Used Cisco Equipment Q&A

If you take heed of the above advice, and find yourself in the right circumstance, eBay buying experiences can save you money – as long as you’re willing to take the steps needed to safeguard the transaction.

Here is some more background on used Cisco products:
(the following is excerpted from a post I wrote for Network World)

How soon do Cisco Routers and Switches become available Used?

2-3 Months after a product has been released new, you can typically find it used. This may come as a surprise to some who assume you can only find 2nd or 3rd generation hardware used. Due to bankruptcies, mistaken purchases, or demo units, it is possible to find the latest and greatest as well as EOL equipment.

Is Used Cisco the same as Gray Market Cisco?

No, Gray Market product is equipment that has been purchased new from another country in order to be sold in a region where the manufacturer charges more for it. Used Cisco hardware is just previously used equipment given a second life.

What condition of equipment should I expect from Used Cisco hardware?

Just because you’re purchasing used equipment, you shouldn’t have to settle for low quality. Cisco reman and used Cisco gear from legitimate brokers is typically in similar condition to what is currently in your datacenter. Occasionally dealers will offer further discounts on “ugly-duckling” equipment that functions but has some scratches or dings. You should be informed of this upfront though.

How are prices set on the used market?

The used Cisco market is an open market where equipment is traded as a second-hand commodity. Prices rise and fall based on perceived availability and demand in the marketplace. The best way to compare prices is to do so against other resellers because comparing against list is completely arbitrary. Depending on the model or feature, discounts can range from 30 to 90% off list.

When is the best time to buy?

Give yourself time to check out all of your options, but also know that used resellers can typically ship overnight if you’re in a pinch. End of month, end of quarter and end of year are great times to buy as sales reps aim to meet their quotas.

Who buys Used Cisco?

Fortune 500s and SMBs alike. Individuals, resellers, government agencies and manufacturers, too.

Should you consider used Cisco?

You have to decide for yourself, but it is definitely worth getting a quote or two so that you can make an informed decision. Some users start with training or demo hardware and then move to development or production units if their confidence gets to that level.

Seven Tips to buying Used Cisco on eBay

1) Communicate with the seller before the auction closes.

The “ask seller a question” button is your friend. It allows you to get answers to any questions that you might have about an item before you buy. Even if no burning questions come to mind, I still like to use this feature to make sure I’m dealing with a real person, and to gain some insight into how helpful of a seller they’ll be.

2) Check the freight cost.

Sure, a big Cisco Switch might look like a killer deal at $150 on eBay. But don’t get stuck buying it before you find out it is shipping from Australia and freight will be four times the purchase price. IT systems can be hefty, and accordingly, so can the freight. If there isn’t a flat fee listed or a way to calculate freight, then ask the seller for assistance.

3) Do a background check.

A surface level check can be done by looking at the number of previous sales and reading buyers’ feedback. I’m usually not comfortable unless I see at least 15 to 20 previous transactions with genuine feedback – not generically created. If the dollar amount is over $1000, I’ll look for a history of closer to 100 transactions or more.

4) Background Check 2.0: Go Deeper.

Trusting the seller is so important, that sometimes we have to look even further. If I don’t feel comfortable after examining the seller’s eBay history, then I might get a little bit more creative. I will contact them and ask them for some information about their business. If they happily submit information and give legitimate information to back it up (non-P.O. Box addresses, references, etc…) then I’m much more confident. Also, check to see if they mention their business in the listing and look it up on your favorite search engine.

5) Make comparisons off eBay.

Find something listed on eBay, but you’re not sure if it’s the best deal? Google it and you’ll find respected businesses that carry it. You’ll often find similar pricing, with warranties and customer service built-in that you wouldn’t get at auction.

6) Ask for a better deal.

Viewed an auction that didn’t sell? Ask the seller if they would lower their price for you and re-list it as a “buy-it-now” auction at your agreed upon price. You can also barter on shipping costs, or ask them to use your shipping account and not charge a fee. Some don’t go for it, but asking never hurts.

7) Buy-it-Now is not get-it-now.

Always check to make sure the lister still has the hardware, and what the lead time will be. I’ve found that sometimes companies or individuals post renewable listings, then forget about them. In the meantime, they’ve sold the item and no longer have it. If they do agree to fulfill the order, it can take weeks or months to receive the delivery – due to their need to source it. I used to think “Buy-it-now” was automatic, but now I always double check.