Should You Buy Used Pets, Cars, and Books?

Readers debate the pros and cons of second-hand items.

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Some things lose their value so quickly—cars, for example—or retain their value so well—diamonds—that they should never be bought new. Second-hand versions are just as good, and usually cost a fraction of the original price. That's why Wise Bread came up with a list of 21 things you should never buy new, including DVDs, books, video games, musical instruments, and timeshares.

[Slideshow: 21 Things You Should Never Buy New.]

Readers, however, disagreed with many of the suggestions. Alma Alexander, a writer in Washington, urged people to consider authors when buying second-hand books. "I get nothing at all for used-book resales … If you've ever loved an author … buy enough new books to keep the authors you love writing the books you want to read," she says.

Cecelia of California, a songwriter, made a similar point about CDs. "Soon you will have to listen to robot music if artists aren't compensated for their worth," she writes.

But Jeff, a writer from California, points out that if a person writes books that people want to read, they shouldn't worry about second-hand sales because they will sell enough new copies. And consumers needn't spend more money out of concern for writers' personal finance issues.

Tom Straub of Texas argued that cars don't belong on the list, either. He says he buys new cars so he drives exactly the vehicle he wants. "My 12-year-old Silverado has 147,000 miles on it and I had no qualms about driving it across the country a few months ago ... I don't want somebody else's abused vehicle built to somebody else's wants," he says. He's not just being frivolous; Straub argues that his newly bought cars last longer because he takes care of them throughout their entire lives.

The issue of pets got folks most riled up. Straub also chimed in here: "A pet becomes a true member of the family (your pack) if raised right. I want to pick the exact characteristics I want by choosing a well-bred breed dog with known characteristics, and I do not want one defects caused by improper breeding, training and treatment." Sounds harsh, but clearly many people agree with him, or dog breeders would go out of business.

Plenty of dog owners disagreed. "When you adopt a rescue dog, you aren't getting the luck of the draw. A lot of work has gone into placing a dog with you. Yes, you may not be able to get the color, age, or sex that you really want, but what you will get is a dog that still has a lot of love and life left in it who will be grateful for a forever home," says Jess of Washington, proud owner of "Hans the Wonder Dog."

[See 20 Things You Should Never Buy Used.]

Some readers sounded a bit like The Real Housewives of New Jersey's Teresa Giudice, who famously said on season one of the show, "I don't want to live in somebody else's house—that's gross." (She and her husband now face foreclosure on the new home they built.) One reader pointed out the dangers of purchasing a foreclosed home that is in bad condition after sitting empty.

But others emphasized the benefits of buying foreclosed homes. "We got a smokin' deal on our dream home in a neighborhood we would otherwise not be able to afford," said one reader. Another said he bought a foreclosure and then spent 15 months remodeling it, turning it into the house of his dreams.

Readers warned about the risks of second-hand maternity clothes, which tend to get worn down, as well as the dangers of used sporting goods such as rock climbing gear and bike helmets, where use can compromise safety.

Other readers offered additions to the "never buy new list": children's clothes, dishwashers, washers and dryers, microwaves, freezers, and refrigerators.

Readers, what would you add to the list?