Previous Ownership...does it matter to you?

I'm curious as to how others feel about knowing the previous ownership history when purchasing used audio equipment. Not necessarily who specifically owned as that's usually not possible but how many owners.

It might give you a glimpse into whether the item has been shipped back and forth from coast to coast in the US, Canada, or another country and if there's something not as advertised with the item since it continues to change hands too frequently.

I recently exchanged messages with a seller of a previous set of very nice speakers I previously owned. I knew the complete history, the buyer listed himself as the third owner when in fact he was the fifth owner. When I shared the details, his response was "could care less about ownership and how many times it's changed hands....".

I was surprised by the response. The obvious reason to understand ownership it's one of the listing rules from both Audiogon and US Audiomart in regards to the rating scale. Both Audiogon and US Audiomart are specific that anything a 9 or above must be single owner. In the case I reference above, the seller lists as a 9 even knowing he's the fifth owner. 

What is your approach to knowing ownership history? Does it matter or not to you?


I always buy components from a dealer, not an individual. I want to know someone will stand behind my purchase regardless of the history. That said… they are usually demonstration units. 

Given it is a piece I am interested in I consider:

        Age, current condition, past ownership, if original box is avail,  item to be double boxed, feedback for seller. All are good to know.



The seller’s reputation and the details and answers provided are more important than the component’s provenance.  In large metro areas components are often traded locally without shipping. 

Bought most of my system used with the only exceptions being the speakers, DAC, and cables. 


I always make sure to ask for detailed pictures beyond the ones included in the ad, because condition gives the biggest indication of how it was cared for and who the previous owner was. Finally, the way the seller communicates (i.e. good grammar, well spoken, responsive, etc.) is the final litmus test for me. Original boxes are a big plus too.


So far I've had only good outcomes.

@akg_ca ,

Well, I’d never purchase something where I knew the seller was lying.

I’ve bought many a piece of gear that was used, mostly from private parties, some from dealers.

Some experiences have been better than others, but overall, I’ve done OK.

I think most people (and companies) are inherently "good" people, and aren’t intentionally trying to deceive anyone.

I’m sure there are a few snakes out there, but overall, I’ve been fortunate. I’ve actually made some "audiophile friends" along the way, too.

Nobody likes being lied to. Especially not when we’re talking about the kind of money in play that we’re probably talking about. Again, hasn’t really been a problem for me. Every issue I’ve ever run into, the seller has handled professionally and promptly (well, pretty promptly, lol. I have a piece of gear back at a dealer’s repair shop currently, and it has sat there since the end of that’s another conversation all together. I know they were waiting on parts....).

Used gear. Stuff happens. If you suspect something’s fishy, or too good to be true, just hold off or pay a little more and go through a dealer who warrants their products. JM2CW.