What Are Refurbished Electronics?

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A new high-definition TV or other high-tech electronics are expensive. However, buying refurbished electronics can be significantly cheaper. The electronics that have been refurbished compare favorably with the new versions. Manufacturers carefully inspect and restore the returned electronics to the original specifications. Deciding to purchase refurbished products require an understanding of the warranty information, who refurbished the product, and if it is used or reconditioned.

Definition

  • Refurbished electronics are those sent back to the factory for various reasons. Some reasons are physical imperfections, faulty operation or incorrect model sent. Whatever the reason, once an item has been returned to the manufacturer it cannot be sold as "new." The returned merchandise is carefully inspected, tested, restored and tagged as refurbished. During the restoration process, parts are replaced or repaired ensuring that the item is working properly. The end result is to make sure the item is restored to original factory specifications. Some other terms frequently used are "factory warranty," "factory refurbished" or "factory refurb."

Manufacturer Refurbished

  • Electronics that are refurbished by the manufacturer are better than reconditioned or used. When a manufacturer labels refurbished electronics, they have gone through a rigorous screening process and are repaired to the original factory specifications. The warranty associated with the refurbished electronic is usually the same as a new item. A manufacturer has the discretion to place limitations on the warranty, depending on the item. For example, if the item has a short lifespan, a manufacturer may choose to shorten the original warranty.

Reconditioned

  • On the other hand, reconditioned electronics have worn or broken parts that have been replaced to extend their usefulness. An authorized service center may also recondition electronics for manufacturers. It is important to know the true meaning of refurbished electronics to avoid confusion. Returned items are from different sources and leasing companies work with manufacturers to recondition these products. The off-lease electronics are reconditioned and sold to other customers seeking to get a bargain. Reconditioned electronics are cheaper than refurbished electronics because they have been used and reconditioned.

    Caution should be exercised when purchasing electronics labeled reconditioned because unscrupulous companies will pass off used electronics as reconditioned or refurbished. Unfortunately, unsuspecting customers may be led to believe that a manufacturer has guaranteed and warranted these electronics.

Third-Party

  • A repair shop may recondition electronics and offer a limited warranty, not by the manufacturer. The warranty may have other restrictions or limitations. Authorized service centers are designated by manufacturers to refurbish their electronics and provide manufacturer warranties. Authorized dealers or resellers sell the refurbished electronics on behalf of the manufacturer. All of these third-party vendors work in tandem with manufacturers to recondition and refurbish electronics.

Used

  • The least desirable of the category of refurbished electronics are used electronics. Used electronics are sold "as is" without manufacturer warranties or guarantees of operation. These are the cheapest because of the uncertainty of operation. A customer is taking a chance purchasing these electronics. Wherever possible, only purchase these as a last resort.

References

  • Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
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