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?


There are several retailers, in my area, that specialize in used equipment. They generally have service departments and only sell equipment that would be rated a 7/10 or better. Their prices are also somewhat higher than online or private sale. I have had excellent luck. I have no idea of how many previous owners.

I have also had excellent luck buying demo units from reputable retailers (Music Direct, Audio Advisor, etc.) and factory refurbs from Cambridge Audio which are probably customer returns.


Yes I’d like to know if it’s the original owner, or how many owners the piece had. If it was a demo. Absolutely. I have bought used gear and demos in the past without issues but full disclosure is always the best policy. 

About half the gear I’ve bought over the last 5 years is used. I’ve haven’t yet (knock on wood) had a bad experience. I have walked away from a few deals when my intuition told me something was fishy.

To me the first thing I look for is a sense of integrity from the seller. If I know a seller has lied to me or skirted the truth, I’m out. No matter how little the lie, without confidence in a buyer’s word, I’m gone.

An example, there was a guy selling an item some distance away for a very good price, third-hand. I asked for pictures. Pictures were great. However, I know the pictures had been modified to cover up some cosmetic blemishes. I passed. If the supplied pictures had been un-modified (showing the blemishes), I would have gladly completed the deal. 

After that, it’s condition (both cosmetic and functional). Pluses are original packing materials. Modifications are red flags (unless a vintage item where a refurbishment is appropriate).

I have never sold something that I bought used.  That is about to change.  I will be selling my perfect Denafrips Ares II to upgrade to another Denafrips probably a Pontus II but not sure.  My question is how do I know how many owners there were before me.  I bought it from a younger guy but the deal was perfect, we even split shipping costs.  It was as described and works flawlessly.  If someone asks me how many owners I am not sure because I did not ask.  I would say two?

I have only purchased used equipment 4 or 5 times, in each case my 1st and foremost concern was checking out the seller's sales feedback , and couple that  with the nature/tone of our back and forth get a gauge on the person I might be dealing with . (I do the same 1st when selling gear. ). Then I focus on condition, age, location of the item (shipping handling consideration) , and whether or not the original packaging is available and it's condition.