help end your pest problem.
Shop secondhand, safely!
Do the risks of buying secondhand furniture scare you? Don’t worry, you don’t have to miss out on the fun (and frugal) benefits of buying gently-used items! Instead, head to your local CORT Furniture Outlet for pre-inspected gently-used living room, bedroom, and dining room furniture!