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22.08.2022 00:04

Refurbished equipment – what is it and is it worth buying?

Smartphones and Tablets

What are refurbished appliances? Is it worth being interested in refurbished equipment? Let’s see what refurbished products are, what their advantages and disadvantages are and how they differ from other categories of electronic devices.

Refurbished – what does it mean?

When browsing the offers of electronics stores, auction portals and official manufacturer sites, you may encounter the term refurbished. Refurbished refers to equipment that has been returned to the distributor or manufacturer and has undergone a refurbishment process. Therefore, these products are not new, but used. However, they are technically fully functional and, just like in the case of completely new products, they can be covered by the warranty. Refurbished devices can be found in all categories of electronic equipment, especially related to RTV. Both smartphones and tablets, computers, smartwatches, printers and peripherals – mice and keyboards are used as references.


How are refurbished appliances made?

We already know what refurbished means. What goods qualify as such? There are several paths for the creation of this type of product. The first is customer returns. Pursuant to the law in force in the European Union, the buyer has the option to return the equipment purchased remotely to the seller without giving any reason. The condition is to make a return within 14 calendar days from the date of delivery and to have a proof of purchase.

Due to the fact that no reason is required for the return, it may happen that the buyer returns the goods only because it did not meet his expectations. So you can find a product that is fully functional and in impeccable visual condition, but the previous owner did not like its color or size. Such a device does not require any repair. After the protective films are pasted and packed in another original box, they are put up for sale again.

However, this is not always the case. Another reason for returning the goods are manufacturing defects or mechanical damage resulting from improper transportation methods. A factory defect may be, for example, bad fitting of the device parts, and mechanical damage – a cracked screen. The customer has the right to return such equipment under the warranty and receive a new, fully functional one. It does not mean, however, that a broken device returned under warranty is disposed of. It is repaired by the service technicians of the distributor or manufacturer and shipped back for sale.

refurbished - subassembly

Finally, refurbished products can come from promotional campaigns encouraging the purchase of a new model. Each of us saw an advertisement encouraging us to donate an old phone and buy a new one. Such devices are very often renewed by the manufacturer and can be bought again. Interestingly, similar solutions are used by, for example the automotive industry, which willingly buys old cars from customers who want new ones and, after inspection, replacement of parts and washing, sells them in the “Premium Selection” programs. But are such cars refurbished? 

Pros and cons of refurbished appliances

Refurbed appliances are a great opportunity to buy an interesting product at a lower price. The distribution of refurbished electronics benefits both sellers and buyers.


Advantages of Refurbished Equipment

What are the Benefits of Buying Refurbished Products? The biggest advantage of re-treasures is their price, which is lower than in the case of brand new goods. Refurbished devices are often sold at prices up to several dozen percent lower than new products. Thanks to this, it is possible to buy, for example, a dream smartphone, free of defects and with a fully-fledged warranty.

Related: AirTag – what is it and how does it work?

Defects of refurbished devices

When buying refurbished equipment, we may sometimes notice minor mechanical damage in the form of scratches or abrasions, if, for example, the company’s policy does not provide for housing replacement. They have no right to affect the technical efficiency of the device, but only have a negative effect on the appearance. 

An honest seller should, however, report any defect. If he has not done so, the customer has the right to return the goods within 14 calendar days from the date of purchase. It is then assumed that the consumer has purchased new equipment. However, if the buyer has been informed about the defect, it is not possible to return the device. 

Unfortunately, refurbishments are sometimes offered by dishonest sellers who do not inform about defects and do not give a guarantee. For this reason, it is best to buy remanufactured equipment from a reliable source.

Where can you buy refurbished appliances?

Low prices while maintaining full functionality make many people interested in buying refurbished products. Thanks to this, they can be found at various types of sellers. Refurbished products are offered by individual sellers on auction sites, electronics stores, companies that sell only refurbished devices, and manufacturers themselves.

broken smartphone

An example of the latter sales channel is the Apple Store. The American concern offers refurbished devices at much lower prices than new ones. Refurbished Apple products undergo the service and testing phase in the same way as brand new devices. They also have housings and batteries replaced. At the same time, a used iPhone or MacBook at the official Apple store can cost up to 15% less.

Refurbished, repack and outlet – what are the differences?

Electronic devices are divided not only into new and refurbished. There are two other categories that indicate the origin of the goods put up for sale. Repack is a brand new product that has not been sold in a given country so far. Such devices usually come from excess inventory of foreign stores. Usually they are not sold in their original boxes, hence the name – the copy is repackaged.

It must meet the legal standards of the country where it will be sold – usually these are both national and EU regulations. Repackaging usually consists in adding the instruction manual in local language and replacing the charger with a local voltage compliant one. Repackages are often devices from China and originally intended for sale on their market. Repack should be under warranty.

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Outlet equipment is products from an exhibition, a sale resulting from the end of sale of a given line of equipment or the closure of the store. They can be marked with minor mechanical damage, such as scratches or bumps. Often sold in non-original packaging. However, their performance is just as good as with new products. You also get a warranty for such a purchase.

Refurbished products and the environment

Limiting environmental pollution and reducing the extraction of natural resources are one of the most important challenges facing civilization in the 21st century. Refurbishing devices helps to reduce the production of electronic-waste, the amount of which is increasing every year. A regenerated smartphone or computer is not fully recycled. Only faulty components are replaced.

The figures quoted by Greenpeace in From Smart to Senseless: The Global Impact of 10 Years of Smartphones 2017. During the first decade of the existence of smartphones, i.e. since the premiere of the first iPhone in 2007, over 7 billion devices of this type have been produced. 968 TWh of energy was used to produce them, which is almost as much as the annual electricity demand in India. 

Worst of all, the increasing size of smartphones requires more and more raw materials. Greenhouse gas emissions from the electronics industry were around 1% of the total human-made carbon footprint in the year the first smartphone was released. This figure is expected to rise to 14% in two decades. At the same time, it is estimated that only 16% of electronic-waste is recycled. The purchase of a refurbished device is therefore a great way to protect nature.

Most refurbished products are as good as brand new ones. Buying a refurbished smartphone or laptop allows you to enjoy a fully functional device and save money. It also gives you the opportunity to add a brick to build a cleaner environment that we all want to enjoy.



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