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10 things you should never buy used

Some things are worth paying top dollar for

As a bit of a bargain hunter at heart, I’m always searching for ways to cut costs and buy things cheaply, but I’ve learnt from experience that there are some things in life you should never buy second-hand.

This is because more than likely they will end up costing you a lot more down the line as you pay for repairs or replacements.

Although there are thousands of things you can always get cheaper second-hand, the saying ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ is one to remember.

Here I’ve highlighted the top 10 things you should never buy if they’ve already been used by someone else.

1) Child car seats

Half a million of us have bought a second-hand car seat in the last year, according to Sainsbury's Car Insurance, and there has been a huge rise in the number of used products on websites such as eBay.

However, when you buy a used car seat it’s impossible to tell if it meets the current safety standards or if it's been damaged in a previous accident. Instructions may also be missing which mean you could fit the seat incorrectly in your car.

When you buy a new product, check with your local road safety department (part of the council) to see if there are any discounts available and always make sure it complies with current safety laws.

2) Bike helmets

Whatever kind of helmet you have, be it for a bike, motorbike or snowboard, you should never buy it second hand as there’s no way to tell how old it is or if it’ll give you the right level of protection.

After a crash, even a minor one, the protective foam underneath the outer shell can break – and there’s no way of knowing this from the outside. This can even be caused by repeatedly dropping the helmet or being careless with it, so don’t take the risk. Instead buy a brand new helmet and replace it every five years at least.

If you're buying a bike for the first time, you also need to make sure you pay out for insurance and approved locks to prevent it getting stolen.

3) Swimwear and wetsuits

On the whole swimming costumes, trunks and bikinis are not made to last and after a few too many dips in a chlorinated pool of salt water they will start to disintegrate.  

There is also the issue of hygiene. As these items are tight fitting, they cling to the body and can attract and be a harbour for bacteria. In a similar way, underwear should also be added to the list of something you should always buy brand new.

4) Mattresses

For those of you who have ever watched ‘How Clean is Your House’ you’ll know about the numerous creepy crawlies that can live in a mattress. This is particularly true of an old mattress, or one that’s not been cleaned before.

Don’t take the risk of infecting your home with insects such as fleas or bed bugs, and instead buy a brand new one. The cost of paying for an insect exterminator to disinfect your house will be a lot more expensive than a new mattress.

5) Makeup

Another complete no no is buying second-hand makeup. All over eBay there are adverts for eye shadows or foundation which have been ‘lightly’ used but you’ve no idea who else has been putting the product on their skin, or how old it is.

The longer you keep a makeup product, the greater the chance of bacteria building up which can lead to illness and infection.

6) Shoes

When you wear shoes over a period of time, they change slightly to fit the shape of the foot. Therefore when they’re passed on to a new owner they’re unlikely to fit properly and can be bad for your ankles and your back.

There’s also the rather more disgusting fact that infections such as warts or athletes foot can easily be passed around when people share shoes.

7) Computer software

Many computer programs will come with a unique code which means they can only be used a limited number of times. This means if you buy a program second hand, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to activate the program.

The good news is many other computer-related products can be bought in re-conditioned format where an approved retailer has checked the product over and made sure it's safe to be reused.

8) Baby cots

Babies and children are expensive but because health and safety standards change every few years when it comes to baby cots, you need to make sure yours is up-to-date.

Right now all of those sold should comply to the latest regulation ‘BSEN716’ and follow rules such as being deep enough to be safe and the bars being a certain distance apart. Second-hand cots often don’t have the correct instructions attached, and a worn or dirty cot or mattress can cause serious health problems for your child.

9) Tyres

Old, or recycled, tyres are a safety hazard because over time they lose elasticity. This means the tread, the pattern on the rubber edge which makes contact with the road, could separate from the tyre and become dangerous.

This is another case where you can’t tell the age, or condition, of the tyre just by looking at it. It’s always safer to buy a brand new version.

10) Hats

Unlike other second-hand clothes, hats will, over time, mould to fit a person’s head. And if they’re made of a material such as leather, they’re unlikely to have been cleaned very often.

Therefore you never know what depths of bacteria are living in them and it’s not worth the health risk. If you’re tempted, first remind yourself of the amount of sweat, dead skin or even lice that could be gathering in there.

Do you agree with the list or are there other things you would like to add? If so please leave a comment in the box below.


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