Buying Appliances on Facebook Marketplace: Gold Mine or Money Pit

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Recently an acquaintance shared with me an interesting analogy of buying a used piece of electronics.  "Do you want to buy that at a garage sale being sold directly by the owner, or would you rather buy it in a store, sold by a salesman, backed by some kind of guarantee? Certainly the one in the store will cost more, but most people would gladly pay extra for the value of peace of mind."

That got me thinking of a tactic I used to use as a newer rehabber of stocking my rehabbed homes with used appliances purchased on Facebook marketplace. I stress "used to use" because I absolutely refuse to buy any more appliances on FB marketplace. More than half the time, we'd finalize the rehab and install the appliances only to find out they didn't work and required expensive repairs. Yes, I know... buyer-beware, you get what you pay for, etc. But I've come to the conclusion that I'd rather save a LOT of hassle and stress and pay a bit more to buy from a used appliance store where the items are tested and come with some kind of return policy.

So my question to my fellow rehabbers is this: how do you feel about FB marketplace, and what's your experience been... is it a gold mine or a money pit?

Thanks all.

I have had good an bad experiences with purchasing appliances online.   What i have been doing is asking several questions before I consider meeting face to face.    I have even requested if they will accept a return policy after so many days.    I went as far to ask for video that day of product functioning.     It is time consuming, but I base the interaction off how much detail they put into their listings.  

If the appliance is something I know I can repair if need be, then ill ask for lower price.

I do agree buying store bought has saved me hours of hassle, and I can go to one spot.  The relationships I built with the stores even know to give me a heads up on items that I tell them I am keeping an eye out for.

@Trevor Chapman , good point about building relationships. That's what we're working on now... one or two sources, same general requirements (stainless steel vs black, ice maker or no, top-down vs side by side, etc).  Trying to remove as much hassle as possible.

When do you buy online have you ever tried to install them somehow, somewhere, just to verify they do indeed work, prior to officially installing them? Easier to do with fridge, stove and dryer. More difficult with dishwasher and washing machine, which require water hookup. Curious what kind of testing you do and how. Thanks!

@Chris Jensen I have messaged people in the past about that prior to agreeing to purchase.   If it is not in listing, I will request to let me take it somewhere to test it works correctly,  or agree to take a lower payment since I am taking the risk in buying this and potential repairs needed.     This is also where I ask them to agree to a certain amount of time to allow a return should product fail.    Luckily all people I have met have been upfront.  Some have even been willing to transfer washer machine to their house or a property we can hook up and run.    

Hope this gives some ideas!