Say you are in the market to buy a new laptop. The one that you’ve got your attention is the MacBook Pro, but you can’t locate a new one for under $1,200, which can be out of your price range. As you hunt online for a better price, you come across several offers for older MacBook Pros secondhand – some for as little as $250.
This sounds like a wonderful deal, but you wait patiently. You suspect that if someone else is getting rid of this computer, there must be something wrong with it. You stress that the computer will not operate at all or will break down over a couple of weeks, leaving you outside $250 with nothing to show for this.
Fortunately for you, there is a third option. You can purchase a refurbished MacBook Pro from a respectable site and get a notebook in the like-new requirement for about $800. Refurbished electronics can be the best of both worlds, with much lower prices than new equipment and lower risks compared to use — so long as you know how to shop wisely.
Refurbished vs. Used
“Refurbished” isn’t just another word for “used,” but the two phrases are related. Used products, also known as secondhand or pre-owned products, are products that another individual has bought, used, and sold. Refurbished products, also known as reconditioned or remanufactured goods, are products that another individual has purchased and then, for some reason, decided to return. Generally, before resale, a product is assessed by the retailer or manufacturer for performance, and minor adjustments or fixes might be made — perhaps it is given fresh packaging, or a brand new battery is placed in the product.
All of the refurbished electronics are utilized — but not all used electronic equipment are all refurbished.
Just because an item was returned does not necessarily mean it was damaged. Sometimes people return products since the packaging is damaged, or because of minor defects which only alter the product’s appearances. In other cases, they simply have “buyer’s remorse,” meaning that they change their thoughts about a product after buying it. In instances such as these, buying refurbished can get you a product that hasn’t been utilized at all to get a bargain price.
In other cases, refurbished products have been returned because of malfunctions — some minor, some major. When you buy a refurbished thing, there’s no way to tell what was wrong with it before it was returned. It should not matter, however, because all problems using a returned item are supposed to be repaired before resale.
Items listed as “refurbished” have several advantages over those sold as “used” or “secondhand”:
Like-New Condition. Sellers of refurbished items repair everything that is damaged, then test the item to make sure it’s functioning correctly. They also clean it and, oftentimes, replace worn exterior parts, such as the face buttons or plate. This means that when you buy refurbished merchandise, it should both look and operate like new.
Warranties. Many refurbished products come with a warranty, although the length of the warranty is determined by who did the refurbishing. In the event the original manufacturer fixes upward and resells a product, the warranty is likely to be at least a complete calendar year. Products refurbished by a shop, on the other hand, have shorter warranties of 30 to 90 days.
Support. Oftentimes, buying a refurbished product from the original manufacturer gives you access to the same tech support you’d get using a new product. That means if you have any issues with your new equipment, you can call the manufacturer for help. However, this feature is often available just for current versions. If you buy a recently discontinued product, you should not count on getting assistance from the manufacturer unless this benefit is specifically mentioned in the sale listing.
Refurbished vs. New
The biggest advantage of buying refurbished electronics Instead of new ones is the price. Following Digital Trends, you can purchase nearly any type of electronics refurbished — such as PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, TVs, and digital cameras — at costs up to 50% less than you’d pay brand new.
On the other hand, older versions aren’t always better. For Example, if you purchased a new Windows computer, it would likely come with the acclaimed Windows 10 operating system. But if you buy refurbished, you might wind up getting the broadly disliked previous launch, Windows 8. While you could upgrade to Windows 10 (likely for free), it would add an excess layer of hassle to the purchase.
Another issue with purchasing refurbished electronics is that some sellers are not as meticulous as others about making sure all problems are fixed. If you find a problem after the 30-day guarantee has expired, you could have difficulty returning the item. According to ConsumerReports.org, some stores don’t accept returns of refurbished products at all, and others only allow returns within 30 days after purchase. Your credit card cannot always help you, because many cards specifically exclude refurbished goods out of their purchase protection provides.
Shopping Smart for Refurbished Electronics
Purchasing refurbished electronics can be a way to find dependable products at bargain prices — but it can also be a means to get burned if you are not careful. It is worth looking for bargains on refurbished products, but also, it is worth taking some common-sense actions to safeguard yourself. These include shopping at reputable sites, choosing products that are worth the money, and studying the fine print before you click the buy button.
Where to Shop — Manufacturers Websites
You buy from reputable sellers. If you shop at obscure websites, you can’t be certain the products they’re listed as refurbished have been repaired up to favorable conditions. A $199 iPad isn’t a bargain if the tablet breaks within a week along with also the customer service section is impossible to reach.
A safer bet is to buy refurbished electronics directly from the manufacturer. That way, you understand the company you’re dealing with needs you to be happy with the brand.
Companies that provide refurbished products comprise:
Amazon.com. Amazon.com offers certified refurbished versions of its Kindle e-reader, Kindle Fire tablet, and Fire TV stick. These products are sure to look and operate like brand new. They’re all backed with a one-year warranty, and you may buy extended warranties for a few products.
Apple. You can find refurbished Apple products, from iPods to Mac computers, in the Apple Store. Apple certifies that all its refurbished products have all faulty parts replaced and are thoroughly tested, cleaned, and repackaged. They are also backed by a one-year warranty. You can get technical support for refurbished Apple products, but it also costs extra.
Dell. Dell offers certified refurbished products via the Dell Outlet. Unlike many websites, this store allows you to know whether every item was returned, utilized and then refurbished, or cosmetically damaged. All three kinds of merchandise include the same guarantee Dell offers on similar new products. They can also be returned within 30 days without a delivery charge.
Epson. Epson sells refurbished printers and other products in the Epson Clearance Center. All factory refurbished products come with the same warranty as new ones.
HP. You can buy refurbished HP products, as well as closeout and overstock deals, in the HP Business Outlet. Refurbished products are guaranteed to be in a “fully operational” state and are backed by a one-year limited guarantee.
Lenovo. The Lenovo Outlet offers deals on all Lenovo computers. Refurbished products are sure to work just like new ones, even though they may have minor cosmetic damage. They all come with a standard one-year warranty.
Where to Shop — Retail Sites
Another way to find reputable refurbished electronics would be to buy out of a renowned retail outlet. Many huge online retailers sell refurbished and returned products at substantial discounts. These things are repaired and analyzed just like manufacturer-refurbished products, even though they frequently do not come with a warranty.
Good retail resources for refurbished products include:
Amazon.com. The online megastore resells returned goods through its Amazon Warehouse Deals site. These are tested and graded to speed their condition, but they don’t include a warranty.
Best Buy. The Best Buy Outlet differentiates between refurbished things and “open box” items that have been returned unused. Certified refurbished items that can be certain to be in like-new condition, are sold both in Best Buy stores and online. All of them come with warranties ranging from 90 days to one year.
CowBoom. A Best Buy brand, CowBoom specializes in deals for pre-owned and refurbished consumer electronics. Each purchase comes with a 15-day no-hassle money-back guarantee.
Crutchfield. Crutchfield is an online seller that has earned high marks in Consumer Reports’ ratings of electronics shops. The Crutchfield Outlet Store sells a variety of returned electronics, from TVs to cameras, to car stereos. All socket items have been inspected and tested and include a manufacturer’s warranty, plus free lifetime tech support.
NewEgg. This online retailer electronics sells refurbished computers and peripherals in its NewEgg Outlet. All refurbished items are inspected and repaired by licensed technicians, and a few products come with warranties.