Buying or Selling Used Le Creuset Cookware
Buying or Selling Used Le Creuset Cookware
I still remember the first time I saw a set of Le Creuset black enamel and cream pots/pans at a Joseph Hornes' store in the mid-1980's. It was love at first sight but, I could not afford to buy even one piece out of the set. Thanks to auction sites like e-Bay, those same pieces (now used) are affordable and available to the home cook as well as the professional chef. Following is a guide, based upon my experiences (good and bad) when hunting for used cookware on e-Bay (and elsewhere), that will help you buy or sell used Le Creuset cookware that is truly in good condition.
Over 75 years of production has led to a wide variety of wonderful Le Creuset cookware in beautiful colors. They are one of the few enamel coated cast iron cookware manufacturers which has stood the test of time producing durable cookware that can be passed down from generation to generation. Brand new Le Creuset enameled cast iron cookware is coated with the highest quality vitreous enamel that is like glass - hygienic and impermeable. It is suitable for use on all heat sources including gas, ceramic top, electric, gas, halogen top and induction. Le Creuset products can be used on the stove top, in the oven and on/under the grill. Use them for marinating food prior to cooking or for food storage after cooking. Some pieces are stylish enough to be taken straight from the oven to the table for serving.
Used LeCreuset however, is a different matter. The condition and usability of it depends upon the manner in which it was used and stored by the previous owner. Misuse, abuse or improper storage can permanently damage Le Creuset and you should be aware of these conditions before you purchase. Used cookware will not be perfect and you should not expect it to be. Minor chips here and there around the edge (where the cast iron lids sets on the pot are not uncommon. However, the outside and inside enamel on used Le Creuset cookware that has been well treated should be intact. Unfortunately, abuse does not always show in a photo of the item or in a sellers' description. Some sellers think if a pot can hold water it is in "excellent" condition with "no defects".
I admit to being pretty picky about my kitchen utensils and cookware - maybe more than most. :-) But I've been disappointed more than once in my quest to find used LeCreuset pieces in good condition. Receiving a filthy dirty, rusted pan that someone had treated with WD-40 was the impetus for writing this article. Hopefully sharing specific experiences will enable sellers and buyers to distinguish between usable and useless cookware. In 2007 when I first wrote this guide it was my sincere desire that the tips would ultimately improve the overall quality of the auction descriptions and the pieces offered for sale.
Buyers, here are few tips that can help you find Le Creuset cookware in good condition:
Look for the Le Creuset stamp on the bottom, the lid, the handle, topper or somewhere on the piece. Unfortunately, they are not always consistent with the marking of their products - especially the older pieces and the stock pots. I've never seen a fake LeCreuset piece. But now, there are several manufacturers of enamel coated cast iron cookware producing pieces that closely resemble Le Creuset. One could very easily think that a piece is Le Creuset when in fact, it is not. Real LeCreuset stockpots are not marked (except for knob on the lid) and can be more difficult to spot. But, check the handles which almost always tilt upwards several degrees and do not stick out at a straight right angle to the pot.
Be realistic in your expectations! Used cookware will not be perfect and you should not expect it to be. The key here is to find cookware that has been accurately described in the auction listing, still looks good and functions as it should. You are looking for cookware that has been used but not abused. Use may affect the look, but abuse affects the function.
Look for a detailed description of the condition of the item. Terse, one sentence descriptions such as "in excellent condition" "no defects" or ""good condition" are not clear or helpful. Both of those terms are subjective - what is "good condition" to the seller may be poor condition to a buyer - especially one who is picky about the condition of cookware. You need to know the size, the quart or cm capacity, the shape, the color and the condition of the enamel finish inside and out. Also, if this is important to you, ask about the history of the piece and how the seller acquired it. E-bay does not limit the number of words used to describe an item for sale. Therefore, in my opinion, a seller should try to give you as many accurate, honest, clear details about the condition of the item as necessary for you to make an informed decision.
Ask for a photo if the item is not shown in detail inside or out or the description unclear. Photo of the outside only or just one photo of a pot with the lid on could be concealing damage to the inside.
Curious about the value or original retail price of the item? Do a quick search at your favorite search engine under "Le Creuset" and add the name of the item or the centimeter capacity number and the color as it is listed on e-bay. You may not find info on a discontinued color or size but, you'll get a fair idea how the item originally cost brand new.
When you find a Le Creuset pot/pan that you like, use this guide to ask specific and clear questions regarding the condition of the item. If the seller is vague, does not answer specific questions or answers some questions but not others, try again. If after more than one attempt to get a clear answer, you are not satisfied, look elsewhere. The seller could be concealing a problem with the condition.
Check for sellers with a return policy and reasonable shipping. No returns? $24+ shipping charge for a 1/2 qt pot or an 8" lid? Caveat emptor. Yes, Le Creuset is heavy. But some sellers use this as an excuse to overcharge for shipping.
Use good judgement. The above info is intended to be used as a guide as you begin or add to your collection of Le Creuset cookware. Don't beat the seller over the head with it. :-) If there is a problem with the cookware and the seller is clear about it up front, (in the description, follow-up questions and the photos posted) you'll have the tools to help you make a decision about whether or not to purchase. If you need to see more images of the item, ask. If the seller is willing, they can e-mail them to you through eBay.
Sellers, here are a few tips for you:
New is new, used is used. Do not say that a piece is "new" when you know that it is not. And, we can tell the difference. New LeCreuset should be in the original box, have the original stick on tags and the original tied on booklet. Even without any of this, it will still look and feel new and unused. No amount of cleaning can cover up the fact that a pot/pan has been used.
Reasonable shipping charges and a return policy. $24+ shipping charge for a 1 qt pot?? All are a turn-off to buyers. Remember UPS, FedEX and the USPS have websites to which a potential buyer can go and get an approximate price for shipping to their location. Yes, Le Creuset is heavy. But don't use this as an excuse to overcharge. The sale should benefit buyer and seller with recourse for either in the event that the item is in poor condition or the sale not properly consummated.
Le Creuset is fragile!! One would not think cast iron is fragile but, it can and does break. I speak from personal experience backed up by Le Creuset's own guarantee which specifically excludes the replacement of "breakage or damage due to dropping" from their warranty. If you are shipping LeCreuset, make sure the item itself is completely covered with one or more layers of bubble-wrap and the shipping box firmly filled with packing material so that it will not move or shift in the box during transit. Most shipping carriers do not consider tissue paper alone to be sufficient insulation against damage. Check the circle on the underside of the shipping carton to make sure that the burst weight of the box is higher than the packed weight of the item.
Offer/get shipping insurance. This will protect everyone if the item is broken in transit. Remember, you are just one clumsy handler away from a damage claim. Insurance is automatically included with any item valued under $100 if one is using UPS or FedEX. The value of the item should be listed when the shipping label is prepared. USPS charges extra for insurance and the rates are available at their website.
Damage claim for buyers or sellers? In a word: "photos". A picture is worth a thousand words and eliminates all doubt as to what was sent or received.
To coin an old phrase: "Cleanliness is next to God-liness". If you are selling a piece of used Le Creuset cookware, a buyer will appreciate it if you take the time to clean it before shipping it off. There are a few things worse than getting dirty cookware in the mail - but not many. :-) Besides which, it leaves the buyer with a negative impression of you.
LeCreuset Repair Policy: Planning to purchase a piece that has one of the above signs of neglect or abuse thinking you can send it to Le Creuset for a replacement? Forget it. They will replace a defective piece but not one that is damaged due to improper use, abuse, dropping or neglect. If they examine your piece and agree that it is defective, they'll replace it with the same item from current stock.
LeCreuset does not refurbish their cookware. Nor will they replace a discontinued color or older style with the same piece in the same color and style. In other words, if you need to replace a bright yellow 1 quart from the 1970's and the yellow in that size is no longer made, you may get a red 1 quart pot instead. Some expert out there who knows how to correctly apply and fire vitreous porcelain enamel and, is willing to give customers a long term guarantee or Le Creuset's seal of approval could make a comfortable living restoring or refurbishing beloved, but well-used Le Creuset cookware. Hint, hint! :-)
For more information about Le Creuset cookware, visit their website " lecreuset-usa.com" . Their warranty plus some use and care information is posted there along with the most current colors and styles available. They also have a toll-free phone number to call if you have additional questions or need help. If this was helpful to you, take a moment to complete the survey below. And be sure to read my other e-bay article with tips for caring and storing LeCreuset cast iron cookware.
(c) 2007--present. For more information about Le Creuset cookware, visit their website "https://www. lecreuset-usa.com" . It has their warranty, some use and care information and current colors and styles. Be sure to read my other discontinued e-bay articles with tips for caring and storing LeCreuset cast iron cookware. -- Blessings from a Le Creuset lover/user.
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