What to Look for When Buying Refurbished Electronics

  • “Factory certified” refurbished products – Not all refurbish are the same. Third-party refurbished products are available, but go for the factory-refurbished electronics, which come with the manufacturer warranty and have been carefully tested and brought to the original standards.
  • Warranty – Many retailers and manufacturers offer 30-day warranties on refurbish. As mentioned above, for peace of mind you’re better off looking for the full (e.g., one-year) warranty if you can find it but most of the cases it is not available. Unfortunately, credit cards are not likely to extend the warranty on refurbished products, but ask the retailer if you can get an extended warranty on the item—not that you should buy it, per se, but if the retailer does offer an extended warranty, it’s a good sign of faith in that product.
  • Return policy – A liberal return policy means if you can catch any issues early (do some stress testing if possible) or are simply not happy with the product you’re in luck. Target allows returns within 7 days of purchase with most retailers, Amazon and Sony have refund refurbish within 30 days, and Apple has a 14-day refund policy. Make sure there’s at least some return policy.
  • Accessories and Other Details – Check that all the chargers, cables, cords, manuals, software, drivers, and whatever else comes with your product are included in the package. Also check the complete description and specs list for your product and make sure it is the item you are expecting (a simple change in model numbers, for example, might mean you’re looking at a different product).

Although there are some risks when it comes to buying refurbished electronics, there’s no reason to be put off just by the label “refurbished.” Buying refurbished can land you an incredible deal. Just buy it from the manufacturer or reputable dealer and with a long warranty to cover any problems—and enjoy your savings.