Buying Guides

What To Do With Bad AV Gifts

So let’s face it, not every gift given to us hits a home run. I am not saying that I am not grateful that someone took the time to get me a gift, but sometimes it is something that I already have or just can’t put to good use. I could throw it in a drawer and let it collect dust. Or, if you have a little patience and knowledge, you can turn those un-needed gifts into something you can use. Plus, you are allowing someone else to put that AV gift to better use than you could. Win-win. So let’s see if we can help you up-cycle some AV gear and keep it from desk drawers or landfills.

Try To Get Store Credit

So you have an AV gift but no receipt. You can always try and get store credit. This tactic will not always work, but I have found that you have a much better chance of walking away with a gift card if you are reasonable. For me, the approach is straightforward. I am upfront with the situation. I don’t have a receipt, it was a gift, and I am not asking for a refund, store credit only. If it is unopened or in perfect condition, they are more likely to do it. If it is opened and used, chances are you won’t get anything. So, here is what I want to stress: the store has no obligation to help you. So if you are unsuccessful, be kind and polite.

Play your cards right, you might get a gift card.

Sell Your Bad AV Gift so You Can Buy Something Better

The first thing you need to decide is where you will most likely find the most traction. Is it esoteric or vintage gear? Check out Audiogon or eBay. If it is something large, or hard to ship, you may want to look at a place that will help you sell locally. Check out Kijiji, Craigslist, Offerup, Gumtree, FB Marketplace, and even forums posts can help you sell your bad AV gift. Selling online is like posting anything online – expect to encounter trolls. Save yourself some frustration and do not interact with trolls if you can help it. Here are some tips:

Tip 1: Use Descriptive Titles

You want your title to reflect what you are selling and make it easy for people to find it with a simple search. You also want it to be as concise as possible as most sites limit the number of characters in titles. Avoid terms like “For Sale.” It’s evident that you are selling it, so you are just wasting characters. So I look on eBay or Amazon to see how something similar is listed. Think of how you would search for that item if you were on the market and use those words in your title.

Tip 2: Make Your Pitch Early

I generally read the first few lines of any listing, so make sure you get the important stuff there. I will throw in model numbers, overall condition, colors, or anything I feel the buyer needs to know. Reference any damage early so that the buyers know upfront. I will generally throw in specs for those who may need to know dimensions or weight. It can reduce the number of questions I get IF they bother reading it.

Tip 3: Take Good Pictures

Nothing sucks more than looking at a potato-quality photo in a listing. When someone takes terrible pictures, I assume that they either don’t care – which is a red flag, or are hiding damage. I once got burned on a CD player. The pictures showed every angle but the cover, and it was scratched when I went to pick it up. I still would have taken it had I seen the damage; I don’t mind repainting stuff. It did, however, lead to an awkward (for the seller) on-the-spot discussion. I was able to beat down the price based on the condition. So, save yourself some trouble and clearly show the item AND any issues with it.

Tip 4: Be Reasonable With Your Pricing!

Yes, this may be a brand new item, but you will not get retail. If you decide you want to try and get maximum returns on your stuff, expect to sit on it for a while. Let’s face it, why would I take the chance on something used when I can go to the store and spend a few bucks more and get a warranty? Expect to resell for 50-60% of MSRP at best. As well, figure out what your bottom line is. Expect people to haggle. I will often price my stuff a few bucks more than I want to get because I expect to haggle. This haggling lets the buyer feel like they got a deal and will enable me to get my reasonable pricing. Remember, just because this AV gift was never used by you, doesn’t mean people will believe that. You may not be dishonest, but you are not the only seller out there.

Tip 5: Consider Trading

Trading is where I live. I love to trade things. It allows me to get a better value for my things, and I like the concept of trading. So, instead of buying something else, I up-cycle to another person, and we both keep something out of a landfill. At one point, I had a pretty significant collection of “nerd merch.” So, rather than sell it for a fraction of what I paid for it, I traded it for things that I wanted. Heck, I have traded for stuff that I didn’t need because I knew I could trade that later on. Long game thinking here!!

Give Your Bad AV Gift To Someone Else

I like to pass on the gift-giving karma most times. If someone took the time to get me a gift, I generally don’t like selling it. Instead, I prefer to find someone who really could use it and give it to them, no strings attached. In a former life, I did reviews for another hobby of mine, model making, and when a company gave me things for review, I would give them away. Plus, you are helping someone else get into your hobby!


Ok, so let’s call out the elephant in the room. You are selling/giving away something given to you because you didn’t want it. This means that you run the risk of offending the gift-giver. There is no easy way to navigate this one. I will admit that I have kept things that I didn’t need because I didn’t want to offend the giver. So I will leave you to figure out what you want to do and how to deal with this.

One thing to remember is that bad AV gifts come from people that don’t know AV very well, don’t know you very well, or both. Chances are, they won’t even notice if you replace it with something you actually wanted. But, honesty is the best policy. If you are really worried about their feelings, it is best to be upfront.

Our Take

So hopefully, we have armed you with a few new ways to up-cycle this coming holiday season. We hope that it will keep things out of desk drawers or landfills and put them into the hands of those who can truly put them to good use. My suggestion? Since it is the season of giving, I would sway you to give the gift to someone else and keep the positive vibes.

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