Refurbished products are becoming increasingly popular among consumers on a budget who care about the environment. “Refurbished Buying not only allows consumers to buy a great product at a great price, but also [it’s also] “A way to reduce your environmental impact is by using a device that gives you a second life,” says Serge Verdo, chief commercial officer of Back Market, an online marketplace for refurbished electronics.
“Our reason for being is to offer a ‘like new’ shopping experience for used goods,” says Baruch Ben Zekri, CEO and founder of Out & Back, a shopping platform for new and used outdoor gear. The trick to buying something refurbished is knowing what you want and who you’re buying. Tips to help you get started.
Language learning. A “refurbished” item—sometimes called refurbished, refurbished, re-certified, or remanufactured—is a product that is pre-owned or used as a display model, then returned to operating condition and sold at a discount. “Open box” means that someone bought the item and returned – barely touching – to the store or manufacturer. Renovations are usually rated as ‘excellent’, ‘good’ or ‘fair’. You’ll want to check the seller’s website for category definitions.
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Know where to look. paying off backmarket.comAnd refurb.me or gazelle.com. These companies carefully screen and select vendors. Manufacturers like Apple, Samsung, Dell, HP, and Dyson also sell refurbished products, although some sites make them hard to find, because, understandably, they want you to buy new ones. To save time, search for the company name and “renew”. It’s also worth taking a look at retailers like Amazon (within “Amazon Renewed”), Best Buy, and Target. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
You might also find special refurbishment markets: Out & Back, for example, sticks to outdoor gear, while GoodBuy Gear focuses on baby and toddler items. Scott Henk of Onsite Consulting in Denver says reputable local businesses with brick-and-mortar storefronts should be considered. “These are places you can come back to if something goes wrong, and you know they’ll refund your money if you’re not satisfied,” says Henke, whose business has refurbished and sold more than 2,100 computers in the past three years.
Buy with confidence. Sure, you can get a bargain on eBay or Craigslist, but buying from a professional manufacturer or refurbisher should ensure the item and any accessories are cleaned, parts replaced, and the item repacked. Computers will be wiped and their keyboards and batteries checked. They are often loaded with updated software. If a component cannot be repaired, it will not be put up for sale. In short: It’s 100 percent functional.
Note if the refurbishment process is “certified,” meaning that the product has passed rigorous testing and meets certain standards, such as replacing batteries if they’re less than 80 percent of their original capacity, says Simo Elalj, founder of RefurbMe, the clearinghouse for Apple products that Renovated. In addition, you are protected by both the warranty and the return policy.
Get the most out of your money. Discounts vary, but they can range from about 15 to 60 percent or more, depending on the age and cosmetic condition of the item. The newer the product, the lower the discount. “However, a five-year-old computer is just as good as a new computer at one-third to half the cost,” Henke says. “It may not be as fast as the latest model, but most consumers won’t notice the difference between half a second and one second to perform a task.” Verdo says Back Market places limits on the lifespan of the products it sells. The time for many electronic devices is about five years, because much older computers and smartphones may not be compatible with current applications. However, for outdoor gear or baby gear, old items that aren’t used much and are in top condition can make a huge amount for you.
Review the description carefully. As with any purchase, it’s all about combing the details. Although sites may list featured items in an easy-to-read format, it is crucial to research the full description and examine each image. If one of the items has a specification list, read that too, because you can get important information, such as the operating system and software of the device. “It’s okay to ask the seller questions,” says Ben Zekri. For example, “Tell me more about the condition.”
Understand your return options. When buying something refurbished, make sure the product has at least a one-year warranty just in case something goes wrong. There is no guarantee? walk away Henke warns that some computers look good in photos but can have water damage, causing them to fade after delivery. You also want to know the seller’s return policy. Back Market has a 30-day no-questions-asked policy. Out & Back offers the same. Avoid products shipped from abroad, because it can be difficult to return them if there are problems, says Elalj.
Shop outside of electronics. Although smartphones and computers make up the bulk of the refurbishment market, there are other options. You’ll find high-quality (clean and sterilized thoroughly) Bluetooth headphones and earphones, electric bikes, scooters, drones, GPS watches, air purifiers, security cameras and more. Out & Back carries refurbished tents, backpacks, sleeping bags, and outerwear such as insulated jackets, shells, and ski/snow pants. GoodBuy Gear stocks baby strollers, nursery furniture, and more. Hoglund even found some factory refurbished camera lights.
take your time. Knowing the exact configuration and specifications of the MacBook Pro she wanted, she allowed Hoglund to wait until the right hardware came out. “Think about exactly what you want,” she says. “You don’t have to settle for the first item you see.” Sites like RefurbMe allow you to set alerts when a specific item is available or when a price drops. You may also want to set up alerts in multiple locations, so you can compare products and prices.
Denver-based writer Laura Daily specializes in consumer advocacy and travel strategies. search for it in dailywriter.net.