Buying Refurbished Electronics Without Knowing This? Really?

buying refurbished electronics

I still remember when I was buying my first refurbished product (home theatre), I was skeptical at first but I got a perfectly working home theater system. Now I firmly recommend refurbished electronics to those who are on tight budget or want to save some money. Wait! There’re certain points you should look at while buying a refurbished item.

If you’ll ignore these points then you may end up having a scrap or worthless product. If you want to save some money by buying a refurbished product but not sure whether to buy a refurbished item or not then in this post I’ll clear all of your doubts.

By buying reconditioned goods, you can save decent money. But they come with limited service for example usually you get limited warranty on such products. Here, you should know that refurbished products are not used or secondhand products. These are the products that are returned to the manufacturers or vendors for various reasons in unused conditions.

Many renowned companies such as Apple, HP, EPSON, Dell and the like, sell refurbished items. Let’s first understand what is the meaning of refurbished electronics.

Have you read my secret tips to save real money while shopping online; in which I discussed how I saved more than $34 in a single order?

What are we going to cover?

  • What is refurbished?
  • What kind of products get sold under this category?
  • New vs. Refurbished vs. Used
  • Advantages and disadvantages of buying refurbished electronics
  • Who should refrain from buying such products?
  • Where to buy refurbished products?
  • Things you must check or you’d end up buying a scrap

What is refurbished?

Refurbished, in terms of electronics, is a product that is returned to the manufacturer for different reasons for example product or box got damaged in shipping. After receiving the item, manufacturer does the required repair and renovation and then manufacturer sends it for reselling with refurbished tag.

Before sending it for resale, manufacturer follows proper testing procedures to check functionality of the product. This way refurbished goods become better than new ones because new product may or may not be defective.

What kind of products get sold under refurbished category?

Some people misunderstand that refurbished products are used or secondhand products but this is not true. Basically, refurbished products are returned to the manufacturer by the customer without opening the box, or may be because he or she didn’t like it. Many products get damaged in shipping and after repair such products also get sold under this category.

Here are some products that get sold with refurbished tag:

  • Returned by the customer: Many a times, customer orders a product and after ordering the product he or she does not accept it and returns it without opening the box such products cannot be sold as new ones therefore they must be sold as refurbished. Sometimes after testing the product customer does not like it or finds product is faulty. Then he or she returns it to the seller such products also fall under refurbished electronics.
  • Display items: Demonstration units used in showrooms or retail stores can also be sold with refurbished labels. For introduction purpose, companies demonstrate their new products to potential customers so they (customers) can touch and test a product before they buy. Once demonstration period completes, companies sell demo products as refurbished electronics.
  • Damaged in shipping: Products that get damaged in shipping also get sold after reconditioning.
  • Production defect: If a defect is found then after repair and testing, product can be sold with buying refurbished tag.
  • Box opened: Sometimes due to some reasons product’s box with original seal gets opened and this kind of product cannot be sold as new one (Would you pay full amount for such product?) so seller sells this kind of products under refurbished category. If a product is being sold as refurbished because only its box is opened then never miss such a deal (only if you’re getting decent discount on it say 30 percent to 50 percent)! By buying refurbished electronics of this kind, you save real money and get unused product, just like new.
  • No longer in stores: Sometimes companies sell products that are no longer sold in stores for example old models as refurbished.

Read: 14 Steps for Safe Online Shopping I Follow

New vs. Refurbished vs. Used

New products are always good to buy but you pay decent amount to own them. A brand new product will come with all accessories and full warranty cover. If you’re a person who always prefer brand new then avoid things like refurbished or used.

People buy refurbished products to get huge discount and this is the biggest advantage of buying such products. But everything pertaining to this type of products is not good for example refurbished goods are similar to new ones but you get limited warranty cover with them and sometimes no warranty.

You can choose refurbished electronics to save few bucks, sometimes more than few. Refurbished products are associated with certain risks but if original manufacturer has repaired them and giving you appropriate warranty then there should not be any problem.

On the other hand, used or secondhand products are not recommended because no one fixes their problems. There’re a lot of probabilities that someone is selling his or her product just to get rid of it. However, if you’re getting a used product that is within warranty period then you can think of it.

Usually, used products get sold without warranty, however, in some cases, you can return them.

Advantages of buying refurbished electronics

  • You get huge discount on such products sometimes more than 50 percent.
  • Most of the refurbished goods come with warranty as new ones. You get the same tech support as you would get with a new product.
  • Such products also come with easy return policy; which lets you return the product in case you don’t like it.
  • They are like new ones just someone (manufacturer) has checked its functionality and fixed some issues.
  • By buying refurbished electronics, you can get access to latest products without spending actual product cost.

Disadvantages of buying refurbished electronics

Everything pertaining to buying refurbished electronics is not good. Here are some disadvantages of owning a re-manufactured product:

  • Though you get warranty but its period is very limited say 15 to 90 days. Some prominent companies give complete warranty as you buy new product such products are good to buy.
  • You would not be able to understand what was fixed or reconditioned in the item.
  • You may find some dents on the products.
  • If product is coming with seller warranty then you cannot visit brand store for repair.

Who should not buy refurbished products?

Refurbished products are not for everyone. If you’re one of kind who likes only latest and untouched products then refurbished goods may let you down. Another reason, if you think too much, I mean after buying a product if you remain suspicious about something is wrong then stay away because you’re not going to get adequate stratification.

Moreover, if there is only few bucks price difference between new and refurnished then there is no sense in buying reconditioned product.

buying refurbished electronics

Where to buy refurbished products?

Nowadays, many manufacturers sell refurbished products on their own so you can visit a manufacturer’s website for example Apple, HP, and the like, to check whether they sell such products or not.

Similarly, some brands sell their refurbished products through some authorized sellers and these sellers use online shopping websites like Ebay, Amazon, NewEgg and the like, to sell those products. So you can buy refurbished electronics from manufacturers websites and eCommerce websites.

Some manufacturers that sell refurbished electronics on their websites:

  • Apple: You can buy refurbished Apple products like iPhone, iPad etc on Apple’s official website. The brand is known for its services and you get the same on refurbished. You can get complete warranty cover and service as you get on a new product.
  • HP: The brand, Hewlett-Packard (HP), also sells reconditioned products. You can buy fully functional refurbished products with 1 year limited warranty from HP.
  • Dell: Dell also sells the same products. You can buy refurbished laptop, printer, and other electronic items from Dell with warranty and easy 30 days return option.
  • Epson: It’s known for its printers. You can buy Epson refurbished products from its official website.

Some eCommerce websites for buying refurbished electronics:

  • Ebay: Ebay is a trusted platform to buy refurbished electronics. There’re many sellers on Ebay who sell refurbished items. But you need to be careful while buying a product from a seller because many sellers on Ebay have very bad reputation. Products with Ebay guarantee adds an extra layer of trust because if you get a wrong product or not as described then Ebay will help you get refund.
  • Amazon: You can also find refurbished products on Amazon. But before buying a product on Amazon verify whether you’re getting warranty or not. Amazon sells certified refurbished mobiles, laptops, tablets, and the like gadgets with minimum 3 months warranty. On Amazon, you could find many lucrative deals on refurbished electronics. Products listed on Amazon as certified, go through rigorous inspections and it (Amazon) grades them as ‘Like new’.
  • NewEgg: You can find similar products on NewEgg. Products on this platform are tested and certified by qualified sellers. You can find great deals on refurbished electronics.

Things you must check before buying refurbished electronics

Whether you’re buying a refurbished iPhone or laptop, you should look at following points to get a great product.

Check warranty

If you want to be safe with refurbished products then always buy it with appropriate warranty. Most of the products you find with refurbished labels come with 15 to 90 days limited warranty which, in my opinion, is not good. Therefore, always buy a refurbished product with minimum 6 months warranty if warranty is less than this period then choice is yours. But I don’t recommend that.

Always avoid a product that does not come with warranty, however, if you’re buying a refurbished item directly from the manufacturer then you can go with less warranty.

Know who repaired the product

It’s very important to know who actually repaired the product. If manufacturer did the repair then you can buy that product because manufacturers rigorously test products. On the other hand, if third-party had fixed the issues then avoid buying that product.

You should always buy factory refurbished electronics, which are tested and come with manufacturer warranty. You can also pick third-party refurbished items if you get manufacturer warranty on them.

Try to know what was fixed

Though, this is very hard to know because very few sellers mention it, however, if possible, try to know what was the issue. This way you can know how critical problem was. If only box or body was damaged then product would be like brand new and you can buy it. If integral part was damaged or faulty then only buy the product if it’s coming with appropriate warranty.

Tip: All refurbished goods sellers mention their contact number in the product description section. You can call and enquire about the product.


This is a reliable way to find out whether a product is worth buying or not. Before buying refurbished electronics, go to seller feedback and rating section and read reviews and feedback of buyers. This way you can know more about the seller. Always buy from a seller who has good ratings and feedback. Try to know how responsive and trustworthy seller is.

This is a key point. If you’re buying your product from a reputable seller then there are a lot of probabilities that your shopping experience will be pleasant. You should also read “12 common online shopping mistakes you must avoid at all costs.”

Buy from a reputable store

If you’re going to buy directly from the manufacturer website then it’s okay. Otherwise, buy from a reputable retail store. With a simple Google search, you can find hundreds of websites that sell refurbished electronics. But for your knowledge all are not good.

Therefore, buy from a trustworthy store who gives you refund assurance in case you receive wrong or faulty product. Amazon and Ebay are safe bets.

Return Policy

Return policy

While buying refurbished electronics, always read refund policy of the item. If seller does not offer you return then don’t buy the product, however, if you’re buying through a reputable retailer like Ebay then Ebay guarantee lets you get refund in case you receive a defective item or not as described.

I bought Phillips home theater from Ebay without return option because I’s aware that Ebay guarantee would help me get refund; if product would not be in working condition. Return policy lets you return the product in case you find any defect or malfunctioning.


Check that all accessories like cords, cables, chargers, manuals, and the like, which come with original product are included. You can check product description section to know what accessories come with the product.

Compare price with new one

Why do we buy refurbished electronics? Answer is very simple, to save some money. So before buying a refurb, compare its price with the new item. If you see substantial price difference then go for it.

On the other side, if you’re saving only few bucks then new product is a safe bet. A refurbished item should be bought at minimum 30 percent discount. Otherwise, due to competition many retailers give up to 30 percent or more discount on brand new electronics.

Final word

For a fraction of cost, you could get a product that works like a new product. There’s nothing wrong in buying refurbished electronics, as long as, you buy them from a reputable seller with long manufacturer warranty to cover any problems.

If you’ll follow the above steps carefully then you will certainly get a value for money product. I’ve bought so many refurbished products and so far my experience is quite satisfactory; may be because I always follow the above guidelines.

If you’re on a certain budget then buying refurbished electronics will give you access to latest products belonging to higher price segment. On the flip side, if money is not the issue then prefer to buy a new product.

Have you ever bought a refurbished product? If yes, then share your experience with us.

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