Should I buy a refurbished or recertified product?
Should you buy a refurbished product?
Odds are that if you've shopped at all, particularly for technology products, you've seen products identified as refurbished or refurbs. They're usually priced far below their regular counterparts, yet look identical. What are they and are they safe for you to buy?
A refurbished or recertified product is virtually as good as new and consumers shouldn't worry about purchasing one, though sometimes the warranty on such a product is shorter than if it were new. Where a new product might have a 1-year warranty, a refurbished product may only have a 90 day warranty. If you've had a bad experience with a particular product, this is definitely a factor to consider when buying refurbished.
There are two basic types of "refurbished" or "recertified" products
Most of the time, all "refurbished" or "recertified" means is that the product has been opened and returned to the merchant who sold it. Some merchants turn around and sell these products as "open box" items while other return them to the manufacturer for credit. Because the manufacturer cannot sell them as new, they verify that the product is in perfect working order and repackage it as "refurbished" or "recertified".
There are many possible reasons a customer may return a product to a merchant including explanations like "I just didn't like it", "wrong color", "it was a gift", "I didn't understand the manual", "I didn't like the remote", "it didn't work right", and "it was broken".
Any product returned to a merchant under these circumstances can end up as a "refurbished" or "recertified" product. However, in the large majority of these instances, there is nothing wrong with the product at all. When the product is returned to the manufacturer, they simply test it to make sure it's working. Even though there was nothing wrong with the product in the first place, it is still sold as "refurbished" or "recertified".
Seriously, if you've ever worked in technology retail, the reason for returns run the gamut from legitimate problems to the fact that somebody can't work a remote or doesn't like the placement of the buttons. In other words, there are a lot of ridiculous reasons a product ends up as refurbished and many of them have to do with the person who bought it and nothing at all to do with the product being broken.
In some cases, there is actually something wrong with the product and it must be fixed and this represents another kind of refurbished or recertified product.
The nice thing about refurbished and recertified products is that they're good as new, come with some kind of warranty, and are usually considerably cheaper than the same product brand new. For this reason, refurbished and recertified products are an excellent way to save money.
In some cases, manufacturers do the recertification themselves and in others, they assign the refurbishment to a third-party. Although this is merely opinion, I am personally more likely to trust a refurbished product that's been recertified by the original manufacturer rather than a third party. Some manufacturers have an excellent reputation for refurbished products such as Nikon and Western Digital.
However, there are some products you should not buy refurbished. I've provided a link to an article that details those products more closely.
Some Personal Experience
I worked in a technology store for several years and one of the things we did to bring in additional revenue and boost our bottom line was sell refurbished products. Because the margins in technology are so low, we could actually bring in refurbished and recertified products from Newegg (link below) and mark them up.
Our customers were thrilled and bought tons of hard drives and, to a lesser extent, cameras. Our experience as a retailer was fantastic. The quality was outstanding and I'm not sure there was ever a customer who returned one.
Furthermore, Newegg has a fantastic return policy on such things, so at least if you're going to purchase from them, there's nothing to worry about if something goes wrong.
- Three tech items you should never buy refurbished - CNET
Make no mistake: some refurbished deals are just plain awesome. But others...not so much.
- Newegg.com - Refurbished Electronics, Refurbished Computers, Refurbished Laptops, Refurbished Tablet
Refurbished Electronic and Computers at Newegg.com. We offer the best prices, fast shipping and top-rated customer service. Once you know, you Newegg.
- Amazon.com: Refurbished - Computers & Accessories: Electronics
Online shopping for Electronics from a great selection of Laptop & Netbook Computer Accessories, Computer Components, Cables & Accessories & more at everyday low prices.
- Refurbished and Clearance iPod, iPad & Mac Products - Free Shipping - Apple Store (U.S.)
Shop special deals on refurbished and clearance Mac computers, as well as iPod and iPad products at the Apple Online Store. All products are Apple-certified and include a 1-year warranty.
- Refurbished Electronics | Overstock; Online Store For Cool Gadgets - Shop Laptops, Desktops, Tablets
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