You know those Xboxes that were banned last week because they were modified to play pirated games? They're being dumped onto eBay and Craigslist by their owners, and they won't all tell you that those consoles are banned from Live.
So our recommendation is that if you really can't spare the money to buy a new Xbox — which you should really do, since the failure rate still isn't that low — is to make sure you ask the seller whether or not it's been banned from Live. If you're buying it in person, make sure you have them plug it in and show you that it can. If you're buying it on eBay, well, you'll just have to take their word. Just be careful, because Microsoft has no pity on you for buying a used Xbox that's been banned. [PCWorld]