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Used: The Previously Owned Option

(April 2008) posted on Tue Apr 15, 2008

Evaluating the pros and cons of purchasing a used printer.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Anya Rao

Buying a previously used, large-format printer can be an affordable way for an upstart business to get off the ground or for a small- or mid-sized business to expand.

As with any big-ticket purchase, however, if you’re considering buying a used large-format printer from an OEM, private seller, or third party reseller, it’s wise to "kick the tires" and do your research before shelling out the cash.

Here, we’ve done some of that tire kicking for you, providing information from a handful of both buyers and sellers, offering their advice and experiences in the used-printer market.

A reliable track record

When looking about for another printer to add to his shop’s equipment array, Darren Buck, owner of JD Print & Display ( in Barrie, Ontario, Canada, initially bought a new printer that matched his small company’s price range. Soon, however, he realized that he needed a higher functioning machine, which he couldn’t afford to buy new.

"We needed the capabilities of this machine," says Buck, whose company produces large-format displays, "but we couldn’t afford to put the money out for a new one, given the size of our shop."

After shopping around at various tradeshows, Buck realized he could produce his shop’s required work on a four-year-old machine. He negotiated a six-month warranty with Inca on a used and refurbished Inca Eagle 44, the first used printer he has ever purchased.

Before buying, Buck considered purchasing from a broker, but said he chose to go with a manufacturer’s used product so he could deal directly with the OEM when it came to any technical issues. "I wouldn’t buy through a broker unless they could give me a guarantee that they would send repair parts overnight. I have to keep my business running," Buck says. "I’d also be leery to buy at an auction because you don’t know what you’ll get." He felt more comfortable making such a sizeable purchase from a manufacturer, he adds, because he assumes that if a manufacturer is confident enough to give you some type of warranty, than they must be confident in the quality of the refurbished machine.