My silver Gemi is a dream to play. Not nearly as shrill as you'd assume all-silver would be, unless I let it go shrill. I got it for $200 used, in perfect shape.
My Armstrong isn't too far behind. A little less responsive in dynamics and key action but well up to my needs. It also was $200, plus cleaning and repad (it had been stored in an attic
Both of those were bought used from individuals.
My Artley, as indicated in my sig line, is utter garbage. I'd love to sell it but my conscience won't permit me foisting the instrument-shaped piece of metal onto anyone else. Only thing it has over Chinese is it's sturdy. And repairable. It was bought new from a reputable music store.
Check your local Craig's List for piccs. If you're not comfortable testing it, ask your teacher or an experienced piccist to go with you.
Heck, I'd played picc for at least 15 years, and I still had a friend go with me when I checked out the Gemi, although in part because I wasn't real familiar with where the seller was and it was at night. I played it and liked it, she played it and declared "If you don't buy it I will and I don't need another picc!" I did the same before buying my Yami flute. It never hurts to have another player double-check your opinion, even if you're experienced with playing--s/he can give confirmation of what you feel and hear.