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What to Consider When Buying A Used Espresso Machine⎮Buyer Beware

            What to Consider When Buying A Used Espresso Machine⎮Buyer Beware

Let’s face it, we all want to save a buck when purchasing any item.  In fact, we will drive great lengths and spend considerable time researching the best price.  What we have learned with respect to appliances is that buying refurbished is a way to secure significant savings.  That is true of espresso machines too, but always keep in mind the saying "Caveat Emptor". 


What is "Caveat Emptor"?

Simply this is a latin phrase that means Buyer Beware.  It is important that the buyer be fully aware of what they are getting for their money.  Another way to express this sentiment is "be sure to read the fine print" or "if it is true good to be true then it probably is". 

Buyer beware is solid advice when making any purchase but it is even more important to keep in mind when you are thinking of buying a refurbished or used espresso machine. Be sure you are clear on what is meant by refurbished because the language is used to mean different things by different people.

As a consumer you need to be knowledgeable about what you are getting.  There are a number of terms being used in the market place, refurbished, rebuilt, reconditioned, open box, like new.  In each case, you need to be sure to dig deeper to best understand the wear, use and condition of the coffee machine you will get.

What does refurbished mean?

If you want to save big by buying a refurbished item, your need to understand what refurbished means.  More importantly you need to understand what refurbished means in the context of an espresso machine.  Yes buying a refurbished espresso machines will save you money but don’t be too hasty and look solely at price because you may be disappointed.

Previously the word refurbished was used to describe an older model that was damaged and restored to workable condition. 

Other terms you may encounter when buying a used espresso machine

Some other terms you may hear when looking at used espresso machines include:  rebuilt or reconditioned espresso machine, open box or like new.  In all cases, you should expect to save substantially by buying one of these units over a new unit but there are subtle differences between each term. 

In more recent times, the word refurbished now has evolved to include items that have been returned by the customer and then these items are on track to be resold.  Whether due to functionality, customer remorse or disappointment, many products are returned to manufacturers yet, many of these items are still in great condition.

Depending on the vendors return policy some items may be older, but others are relatively new. In most cases, espresso machines have to be returned prior to the original warranty expiring.  The ability to buy a returned item provides a great opportunity for those looking to buy an espresso machine at great value.  

In my experience many people return espresso machines not because of poor quality or functionality but because they simply do not know how to use it properly.  In many cases, consumers haven’t taken the time to refer to the owner’s manual or other sources to understand how to use their machine.  And too often, the personnel where they originally bought the machine is ill equipped to provide them with proper instructions or directions on how to set up and get the most out of their espresso machine.

Once a coffee maker falls into the category of returned machine, it can only be sold as a refurbished espresso machine. If you are considering buying a refurbished espresso machine, there are some things to consider:

1. who assessed the state of the returned espresso machine

2. if repairs were required, who completed the repairs

You really want to make sure that those assessing and repairing the espresso machine are authorized by the manufacturer to service and resell refurbished espresso machines. 

Here are 5 things to consider when buying a refurbished espresso machine.

1. Has the espresso machine been rebuilt?

In some cases, espresso machines that are sold as refurbished, are coffee makers that have damaged components, which require repair or in some cases need parts to be replaced. Another term that you may encounter is rebuilt or reconditioned espresso machines which is also used to describe machines which required parts to be replaced.

2. Who has completed the repairs?

You want to ensure a factory trained technician is the person completing the repairs on a refurbished espresso machine.  Factory trained technicians are intimately aware of how to put the machine together and are able to ensure all the required components are in the machine. 

The espresso machine may have been returned in the first place because a minor adjustment was required. In addition to the machine parts, consider the technology or software components of the machine. Espresso machines, like many other modern appliances have computer chips and software.  Sometimes updates to the programming is required to ensure the machine is working at its best. Certified service centres have Programmers which allow for testing of the software within the machine to ensure all the software updates are in place.

Saeco Repair Service Available at Espresso Canada


3. What parts are being used to complete the repair?

When buying a refurbished espresso machine, you want to buy from a Factory Authorized / Certified Center.  This ensures that the technicians are trained to work on the product by the original manufacturer.  A certified service centre upholds the manufacturers original standards and uses original parts supplied by the manufacturer. 

4. What is meant by the term Open Box or Like New?

There are some espresso machines that are sold as refurbished which do not need any repair.  When a machine has been taken out of the box, plugged in, and used, it can no longer be sold as a new machine.   In these cases, you will often see the term " Like New" or " Open Box". These are exceptional values. Many times, vendors will sell these items for a premium price.  However, the premium price still provides a saving from buying a new unit.

5. Is any warranty provided?

A reputable vendor will provide some kind of warranty when you purchase a refurbished espresso machine. While the warranty provided may be shorter than the original warranty period, it should be long enough for you to use the machine to ensure it is working properly. 

Be careful if the only warranty provided is an extended warranty that you have to purchase at the time of purchase at an extra cost. 

Buyer Beware

Some vendors simply accept a returned machine, polish it and repackage it.  It is extremely important to take a look at reviews or call the vendor to ensure you know exactly what you can expect when your purchase is delivered.

Beware that some open box units may have some minor cosmetic flaws or have some missing accessories.  A reputable vendor should be able to send you pics of the unit and explain exactly what you can expect.

When a vendor can’t tell you if there are any cosmetic issues, the numbers of coffees the machine has made or if any new parts had to be installed, chances are they may simply be buying used machines, cleaning them up and marketing them to consumers who haven’t taken the time to learn about their purchase.

Be very careful buying espresso machines from public sites like Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace.  Some  vendors use these platforms to sell their used or refurbished machines knowing that consumers on these sites are looking at price as the main driver to their decision.  Our experience has shown that purchases made on these sites most often result in the espresso machine requiring significant repairs.

Here are some pics of we have seen when espresso machines have been purchased without knowing what to consider.

Saeco Brew Unit that has been poorly maintained and cleaned

Here is a brew unit, which is the heart of a superautomatic espresso machine, that has not been cleaned or maintained.  

Espresso Machines Tubes that Have Been Clamped Instead of Replaced

The tubes in this machine should have been replaced. Instead they were merely clamped.  In this case, the machine would begin to leak and lose pressure in no time.  

Boiler of an Espresso Machine that has been sodered.

Here a boiler, a main component of an espresso machine, was simply sodered instead of replaced.  

Top Things to Consider

We often hear from customers who were very disappointed with their online experience. Here is our advice to you.

Be a SAVVY Consumer when you buy online:

  • Contact Information- Be sure the company you are dealing with has an actual address and easy to find telephone number. You may want to be able to call and speak to someone to answer your questions or walk you through an issue. We have both an online and store front to meet your needs.
  • Sales and Service- An authorized dealer will provide the knowledge to serve your best and product quick and efficient service using original factory parts. Since 1987, we have been selling and servicing machines as an authorized dealer.
  • Pricing – Posted pricing ensures what you will charged. Verbal pricing can change at check out. Remember to consider if shipping is included, sales tax or other charges.
  • Policy -Ensure the company you deal with has an established and clear policy so there are no surprises. Companies without policy may appear to offer a better price but often have hidden costs. Rest assured with our price guarantee
  • Be sure you are ordering from a secure site and that the company does not sell your private information.
  • Make sure you are clear about what you are buying - a new or refurbished machine. Note that all machines are tested at the factory and may contain residual water or coffee grinds.

Ten reasons why you can feel confident buying a refurbished espresso machine from Espresso Canada

  1. We are a factory authorized service centre.
  2. All of our technicians are factory trained.
  3. We carry all original replacement parts.
  4. We have been repairing espresso machines since 1987
  5. We can tell you how many coffees your refurbished espresso machine has made (where applicable).
  6. We have a Programmers which allow us to review, test and update the software in your espresso machine (just like your phone or computer need updates, so does the software contained in espresso machines.)
  7. We thoroughly clean and test the machine before it is put out on the floor.
  8. We are honest about the condition of the machine.
  9. We will send you, upon request, a photo of the actual machine you wish to purchase not a stock photo.
  10. We are happy to provide assistance after your purchase. 

We do not list refurbished machines on our e-commerce site because availability and the range of machines varies significantly but, if you are in the market for a refurbished espresso machine,  feel free to contact us at 519.919.5217 or here. We will be happy to discuss what is available and provide clear details about the state of the espresso machine and provide you photos of the actual machine you will be receiving. 

Comments (1 Response)

17 November, 2020

Peter Beca

I am interested in a refurbished espresso machine. Please advise what you may have available. Thank you.

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