How to buy refurbished gadgets

Buying a refurbished tech product will save you money compared to buying new. It also gives a device a second life rather than sending it for recycling. And especially in these times of high demand for all kinds of technology, buying refurbished is sometimes Only The way to get a product when retail channels are strained or new products are completely out of stock.

These are all good things – yet “renovated” is still a full word for many people. New means a new product that no one uses. On the other hand, buying something refurbished can be a gamble, although the product is probably more affordable.

If refurbished, this likely means that the product is either broken or has hardened enough to require repair. It could also mean that the person who bought it decided they didn’t want it and returned it to the store. The definition of what constitutes a refurbished item varies by retailer, but something that might ease the concern is in the US. laws that prevent once-used technology from being sold as new. We saw it in action. In 2019, New York City sued T-Mobile for allegedly cheating buyers by selling used phones to customers paying for new ones.

Still, buying refurbished raises a lot of questions. Did the original manufacturer refurbish the product or was it made by a third-party company? Has the item been restored to like-new condition, or will it look visibly used when you receive it? Has it been professionally cleaned and sterilized and does it come with new accessories? Does it have a warranty and who will be responsible if it breaks?

It’s easy to understand why many people prefer to pay more for something new. However, it is possible to save money and not be scammed when buying refurbished products. Below, we’ve provided links to trusted retailers, along with some tips to follow when purchasing refurbished technology. None of these are fail-proof, but they will make the process much safer – and you can get great devices at lower prices.

Photograph by James Bareham / Moyens I/O

What should you pay attention to when you want to buy refurbished?

In general, it is much less of a gamble if you buy a refurbished item from the original manufacturer than buying it from a third-party seller. The manufacturer is likely to have higher standards for refurbishing and repackaging the product and – most importantly – should have access to original materials and components. However, there are also many companies that exist only to innovate products and can do a good job. You just need to be extra vigilant, ask the right questions, and make sure all your questions are answered.

In other words, if you are buying a refurbished product, it helps to have the criteria. Once you start getting into the habit of looking at refurbished technology, it will quickly become second nature. Here are some questions to get started:

  • What about? Is it like new or slightly used?
  • Does it come with all original accessories and documentation?
  • What kind of warranty does it have and who provides it?

The answers to these questions are not necessarily obvious. Sometimes the product may be visibly damaged, come in a different box, or only have a six-month warranty. No problem, as long as you know before you buy. In fact, you can often use this knowledge to your advantage to save money, as sellers can sometimes cut the cost if the item is not in perfect condition. You’ll just have to decide what you’re willing to settle for.

What is an open box product?

Sometimes products are listed as “open box”. The term may have a different meaning to the seller, but most simply means that the item is returned to the store in its original box, complete with all accessories, after opening it by a customer who purchased it. In other words, it didn’t need to be refurbished because the assumption is that it was either never used or only used once and then repackaged. In general, it’s safe to assume that an open-box product will be in good condition, but it never hurts to ask for clarification or look for information anywhere on the webpage.

Some people may be hesitant to buy refurbished headphones or other tech products that you use in or on your ears.
Photo: Becca Farsace / Moyens I/O

Is there anything I shouldn’t buy refurbished?

After all, this is your call. Some employees Boundary Make a sour face at the idea of ​​using refurbished headphones, especially in-ear headphones. Considering how closely you would use such a product, I think it’s natural to have this reaction. Most, if not all, companies clean refurbished products thoroughly before reselling them. Still, for some people, something used that way is forever unclean.

In my opinion, the most important thing to be sure of when purchasing a refurbished product is that the warranty is good enough to back you up should the device fail. And if the seller says your item will arrive in a clean, well-packaged condition, make sure the item you receive represents their claim.

Update Oct 23, 4:05 pm ET: This article was originally published on May 15, 2020. Many of the entries have been updated and the second half removed to create a new article.

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