People tend to love a great deal on IT products. It doesn’t matter if it is for the home or the office, reduced prices tend to get people excited. However, sometimes buying refurbished isn’t always the best idea. Depending on the item you are buying and it’s intended purpose, buying new may be the better decision.
Before buying a refurbished item a few questions need to be answered:
- What does the vendor mean when they claim a product is “refurbished”?
- Is it a good idea to buy a refurbished [insert item here]?
Who Likes Saving Money?
Everyone. That’s who. Most people will jump on the opportunity to purchase a used, returned, or refurbished item if it means they don’t have to pay the full retail price. Truthfully, most refurbished products that are returned are close to new. A 2011 Accenture study found that about 5% of returned items actually contain product defects. With the odds in your favor that a product isn’t truly defective, buying refurbished might be the only thing you consider.
While buying refurbished items helps to keep old IT products out of landfills and save you some cash, it isn’t always a clear cut decision. One reason that the decision shouldn’t be taken lightly is that “refurbished” doesn’t have an industry standard definition. Processes for refurbishing items and the resulting quality vary from company to company. If you’ve found a reputable firm to work with that’s great. However, if you are working with a new vendor be sure to understand what they consider a refurbished product.
Who is Doing the Refurbishing?
The question of who is actually doing the refurbishing shouldn’t be taken lightly. It may be the manufacture or it could be a third party. Regardless of who does the actual refurbishing, the product should be thoroughly tested and checked prior to sale. Some companies, such as Apple, are known for having qualify refurbished products that are essentially good as new. They even come with a one-year warranty. Buying refurbished iPhones and Macs makes sense due to Apple’s commitment to quality and the trust they have earned over the years.
Once you know who is actually doing the refurbishing, be sure to check the warranty. The warranty will always state the risks associated with a refurbished product. Determining if you need the 30-day, 90-day or one-year warranty will be a matter of personal preference.
IT Products You Shouldn’t Buy Refurbished
Printers can be tricky machines. It is difficult to know how long it has been sitting idle, how long it has been used for, and what type of ink and toner was used. These difficulties, along with the lack of standards around the word “refurbished” make printers one item you should seriously consider purchasing new. The troubleshooting if something goes wrong or returning the printer if it truly doesn’t work isn’t worth the time and headache.
Would you buy second hand tires for a sports car? Likely not. Buying a refurbished hard drive isn’t worth the risk for something that will be storing your personal data. Always buy hard drives brand new. Buying refurbished won’t save you enough to cancel out the potential troubles you may experience.
Similar to the printers, it is very difficult to know the history of a phone. Buying one refurbished may be great or a nightmare. Given how much we depend on our phones today, it isn’t worth the risk of buying a low quality phone. Potential issues include:
- Battery life – will it be good or bad?
- Locked or unlocked?
- Will you be able to add the phone to your current carrier?
The battery presents a big risk. It is tough, if not impossible, to change a battery on the modern smartphone. If you get a dud it will not be cheap to get a new battery, quickly destroying any cost savings you may have expected. For a tech savvy individual this may not pose an issue. For the rest of us, steer clear of refurbished or used phones and purchase new.
Wrapping it Up
Buying refurbished IT products may be appealing due to the potential cost savings. For some items, it makes perfect sense to buy used. For others, it could be better to buy new and avoid any potential issues. Working with a reputable remarketing firm can certainly help to reduce the risk of buying used. Any firm worth its salt will have a rigorous audit and testing process and won’t be afraid to share the results with you.