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Buying Refurbished Electronics to Trim Your Budget - Makes Good Cents!

Updated on December 13, 2016

Why Buy Refurbished Electronics?

TO SAVE MONEY! Yes, you can. Now that I have your attention... And I need your attention to allay your fears about buying refurbished electronics...

Hello! We are currently in economically challenged times. It's getting better, but still it's challenging. Learning to save on the next electronic gadget that "you've got to have to survive" only makes sense.

Now remember, I'm not advocating that your gift to grandma or your brother should be refurbished; this is buying for yourself I'm talking about. If you are planning to buy a new TV to replace the one in the bedroom or your stove finally cooked its last turkey at Thanksgiving, then this is a way to save when buying and still have the latest, greatest purchase.

There are many ways to accomplish that goal, i.e. search ebay, wait for a sale, or wait for it to be discontinued (oh, no!) come to mind. They each have their merits and sometimes their drawbacks. One very viable option is buying that "must have" smart phone, or whatever it may be, refurbished. Yep! I said it: refurbished. Unfortunately, refurbished electronics often bring to mind used, dinged and scraped, underperforming goods. That is rarely the case. Refurbished actually means the items have been returned to new or nearly new condition and therefore, should not be an automatic red flag when buying, but rather an alert to a possible electronic deal.

Many commodities, luxury and necessity, can be refurbished. Refurbished computers, refurbished phones, refurbished vacuum cleaners, refurbished cameras, refurbished washers and dryers, and refurbished TV's are just a few. I imagine there are very few electronics that would be excluded. A recently bought refurbished item was an HP Core 2Duo T7200 laptop with a webcam for less than half the price it would have been new. It's working beautifully. These are not broken electronics, just electronics that have been rejected and have become cheaper electronics. Let's face it, saving on electronics is what we all want.

An example of refurbished but working great is the Dyson vacuum cleaner I purchased. It is normally over $500.00 but I found it at Big Lots for less than $200.00. Here's the thing, I didn't realize it was refurbished until I looked closely at the tag. Apparently, Big Lots has many electronic items that have been refurbished. The vacuum works beautifully, by the way, picking up even stubborn fur in my carpets shed my Westie.

According to Consumer Reports there are a "mere 5% of the electronic items returned [by consumers] that are defective." Those defective items don't make it to the refurbished sections. The fact is, if you are buying from the manufacturer, they want their refurbished item to perform as well as the new one. After all, their name is still attached to the product.

When buying refurbished electronics, reconditioned, or "remanufactured" items, some tips to follow can help you. It's recommended that you:

  • Buy from reputable retailers or manufacturers; their name is on the line and they only want to see you back as a repeat customer, not a dissatisfied customer.
  • Check the return policy; be sure that you can return the item if you don't like it or it does happen to malfunction.
  • Beware of the final-sale. This fits right along with the return policy. Some sources won't let you return your refurbished electronic or gadget. Steer clear of them. You want the ability to return the item just in case you get that real lemon.
  • Always, always, always check the warranty on any purchase - new or refurbished.

Of course, ebay is an excellent source of refurbished and used products. Some of the same recommendations apply to buying on ebay. It is best to deal with those sellers who have high ratings or who you have dealt with in the past. There are great deals to be found using ebay to purchase refurbished or used items.

If you are still too nervous about purchasing refurbished electronics, by all means, save up your pennies and buy new. Just remember, should you happen to return that new digital camera because you couldn't figure out how it works or that TV because you didn't consider the glare from the window or even your brand new washing machine because it doesn't have enough cycles, there are plenty of us who will choose to buy refurbished electronics and buy them for less.


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