Nov 07, 2013

8 TIPS BEFORE BUYING USED LAB EQUIPMENT

1. Several companies are advertising the same product, why should I work with your company?
We’ve all heard it a million times – you get what you pay for.  So if the most compelling reason a company offers is that they are the lowest price – hang up the phone immediately!  When you call ALT, you’ll hear words like “solutions, partnership, and commitment.”  Sure, ALT offers competitively priced instruments and we even offer a price match guarantee, but our primary goal is to be your long-term business partner and your trusted source for premium refurbished lab equipment.

 

2. Where are the instruments?  Do you have them in stock? May I visit your facility?
Great questions and we’re glad you asked them.  Many companies, while possibly robust online, may be just that; an online façade acting like a full reseller of premium refurbished instruments.  ALT takes pride in stocking more than 10,000 items in our 30,000 square foot facility in East Lyme, Connecticut.  Consider this an open invitation to visit our headquarters. We’ll gladly give you a tour, introduce you to your dedicated account representative, and meet with the service engineers who can answer any questions you may have about the refurbishment process.

 

3. I’m ready to buy, but how do I know that products you sell are serviced and tested to ensure that they work?
Turning on the instrument to ensure that a green light flashes on is not our interpretation of servicing and testing an instrument.  At ALT, every item we sell goes through a rigorous checkpoint system right before we ship the item that includes the repair or replacement of any part that is not operating as it should be.  If the item is a component within a system such as an HPLC detector, the item is tested on a full system to ensure that it’s holding up its part of the deal.

 

4.  I’m tired of money back guarantees and ‘as-is’ auctions.  Do you provide a warranty on the instruments you sell? 
Whether you choose to buy an instrument from ALT or from somewhere else, do yourself a favor and NEVER buy lab equipment without a warranty — unless you’re an expert at fixing it!  ALT offers a standard 90 day warranty on everything we sell and we also offer a competitively price one year upgraded warranty.

 

5. Okay, so you have a warranty, but what does it cover?
Be careful of money back guarantees or short term 14 or 30 day warranties.   Sure, they may give you some limited peace of mind, but it certainly doesn’t guarantee that you’ll have a working instrument any time soon.  Can you afford that kind of downtime in your lab?  Chances are, companies that can’t commit to long term solutions, likely don’t have the staff, skillset, or inventory to actually fix the equipment in the first place.  At ALT, our policy is simple: should you encounter a problem with the instrument during the warranty period, we want to be your first call.  You’ll speak with one of our service engineers who will work with you to see if the problem can be resolved over the phone.  If not, the item will be repaired or replaced in a timely manner.  Period.

 

6.  Now the warranty is up and like clockwork, the instrument stops functioning.  So, what happens if a problem arises after the warranty period?
We’re glad you asked that!  It’s one of our favorite questions!  Believe it or not, we still want to be your first call.  Our goal is to help make sure that you have a working instrument for as long as you own it.  While your repair may no longer be 100% covered, we charge a nominal evaluation fee to diagnose the problem and provide you with a fair estimate.  Should you decide to proceed with the repair, your evaluation fee is credited to the repair estimate.

 

7.  When you receive my order, when will you ship the item? 
Be wary of companies that promise next day delivery as it may be a sign that the instrument hasn’t gone through recent testing and servicing, if any at all.  At ALT, when we receive your order, we move the item from our warehouse to our service department where we test and service each instrument right before it goes out the door to ensure that it is functioning within manufacturer’s specification.  Once the item is completed it is moved to our shipping department where we carefully pack it so it arrives safely in your lab. The delivery timeframe varies based on the complexity, age, and condition of the instrument.  Some items ship next day, while others may take 4-6 weeks.  Either way, your account representative will keep you updated every step of the way.

 

8.  The last time I purchased lab equipment, I was never able to get them on the phone.  Will I get a human on the phone when I call you or will I be lost in voice mail?
We’re consumers too and we understand the frustration of touchtone games and voice recognition prompts.  We have a solution for that – every single phone call that is received in our headquarters between 9:00am and 5:00pm ET is answered by a real live person who can easily answer your questions or direct your call to someone who can.