"Remanufactured"/"Refurbished" Stuff-Good Deal?

I regularly get a catalogue, from an outfit that sells refurbished electronics and appliances. Supposedly, the stuff is tested and as good as new. my question: how on earth can there be such a huge volume of stuff produced that is defective? And, the irate original buyer returs his stereo/camera/blender-who refurbishes it? Anyone care to comment?
And, the prices are not that much lower than new-so does buying this stuff make sense?

I am typing this on a refurb computer. I always buy refurbed stuff when I can. I have never had a bad experience.

You figure most electronics (ipods, laptops, whatever) are replaced in a couple of three years anyway.

I got a refurbed Roomba Scheduler.

Because it was a refurb, it had a 90 day warranty. It kicked the bucket before Day 120.


Moving this poll for opinions to IMHO.

When you get an item replaced under warranty, the item is usually a remanufactured / refurbished item. Then the broken or defective item that you return is repaired and sent out to the next guy that qualifies for an in-warranty replacement.

I love the term “remanufactured”…it means we repaired it and cleaned it up a bit. My first job was at a rental equipment place and sometimes they would sell off rental stuff, the salesman would use the phrase “slightly worn”. I got in trouble once for actually filling an order with “slightly worn” equipment…I found out the hard way the term meant “take the oldest and most distressed item that we have in stock and slap a coat of paint on it”.

That aside, used electronics can be a bargain. I used to buy a lot of remanufactured laptops for use on construction sites, we would buy the minimum we needed and they were so cheap we didn’t have to worry to much about them getting damaged.

Just remember they are used.

My company sells quite a bit of refurbished manufacturing equipment. Sometimes the stuff isn’t even rebuilt, because there’s no need: a customer buys a new product, then decides it’s not what he wants–there’s nothing wrong with it, he just changed his mind, and returns it for a credit. We then can’t sell it as new, but used. Although my company doesn’t say it’s “used”, our nomenclature is “rebuilt”, “refurbished”, or even “obsolete”. It’s a company pecadilloe, not so much an industry standard.

Other times, there may be a scratch on it (you’ve probably seen scratch and dent sales). Still other times, it was a damaged or defective item, and we did replace parts, so it is a genuinely rebuilt or refurbished item. It just depends.

But yes, it can be a good deal, IMO.

In the world of cell phones, many “refurbished” phones are actually perfectly good new phones that were returned within the 30-days buyer’s remorse period. There’s nothing wrong with the phone other than the fact that someone changed their mind about the model/colour/brand/etc they got, but since it’s been taken out of the package and used a few times, it doesn’t qualify as brand-spanking-new either. Hence the cheaper price.

Of course, some of the phones are also units that were returned because they never worked at all or failed within the first few months, and which have been patched up and sold at a discount.

If you get one of the first kind, you’ll probably be quite happy. If you get one of the second kind, maybe not so much.

I don’t really have any qualms about buying refurbs. The Braun immersion blender I bought nearly 10 years ago was a refurb, and it’s still in perfect working condition.

The office I work in has 36 Dell Optiplexes, every one of which is refurbished. Nothing has ever gone wrong with any of them.

Iam typing thus on a reurfurb compter, wiht refurb spllchk sftwsare andd refrb kybord. Rufrubs rokc!

Never buy a refurb that you can’t replace if needed.
Other than that, go crazy. My Sansa’s a refurb. 8 gig MP3 player for $50? Hell yeah. My vacuum cleaner? Oreck XL gorgeous piece of work. Hunnerd bucks.

Another common scenario in small electronics is that some part such as the wall-wart power supply was recalled because of an unfortunately tendency to explode.

While the widget maker is busily reaching out to people that already bought the thing so they can ship out new explosion-free power supplies before another kid in Omaha loses an eye, and also stocking the factory with the new parts, there’s a whole bunch of widgets sitting on the shelves at stores, already sealed up in the plastic blister packs with bad power supplies.

So, they recall those as well. Somebody cuts the blister packs open, swaps the power supplies and puts it all into a “white box” since blister packs can’t be re-closed. Oops. Can’t sell that as new. Call it refurbed, remanned or whatever. Sell 'em cheap at Amazon.com and move on. The key is that the actual device is still completely new, unused and as perfect as the full-price version.

I once purchased a leaf blower, a Stihl, and it worked like a champ. It was a “gently used” unit as far as I know, but I never had any issues with it other than it being a two stroke and required mixed fuel. I sold it for 20 dollars less than I paid for it so all in all, it was an excellent bargain. I had to get rid of it as it was getting oil on my sidewalks. Two strokes are messy engines to say the least.

I do refurbished for myself, but not as a gift. They offer some refurbished stuff at SmartBargains, I believe

I haven’t had great luck with refurb. I’ve bought various things like cassette decks and VCRs, and always had problems. Refurb laptop wasn’t great either. Only refurb things I can think of that I haven’t had trouble with are a set of Panisonic cordless phones.

Some are for appreciably less time than new. Might be a tip off.

Items with the same or reasonably comparable warranty should be fine.

I’ve had bread makers work well. Milwaukee tools come with the same as new warranty.

Negative anecdote: Bought a chain saw that was “factory refurbished” from a national chain. It wasn’t even cleaned well. The bar was old (new chain). It didn’t even run 5 minutes on new gas-oil mix. Returned it.

It’s a very chancy thing. Make certain of the return policy.

I only buy refurb Apple products. I don’t care enough to want a brand-new one, and, well, I know the refurb has been tested. I only assume the new one has.

This is what my husband says. They’ve opened it up, fixed it and checked it. You don’t get that with new products.

I believe him. He’s purchased hundreds of gizmos and gets great results with this system.

No refurbs ever again here. Roomba - died. Sansa - died. Portable video player - died. That’s it, no more for me.

I work in IT and I only buy refurb electronics for my personal use. I have never gotten one that looked liked it had ever been opened at all. My latest buy was a sweet Dell desktop that was new as far as I could tell when I got it except it was $250 cheaper than the official new price. No issues and I honestly believe someone just made a delivery mistake and sent it right back. That is the way they all look like.