You may be thinking that this is in reference to the quiet stores and un-moving inventory on the store shelves in the post-holiday season. Though that may be good for a nice savings with careful shopping, the fact is the competitiveness of the holiday sales had plenty of good deals available a very short while ago.
The rush of consumer electronics spending though in the last month is what gives way for potentially the best deals of the year.
Of the millions of computers sold in the world in the weeks before the holiday seasons, it is not uncommon to have 10%-15% returned to the manufacturer. These laptops are then inspected, fixed if needed, and resold as Refurbished.
What does Refurbished Mean?
They all have one thing in common – at some point in the manufacturer to end consumer process they were deemed unacceptable and returned to either the manufacturer or a retailer. The fact is when you purchase a refurbished laptop you have no idea at one point in the process that occurred or the reason for it.
Common reasons for return:
- Failed quality inspection at manufacturer and sent back through system for correction
- Damaged packaging when arrived at retailer and returned by retailer
- Sold by retailer but customer found to be defective
- Sold by retailer but customer found to not meet needs
- Sold by retailer with no questions return policy and simply returned
- Was a designated test unit by manufacturer then sold to consumer
As can be seen by some of the listed reasons for returns, many have nothing to do with the quality or function of the product. In all cases, they are returned, professional technicians carefully go over them, and they are certified in good proper working order, and then resold.
Why would I buy a refurbished instead of brand new never returned?
The answer is simple – cost. Refurbished typically cost from 20% to 50% or more less than the exact same laptop sold as new.
It is seldom worth considering a refurbished laptop with less than a 20% discount over similar new, and the goal should be in the 35% or greater range for serious consideration.
If they are just as good then why are they sold at such a discount?
Laws in many places state if it has left the line and returned it cannot be sold as new. If it has to be identified as something other than new nobody will purchase without the discounts.
Further, with the nature of computers and technology something that was sold in December was planned in August, built in October, and shipped in December. By the time it is returned at the end of December, inspected, and resold what was the absolute top of the line chipset last August in the planning phase is now at least one tier back from the top.
Do your homework before you buy
This may sound like a warning, and in part it is, but actually it is also a great benefit.
Read the online reviews of the exact model. If the online reviews are in general very good then there has been ample time for any problems to appear and you can feel confident. On the other hand, if they are poor then stay away. When it was first set for retail 2 months ago there were far fewer reviews to compare.
Check the warranty. Some refurbished come with a longer warranty – as much as twice as long. Some come with a much shorter warranty – as little as 90 days.
Before deciding the warranty is to short consider if you can purchase the refurbished and a 2 year full warranty with accidental damage protection and still pay less than a new with a basic 1 year warranty it is still likely a good option.
Check the price of new always. Do not compare the savings to what it originally retailed for (as the retailers like to suggest you do), compare it to what the identical model retails at new now.
It was $1000 originally, and you can buy it for $600 refurbished now sounds great – unless when you look around you can find new ones still on the shelf for $650 due to discounts to move older products.
James Raglan writes for schtrade.co.uk specialists in refurbished and reconditioned laptops, desktops and computer accessories.