Getting the Skinny on Refurbished Goods
You can find great deals on refurbished electronic merchandise on eBay. Unfortunately, refurbished merchandise gets an unnecessarily bad rap. Very smart people may tell you to be wary of refurbished merchandise.
Great advice . . . I guess. I tell people to be wary of all merchandise.
The way I figure it, refurbished merchandised has been gone over by the manufacturer twice — new merchandise has been gone over only once! I buy refurbished merchandise all the time.
Let me explain what refurbished merchandise is, andwhy it can be such a bargain. Refurbished merchandise can fall into one of these categories:
Canceled Orders: This is merchandise that’s in perfectly good shape. Say a customer makes a special order and then changes his or her mind, or the order is somehow mucked up (“I ordered a PC. You sent me a Mac!”), something has to be done with the merchandise. Enter you, the savvy shopper.
Evaluation Units: An evaluation unit is a piece of equipment that is sent to a member of the media or to a corporation for testing or review purposes.
Evaluation units must be returned to the manufacturer, and the manufacturer may decide to unload it for a couple of extra bucks.
Store Returns: This is probably pretty obvious to you, right? Joe Customer buys something in a store, takes it home, and opens it, only to decide that he doesn’t really want it so much. By law, as soon as the box is opened, a piece of merchandise can never be sold as new again, even if the merchandise was never used.
Defective Units: A piece of merchandise that is deemed defective either by the store or by the user, is returned to the manufacturer.
Overstocks: When a manufacturer comes out with a new model, it may take back the older models from retailers in an effort to encourage them to stock more of the newer, faster, cooler model.
Whenever an item is returned to the manufacturer for any reason and the original box has been opened, the item (whether it’s a television, a computer, a camera, or some other technical device), must be reconditioned to the manufacturer’s original quality standards.
Any parts that are nonfunctioning are replaced with functioning components and the item is repackaged.
The manufacturer usually gives refurbished items a 90-day warranty.
You can purchase an extended warranty that completely covers (yep, 100 percent) parts and labor on refurbished electronics you buy on eBay (with no deductibles). After your purchase, go to http://pages.ebay.com/help/warranty/buyer_overview.html
Even after purchasing an extended warranty. The savings on refurbished name-brand merchandise can be substantial.
When buying refurbished goods, be sure the original manufacturer was the one doing the reconditioning. I’m sure that some technical geek can fix things just fine in his or her garage, but you don’t have the same level of protection
(as in, you don’t have a warranty from a reliable source at all) if you buy a piece of equipment that wasn’t fixed up by the manufacturer.