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Shopping For New Or Refurbished Electronic Products Online & In Store

Updated on September 9, 2014
New or refurbished? Amazon Kindle
New or refurbished? Amazon Kindle

Buying a new, used or perhaps previously damaged product...?

Recently, there's been an abundant number of refurbished products being sold online and even in retail stores. Products range from Amazon Kindles, to laptops, hard drives and much more, the list is almost endless in the electronics range. Recently, I've noticed a large department store selling the Kindle for A$109. Now I've thought this is a pretty good deal, til I've noticed it was refurbished. So at the end of the product, I could essentially be buying a used product, a damaged product, one which was manufactured incorrectly and repaired or had other issues with it which are not disclosed other than with the word 'refurbished' when being sold. No doubt the price is tempting, but it would only be worthwhile getting if there was the guarantee that it had a warranty or was as reliable as the original new product. I also wonder - why are there so many refurbished Kindles or laptops out there which suppliers are holding onto with large quantities of stock in their warehouses?

Recently, there was a news article that came up with one of Australa's online electronics retailers, Dick Smith, selling a hard drive which already contained data on it when it was sold, but was advertised as being new.

See article: http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/computers/complaints-mount-over-dick-smiths-dodgy-drives-20111222-1p6qx.html

It seems that there's a lot of other retailers out there which may be selling products which are refurbished, although this isn't disclosed. To buy a hard drive which already had junk stored on it is outrageous, not to mention dangerous, especially if the information included personal information of the previous owner, pornography, explicit material, or malicious viruses. Retailers should have an obligation to check these things, and more importantly, to not resell these items and brand them as new. The same can be said for a lot of items purchased through ebay where by the seller will claim that an item is new or unused although it may noticeably display scratches or marks suggesting that it is a used product.

More retailers should mark down the price of items which have been used, have missing parts or a damaged item inside. I recall looking to buy a digital camera whereby the only stocked item in Harvey Norman was the display model which had a scratched screen. When it comes to digital cameras, in my opinion, it was a big deal. From what I recall, there was no further discount offered by the sales person and thankfully, I was able to pick up a new item from a different Harvey Norman store, even though it meant driving out of my way after work.

Has anyone else had bad experiences to find that the item they purchased wasn't 'new' as expected? Or perhaps not being refunded for an item which was found to be damaged once you took it out of the box at home?


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