Reconsidering Used Equipment
Choosing the cheaper option may be tempting, but organizations risk long-term consequences
- By Kurt Measom
- Mar 01, 2020
Once you have made the decision to install a security
entrance, you may find that your search for a
provider brings you to used turnstiles, revolving
doors or portals for sale. Naturally, these tend to
be cheaper than new products. If you have budget
limitations, this can be extremely tempting. However, there are
many reasons why this is not the best idea.
To help you make the right decision for your organization,
here are seven things to consider before you purchase a used security
It might not be under warranty. Most security entrances are
electro-mechanical, similar to a car. They require ongoing upkeep
and oversight. Even a revolving door, turnstile or security mantrap
portal in seemingly perfect condition may present a maintenance
issue in a month or a year after your purchase.
For that reason, you should only consider buying a used product
if it comes with a limited warranty of some kind by the manufacturer,
if that is available. Make sure that it is also clearly stated
in your purchase contract who will hold the warranty. Most manufacturers
warranty their new products for a period of one to
three years, and the warranty often only covers the parts, not the
labor to repair or replace.
You don’t know how old it is. This is a simple question and
there should be no confusion about the answer. The seller should
be able to provide you with the model number, year of manufacture
and year of original purchase. There should also be an intact
serial number visible on the product. If not, you will know that
it’s time to move on and explore other possibilities for purchasing
a reliable entrance.
It could be counterfeit. It is shocking how entrenched counterfeit
products have become in the supply chain. From medications
to motorbikes, websites to watches, it is the responsibility of the
buyer to verify the authenticity of whatever they purchase.
When you purchase a new security entrance from a known
and trusted supplier, you can be confident in the validity of the
brand and not have ongoing questions about the quality of the
product you are entrusting to secure your facility.
The same cannot be said of a product bought used – especially if it is purchased from an auction site or other website that is
not well-regulated. If you do make this choice, there should be a
verifiable chain of ownership beginning with the manufacturer.
The reality is that even this paperwork can be falsified, so there
is still risk.
It might be a discontinued product. It is not unreasonable to
question whether a used turnstile or other security entrance has
been discontinued by the manufacturer. If you purchase a discontinued
product, you may not be able to get replacement parts
when they are needed or find a technician who is able to properly
If your seller is forthright and tells you the product has been
discontinued, they should also be able to give you a full explanation
of the model, make and year, along with information regarding
how long parts will continue to be available.
With that knowledge, you can make a more informed decision
about whether or not you want to take on the additional risk of
buying a discontinued product, particularly if it will cost you more
time and money in the long run to maintain the security entrance
and find a repair serviceman who is familiar with the model.
You don’t know why it’s being sold. Most security entrances
are built to order and installed. This makes it very likely that the
product was removed from a site. There must be a reason for this,
and the seller should be prepared to provide you with an honest
It may be as simple as a change in utilization that required a
new entry solution. On the other hand, the entrance may have
presented numerous maintenance issues or could be on the verge
of failure. If a reseller is not immediately offering a reason why
they are selling the product, you may have reason to question the
quality of the entrance and if it will be reliable when it comes
time to secure your building.
All the possibilities have meaning when it comes to the current
condition of the entrance, so be sure to find out the true story as
best as you can. While you cannot guarantee that you’re hearing
the full story, the only way to discover answers to these questions
is to ask them.
Its removal may have caused new problems. Uninstalling a security
entrance without causing any harm or damage requires a
great deal of care and skill. This is because they are usually affixed
to the ground, floor, walls, fencing or a ceiling structure.
Even reliable installers who provide high-quality installation services
may not be quite as careful when it comes to uninstalling a
Sometimes when contractors remove this type of equipment,
they cut, rip or pull cables that are critical to the future operation
of the equipment. This is usually because the contractor is not
aware of how the product works or which parts are most crucial
to its operation.
With so many required pieces of hardware such as mounting
bolts, anchors and trim screws, small removed parts can easily
get thrown away rather than gathered up for resale and inclusion
with the rest of the entrance parts.
When a security entrance is removed and resold, it will need to
be transported – almost always without its original robust crating
or packaging. That leads to a lot of variables for the product
and if it will stay in good condition throughout the often bumpy
process of transporting it from the reseller’s location to your organization
Ultimately, with so many precision parts that have to work
perfectly, the chances are very small that the seller can uninstall,
transport and reinstall without damaging something.
The reseller may not be reliable. Ideally, the seller will be the
original manufacturer of the product or an approved dealer or
partner. However, this may not be the case with used security entrances
you find on the internet or elsewhere.
As many potential customers have discovered when buying
products on Craigslist or on other platforms, resellers may be
hiding key parts of their history with the product and with the
Before making your purchase, ask the reseller about their relationship
with the manufacturer and a few customer recommendations.
Have they ever successfully removed a turnstile or door and
then reinstalled that model before?
We recommend that you also contact the original manufacturer
and ask for their opinion on the products you are considering
as well as the reputation of the reseller and any possible limited
Key questions could include: Are they aware of any issues that
this reseller has had with previous customers? Do they have a relationship
with this reseller, and if so, what are the terms of their
agreement? The reseller may not be authorized to resell the brand
at all, in which case you should stop the conversation right away
and turn to other options.
Always consider upfront costs vs. TCO. Buying a used security
entrance may seem like an attractive prospect from a cost perspective.
The price point listed by a reseller is often much lower
than what the manufacturer will offer you, and offers a quicker
fix to your problems than waiting until you can afford a more
updated or expensive entrance.
However, while you may save upfront costs this way, you may
ultimately find that your total cost of ownership (TCO) is far
more than what you would have paid had you purchased a new
product in the first place.
When you purchase a used product, you have exposure to
many potential pitfalls which could affect the overall quality and
reliability of your security entrance in the years to come. Furthermore,
buying a product this way prevents you from getting
the full value of the manufacturer’s and installer’s expertise in
customizing a solution that truly fits your business needs.
You will also be excluded over time from any manufacturer
updates for service and support. For all these reasons, organizations
should think long and hard before making
the decision to consider purchasing any used security
This article originally appeared in the March 2020 issue of Security Today.