Bargain hunters: Consider refurbished items
By Denise Nape The Shopper June 28, 2012 3:30PM
Updated: June 28, 2012 3:30PM
When looking at new equipment of any kind, TVs, computers, phones, cameras, you see offerings of new products and refurbished products. The price is what draws your attention to these items. So what is refurbished and why does it cost so much less? And should you buy new or refurbished?
Some refurbished has been returned to the store for any number of reasons including software incompatibility, failure of a component or physical imperfection. Some refurbished items have never been used or sold to the public.
These are inventory overstocks. The store returns cannot be resold as new so they are returned to the manufacturer and put through testing and repair programs to be brought back to “as new” condition. They are then repackaged and sent to authorized resellers where they are sold as refurbished.
The primary reason people like to buy refurbished is price.
When looking at cell phones for example, a refurbished phone may be right for you if you like saving money and the planet. Almost all refurbished phones are considerably cheaper than new cell phones.
If you are seeking a device that is almost new, yet not as expensive as those that are new, look into buying yourself a refurbished phone. Another great reason to invest in a refurbished phone is the planet. Buying a refurbished phone means that it will end up in your pocket instead of in a landfill.
What’s the downside in a refurbished cell phone? If keeping up with the Joneses is of utmost important to you, you may not want to invest in a refurbished phone.
If you need your phone to be able to hit the ground running with a 100 percent guaranteed success rate, you may not want to take the risk that buying a refurbished phone could pose. In this case, stick with a new phone.
If you are looking for an appliance, in most cases, a significant savings can be made from buying say a washing machine that is two years old with a new motor. Another reason is brand name recognition.
You can now afford to buy an appliance from a name brand manufacturer, even if it is refurbished. For some, the brand name alone is reason enough.
The downside of purchasing a refurbished appliance can be the warranty. Because the working components are what gets repaired or replaced, there is usually little or no difference in how the appliance will work.
But, one advantage that buying a new appliance offers is the warranty that comes with the product. For some, it may be three to five years depending on the manufacturer and of course, it can be extended for a certain price. With a new appliance, you could have up to 10 years without having to worry about paying for repair costs.
Shopper’s tip: When dealing with refurbished, the key is WHO did the refurbish. If it was done by the manufacturer, then it’s passed all the quality checks and usually has the same warranty as a new item. These are usually things that were returned for some reason. They will be cheaper because they can’t be sold as new. Also watch for the term reconditioned. This usually means the item has been used for quite a while and then fixed up to “like new” conditions.