Three things you need to ask before buying used

PHOENIX - From used cars to used appliances, there are deals to be had in the second hand market but it's only a bargain, if it works properly.

That's what preschool teacher Jenna Hamilton found out after purchasing a used washer and dryer.

She works at SEEK Arizona, a preschool for children of all ages who have various disabilities.

The school needed larger machines to wash the kids' messy clothes and sheets and found an ad on Craigslist for a business that refurbishes appliances.

"We went down there took a look at them and decided it was something we wanted to go ahead and purchase," said Hamilton.

She says the problems were immediate. "It leaked everywhere," said Hamilton.

Luckily the machine came with a 90-day warranty, so the company sent replacements.

But two machines later, Hamilton says the school still didn't have a washing machine that worked properly.

"I spend my weekends washing the clothes of our kiddos," said Hamilton.

Only now she washes them at her house.

Buying used can be a great way to save on big ticket items like appliances.

It's also risky.

So you have to ask the right questions.

-Is there a recall?
With a year, make and model you can check for known issues with an appliance the Consumer Protection Safety Commission

-How much would it cost new? Would another $100 get you a new product?

-And finally how old is this thing?
Appliances have a shelf life. If yours is old, expect to shell out even more money for a replacement.

In the end, that's exactly what this Valley preschool had to do.

"We're really just wanting a machine that works," said Hamilton.

There are a lot of good second hand stores out there, you just have know how to weed out the bad ones.

Check the business name and location. Make sure to check online reviews. No reviews or bad reviews could be a red flag, so you may want to keep looking.

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