If there’s one big product area that everyone would like to source at a discount for selling, it’s electronics – with computers and computer-related accessories being one of the most popular areas within that. And that’s because electronics is one big product area everyone would like to BUY at a discount on eBay. It’s a product line that’s very popular and perfect in a recession. But sourcing discount computers isn’t always that easy to do.

And that is why, this month, I will look at some ways you can source discounted and trade price computer stuff – and I’ll also give you a selection of sources to try.

What Can You Source?

First of all, don’t let anyone tell you that you can source brand-new iPads and the like for next to nothing this way. The manufacturers of high-end premium products like that keep tight control over their new stock – and their pricing. Be suspicious if you’re offered any high-end, new equipment as it may well not be genuine. (And if you do find a genuine source, please tell me about it!)

Now the good news. There are LOTS of other products and opportunities to consider that can still return good profits on eBay.

You have lots to choose from and these items suit the bargain culture on eBay perfectly. These are usually top quality products that have been used by corporate users, which are then refurbished and sold off. They’re not the latest technology but they usually have plenty of life in them.

Returns and clearance stock: Can include products that have never been sold, or they have been sold and returned, or they represent ex-display stock. They can either be brand new or lightly used. They won’t normally have the original packing though, or will have been opened.

B grade goods: B grade products are brand-new goods which may have been found to be faulty and then repaired, sometimes by the original manufacturer. They are, however, perfectly serviceable, “almost as good as new”, sometimes come with a warranty and can be found at very big discounts.

Not just computers! There’s a whole range of products and accessories you can source this way. Here are just a few product lines to consider: Laptops, Netbooks and Notebooks, LCD Monitors, Printers, Cables, Wireless Networking, Laptop Batteries, Key- boards, Scanners, Memory Devices, Component Parts, Ink and Toner Cartridges. Also, don’t forget one of the biggest products of the last couple of years – tablets. These really could be a massive opportunity.

Where to Source Computer Equipment

So, now you’ve got a few ideas for products you could sell, let’s look at some ways of sourcing them. Here are my three favourite sources for you to try:

Import Sources

As most computer products are made overseas, you could consider buying them from wholesalers and distributors abroad. The easiest way to find these sources is to use one of the various portal sites, which can link you up with manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers, mainly in China.

As well as the risk of fakes or scams, watch out for “grey imports”.

A grey import is a product made for one national market that is unofficially imported and sold in another – for example, you might get laptops intended for the American market imported and sold “grey” in the UK. These products are usually perfectly good and exactly the same as the official UK ones – the only snag is that the manufacturer’s warranty probably won’t be honoured in the UK.

Here are a few portals I suggest:

Alibaba: www.alibaba.com

AliExpress: www.aliexpress.com

DH Gate: www.dhgate.com

EC21: www.ec21.com

Computer Auctions

Decent computer equipment doesn’t turn up very often, if at all, at most general or local auctions. But there are a number of sales which specialise at least partly in computer equipment. This is a good way of sourcing brand-new returns and clearance goods, as well as used computer products. Used products at these sales might include those from bankrupt sources, repossessed goods and ex-hire/lease equipment.

You can find a few auctions listed later.

Computer Remarketing Services

This is probably my favourite source for computers and computer products. You can get some really attractive prices on the kinds of things that will be very popular with buyers.

Here’s what computer remarketing services do: they buy up large job lots of equipment, normally from corporate and educational users – places such as big companies, schools and colleges, retailers, and so on. They remove the original user’s data, check and refurbish the equipment and then sell it off, either retail or in trade quantities. (Normally they only pick out the best for resale, the rest is broken up and recycled.)

But this is the really good thing about computer remarketing, so far as we’re concerned. It’s a regular, consistent supply. You can usually just order what you need “off the shelf”, and then you can resell it.

Just one thing you need to know about these sources: some of them retail their items individually on eBay too so you need to make sure you get trade prices/trade quantities to allow yourself a good profit margin.

Handy Tip: Have a look at completed listings in their stores to see what the retail price versus the trade price is!

You can find some computer remarketing services listed below.

Other Sources

Don’t forget you can also go direct to wholesalers and distributors of computer equipment. I’m sure you probably know what wholesalers and distributors are, so I won’t go into using them in detail here. You can find lots listed in the Secret Source Directory

Six Checks to Make When Sourcing These Products

As you might expect, sourcing these products isn’t quite as straightforward as for locating many other goods. So there are a few checks you should make when sourcing:

1. Does it work? Very important to check when buying used products! Although there’s some small demand for non-working products and parts, often you will find that tested/working products will sell trade at a premium compared to untested/ungraded products.

2. What condition is it in? Suppliers of used equipment will often grade the condition of their stock on an A/B/C (or similar) rating system. Products with a few marks and scratches will be much cheaper to buy, but most likely will sell for less too.

3. Is it up-to-date technology? There’s a good demand for yesterday’s technology and superseded products from users who can’t stretch to the latest product. But remember obsolete technology will always sell for less. Always check.

4. Is it genuine? Check for the presence of manufacturers’ holograms, serial numbers and original packaging.

5. Does it have a warranty? New items will. Items bought from remarketing services normally will (but it won’t be as extensive as the original manufacturer’s warranty). Check that the refurbisher’s warranty will transfer to the buyer if you buy for resale. If yes, it’s a good selling point.

6. Does it have an operating system? (And which version?) For example, Windows on a computer or laptop. Used computers may or may not have, or it may be at extra cost.

There won’t normally be any other software with used/refurbished products unless specifically stated.

Secret Sources to Get You Started

Here you’ll find just a few sources of computers and computer accessories you could try. You’ll find more sources of all kinds listed in: The Secret Source Directory

A2C Services/ The IT Asset Reclaim Company

Tel. 01730 890232


The IT Asset Reclaim Company’s products include: PCs, TFT and CRT Monitors, Notebooks, Printers, Memory and Hard Disk Drives. The company also purchases and sells bulk consignments of used, refurbished and surplus new equipment. But note that some of their bulk deals are large!

Cables Direct

Tel. 01773 514514


Specialist trade supplier of peripherals: Cables, Firewire and Bluetooth Connectivity, Modems, Flash Drives, Video Splitters and Switch Boxes.

Cambridge Used Computer Shop/Computer Displays UK

Tel. 01354 695084


Desktops, Laptops, Notebooks, Monitors, Peripherals, Servers, etc. IT equipment is all ex-corporate and is all refurbished in-house.

Clearance Comet

Sometimes auction off clearance computer products in an eBay-style auction. However, many of their lots are electricals.