Refurbished is a term that does not have a single meaning because there’s no universal standard set for refurbished goods, which makes it quite difficult to figure out what refurbished means on different occasions. There is nothing scary about the word “Refurbished”. If you are always worried about buying refurbished goods, then you don’t have to fret anymore. We are going to define everything and teach you all there is to know about refurbished items when it comes to electronics.

What does “refurbished” actually mean?

The reason why you hesitate buying a product with a refurbished label is that you are not sure why it was refurbished in the first place. Sometimes, the deals on refurbished goods sound too good to be true that it raises a suspicion in the buyer’s mind. The government has made it clear that any reconditioned device should be labelled as “refurbished” clearly before selling it. Here are some typical reasons that warrant the term refurbished for a device.

  • Demo items used in retail stores and events.
  • Items returned without being used a.k.a “Open Box” items.
  • Items that were scratched, cracked, etc. during shipping or handling.
  • Items returned because of a defect or damage.

The words refurbished, re-certified, and reconditioned are synonymous. Sometimes the customer brings in a newly opened item and returns it. The store clerk slaps a refurbished label on the item and puts it up for sale which means you’re getting a brand new item for a generous price.

Used vs. Refurbished

Used items are well, used. If you are shopping for used items, then you should know these items may have wear and tear to some extent. Used items are not repaired or checked for defects, so it’s always up to you to check the used item and make sure it’s working perfectly before buying.

On the other hand, refurbished items are carefully checked, repaired, and cleaned before going up for sale. It also depends on different manufacturers and retailers on how they treat their refurbished items, but almost all of manufacturers have clear refurbishment policies, so always read the fine print before making the plunge.

Manufacturer Refurbished vs. Seller/Store Refurbished

Preferably, buy manufacturer refurbished items. Manufacturer refurbished means that the item was sent back to the original manufacturer, and it has been rechecked, reassembled, and repaired. It even comes with extra warranty after the refurbishment process so you can buy with some peace of mind. However, sometimes certain local stores or sellers refurbish the items themselves which means they have already tinkered with your item and probably used some cheap ways to fix any defects.

You can find manufacturer refurbished items at official manufacturer stores like Microsoft Store, Apple Store, etc. You can also find manufacturer refurbs at the official dealers like Amazon, Newegg, etc. Look for the info tab and check to see where the item is refurbished.

What to look for when buying a refurbished item?

There are three important things you should keep in mind before buying any refurbished product. First of all, check to see who refurbished the item as mentioned above. Second, check the warranty information if there is any. You don’t want to buy a product without warranty and most manufacturers offer 1-year warranties on their refurbished items.

Last but not least, check the return policy on the refurbished items. You don’t want to buy as it is when it comes to refurbished products because if it happens to have a defect, then you are on your own. So, always check the return policy to see if the manufacturer or the retailer allows returns on the said item.

What items to avoid buying refurbished?

There is no uniform standard for refurbished items. It all comes down to personal preference and experience with the items. However, if you are shopping for tech items, then it’s mostly better to avoid buying certain refurbished items.

If you are looking for a hard drive for your PC/Laptop, then it’s better to buy a new one instead of refurbished. Hard Drives can never be restored back to factory condition, so it’s always safer to buy a new one instead of gambling on a refurbished unit. You don’t want to lose your entire data because of one cheap drive, do you?

Same goes for batteries, if you are looking for a battery for your phone or laptop, then it’s better to invest in a new one. Refurbished or recondition batteries don’t hold a charge for long and almost always end up dying on you in a short time.

Best Manufacturers for buying refurbished items

Different manufacturers have different refurbishment policies. Some offer extended warranties while some just give you a 30-60 day checking period. Apple has one of the best refurbishment policies. The company checks and evaluates each product carefully before putting it up for sale in the refurbished department. Each product comes with their 1-year standard warranty. So, it’s buying a new Macbook or iPad but with a 10-15% discount.

Microsoft also offers refurbished Xbox consoles for a low price. However, Microsoft only offers 90-days checking warranty on the consoles. So, if you miss any glaring defects within these days, then you are out of luck and stuck with probably a defective Xbox.

It does not matter which manufacturer or retailer you choose for your refurbished products. You must always check the warranty information and return-policy before making any decisions. Different manufacturers have different policies, so it’s safe to check them before making a purchase.

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