What Does Refurbished Mean?


Last Update: 4/19/2016

What does refurbished mean?

BuyVia features deals on refurbished electronics like refurbished iPhone smartphones or laptops all the time. Many ask: What does refurbished mean? Is it safe to buy a reconditioned item? We answer those questions and more.


What is refurbished?

Refurbished items are defined to be products that have been returned to the store or manufacturer, and have been restored to like new condition for sale.

The process of refurbishing or reconditioning can be as little as replacing the box and resealing it back up, or as detailed as replacing a screen, swapping out a battery, and running diagnostic tests.

Some may have been defective items that are now fixed, others might be demo items used at a trade show or retail store. Companies that lease computers but have finished the contract, are another source of refurbished products. Customers trading in products are also another source of refurbished products. They may have tried the product and do not like it or used it on vacation and returned it afterwards.

These returned items that were previously used, cannot legally be repackaged and sold as a new product. Sometimes they are brand new.

Manufacturer refurbished products are preferred, as they know how the product should function and have service expertise.

What is the benefit of buying refurbished merchandise?

The number one reason to buy a refurbished item, is to save money. Everybody wants to save money and get a quality product. We believe this is a great way of saving, provided you understand the risks and limit where you buy. Some stores even give you the same warranty as a new item. This is one of the only ways to save on Apple refurbished MacBook Laptops, iPads and Macs.

What is the downside to refurbished items?

Reliability - There is always the possibility that a refurbished item was not tested and does indeed have a defect that has not been corrected. This is where a warranty and return policy are a must.

Cosmetics - Some refurbished items have imperfection, scratches, or other cosmetic defects. If you can look beyond this slight wear and realize that you would cause the same wear in a couple months, you will realize saving money is worth it. These may have minor cosmetic wear that does not impact performance or quality.

Warranty - Some items come with same normal factory warranty, while others have a shorter warranty only through the seller. This is the most important thing to understand. Some refurbished items have no warranty. We prefer buying refurbished items with factory warranty. Credit cards usually do not extend the warranty on refurbished products. See if you can buy an extended warranty or 3rd party warranty through Squaretrade. Square Trade only offers a 1 year warranty for refurbished TVs. Sometimes an item will include the original warranty, but only a fraction of it will be left.

Packaging - Often time, refurbished goods will not include original packaging. Most people will toss this out anyway. This can affect resale value.

Accessories - It should include all accessories the new item came with. You need to verify this, otherwise you need to pay more for accessories and should adjust the break even cost.

Returns - Some stores limit refurbished product return windows. Do NOT buy a refurbished item as is, with no return privilege.

Items to avoid buying refurbished

Hard drives - Are difficult to repair when defective. Prices are so cheap, you should stick to new.

Printers - Worries about toner - ink messing up the printers internals are the main reason.

Televisions - Are so hard to return that buying a refurbished HDTV is a risky proposition. Shipping damage is easy to occur.  Only buy a refurbished television you can carry by yourself and can return to a local store.

Reputable Stores selling Refurbished Electronics and other items


eBay - Has many stores selling refurbished items. Each has its own policies. Look for businesses with lots of feedback selling on eBay, not individuals. Understand and be comfortable with the return policy.

amazon 15 percent off warehouse deals

Amazon sells refurbished items like Fire Tablets, Kindle Readers and much more, mainly through its Amazon Warehouse Deals. They are all hand checked, graded, (Like New, Very Good, Good, Acceptable) and include a 30 day return policy. Amazon Warehouse Deals are supported by Amazon Customer Service.

Woot is an amazon company and specializes in close out items. They only accept returns for damaged and defective items. You'll need to contact their Customer Support Team within 21 days of purchasing your product if it arrives damaged or defective. Woot reserves the right to impose a 15% restocking fee, and the original shipping charge will not be refunded.

Apple has an outlet that sells refurbished items including MacBooks, iPads, and more, with the same warranty as new ones. We have purchased MacBooks from it and found that
they look brand new, but lack original packaging. Apple products undergoe a rigorous refurbishment process to make sure it’s up to Apple’s tough quality standards. You have the option of purchasing an AppleCare Product for them. This is one of the few ways to save on Apple products.

Canon also sells their refurbished products with a same as new, 1 year warranty. The Canon DSLR we purchased from them, was in great condition and had only been used for a thousand photos.

newegg is a reputable store and sells refurbished items from time to time.

HP offers refurbished items mostly through resellers and sometimes on their website.

Dell has a Dell Refurbished outlet that sells their refurbished computers, monitors and more. We have had good experiences with refurbished Dell monitors. All systems are backed by warranty and they offer a 30 day satisfaction guarantee.

Lenovo outlet sells refurbished Lenovo computers with 1 Year Standard Depot Warranty, making them a safe bet.

Best Buy sells open box, refurbished products through the Best Buy Outlet. They used to run Cowboom to sell these items. Best Buy Return and Exchange Promise applies to Outlet purchases from Best Buy.

Gamestop sells pre-owned games, video game consoles, electronics and more. If you are not completely satisfied, simply return the product within 7 days for your money back or identical exchange within 30 days of purchase.

Target sells refurbished, pre-owned and certified items. Most like some refurbished laptops, have a warranty stated on the product page.

Walmart sells some refurbished electronics mostly online. Their TVs have a 90 day warranty. Most store items can be exchanged or refunded with a receipt within 90 days of purchase. All merchandise sold and shipped by Walmart.com may be returned to a store within 90 days of receiving it, unless otherwise noted in the Return Guidelines by Department chart. (Mostly electronics) They sell refurbished television service plans. A 3 year one for TVs $500-$699.99 costs $84.

Now you know what refurbished means. The positives and negatives to buying refurbished products. Ensure you know the warranty, return policy, and accessories that are included. Save money by buying refurbished from trusted sources. Be sure to use them and test them out right away.
Do you buy refurbished items? How has your experience been?

Share by EmailShare on FacebookTweet Deal

Tags: , ,

One response to “What Does Refurbished Mean?”

  1. Hal Welch says:

    I regularly purchase refurbished products and I have luckily had good experiences. My guidelines I follow are much like your above. Good Read!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *