Reconsidering Used Equipment

Reconsidering Used Equipment

Choosing the cheaper option may be tempting, but organizations risk long-term consequences

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 entrance.

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 service it.

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 explanation.

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 security entrance.

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 or business.

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 manufacturer.

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 warranty.

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 entrance equipment.

This article originally appeared in the March 2020 issue of Security Today.

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