Everything you need to know about buying refurbished electronics

There are two primary reasons refurbished electronics are so popular. For one, new electronics, like smartphones, laptops, and tablets, are expensive if you want a quality brand. A used but refurbished product can bring the price way down. The other reason to buy refurbished is that there is no reason to let a perfectly good electronic device go to waste just because someone doesn’t want it anymore.

While sometimes, people get rid of their old items because they are totally destroyed, more commonly, people are just looking to upgrade. In those cases, with a proper refurbish, an old device can work like new. Some research is always necessary to make sure you’re not getting ripped off,  but doing research when buying electronics is always a good idea, new or used.

What does it mean for electronics to be refurbished?

Straight from the dictionary, to refurbish means to brighten, freshen up, remanufacture, or renovate something. In terms of electronics, it means just that: to take an old electronic device and freshen it up so that it works like new. Say, for instance, someone returns a laptop to a store two days after buying it because it doesn’t work correctly. That item is no longer technically new. If the laptop can be fixed so that it works properly, it will be sold as refurbished.

There are lots of reasons why items can beselected to be refurbished..

Here are a few other kinds of refurbished items:

– Trade-ins of older items: People also like to upgrade their electronics every few years. A lot of times, a person can get a discount on a new item if they trade in their old one, so long as it hasn’t been completely wrecked. The store will then refurbish and sell that product again. If the item just went through normal wear and tear, it can easily be tuned up by professionals to work like new again.

– Shipping damage: An item might experience shipping damage to its exterior including light scratches or dents, In this case, nothing is structurally wrong with the inner workings of the product; it just needs aesthetic fixes. Items used for demonstration can also be sold as refurbished, and they’re usually in good condition to begin with.

– Buyer’s remorse: Some refurbished items are technically new. People sometimes buy something, take it out of the box, experience buyer’s remorse, then return it without ever using it. These items are most often labeled as refurbished as well.

Refurbished items are almost always sold at a huge discount. This is because no one would risk buying a used, albeit refurbished item, if it were a similar price to the brand new one. They’d just buy the new one instead of taking the risk for a small increase in price. That’s why buying refurbished can really be a steal.

How safe is buying refurbished electronics?

A product that is sold as refurbished should technically work as if it were new.

There is some risk that comes with buying refurbished electronics. A product that is sold as refurbished should technically work as if it were new. However, this is not always the case. The product could be defective. Defective products don’t necessarily show signs of a defect immediately, so the vender may not know they are selling you a faulty device.

It could also be poorly tuned up. Not all refurbished products have been refurbished with the same standards, so there is no guarantee you’re getting a good electronic device unless you know who fixed it up before you bought it. However, it is also possible to buy a product that is labeled refurbished simply because the box was opened, which means you’re just getting a great deal on an essentially new item.

Unfortunately, there is usually no way to know why a product is being called refurbished. While you might be able to ask, it would be hard to know whether or not they are telling the truth, if they even know what happened to it before you bought it.

Is refurbished better than used?

Buying refurbished electronics has a lot of advantages over buying electronics labeled “used.”

When a product is labeled “used,” that generally means it has been used but nothing or perhaps just the basics have been done to tune it up. You’re buying the item “as is.” That is not the case for refurbished items. where the product has been made to work like new. An electronic device that has been refurbished may have minor physical flaws, but supposedly, it works perfectly.

Buying refurbished electronics has a lot of advantages over buying electronics labeled “used.” The main one is the condition of a refurbished product. If there were any damages, they have been prepared so the item works properly. The same can not be said for a used item. Refurbishing also includes cleaning, whereas a secondhand product does not.

Buying refurbished electronics the right way

Person typing on a laptop Pixabay

When buying refurbished, definitely do some research before going through with the final purchase. Research the specific item you’re looking into buying. If it’s pretty old, meaning it came out a long time ago, you can assume that item has been heavily used. Who knows what could have happened to it during its first life (or perhaps second or third). Be wary of older products. It is safer to go with something that isn’t outdated.

Only buy from trusted stores and brands. Remember that not everyone who refurbishes old items refurbishes them to the same standards. If you don’t know and trust the vendor, how can you trust that they’ve done a good job? Also, quality brands tend to be durable, which is why they’ve earned a great reputation. For example, a refurbished MacBook is probably going to be better than a refurbished laptop of an unknown brand.

If you are buying online and don’t know the vendor, there are still ways to feel more comfortable with a refurbished purchase. Research the company well. If a lot of people from many sources find them trustworthy, that should provide some buying confidence. Still, reviews can easily be faked these days, especially on a company’s own website, so keep that in mind too.

Don’t buy a refurbished item unless it comes with either a return policy, a warranty, or ideally, both. A return policy will give you the chance to make sure the item functions properly the first few days, and if it doesn’t you can simply take it back. It’s a bad sign if a company does not allow returns, as it indicates they may be selling a faulty item.

Don’t buy a refurbished item unless it comes with either a return policy, a warranty, or ideally, both.

The same goes for warranties. If a company offers them with their refurbished electronics, it shows they feel confident in what they are selling. If not, it shows they want nothing to do with the product once they’ve sold it, and that should make you wonder why that might be the case. Also, the longer the warranty offered, the better, but it should be no shorter than 30 days. Warranties for 90 days are much better. Warranties for a year on refurbished electronics are great.

Lastly, if a manufacturer or company offers tech support on refurbished items, they are also easier to trust. Having support ensures that if there are any issues with your product, there is someone you can reach out to who will help you solve the problem.

Which refurbished electronics are usually a safe bet?

Some electronics are better to buy refurbished than others. This has to do with the companies who sell each product and also how well an item can be refurbished once it has been used.

The most quality refurbished items tend to be laptops, tablets, and video game consoles.

The most quality refurbished items tend to be laptops, tablets, and video game consoles. If sold by the manufacturer or a quality retail store, they go through rigorous testing to ensure they work like new. Plus, they tend to be used less constantly than smartphones, making them less likely to have major problems that need to be fixed. Plus, all of these refurbished items typically come with a great discount.

Smartphones are hit or miss when they are refurbished. As mentioned, people use their smartphones constantly, so there is probably much more wear and tear. While refurbishing is meant to bring an item back to “like new” status, that’s harder with smartphones simply because of all their previous usage. Plus a great refurbished phone, meaning all the things wrong with it have been repaired or replaced, means it probably won’t cost that much less than a new one.

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