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November 19, 2010


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Buying refurbished electronics is usually OK. It can be called refurbished for any number of reasons (bad hard drive, or memory, broken screen, bad power cord). They are repaired back to factory condition and resold. Many times the 1 year warranty will still be valid since it should have been repaired by a certified technician. My viewpoint on electronics is that the will either fail in the first 90 days or not for 90 years(also read as never). The mechanical portions of a device can fail (buttons, wheels, knobs, etc.), but the electronics are usually either faulty from the beginning, or good for life. You will find out real quick.

I agree with Jon on refurbished goods. Especially electronics. Often it just means someone opened the box, and then returned the item.

But electronics can die later - e.g. hard drives. It's the mechanical part that fails, but not just like a loose wheel or knob. But in any case, that won't be the case for refurbished.

I too agree on the above with refurbished electronics.

Buying refurbished electronics is a great way to save a huge chunk of $ -- from cameras, to digital televisions, to laptops.

gift wrap? baking ingrediants? a paper calendar?

With the exception of electronics, nothing on this list is very expensive or even very critical to buy any time of the year. So the list is really not much of a help saving money!

I'd also never purchase refurbished electronics--those things have short enough lives as it is.

I refuse to buy refurbished myself, especially electronics. Electronics such as computers are highly technical pieces of equipment that rely on everything funcioning properly especially at the motherboard level.

In many cases if one component has an electrical surge, other things can be damaged while the real cause of the surge goes undetected. Its a lot like having a short in your car wiring and your alternator keeps dying, so you replace your alternator, but the wiring problem is still there. In the meantime you replaced multiple alternators before realizing the true problem and wasting all that money. I'll pay the extra 30% any day for brand new with no issues.

"I refuse to buy refurbished myself, especially electronics. Electronics such as computers are highly technical pieces of equipment that rely on everything funcioning properly especially at the motherboard level. "

But if something is wrong you will know it immediately. Electronics either work or they don't. I think people confuse mechanical parts of consumer electronics with the actually electronic components of them. A button may fail, or the mechanical portion of a hard drive, but without someoutside influence (power failure, overheating, sudden jarring or pressure), electronics just generally do not fail.

Why not take the chance of buying refurbished. Especially if it has the same factory warranty. If it is a lemon, you will know real fast.

Harping on refurbished still... Jon, you may be right about the non-mechanical issues, but I still have a problem with the idea in general. Major electronics companies such as Sony would love to get rid of their pre-broken stuff for 3/4 the price of new... They already have a certain amount wrapped up in the device, so why not pawn it off and take as small a hit as possible? It's almost like a slap in the face to the consumer since they are willing to sell you something that has past issues. Warranty does not buy me since the actual process of claiming your warranty is typically a huge pain, not to mention shipping costs. I have to go with the old adage of, "you get what you pay for."

While I am a software engineer, I have been taking apart and upgrading computers and am the neighborhood & family tech support.

I will buy refurbished. The warranty is usually as good if not better as they would rather sell it discounted than take a hit. If the machine lasts 90 days chances are it will last a long time. You need to do proper maintenance, of course.

If buying refurbished means you can buy a better computer (better chip, bus speed) then you will not need to upgrade sooner.


How would you know if you don't buy refurbished yourself. And an electronics company has no desire to pawn off crap on their customers. It only hurts their name. This is why I say that most people have no idea what refurbished even means. It means fixed to original factory specifications. Most refurbished electronics have had things such as broken screens replaced, lemon hard drives or memory replaced, or other things like video cards, sound cards, or network cards replaced. It could even be because someone bought it, opened it, and the returned it. It's no more likely to fail than if it was purchased brand new.

After previously buying only new, I bought a refurbished HP laptop about a year ago. By buying refurbished I was able to both save some money and get a better computer. I was a little nervous about the possibility of getting a lemon, but I've had no problems whatsoever with it. Having done it once, I would do it again without hesitation.

I wouldnt know about refurbished because I wont take the risk, but I will know if something isnt working correctly. How do you know what is wrong with most refurbished electronics? I have not seen any data that explains what usually breaks. To me its principle as well. When you buy refurbished you have given the manufacturer a pass, the action you take in buying refurbished says "I will buy your item even though it is not new and was not at 100% function when it was new." A company that cares about its reputation and not its bottom line will not sell refurbished goods in my opinion. I dont care if it is fixed and promised to work, I dont want pre-broken goods.

My wife got a refurbished iphone. It works great, and was much cheaper.

I'm like you in the fact that I will not agonize over finding the "best" deal on something - a "good" deal is good enough. Could we have saved $100 on our laptop if we waited until Black Friday? Maybe, but $500 for a 4GB/500gb Toshiba seemed good enough to us and we get to use it in October and November too, lol.

Apparently now is a great time to buy appliances; there are sales on them for Black Friday. I would never have thought of buying one now, but I guess if your budget can handle holiday shopping and appliance shopping, now is a good time to do it.

Refurbished is a great way to save money. I only buy refurbished from the actual company (i.e. refurbished iPod from Apple, refurbished vacuum from Sears). The reason this saves you a bunch of money is that you get the exact same warranty on a refurbished item (at least, that's true at both Apple and Sears). Essentially, the retailer is assuring you it's not a lemon, and you have a perfectly fine way out (via the warranty) if it is.

Generally, I've saved usually around 30% going refurbished direct from the retailer.

That said, I would never buy a refurbished product without a warranty. That's when I think the lemons come out.

I bought my laptop refurbished from dell. Cost me about 700 instead of close to a thousand. Same (1 year) warranty and everything as a new one.

Just do a little bit of research before hand to see what other people have experienced with that company's refurbished products. Not every company has the same definition, but among reputable companies refurbished means the returned item was carefully tested and/or fixed and has the same warranty as a new product would.

Most of the time, refurbed just means the original buyer had buyers regret and returned the item, sometimes completely unopened.

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