What to Know When Buying an EPIRB, PLB or ELT from an Online Auction
Posted on May 14, 2018
ACR Electronics never recommends purchasing a 406 MHz beacon from anywhere other than an authorized reseller. Pre-owned beacons come with a lot of risk, and it is important for consumers to understand that risk before making the purchase of one of these life saving beacons. At a minimum, here are the 5 things you want to know from the current beacon owner:
1. What is the manufacture date of the beacon and has it ever been serviced? This mark is on all beacons and it is important to know exactly how old the beacon you are thinking of buying is. You may also want to request the owner to video a Self Test of the beacon on their phone and send it to you to ensure the Self Test is showing that the beacon is working properly.
2. Has the beacon ever been previously registered? If the beacon is used and has been previously registered by the current owner, the current owner will need to contact NOAA (in the USA) and notify them to cancel their registration so that the new owner can properly register it.
3. If you are buying and EPIRB, Personal Locator Beacon or ELT that has a dedicated Lithium battery, ask for the battery expiration date. Know how many years are remaining on the battery before you buy it. Additionally, ask if the beacon has had the battery previously replaced? If the battery has previously been replaced, the cost for a second battery replacement is sometimes more expensive then buying a brand new beacon because of the age of the product.
4. Ask the seller for the country code in which the beacon is programmed. If the beacon is programmed for the United States and you live in Australia or a country other than the United States, your beacon will need to be reprogrammed for your country (a reprogramming fee will apply) before you can register it. This is always a frustration we hear from consumers purchasing beacons online from a different country in which they live. Every beacon has to be registered with the national authority in which you live, and if the beacon is programmed for a different country, it must be reprogrammed in order to be registered with your country.
5. Has the beacon ever been opened or tampered with? Most beacons have a protective seal or a blue tamper proof puddy on one of the screws to show proof that the beacon has never been opened. Ask for a photo to provide proof no one has tampered with the beacon. Never purchase a beacon that does not have proof that the beacon has not been previously tampered with. Remember, 406 MHz distress beacons (EPIRBs, PLBs, and ELTs) are designed and manufactured with one purpose, to save your life. Always purchase these beacons new from an authorized reseller which can be found on the manufacturers website.