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Poll: Do you buy refurbished or recertified electronics?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / May 6, 2011 9:43 AM PDT

Do you buy refurbished or recertified electronics?

-- Yes, all the time. (How has it worked out?)
-- Yes, occasionally. (How has it worked out?)
-- Yes, but it depends. (On what?)
-- No, I always buy new. (Why?)
-- No, but it has crossed my mind. (What stopped you?)
-- I have in the past, but never again! (What happened?)
-- Never gave it a thought. (Why not?)

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Tried it once - bad experience
by msecour / May 6, 2011 11:25 AM PDT

Years ago I bought a refurbished computer for my son who was going to college. It ended up being a lemon and that has kept me from trying any refurbished electronics since. (I ended up buying a new computer for my son.)

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Great "CPO"
by rebuslover / May 6, 2011 11:30 AM PDT

I purchased a "CPO" Droid X from Verizon: same great warranty, but also carry the insurance offered. The phone didn't have a mark on it and has functioned perfectly, plus, what a price break I got! Cool

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Refurbished, I always buy from Manufacter
by dksullivan_99 / May 6, 2011 11:31 AM PDT

I have bought refurbs from the manufacter of HP computers for yrs. I still have everyone and they still run perfect. I have pc in almost every room. The only ones I ever had problems with was the new ones And it wasn't from HP!!

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At least SOMEBODY turned it on to see if it worked
by RalphK5 / May 6, 2011 11:59 AM PDT

Electronic and mechanical devices are often assembled with little or no Human intervention.

But when an item is 'Factory Refurbished' it indicates that someone actually tried to use the device and found that it wasn't working properly, and the device has (hopefully) been fixed.

It therefore means that there is a higher probability that the device was actually WORKING (after it was refurbished) whereas with a 'brand new' device you have no idea if it ever worked.

Also with a 'Refurb' there is a high probability that the latest improvements and upgrades to hardware/firmware/software are part of the repair.

So I usually don't mind a Factory Refurbished item... as long as it has a 'same as new' warranty.

Ralph Kalatucka
Los Angeles

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Re: At least SOMEBODY turned it on....
by rknopf / May 7, 2011 2:13 AM PDT

Actually refurbished items also include returns because the customer didn't like the color, or didn't like some other part of the functionality, or just returned because they bought two by mistake etc. Once it gets into a customer's hands and comes back it has to be sold as refurbished - so it may not have been broken or fixed.

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Refurbished products
by bgryfe / May 6, 2011 1:13 PM PDT

Never had a problem. Saved a lot of money and from what I see, the only problem is that most refurbished products have little or no documentation that comes with them. You buy it and it's up to you to find the docs on how to use it. Quality has always been good.

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(NT) Refurbished-Many Times-100% Success...PC, Monitors, Cameras
by lmjumper / May 6, 2011 1:39 PM PDT
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Yes i do buy refurbs all the time

Yes i buy refurb Dell computers and laptops from Ebay all the time,I never have any trouble at i recommend you go to Ebay for your purchases... Thanks Cool

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Good experience!
by dakotaman74 / May 6, 2011 3:12 PM PDT

I bought a XPS M1530 laptop from Dell Outlet in 2008. Have not had a problem with it and it was like new when I received it (along with a FULL Dell warranty). Definitely recommend Dell Outlet for buying computers.

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No - but have thought about it
by ESUNintel / May 6, 2011 4:10 PM PDT

When it comes to computers, I always buy new, mainly because I usually pre-order, or buy, as soon as a new model I want is released. I have thought of buying refurbished TV's, hard drives and camera lenses - but am afraid too, so again, normally buy new. It does seem like refurbs are a great deal at times - for example, I just got a Canon 24-70mm L series lens for $1399.99 new; a refurb would have cost $1119.20.

I've heard Apple and Sony have a good reputation with refurbs, so I might consider it some day.

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refurb by who
by tedtks / May 6, 2011 5:38 PM PDT

that is my first question. some things are 'refurb' by the seller - I say no.
I bought a 42 '' vizio factory refurb almost a year ago - still fabulous.
production equip gets tested - like 1 out of 20 due to speed of assembly line
so oopsys can get past - but a rebuild - everything gets fixed and tested completely.
some things I will only by new - HD's, mobo, video cards. Have had one of each
refurb and didnt last long.
have a nice 5.1 amp for over a year - great.
You just have to be careful about the seller (ebay) haveing a large feedback
count and a lot of equipment for sale - says he is in business, not scamming.

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Can be good .. just be careful
by MPGeezer / May 6, 2011 7:19 PM PDT

I have purchased three items of recertified or refurbished products but only from the original manufacturers, direct from their website, all were very good, properly packaged and with decent guarantee's.

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Refurbished NO WAY
by Kanga bill / May 6, 2011 8:42 PM PDT

There is now way I would ever buy any refurbished electronics. The main problem that occurs with electronics is dry soldered joints, these generally only show-up after a bit of time, and are more likely to cause problems on refurbished items.

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Refurbished Samsung DVD Recorder
by bove12 / May 6, 2011 10:23 PM PDT

I had to order 5 and return 3 to get 2 good ones. It was a lot of shipping back and forth with 3 vendors and took awhile. The 2 I have have been working fine for a few years at a cost of $100. each.

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Never gave it a thought
by chief lw / May 6, 2011 10:56 PM PDT

Buying refurbished or recertified electronics to me is like buying a used car. You are blind folded and never know what you will get for your money. The price is also not low enough that I would just give the money away on a hope it works.

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When the Manufacturer's Warranty
by btbuz / May 7, 2011 12:44 AM PDT

As long as the original equipment warranty is in effect then it's a good buy. I've bought floor models from local stores which are warrantied as new. I've bought refurbished computers from on line stores; same deal. If I need a new printer I go to the Epson Store and check out their refurbished equipment at a fraction of the cost of new. The other way to look at it is, because of the low cost, if there is a problem after the warranty is up, I'm still ahead of the game as a result of the low cost.

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Refurbished and Recertified buying
by bill_patton / May 7, 2011 1:38 AM PDT

I used to work at Wal-Mart, and we would constantly get computers, routers, etc.; returned for what I think was operator error, or over spending on the customers' part.

I have bought a refurbished computer and a re-certified network router and they have been fantastic. My advice like others have mentioned; simply is look at who re-certified it or refurbished it. In my case the computer was refurbished by HP, and the router was re-certified by Newegg. I trust them both and got great savings by going that route.

Bill Patton

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Yes, I buy refurbished electronics!
by rknopf / May 7, 2011 2:20 AM PDT

Refurbished items from a manufacturer have been great purchases for me. I do avoid purchasing items where the product in question has had lots of quality issues, but for popular items that are generally good quality (like iPods, something I have purchased refurb units many times) its basically just a discount. I've probably bought at least a dozen to twenty refurbished items in the last couple years and have had ZERO problems.

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Refurbished means already broke once
by mjd420nova / May 7, 2011 3:48 AM PDT

Refurbished units, serviced by the manufacturer at a distribution point or a an RMA and then sold to resellers and ALL states require any advertising for those items reveal the true refurb/rebuilt unit status. I would like to know where the unit was serviced, manufacturer or service center. Becareful in your selection if they are display units as some very subtle indicators may reveal areas of damage not apparent from just a quick look. Some distributors take return items that are sealed boxes, are tested for proper function and then returned to the shelf with a reduced price or tagged as OPEN BOX. Upon purchase, close visual inspection and verify any cables needed but not supplied. I bought a 500 GB WD SATA300 that was maked that was and there was nothing in the box but the bare drive, no booklet, mounting hadware or interface cables. I was given a new unit, sealed in the box and no extra cash. It depends on your retailer and their policies.

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Refurb or not
by flrhcarr / May 7, 2011 4:56 AM PDT

Absolutely. I also agree with Ralph, as that is my thinking these days. What didn't work is now fixed. How many have had to return something new because it didn't work? I'll look to see if something is available refurbed, when I can. It depends on the product really. Also, it has to have the regular warranty starting when I buy it, not just a couple months.
If it's from a vendor, than it depends on how discounted the item is, if it has all of the paperwork & associated pieces. Most power cords are priced insane retail, so I am careful there. Just be careful of tv's & monitors, those I want to see working or be able to return it if there are some glitches. Just the other month I picked something up new, & it didn't work. It took nearly a month to get the replacement. If it was a checked refurb, it would have worked, & have been a lower price.

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Refurbished electronics
by bmovegas / May 7, 2011 5:25 AM PDT

I bought an iPhone 3G, an iPhone 4, a Bose Sound Dock that were all refurbished by the manufacturer. With the price savings, and warranty; why not? You would never be able to tell the difference, and I saved quite a bit of $$$.
The key is to buy them from the manufacturer, not the retailer. There's a difference.

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Do you buy refurbished or recertified electronics?
by jerrymosier / May 8, 2011 3:56 AM PDT

Yes, I really like the deals I get. Many times companies buy new equipment and sell the old to other companies that refurbish them such as,, and several others. If you buy name brand and that company also refurbed it you get a decent if not great warrenty. Many refurbishers will give you a 30 or day warrenty depending on the price they move it at. In those cases I often get a 3rd party warranty. So far things have worked out great. Every so often things may not work out but I have A+/Network+/MCP/Brainbench Master Technician certs plus 28 years in the field before I retired. I still do part time work to keep myself updated.

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Many times....
by worknwoman / May 8, 2011 4:17 AM PDT

But we always buy refurbished from the manufacturer. In particular, we've bought Dell desktops three or four times. Right now, I have an almost 10 year old refurb Dell that still works fine but is mothballed because it just doesn't have the power I need, I am typing this on a five year old Dell refurb, and my husband just bought one for himself about 4 months ago. So, all in all, I can say our experience has been excellent.

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good luck w/PCs, bad w/GPS ... look for 'patterns' first
by CKinVA / May 8, 2011 4:21 PM PDT

I've bought several referb PCs (ie: via Ubid) and had good luck. Stuck to name brands (Sony and HP) and referb by manufacturer. Was able to get nearly state of the art desktops for much less than normal street price. Have not had any problems with them.

However, I also bought a referb TomTom GPS and it went bad very quickly ... right after the (referb) warrantee expired of course. First the GPS started re-booting when it got warm (not hot, just warm). Then when plugged into the the base unit, it would not link to the PC to get software/map downloads (failed to 'connect' with pc/TomTom and would not charge well either). Then the touch screen went into a 'get help' loop thinking that I had pressed that icon. Net result: I have a non-functional GPS and lost more money on 18 month pre-paid map updates as only got 1 or 2 to work. I have been looking for another GPS and now see mass quantities of referb TomTom's out there ... that in itself now tells me something! I now know there are lots of referb TomTom GPSes available but few Garmin, thus there seems to be a pattern that I did not know about the first time.

At this point:
1. I will be more cautious/hesitant when buying any referb product that has a touch screen (they can go bad quickly if abused, etc) or a 'unique'/non-replacable battery (ie: anything with a battery that can not be easily replaced at a reasonable cost).
2. I would also will more general research than I did before and I will be very, very suspect of any manufacturers product line that has 'lots' of referb's available (or compared to other manufacturers).

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Calculated Risk
by Trump3d / May 9, 2011 4:33 AM PDT

I think the most important factor here is to research your product. I'm using a refurb/recert Dell Studio laptop. I'm not a Dell fan, but I heard good things about this model so I started to read the reviews and forums re: this model. I found one small glitch in the discussions that could be easily remedied. I bought a $1200 machine for a little over $400 and a $20 part. I also bought it through Dell's outlet store.

Yes, it may be risky, but I'm $800 ahead and it's purring like a kitten. I could be eating my words tomorrow, but the last year or so has been care-free. On the flipside,before I purchased this Dell, I purchased a Gateway laptop for over $1000 and went through living hell for 5 years, trying to fix a very sour lemon. So do your homework and pray.

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by porsche10x / May 9, 2011 7:52 AM PDT

Ive bought the occasional refurb with mostly good luck. I won't do it unless the savings are substantial. for 10 or 20% off, it's just not worth it. it's gotta be 40 to 60% off or more for me. Also, I consider the warranty. If a one to three year warranty suddenly drops to sixty days, I think long and hard before I buy it. Yes, as mentioned, sometimes there are returns just because someone didn't want it and you're getting same as new. And, yes, you might be getting a unit with more thorough testing or one that was properly repaired. But, my big fear is that the product has an intermittent problem, or some problem in a feature that is buried deep in a menu, not often used. Then, I'll be stuck with a lemon and no warranty. I bought a GPS that worked fine for a year or two, then wouldn't charge properly. Turns out there was a cold solder joint on the power connector inside. Most people wouldn't be able to detect or fix this.

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Yes, BUT
by RAH2012 / May 9, 2011 10:19 PM PDT

I only buy from the manufacturer/reputable dealer. They eagerly replace the item if there is a problem. Their warranty and discounts are usually pretty good. I have built a pretty good home entertainment system and PC network using refurbished items. Generic on-line discounters are not usually as good, at least in my experience.

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Buying Refurbished products
by bobber135 / May 12, 2011 7:15 AM PDT

Everything I have purchased in tha past that was refurbished turned out to be junk! Lemons that had been returned and put back on sale without correcting the problem. Products from Technics, Sanyo, RCA all lasting less than a year. New products with a solid warranty is the only way to go for me!

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refurbished or recertified electronics
by Sinceny / May 15, 2011 3:59 AM PDT

Not sure if a cell phone is included but I purchased a new blackberry tour about 20 months ago. Within 2 weeks I was having problems, returned to the sprint store and was given a refurb phone. I questioned this and was "told that's the way it goes". Having paid $250. after rebates I was upset, to say the least. Since then the phone has been replaced 3 more times. Discuss?

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