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Looking for a used or second-hand walker for yourself or a senior you care for? We’ve spent 17 hours researching the best tips and tricks to help you get the best deal.
Whether you’re shopping on Ebay, Facebook, Gumtree, or Amazon we’ve got money-saving advice that could save you hundreds of dollars.
Plus we uncovered some common scams you need to watch out for!
In this buying guide we share everything we’ve learned about buying a used walker from the four most popular market places. Read on for all the details.
Why Buy A Used Walker?
You Save Money
Generally the main reason to look at a pre-owned walker is to try and save some money. With so many places to shop, the resale market can be a great place to help make ends meet. If you’re willing to put the work in, know what to look for, and do a little digging, you can often snag a bargain.
In a world that produces so much new stuff, while simultaneously throwing out so much old stuff, sometimes it’s wise to re-use things that have already been manufactured. And it’s certainly better for the environment. Every new item we manufacture requires considerable amounts of water to produce, package, and transport. So every time you shop used you help the planet just a little bit.
In many cases when you’re shopping the second-hand market you’re shopping local and helping out an individual in the community. Rather than throwing money blindly at a faceless corporation you’ve got the opportunity to meet with someone face to face, make a deal, and help out a real person.
Of course the used market is not all roses and sunshine. There are many things you need to beware of. From outright scams and fakes, to worn-out walkers, limited choice, and surprise shipping fees.
Here are some of the more common things you should pay attention to:
Don’t Be Duped By Fakes
We see fakes quite a lot on the new market, but it’s also fairly common on the second-hand market as well.
- Sometimes the seller is unaware they are selling a fake, having been duped themselves.
- Other times it’s as simple as a seller using a common well-respected brand name in their listing to try and get some more eyeballs on their item.
- And more nefariously, occasionally you will find a seller who is knowingly and intentionally trying to pass off their no-name mass produced Chinese manufactured walker as a quality brand name one.
The best way to avoid buying a lemon is to 1) ask to see a receipt of their original purchase so you can verify where it was purchased and how much they paid, and 2) look closely and the photos and ask for more detailed close-up shots if necessary. Check the sellers item against photos of a brand new item from Amazon and look for any irregularities.
Some of the most common scams we see being perpetrated across the used walker market include:
- Bait and Switch – the seller lures you in with a desirable product and price but when you arrive to pick it up the item in question is no longer available and only an inferior and/or more expensive option is available. Be firm with what you want and don’t settle for anything less.
- Ghost Bidding – the seller agrees to a price but when you turn up to inspect the item a mysterious 3rd person has bid an even higher amount. Know your budget and what the item is worth and don’t go over.
- Robbery – luckily this one is quite rare, but there have been cases where the item does not even exist and the seller is merely trying to get you to a quite location with your cash so they can rob you. Always meet in a public place or take a friend along with you.
Probably the most important concern with buying a used walker is that of safety. There are many unknowns when buying second hand that can turn your mobility aid into a serious safety hazard.
For example, you don’t know how the walker has been treated and have to take the sellers word at exactly how old it is. Parts do wear out and the older the walker the more likely things such as the brake cables, wheels, and handgrips will be coming to their end of life and need replacing.
Here are some basic safety checks you should do:
- Ask the seller flat out why they are selling and if they have had any issues with the walker.
- Ask them if all the original components are there, including the manufacturers instructions/safety manual.
- Check the brakes and brake cables. The brakes should hold tight and not have any wiggle or give.
- Check the wheels and tyres for wear.
- Check the seat is secure and stable.
- Check the handle adjustments work and are secure at the height you need.
- Test the folding and unfolding action of the walker.
Obviously some of these are hard to do if you’re buying the walker online, so to some degree you have to trust the images and word of the seller. But if you’re buying in person you should definitely take a few moments to give the walker a good once over before parting with your cash.
Ratings And Reviews
If the platform you’re shopping on has seller reviews or ratings make sure you look at them thoroughly! Even a seller with a good overall rating might have a recent history of poor performance. So it pays to spend a few minutes looking at the sellers latest reviews to see what the current trend is.
Be Patient… Or Flexible
When buying a new walker you have the luxury of selecting the exact walker you want, in your favourite colour, with all the bells and whistles your heart desires. Then you simply visit Amazon, make your purchase, and your walker is at your door in a few days.
But buying a used walker is rarely this simple. You might not initially be able to find the exact model you want. Or it might be the wrong colour. Or too expensive. Or further away from your house than you were hoping to drive.
So if your heart is set on a very specific walker then you’ll need to be patient. Eventually the right deal will come along.
And if you can be flexible, perhaps looking at a different brand or slightly different model than you were hoping, then your options to find a bargain greatly increase.
Check Shipping Costs
One of the great things about buying on Amazon is shipping is quite often fast and free.
However the used markets are a little different. Sometimes a seller will throw in free shipping — although this is obviously factored in to the price — but in many cases a seller will either not offer shipping at all, or charge a small fortune for the privilege.
Double check the total purchase price including shipping before hitting that buy button!
Be Aware When Picking Up
Most people who you meet online are absolutely lovely. And 99% of the time the buying experience on any of the common used marketplaces is quite pleasant for both people.
But it’s always wise to follow basic safety precautions when meeting a stranger in real life.
- If possible, take a friend with you. Not only do they provide an extra level of safety they also bring a second pair of eyes to inspect the walker.
- If you’re going to pick up an item alone, tell someone where you are going and when you will be back.
- Opt to meet in a public place if you can.
- If you’re meeting at their place and you’re not comfortable going inside simply ask them to bring the walker to the front door for you to inspect.
- Always trust your gut! If something doesn’t feel right then politely leave. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Another deal will always come up.
Where To Buy
The four most popular places to buy used walkers and rollators online are:
Most people don’t think of Amazon when they think “used”, but the Amazon Marketplace has a huge selection of used “open box” walkers. Simply find the walker you want and browse to it’s product page, then look for the “Other Sellers on Amazon” section below the Buy Now button to see what used products are available.
What’s best is the prices on Amazon are extremely competitive. And because they are often shipped direct from Amazon you can get free shipping and have your walker delivered within days of ordering.
In the next sections we will look at tips and tricks to get the best bang for your buck from each of these marketplaces.
Amazon Buying Tips
One of the best tips I ever got was to always check the Amazon price first before shopping anywhere else.
Quite often you’ll find the price of a new item on Amazon is quite close to what people on other platforms are asking for their used goods. And when you factor in the warranty, easy returns, and free shipping it’s sometimes better in the long run just to buy from Amazon even if it does cost a few dollars more.
Here are some of my other top tips for saving money on a used walker from Amazon:
Check Different Colours
Many times you will find significant differences in price for different colours of the exact same model.
For example, at the time of writing there is a Hugo Mobility Elite for sale at $129.88 in red. But the same walker in blue is listed at $105.72, a saving of over $24!
This is much more common than you might think because sellers are always trying to move less popular colours and discounting is the fastest way to do this.
The cheapest walker might not always be the best deal. Check the “condition” column to see exactly what you’re buying.
- Open Box – Like New: These walkers will be in virtually brand-new condition and are likely returns from a customer who bought the item but never used it before returning.
- Open Box – Very Good: Walker might have seen limited use and have some small scratches but otherwise be in perfect working order.
- Open Box – Good: Now we’re getting into well-used territory. Item will show obvious signs of use, have scratches or other marks, and may be missing pieces. But it otherwise functions fine.
- Open Box – Acceptable: A well-worn walker that still functions OK but has seen better days. It will likely be scratched, dented, and be in need of some replacement parts.
Depending on the condition, the cost of replacement parts, and what level of wear and tear you can live with, you might find investing a few extra dollars on a “Like New” or “Very Good” walker money well-spent.
Shipping Times & Cost
While the majority of new items on Amazon now offer free shipping, if you’re buying used or open box items it’s important to double-check both the shipping cost and shipping times. This goes double if you’re shipping internationally as these costs can vary quite a bit.
Amazon makes it pretty easy to see at a glance who has the best overall price (including shipping) because the “other sellers” listings are sorted by this metric.
Facebook Buying Tips
Facebook has three primary ways to buy and sell:
- Facebook Marketplace
- Local “Buy, Swap, Sell” Groups
- People selling directly from their personal profiles
In all three cases the same general guidelines apply:
Check the seller’s profile for obvious signs of a scammer
Things such as no profile picture, public posts promoting diet or dating offers, a profile created in the last few months, or if they’re located in a different area to the local group are red flags.
Exchange goods and money at the same time
Don’t pay in advance before you have the item in your possession. Cash or Paypal are both fine, although Paypal may offer you *some* extra protection should something go wrong.
Make sure the photos are of the actual item
Some sellers will use stock photos from the walker’s manufacturer or photos stolen from other sellers. If you’re unsure ask for a more detailed photo of one part of the item, if they’re unable or unwilling to provide it then it might be because they don’t have the item in their possession!
Gumtree Buying Tips
Many of the same tips from Facebook apply here as it’s a similar type of buying process.
But there are also some specific ways to snap up deals on Gumtree:
Setup a “search alert”
Bargains are snapped up fast, sometimes on the same day they’re listed, so you want to be first to know about walkers matching your search criteria ASAP.
Limit your search radius
There’s nothing worse than finding a great deal on a used walker only to see it’s located 500 miles from your house. So limit your search radius to a distance you’re happy to travel.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate
If a seller has listed their price as negotiable then you can be sure they’ve added at least 10-20% to the price they’re actually willing to take. Sometimes it can be as simple as asking them what their lowest price is to instantly save 30% on the asking price.
Take the time to browse categories
Most people on Gumtree are fairly lazy and don’t fill out a lot of details about the item they’re selling. They will often miss critical details such as the brand, model, or make. So if all you do is search you might miss the exact product you’ve been after.
Sort items by newest and oldest
Finding newly listed items can let you snag a bargain before others even see it. And older listings might be ripe for a discounted offer if the seller is now motivated to get rid of the walker.
Ebay Buying Tips
For many years Ebay was the go-to place to find used bargains on just about everything. But in recent times it has lost some favour with sellers because of the ever increasing fees charged.
So while you might not find quite as many deals as you once could, there are still great bargains to be found for those who put the time into finding them.
Research prices on amazon
It’s easy to get stuck in an Ebay vortex and focus so much on an auction that you lose sight of the bigger picture. Before bidding make sure you check the items price on Amazon because in some cases you’ll actually find it’s cheaper to buy the item new on Amazon than second hand on Ebay!
See past sold prices
Most people don’t realise you can do this, and it’s a treasure trove of valuable information!
In the left-hand side filter menu of an Ebay search results page there is a checkbox to “Show only – Sold Items”. When you click this checkbox you will now be looking only at items that have sold, showing you exactly what people have paid for items just like the one you’re after.
Some Buy It Now listings accept “Best Offer” counters. This lets you make a counteroffer to the seller’s Buy It Now price and is your opportunity to negotiate. If this option is available you should always take it because it’s an invitation the seller is willing to come down on the price.
Hot Tip: Many sellers will set these Best Offers to be automatically be accepted if they are within 10-20% of the listing price.
Check the shipping cost
Private sellers on Ebay have to pay full retail shipping costs which can be quite expensive for a bulky item like a walker or rollator. Many will simply not offer shipping as an option because of this, but for those listings that do make sure you check the shipping costs as they can be significant.
For example, just today I saw a used Drive Medical Folding Walker listed for $22.49… but the shipping cost was $64.80, bringing the total to $87.29! In comparison, this product can be found on Amazon brand new for around $35 with free shipping.
Filter by item location
If there are enough listings to justify it, you’ll find an “Item Location” filter on the left hand side navigation panel. Here you can choose to only see items from within a set radius from your own zip code.
This is a handy way to quickly find items from sellers near you so you can pick the items up and avoid nasty shipping costs.
Don’t do private deals
Some sellers will offer to make a deal off Ebay, sometimes so they can avoid paying seller fees, and other times because they are trying to scam you. Always go through the Ebay platform so you are fully protected by both the Ebay resolution process and your opportunity to leave a negative review should something bad happen.
Wait until the last seconds to bid
Still one of the best ways to snap up a bargain on Ebay is to wait until the very last seconds to place your bid. Sometimes referred to as “bid sniping” this tactic is a little frowned upon by some Ebay users, but there is no doubting it’s effectiveness.
This works for three main reasons:
- Other buyers don’t become aware there are other active buyers so they don’t set high enough initial bids.
- Other buyers simply don’t have enough time to increase their bids when they get outbid by you.
- There isn’t enough action on the auction to get emotions flowing and create a buying frenzy.
The downside to this tactic is if your bid is not high enough you might be automatically outbid by an existing buyer and not have enough time to increase it.
I’ll admit I use this tactic a lot and it never fails to get my heart pumping as those final few seconds tick down!
Summing It All Up
There you have it, 17 hours of research (combined with over 10 years of buying and selling used goods on Ebay) summed up in one epic post to help you save money.
If you’re in need of a walker right away then it’s probably going to be luck whether or not the one you want is available second-hand at the right price and in the right location.
But if you’ve got some time, follow the tips in this guide, and are patient, then you might just find a steal of a deal.