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Tips for Buying Refurbished Electronics

What You Need to Know About Buying Refurbhished Electronics


With the current state of the economy many shoppers interested in buying new televisions, digital cameras, Blu-ray players and other popular electronics are spotting the low prices on refurbished products.

What Does Refurbished Mean?

For those looking to save, but want to avoid the highest possible risk when buying something that is not considered brand new, refurbished products are a pretty safe choice. Products listed on auction sites, sold through used channels such as Craigslist or bought at garage sales carry a much greater risk to shoppers.

Refurbished products are products returned to the manufacturer for a variety of reasons including:

  • Customer Returns - A customer returned the item to the store where it was purchased within the return time allotted (usually 15 to 30 days) because the product had a defect.
  • Dent and Scratches - An item was returned to the store or manufacturer because of dents or scratches to the body, often which occur during shipping.
  • Overstocks - A store returns excess inventory to the manufacturer.
  • Open Box - The box that the item is stored in has been opened.
  • Manufacturer Recall - A problem with an design element could result in the manufacturer recalling the products.
Anytime the factory seal is broken on an electronic product the retailer cannot sell it as new and must label it as refurbished. Many retailers opt to return these items to the manufacturer. When the product is returned to the manufacturer it is repaired, retested and inspected, making it eligible as a refurbished product.

Sometimes the item will be returned to a third party for repairs and retesting which could mean replacement parts are different than those listed in the original product specifications. The product is then redistributed to retailers and priced and labeled accordingly.

The savings for shoppers could go as high as 50 percent or more depending on what the product is and its age. Because the technology is constantly progressing, older models will be priced more aggressively to sell than newer models.

For shoppers who do not care if they have the newest products available, buying factory-reconditioned older products can be a true cost cutter.

Getting a Warranty

Look for refurbished products which include a 30-day or higher parts and labor warranty. Ask if the store offers an extended warranty. Depending on the product you are buying and the price of the policy, it may be something to consider.

Return Policies

Most retailers will allow at least 10 days or more for refurbished products sold to be returned, however be prepared, just as with new items, to include all original packaging and product manuals.


Buying refurbished electronics is not only earth-friendly, but also a great way to cut the cost of your purchases.

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