Refurbished Products: Should You Spend the Extra Money for Brand New?
a refurbished product costs less, but you don't always know what you're getting
Electronics items are hot sellers when it comes to refurbished merchandise. But many consumers have questions about whether this type of product, or any product, is worth the risk that comes with the lower price tag.
What is a refurbished product?
Refurbished, sometimes referred to as reconditioned or remanufactured, typically means that a product has been returned to the retailer or manufacturer and returned to like-new condition before it is resold at lower prices. It can mean rebuilt or that it was opened and simply returned. Refurbished does not guarantee functionality.
Is refurbished a better deal?
Refurbished products can be sold at a small discount or they could be heavily discounted. It's all dependent upon the seller. Regardless of the seller, refurbished products are sold at a discount. So you can definitely save some money. You should be cautious, however, and know that refurbished products come in many forms. Some are refurbished by the manufacturer whereas others are refurnished by a third party, who may or may not be reputable. Most refurbishers test the products. Some don't, which means you might be buying a dud.
- Buy from a reputable company with a vested interest in the product.
- Always check the return policy BEFORE you buy.
- As with any product, check the warranty coverage before you need the warranty.
- Consider an extended warranty.
If you are purchasing a refurbished Sony product from a Sony retailer, chances are good that the product will work fine since the company does not want to tarnish its image. If you're buying a refurbished product from a third-party, there's no telling who did the testing and repairs.
Some retailers offer 90 days to return a refurbished product. Some offer less than 30 days. Some companies will only accept a return if it is 'dead on arrival.' Other companies won't accept returns at all. Be skeptical of items that cannot be returned or advertise that "all sales are final."
A lot of refurbished products don't carry the same warranty as brand new ones. Some refurbished products only carry a 90 day warranty. In some cases, refurbished products have no warranty at all and are purchased 'as-is.' You might find that a third party refurbished the product and that the manufacturer won't get involved in the repair process. In this case, you will need to find and get authorization from the third party, which can sometimes be difficult.
If you do buy a refurbished product, seriously consider an extended warranty, especially for larger, high dollar items such as televisions. We generally recommend against extended warranties, but should consider one in the case of high-dollar refurbished goods. While having a $12 refurbished item break outside the warranty period won't break the bank, you might be kicking yourself if that $2400 television stops working.