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Buying used disability equipment

Buying second-hand disability equipment can be a good way to save money and get the products you need for daily living. Check our advice before you buy.

Before you buy

If your aim is to save money, check whether second-hand is the cheapest option. There could be hidden charges, such as delivery costs. The equipment may also no longer be under the manufacturer’s guarantee so you might need to pay for repairs or maintenance. Find out where you can get this.

Find out if you can get the equipment you need for free or by paying a small deposit to borrow it. Certain items like walking aids, wheelchairs and mobility scooters may be available to use for short periods from the NHS or the Red Cross.

It’s also worth finding out if products are being given away or recycled. If someone is no longer using equipment, they might be happy to give it or lend it to you for free.

Useful websites for free recycled items include:

Research what you need

If you have an occupational therapist or physiotherapist, ask them for advice on what you need and what products are available.

Home adaptations and occupational therapist assessments

Look for online discussions about what other people with similar conditions use, such as:

Think about how much you can afford and what you can get for your money. You may need to consider costs like maintenance and repairs.

What to consider before you buy equipment (Disability Equipment Service) 

When you’ve decided your budget and the equipment you want, focus on researching the product:

Warning Reviews are not professional advice

Reviews and advice are often based on people’s personal experiences. What works for someone else may not work for you.

Reviews are not professional advice unless from the company or qualified expert. Only follow advice you feel comfortable with.

Always check if the company paid for or sponsored the product review as it may be more positive.

Research the seller

When you’ve decided on a product, start looking at where you can buy it. It’s important to find out as much as possible about who you’re buying the product from. You could:

  • check the seller’s rating and read feedback from customers
  • read the seller’s refund and returns policy
  • find out about delivery costs. Some large items might be costly to send or require collection. This can add to the price.
  • ask the seller questions, such as the condition of the item and payment options. Try to get this in writing.
  • ask other people if they’ve had dealings with the seller or retailer
  • find out if they’re a retailer or a private seller. You have greater protection under the Consumer Rights Act with a retailer.

Consumer Rights Act (Citizen’s Advice)

Be aware of your consumer rights, especially when buying used equipment.

Your consumer rights (Which?)

Always be vigilant for scammers. If an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is. If you have read several negative reviews or cannot find information about the retailer or seller, consider avoiding them.

Where to buy used disability equipment

There are many ways to find used disability equipment.

Local disability charities often sell used equipment so it’s worth looking for one near you.

Equipment manufacturers may sell their used products so it’s worth asking them.

Local newspapers have sales sections and classified ads. It’s worth checking local community boards as people often use them to advertise items for sale.

Some places to check online include:

Paying

Warning Use a secure payment method

If you do not recognise the platform you’re being asked to use, research it to find out if it’s safe and secure. Do not use it if you have doubts about it.

Cash payments

Cash on collection is a common method of payment for private sales.

Agree the price before you go to collect the equipment. Test the equipment to make sure it works before you pay.

PayPal

PayPal allows you to send money using your email address. You will need a PayPal account to do this. There is no fee to send individual payments. It offers some fraud protection.

What is PayPal buyer protection and how am I covered? seller protection (PayPal)

Credit and debit cards

If you’re using a credit or debit card, items costing over £100 and under £30,000 are covered under the Consumer Credit Act. This means the credit card company has equal responsibility with the seller if there are any problems with the items you’ve bought.

Shopping and paying online (Money Advice Service)

Consumer Credit Act (Money Advice Service)

Bank transfer

Bank transfer can be an easy way to send money to another person. But only send money to a person or organisation you trust to avoid risking your bank or personal details being stolen.

Keep your bank details safe.

Last reviewed by Scope on: 17/01/2020

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