Overall, I believe that the Chordbuddy guitar learning system does have its purposes. It's a good tool to keep children, senior citizens, or people with disabilities motivated and eager to learn how to play the guitar. One of the main issues is that users aren't able to easily attach the device to their guitar which I believe could be improved upon. However, if done properly, the Chordbuddy should work fine and allow you to strum clear sounding chords in a matter of minutes.
As a beginner, it is best to avoid making a pawn shop, flea market, or yard sale purchase unless you are shopping with somebody who has experience in purchasing a guitar. Having never purchased a guitar, you may not know what to look for in terms of damage or guitar quality. With that being said, a local music retail shop is your best bet. You may also shop online with a reputable company, although be sure to review the business’ return policy.