Refurbished Electronics: 5 Things To Know Before You Buy

How to make sure you're getting a good deal on quality products.

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Have you ever considered buying a refurbished electronic but worried whether the discounted price is worth the risk? Well, we have some answers for you!

First things first, “refurbished” electronics are those that have been returned for various reasons ranging from a damaged shipping container to a simple change of heart. The products are repaired to full potential when possible, and then returned to the shelf for less than list price.

The initial worry with buying a refurbished electronic—whether that be a smartphone, laptop or other electronic—is that it was broken beyond repair. However, according to a 2011 survey by technology consulting firm Accenture, only a mere 5 percent of returned electronics were considered defective. Meanwhile 27 percent fall into the category of buyer’s remorse, and 67 percent were categorized as “no trouble found.” That last designation means that while people may think there’s an issue with the device, no problem was actually detected through testing.

With that being said, it is still important to do your own research before purchasing refurbished items. Be aware of where you are buying your electronics from, and the model/year of the product you are purchasing to ensure a good deal.

Check out some important refurb-buying tips below.

1. Use Refurb Tracker

If it’s Apple products you are hoping to find, use Refurb Tracker. If you’re looking for a hard-to-find or in-demand model, Refurb Tracker will do the legwork for you and let you know when that refurbished Apple product you have been searching for is up for grabs.

2. Pay attention to return policies

It’s no secret that stores return policies vary. Pay extra close attention to return policies when buying a refurbished product, as you’ll want that extra assurance in case you run into any problems with your “new” device.

3. Get credit card protection

If you plan to use your credit card as extended warranty protection, check to see if your card includes purchase protection for refurbished goods, as some exclude these purchases.

4. Check the warranty

Make sure you check the warranty period. While some offer up to a year, other warranties expire after 30 days. Apple offers its standard one-year warranty on refurbished goods, as well as the option to buy Apple Care to extend your coverage. Best Buy’s preowned and refurbished warranties range from 90 days to one year, depending on the product.

5. Look for factory-certified products from brands you trust

Products that are factory-certified have been thoroughly tested and brought back to original standards. Look for certification to come from the brand itself (for example, Apple-certified or Samsung-certified refurbished products) or from a trusted third-party like Best Buy or Amazon, both of which offer their own “certified” pre-owned products.

All in all, it is important to be cautious about buying refurbished electronics, but the label “refurbished” is nothing to be scared of! Buying refurb is a great way to get your favorite electronics for a lower price. Be smart about your purchases, do your research and buy from brands you trust.

[h/t: Consumer Reports]

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