Caveat Emptor

I buy all of my tech products in the U.S. The most important reason is that 99% of the time the item is cheaper and comes with a reliable warranty or recourse if something goes awry. I am aware that one may not be able to return to the U.S. or Canada to buy the product or they need an instant replacement for family or business reasons.. I have been watching the “for sale” tech items on Gringo Post for over a year and have been amazed at some of the prices being charged.  Yes, I know there should be a small premium built into the price since some of the items can not be purchased here but the other day I saw a used laptop compouter being offered at $900 +. The same item with a warranty can be purchased on Amazon for $320 less

Here are some guidelines when purchasing a high tech item.

1. Make sure you have the model # of the item. An Acer laptop doesn’t  fly since there are many confiqurations  of that computer.

2. When buying a smartphone make sure the phone is factory unlocked and ready for a sim replacement. Jailbroken phones have to be jailbroken with each new upgrade in operating system.

3. Plasma TVs need to be a model specially manufactured for high altitude or you will have problems.

4. Make sure there is someone in Cuenca that can fix it. My wife brought a computerized sewing machine from the States and there is noone in Cuenca that can fix it.

5. Look for reviews on,, pcmag or just google the product with the word “review”

6. Find the product on Ebay and see what it is selling for

For those of us with smartphones there is a new app called  Poachit.

If you can wait then inquire if someone is going back to the States and offer them an incentive to bring back your item.


4 thoughts on “Caveat Emptor

  1. Thanks for the tips! I’m moving to Cuenca in November and have considered this (having friends bring me stuff on subsequent trips) since I’m only bringing suitcases. I’ve been wondering about duty though. I understand that I have six months to bring items in, duty-free, because of my resident visa. But what about others brining things for me? I’ll assume that with the tech stuff, even if I pay full duty, it’ll still be cheaper? Boxes of books? My latte maker? Who knows?

  2. Why does the smartphone have to be factory unlocked? Can’t it just have been unlocked by the carrier at the end of a contract?

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