Quite often we will see people looking to buy a second hand washing machine or another appliance from the likes of Ebay, Gumtree and so on that has been listed as a private sale and people are looking for advice on purchases like this.
The general advice we would give is, don't buy it!
In this article we'll explain why we say that and the reasons that you should look very, very carefully when you are offered a second hand washing machine.
It is true to say that some people will buy a new washing machine for a valid reason such as, they don't like the one they bought and want another, they just don't get on with the new washing machine and so on but, these are by far and away in the minority.
There are a few common drivers that trigger people to buy a new washing machine and these are:
Now, outside of those reasons that drive washing machine sales, there is very little if any reasons at all to buy a new washing machine.
When we see a washing machine machine advertised as "one careful owner, hardly used" we get very, very suspicious indeed. Please think and consider the seller's motivation for selling off a washing machine as, a lot of the time, we think it's reason number two, it's broken in some way.
The problem with buying second hand in the first instance is that you have no idea how much the washing machine has been used, or not as the case may be. You are relying solely on the information supplied by the seller and that can depend very much on how good their memory happens to be.
The reason is that there are almost no washing machines (bar a few top end models) can actually be interrogated to find out how much they've been used. There is no internal odometer to tell how many cycles have been run.
Now, that may seem to a layperson not to be that important but, stop and think about this for a moment.
Most washing machines are designed, as you can read in other articles on this site, designed for a certain number of cycles or running time. If you buy a second hand one that is near that or over it, you could be buying a box full of problems. You have no way to tell.
Professional repairers and reconditioners do as they have a vast experience and, whilst they might not be able to tell you how many cycles the particular washing machine has done, they will be able to tell roughly how much use it has been given and what general condition it is in, behind the pretty parts that you can see. The components behind the bits you see are the important one as, remember, these are primarily mechanical devices and mechanical devices are subject to wear and tear through use.
Now think, how much do you truust the seller to tell you the truth about the use?
Of course there are a great many people out there who, for perfectly genuine reasons, want to sell their washing machine but how can you be sure the one you're looking at is one of those or something else?
One of the big problems with commercial premises and, why most manufacturers will not offer any warranty at all on commercial properties is because they do not know who uses the washing machine, if it is cared for, how it is used and so on.
We have seen top quality machines destroyed in less than a year through misuse and abuse in commercial properties.
When you are looking to buy a second hand washing machine you should consider this, how has the machine been used, where and to wash what exactly?
You wil have no idea normally. You wouldn't even know if the washing machine had been used commercially.
Of course we professionals can prod about a bit and tell a lot about how a washing machine has been used but only because we have the experience and knowledge to do so and, it's not really a thing that we can explain as a lot of the time it's almost like a sixth sense for us.
The general public have little to no chance of being able to tell this.
There are, these days, cheap Chinese and Turkish washing machines available for less than £200 quite readily. Okay, so they're absolutely rubbish and don't perform well at all but they are out there.
For a professional repairer or reconditioner these machines aren't worth even looking at, they just bin them.
Parts are too expensive or difficult to get (if you can get them at all), technical information is non-existent or complete garbage and this makes these cheap washing machines simply not worth the trouble of reconditioning.
Then you have sealed tubs etc. that also make reconditioning or in some cases even a repair, completely impractical.
In other words, to consider a washing machine for reconditioning and therefore a second hand sale, you have to start with a washing machine that is actually worth reconditioning. The same applies when buying a second hand washing machine. If it started off life as rubbish it certainly will not improve with age.
It is also worth noting here that a particular brand name will not help, almost every manufacturer has a few washing machines it would either rather forget about or, just isn't suitable as a second hand purchase.
Just remember that you are buying a washing machine that will have washed other people's dirty smalls, nappies or goodness knows what else.
It is a sobering thought.
All the more sobering when we tell you that almost all modern washing machines with a plastic outer tank will almost invariably have "residues" left from the previous owner in it. This can often be a thick layer of slime inside the washing machine that is, basically, just bacteria.
Of course any potential seller is unlikely to disclose the use, per above, that the washing machine has been put to leaving you without a clue what's in there. Or, what you might catch from using the "new" machine.
We've not put you right off the whole idea of even thinking about buying a second hand washing machine yet?
Okay, if you really, really want a a second hand machine you have to do this the smart way and, actually get clued up on what you are getting into. The most obvious way to do that is to seek out small local stores that recondition washing machines and do it that way.
The reason is very simple, the reconditioners that do this will strip the machines down, fully service any parts that are broken or worn and clean then thoroughly before putting them back on sale. This costs money to do. Private individuals selling a washing machine will not do this.
It is the only way to be sure and, you will get a warranty of some sort. Buying off Ebay, Gumtree etc, you're on your own in respect to any warranty.
Because of the work involved and, potential cost of any spares needed, the value of a second hand machine in the open market and the availability of cheap washing machines, the value that you can expect from a washing machine (even if only a few months old) is very, very low.
It often shocks people when they go to sell a washing machine to a trader that they get offered between £10 and £50. But remember, the trader knows all of the above and doesn't know what the problems could be, how much work is required to get the machine sell-able or if any parts will be needed. Yet, because of the cheap machines available, he has to sell for £150 or less.
So the second hand values are really low.
Washing machines in this state, unchecked and unworked are known in the industry as "raw".
Anything else simply isn't worth too much money or a lot of effort.
Perhaps after reading this article you may well think twice about a second hand washing machine and, if even a cheap washing machine is worth bothering with. We'd say that neither were.