Minimizing Risk When Buying Used Equipment

Daily News

Despite the economic advantage of buying used equipment, some business owners shy away from this option because they fear the risk may outweigh the reward. At Ritchie Bros., we have PurchaseSafe™ to help guide buyers search and purchase used equipment with peace of mind.

Benefits of PurchaseSafe™ Secure Transaction Management include:

  • Includes transaction management, taxation, lien search and payout coordination
  • Invoicing and sales documentation provided by Ritchie Bros.
  • Works perfectly with PurchaseFlex™ Financing. Buyers get access to great rates, promotional offers, and fast funding from Ritchie Bros. Financial Services

Our PurchaseSafe™ team at Ritchie Bros. Financial Services ensures the transaction goes smoothly. Here are the 5 areas they focus in on to ensure you don’t encounter any issues.

1. Buy from a reputable seller

Daily News Ensure the seller is the legal owner or has the legal authority to sell the equipment on the owner’s behalf

It’s important to ensure you are dealing with a legitimate and reputable business by checking the following

  • Public company records

    The best way to protect yourself is to do business with companies that have a long history and large customer base. Publicly-traded companies are required to publish financial statements, so you can easily find out if the company is stable and likely to be in business over the long term.
  • Online reviews

    Google and Facebook are good places to find unbiased customer reviews. Once published, Google and Facebook reviews can’t be removed or edited by the Google Business or Facebook page owner.
  • Customer testimonials

    Many companies publish customer testimonials on their website. The more frequent, the better. Customer testimonials show that other equipment buyers are more than willing to endorse the seller.
  • Better Business Bureau

    Visit the Better Business Bureau in your area ( in the US and Canada) and search for the business from which you are considering buying used equipment. The Better Business Bureau maintains a list of businesses with contact information and reported consumer complaints.

With PurchaseSafe™, you can ensure you’re buying from a reputable seller.

2. Do a background check

Before purchasing used equipment, ensure the seller is the legal owner or has the legal authority to sell the equipment on the owner’s behalf. If you are buying from a private seller, ask the seller to provide the original sales invoice for the equipment and check that the name on the sales invoice matches the seller’s name.

Daily News Use the item's serial number or PIN (Personal Identification Number) to confirm ownership

Another way to check ownership of used equipment is to ask or look for the item’s serial number or PIN (Product Identification Number). Once you have the item’s unique number, have your local police station or a service run the number to see if the item has been reported stolen. For a fee, you can request an equipment check from an organization in your area that tracks stolen equipment (for example, the National Equipment Register’s IRONcheck:

If you plan to finance your equipment purchase, most financing companies will do a thorough check on the equipment’s background history.

Save time by using PurchaseSafe™, where we do the work for you to ensure the item is not stolen or has liens attached.

3. Ensure clear title

Equipment ownership can’t be legally transferred from a seller to a buyer if the seller has not paid in full the money borrowed to purchase the equipment. If you mistakenly purchase equipment that is not clear title or has a lien applied, you may have to forfeit ownership to the lending institution.

Ritchie Bros. checks all equipment for liens before the auction. If we can’t deliver a clear title, we offer the buyer a refund of the purchase price.

4. Inspect before you buy

Daily News If you don't have considerable heavy equipment knowledge, it's best to have a qualified mechanic or experienced operator carry out both a physical and functional inspection on your behalf

If possible, test and inspect used equipment before you buy. If you don’t have considerable heavy equipment knowledge, it’s best to have a qualified mechanic or experienced operator carry out both a physical and functional inspection on your behalf. Plan for enough time to look over the equipment thoroughly and run the equipment through various basic operations.

If you are buying online, look for websites that offer a wide range of equipment photos, like Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers, IronPlanet, Marketplace-E, and Ritchie List.

5. Leave a payment trail

If you are making a purchase online or from a private seller, you’ll want to make sure you have some kind of recourse should the equipment arrive in a condition that differs from the image presented online, or if the equipment doesn’t arrive at all.

Check the terms of any online transaction before you buy, and look for websites that have a secure escrow or transaction process. If you are buying in person from a private seller, try to avoid paying in cash. Always leave a paper trail when it comes to buying any equipment both in person and online.

If you’re still unsure and looking to buy used equipment – learn more about our PurchaseSafe™ Secure Transaction Management service. Get expert advice to help you make the right decision at or 1.855.331.5750.

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