What you need to know before buying your next appliance

Some items are not best to buy second hand

If Nancy Noderer wants to get anything out of the freezer she must walk across the yard to the old unit in the barn. That's because the reconditioned refrigerator the family recently bought broke down after just two days.

The Noderers expected more for $963. The handwritten warranty allows for in-shop repair or replacement with in the first 30 days.

But Nancy Noderer says the seller in Seminole refused to swap out the fridge for another in spite of what's on the warranty.

While Noderer has the option of filing a complaint with Pinellas County Consumer Protection for mediation, most counties don't have a consumer protection office, which means many in her shoes would have no recourse other than small claims court.

I was able to contact the seller by phone. He said he was always willing to replace the fridge, which is exactly what he offered to do after our conversation. The Noderers are relieved, but say they've learned a lesson about the purchase of certain secondhand items.

There's no guarantee on the condition and the responsibility you assume in buying them is a real inconvenience.

One way to save big on appliances without buying used is to buy a "scratch and dent," or floor model. They often come with a warranty backed by a brand name retailer. And always take advantage of a store’s price-match policy.

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