4 Important Truths to Know About Refurbished Electronics


In recent times, refurbished products have gained ever-increasing visibility in the marketplace as more retailers offer them for sale. For the retailer, selling refurbished goods is a fast, cost-effective way of getting rid of inventory. For the consumer, refurbished items represent significant cost savings.

However, many consumers looking for ways to save money on electronics purchases are confused about whether refurbished products are a good value. Some view electronic goods as particularly risky. After all, defects in electronic products are often harder to detect. Below are four things consumers need to know when purchasing refurbished electronics.

1. What are Refurbished Electronics?

Before buying refurbished electronics, consumers need to understand exactly what they are getting. Refurbished products are items that have been returned to the manufacturer after being purchased by a consumer, restored to default manufacturer settings, and tested for defects. Examples of refurbished items include:

  • “Open box” items never used by the consumer;
  • Items with only cosmetic defects;
  • Items used only as a store-display;
  • Items with damaged packaging; and
  • Discontinued items

Thus, a large percentage of refurbished items are virtually new. However, some refurbished items may be missing instruction booklets and certain non-essential accessories. Understanding which category the refurbished item falls in is key to assessing whether the item is a good buy. A refurbished item with damaged packaging or one that has never been used by the consumer are usually an incredible bargain. However, consumers should scrutinize refurbished items with cosmetic damage or missing accessories more carefully.

2. Refurbished Electronics Can Be an Incredible Value

Refurbished items are frequently priced up to 50 percent less than new items. Given that the vast majority of refurbished items have no cosmetic defects and are in perfect working order, savvy consumers can save significant money with a little research.

3. Manufacturer Warranties Make Refurbished Electronics a Safe Bet

Some consumers may worry that they may get a lemon when purchasing a refurbished item. However, many refurbished electronic items come with a manufacturer’s warranty up to a year. Thus, buying a refurbished item often carries no more risk than purchasing the item new. Consumers need to carefully review the terms of the warranty prior to purchasing the refurbished item as the warranty for the item may differ from the one offered for goods purchased new.

4. Liberal Return Policies Reduce Risk

In addition to the manufacturer’s warranty, reputable retailers that offer refurbished electronics for sale often have liberal return policies for refurbished goods. Thus, buying refurbished items under most circumstances is no more risky than buying them new.

Though purchasing refurbished electronic items require a little more research than purchasing them new, the potential cost savings is more than worth the effort. Refurbished electronic items are generally a steal for consumers at very little risk.