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Understanding “refurbished” — practical shopping tips

April 25th, 2008

Refurbished HDTVI’m going to discuss a dirty word in the deals business, or for that matter in the electronics retailing world. The dirty word is “Refurbished” or “Refurb” or “Remanufactured” or any other synonym retailers use to describe electronics that have been repaired at some point. defines refurbished as “To make clean, bright, or fresh again; renovate”, when thinking of it that way, I feel much better about it :)

Refurbished products offer a great money saving opportunity but you should use it wisely. Understanding why products end up being refurbished can be helpful in the process. Here some common reasons:

  1. It was returned by the customer within the allotted time frame. These products must be sold as “open box” or refurbished if there was some damage.
  2. The product packaging was damaged during shipping to the merchant, in this case the retailer simply sends it back because they can’t sell products which have damaged packaging. If the manufacturer finds the product is also damaged, it becomes refurbished.
  3. There was a defect during production.
  4. It was a demo unit that was damaged, or need some cleanup by the manufacturer.
  5. Overstock items are also sometimes labeled as refurbished.

There are a few important things that you should look for when buying a refurbished product. These may help avoid the headaches of dealing with potential repairs or other nuisances.

  1. Inspect the warranty offered. Make sure it has at least a 45 day parts and labor warranty. This is key for buying a refurbished product.
  2. Buy refurbished products from an authorized retailer. So if they are hawking a Sony product, do some research and make sure they authorized.
  3. Study their return policy? Is there a restocking fee? How much time do you have to return. Some retailers do not offer money back on refurbished products, only exchanges.
  4. Do they offer an extended warranty for a few extra bucks?
  5. Read customer reviews. Many sites that sell a lot of refurbished good like Tigerdirect, even have reviews for refurbished products.

I personally love refurbished electronics! I’ve purchased a refurbished HDTV, refurbished iPod Nano, and a refurbished desktop computer. Here are some of my top picks for refurbished deals:

  • Refurbished iPod Nano : I have bought 2 refurbished ipods from Apple, and the quality is nothing less than “new.” I’ve never had a problem with them.
  • Refurbished Dell Computers: I purchased a refurbished Dell Desktop from the Dell Outlet 2 years ago which I’m still using today. Not only are they great deals, Dell often has coupons to sweeten the deals.
  • Refurbished MacBook: I’m writing this article on it right now! It’s awesome, and the deals can get as a low as $799 for a MacBook. Again these laptops look and work like new.
  • Refurbished HDTV’s: I purchased a refurbished LCD HDTV from Tigerdirect a couple of years ago, and it still runs without any problems. If you don’t like Tiger, Newegg has plenty of great deals on refurbished TVs too.

In conclusion, refurbished products offer great savings for those willing ignore the stigma of buying a refurbished product. If you are smart about it and do your homework, there is no reason you can’t enjoy a refurbished product for many many years to come.

Entry Filed under: Shopping

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Weekly hot deals roundup &hellip  |  April 25th, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    [...] eCost just reduced the price on this TV sweetening the offer. Not sure about buying refurbished? Read this article Mike just put up on Buxr [...]

  • 2. Monday Linklet - I’&hellip  |  May 5th, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    [...] wrote Understanding “refurbished” — practical shopping tips. I’ve always been wary of buying refurbished items, but these tips make me think I may can [...]

  • 3. Matthew  |  May 11th, 2008 at 12:15 am

    I have absolutely no problem buying refurbished items, and perhaps even a different thought about then. New products are given a quick test after assembly with the assumption that all will be well. Refurbished items must pass many tests after they are refurbished by the manufaturer before being made available for sale.

    So if buying from a reputable retailer, or direclty from a manufacturer I find that refurbished items offer substantial value and quality.

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