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5 Tips for Saving on Refurbished Electronics

If you’ve purchased a new computer, tablet, smart phone, TV, or any other electronics recently, there’s a good chance you had the choice of buying it new, or saving some money on a refurbished version. You’ve also probably wondered what, exactly, does “refurbished” mean, and if it’s really worth the risk.

Surprisingly, refurbished doesn’t necessarily mean an item has been repaired. Some refurbished items are classified as such simply because their outer packaging has been damaged or opened, or they were sold to consumers and returned, but not used. Floor models and trade show demos can also be classified as refurbished. In fact, only a small percentage of refurbished electronics have actually been through a repair process. Here are five tips to help you save when buying refurbished electronics.

Buy from a Reputable Source — It’s a much better bet to buy refurbished electronics from established retailers or manufacturers versus a local repair shop. Retailers such as Best Buy use certified technicians to repair and inspect all refurbished items. Apple has a section on their site dedicated solely to offering refurbished products.       5165480

Know the Return Policy — The return policy on refurbished products varies widely. Some retailers or manufacturers may not even allow returns (if that’s the case, don’t buy). Look for at least a two-week return policy, which will be enough time to know if your new gadget is working as promised. On a related note, avoid products marked “as is,” that could be a signal a product has known issues that haven’t been repaired.

Research Your Purchase Protection — Buying refurbished electronics with a credit card that offers purchase protection may (or may not) provide a second line of defense if something goes wrong. Some purchase protection plans exclude used products, so be sure to know what your card’s parameters are before you buy.

Maximize the Warranty — Warranty periods can vary widely, depending on where you purchase. Big box retailers may only offer a 60- or 90-day warranty, whereas manufacturers will usually provide a longer warranty period. Be sure to ask about the warranty period, and if there is no warranty at all, it’s better to buy elsewhere.

Check for Accessories — Just because a product is refurbished doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get everything that comes with it. Be sure to confirm that it includes all chargers, cords, adapters and accessories (and that they’re in working order), as well as the correct owner’s manual and any other original paperwork.

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