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Save up to 50 percent with refurbished electronics

Looking for nearly new gizmos at a lower the price? Buying reconditioned laptops, phones and more is a good way to go.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 26, 2014 1:51PM

This post comes from Maryalene LaPonsie at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyRight now, you could spend $299 on a brand-new 32GB iPod Touch or you could spend $219 for the refurbished version. Both come from the Apple store in a sparkling white box with new accessories, a new battery and a one-year warranty.


Which do you choose?


You may be hesitant to go the refurbished route, but have no fear. Refurbished electronics are an awesome deal and can save you up to 50 percent off the sticker price.


What are refurbished electronics?

Refurbished electronics are basically items that have been opened or used at some point. It could be because of any of the following reasons:

  • An item bought and returned because the customer didn't like it.
  • An item bought and returned for a cosmetic defect.
  • An item bought and returned for a functional defect.
  • A display or demo item.
  • A recalled item.

You may be worried you'll be buying a lemon if you get a refurbished electronic device, but that concern may be overblown. A 2011 report from consulting firm Accenture found that only 5 percent of returned electronics had an actual product defect.


Even for those that are defective, most major manufacturers have a rigorous process by which they test, repair and then retest returned items before selling them as refurbished. As a result, you may end up with a refurbished device that has some minor cosmetic issues such as scratches or discoloration, but it should work flawlessly out of the box.


Where should you buy them?

Because refurbished electronics may be used, you always want to buy them from a trusted source. Typically, that means a major retailer or manufacturer.


For instance, look online in the clearance or outlet sections of these companies' websites:

  • Best Buy
  • Amazon
  • HP
  • Dell
  • Sony
  • Apple
  • Epson
  • Newegg

You can find plenty of refurbished electronics on eBay as well, but buying through eBay can be tricky. Contact the manufacturer to see if the auction is being run by an authorized Businessman using smartphone © Image Source, Image Source, Getty Imagesreseller, and then double-check their feedback for any recurring problems.


If the seller isn't authorized by the manufacturer, you may want to move along. Unauthorized sellers may have vastly different standards when it comes to testing and repairing refurbished items. Plus, these sellers may not offer warranties or accept returns.


How do you know it's a good deal?

Well, first you need to look up the going price of the item you're buying. How much are retailers selling it for brand new?


Refurbished items are often, but not always, a bargain. Just as you would compare prices for any other purchase, you'll want to shop around before buying a refurbished product.


Beyond price, you should review how the item was refurbished and what your options are if it ends up being defective. Look for answers to all the following questions.

  • What is the refurbishing process?
  • Is the item tested again after any necessary repairs are made?
  • Could there be cosmetic damage?
  • Does the item come with the same accessories as a new item?
  • Is there a warranty or return policy that will let you send back a defective item?
  • If so, do you need to pay a restocking fee?

Finally, don't forget to look for coupon codes or promos that may bring your final price down even more.


Is there anything you shouldn't buy refurbished?

Although this CNET author makes a case for not buying refurbished TVs, printers and hard drives, we say you probably don't need to make an entire category of products off-limits.


Instead, the only thing we advise you to never buy is something sold as is. While most refurbished products are as good as new, there is always the chance you'll get a defective product that wasn't repaired correctly. Don't get stuck with a lemon. Make sure you have a warranty and the opportunity to make a return.


Have you ever bought something refurbished? Was it a deal or a dud?


More on Money Talks News:

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