Tech is fast-revolving, and everyone is always racing to keep up with the pace. In a bid to keep up with the race, you must be willing to take a ditch in these tough economic times. If you cannot compete in the technology adoption cycle, the choice is to join the early majority or the late majority.
The second option is acquiring used or refurbished products, which most people agree to offer an almost similar experience as a new product. The used and refurbished devices market provides an affordable solution to the buyer and narrows the environmental dent to global e-waste problems.
Even as the demand for used and refurbished devices flourishes, a never-ending skeptical attitude still tries to pull down this market segment. Notably, the market for refurbished devices tends to dominate over that for used products. The question by many remains what is a refurbished product, and how is it different from a used device?
Refurbished devices vs. used devices
While many people tend to sideline the meaning of used and refurbished as similar, there are markets where this does not apply. The baseline is that in the electronics market, all refurbished devices are used, but not all used devices are refurbished. So, what is a refurbished device?
A refurbished device has been used or returned and taken through testing, repairing, and clean-up to restore its original working condition before it is offered for sale. A used device, on the other hand, refers to a used or rather second-hand device. In this case, another person purchases and then disposes of the product in a sale.
The difference between used and refurbished products is defined by three major aspects, condition, warranty, and support. Before a sale offer is made on a returned product, the device is taken through repair to restore damaged elements, testing to confirm the level of functionality and clean up. The clean-up usually involves replacing worn-out parts such as the buttons, battery, faceplate, etc.
The condition of a refurbished item is almost new and works almost perfectly, which is not the same as used products. On warranty, refurbished products, unlike used devices, come with a guarantee.
The warranty length depends on the originator. While original manufacturers offer a warranty of up to one year, the warranty when you buy from a retailer is shortened to thirty or ninety days. Finally, suppose you choose to get your refurbished device from its original manufacturer. In that case, you will enjoy tech support like that of a new device, provided it is a current model.
What tips should you consider when buying a refurbished device?
Where to shop- Original manufacturers
To date, buying a refurbished device from an original manufacturer proves the safest way in the second-hand market. While many retailers are offering the same devices, trustworthiness does not measure up. Imagine buying a 250-dollar phone, and it develops a technical hitch in less than a week, and when you try to inquire from the site’s customer care department, you cannot reach them. The frustration is so imminent that you would curse buying a refurbished device. Original manufacturers aim to protect their reputation by selling standard devices and are ready to sort them quickly in case of a problem. Amazon, Samsung, HP, Dell, Apple, Epson, Nikon, etc., offer many refurbished solutions to various products.
Where to shop – Retail stores
Shopping for refurbished devices from a retail site is also pickup up quickly. If you cannot afford the high price offered at the original manufacturer’s website, consider checking it out at various reputable retail sites. The defining characteristics of buying refurbished devices from a retailer site are the discounted prices, shorter warranty length but similar repair, testing, and clean-up as one from an original manufacturer. Check out Best Buy, eBay, Amazon, Gazelle, UpTrade Amazon, Walmart, Crutchfield, etc., for all your open-box and refurbished devices. However, different retail sites offer different warranty lengths.
What to buy
The best part about buying refurbished products is the discounted prices. A survey by Consumer Reports indicates that satisfaction with buying refurbished devices was nodded by more than eighty percent of the participants. It further surveyed the complaint arising from using refurbished devices, and only less than forty had been reported as of the time of the survey.
What not to buy
While the skills on refurbishing lie with good artistry, a few devices fail the test after refurbishing. Experts recommend against putting your money on hard drives, TVs, printers, keyboards, and anytime that meets your skin, such as earpieces.
How to protect yourself when buying refurbished devices
When participating in any online spree, especially on sites, utmost care must be adhered to. The scale of care surges when you prefer buying a refurbished device. Conducting extensive research on the seller and product helps in keeping you away from all prospective disadvantages. So, what should you look at in your research?
- Reviews: Online reviews are the new way of connecting to current users of a similar product. You learn about the weak and strong points of the product. As you read through the reviews, create a list of problems cited by the users. When your device arrives, run a test to confirm that your device is not experiencing similar issues. If your device tests positive for any of the problems, you can return it right away before the warranty period expires. Additionally, from the reviews, you will learn of the expected customer experience hence helpful in keeping away from rogue sellers.
- Price: Take time to compare the cost of the device when new and refurbished. Depending on the difference, you can decide on the most preferred option. Also, while comparing, the common baseline is the model number. It highlights the similarity between the new device and the refurbished device you are reaching for price.
- The inclusive package: Depending on the use you want to put the device to check the listing of the accessories provided in the package. An example is with a phone. Does the package include a charger and earphones as with new packages? If yes, then consider it for the bargain. Also, consider whether the accessory provided is new or generic.
- Warranty and return policy: While a free warranty is offered on most refurbished devices, some do not provide security coverage unless you pay an extra amount separately to cover it. Worth noting is the clause “as is,” which means the device has not been repaired, tested, and cleaned up. Return policy goes hand in hand with warranty. Suppose the device does not meet your standards and you choose to return it within the warranty length. Does the merchant you engage in charge a restocking fee? While most sites charge a restocking fee, UpTrade and Apple stand out as the return policy is cost-free.
Buying refurbished is a secure way of buying a second-hand device. The success of the protection lies with the extent of the time you are willing to dedicate to do an initial assignment on the seller and the product.