A Guide to Buying Refurbished Items
While we would love to buy every electronic that hits the market, for most of us it is unaffordable.
Buying refurbished items is an excellent way to attain those devices without breaking the bank, but most important is to be an educated consumer. So what does refurbished mean?
Refurbished is a general term for a lot of potential scenarios. It basically means an item that was returned for various reasons. A cosmetic damage, packaging damage or simply the customer changed his mind. Once an item was returned it cannot be resold as new.
The manufacturer will fully test the product and make any repairs that are deemed necessary. It will then clean the product up, reset the software to factory conditions where appropriate, and repackage it. In many cases you’ll get a device that is as good as new. You can also expect it to work every bit as well, and last as long, as a brand new product.
Stick to Reputable Brands
–Apple for example has a section of refurbished products from iPods to mac computers, all backed by apple with a 1 year warranty.
–Dell Dell sell certified refurbished items via the Dell Outlet. Unlike many sites, this store lets you know whether each product was returned unopened, used and then refurbished, or cosmetically damaged. All three types of products come with the same warranty Dell offers on similar new products. They can also be returned within 30 days with no shipping charge.
–HP Business Outlet. You can buy refurbished, as well as overstock, and closeout deals. They are backed by a 1 year warranty as well.
–Lenovo. the Lenovo Outlet offers deals on all Lenovo computers. They can have minor cosmetic damage, and are backed by a 1 year warranty.
Many Mega stores such as Best buy, eBay, and Newegg sell returned/ refurbished items at excellent discount prices. These items are restored to like new condition, although they usually do not come with a warranty.
What to buy/what not to buy.
Rick Broida of CNET says he would “choose refurbished every time” when buying Apple products, which he considers to be overpriced when they’re sold new. He points to deals on a refurbished iPad and MacBook Air that save you 15% to 30% compared to the new versions. And thanks to Apple’s excellent guarantee on refurbished items, he says, you give up nothing by choosing refurbished. There are some items that is best to stay away from the refurbished version, such as hard drives, cell phones, TV’s, printers.
How to Protect yourself and your money
- Reviews: read online reviews, and question/answer forums to glean knowledge on the product.
- Prices: What is the price difference between the refurbished and brand new, if it is less than a 10% discount, it may not be worth the gamble.
- Warranty: Do you get a new warranty, or is it a continuation of the old one, and for how much longer is it?
At the end of the day it is really the research that you do that will determine if it is a good buy. So, while buying refurbished items may be more time consuming than it’s brand new counterpart, enjoy the money you save. Go ahead, and buy yourself that one more gadget you were dreaming of!