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Every Dell I've purchased the past 6 years has been a refurb. I've bought a desktop and a laptop for my parents and I myself currently have an Alienware Aurora desktop, an Adamo and a new XPS 17" sandy bridge with 3D that just hit the Dell Outlet a few weeks ago. Prior to my current computers I had another Dell desktop 4 years ago and I also bought a Macbook Pro a couple of years ago from Apple's refurb store.
I've never had a single problem with any of these purchases. I have had problems with two laptops the past 5 years or so. A Lenovo and a white Macbook. Both were purchased new.
The really great thing about buying from the Dell Outlet is that you can get their newest items just a few weeks after release for big discounts. The XPS 17" 3D laptop I just got cost me just over $1,100 including tax because I used a 20% off coupon. The Dell Outlet twitter account regularly posts discount codes of 15-20% off any laptop or desktop. This is a new i7 sandy bridge 2720QM quad core, nvidia gt555m graphics chip, 3D & blu ray, tv tuner, backlit keyboard and 4gb ram. You try to put this configuration, or as close as you can, together new on their site and you're at $1800, before tax.
I purchased a refurbished Dell Laptop from Ebay in December 2009. I have not had a single problem with this product and am very happy with my purchase. My understanding is that the company I purchased it from rebuilds the products to be like new except for any cosmetic problems, which were minimal and did not affect the how the laptop operated. In addition, I purchaed a warrany through Square Trade Warranties for only $69.00 for a two year warranty. Warranties are available on new and refurbished products. Before purchasing any of these products I would recommend that you research the product to find out what kind of problems people have reported with the product and defintely look into purchasing a warranty, just in case! I have not had to use my warranty but better safe than sorry.
I buy all my computers through Dell's Outlet on their website. The equipment is always a bit cheaper though you sometimes cannot find the exact set-up that you want, in which case you can wait. These items move quickly. They all come with Dell's warranty and I always buy the extended three year on-site next day service and it has paid for itself many times over. Dell is very generous in interpreting the warranty terms and frankly have repaired some things that other companies might have classified as result of rough usage for which they may have denied warranty coverage. I have, for example, had the screen on my laptop replaced for only a minor defect, the keyboard several times, the top of the case, etc. And getting it done at my office next business day (usually) is terrific - Don't have to wait to ship, repair, return ship. The three year - next day on site coverage is not cheap but ithas proven itself to be well worth the investment. I have avoiding having to junk laptops as a result. As far as other manufacturers or products I cannot cay, though I am currently contemplating a refurbished Vizio LED in order to save about $400. We will see.
You sound very encouraging as to the way you went about being successful with your purchase. Would you mind telling me what company on ebay that you bought your Dell laptop from? It sounds like they have pride in their work and might know what 'ethics' means. Also, is Dell's outlet addy: Dell's Outlet.com? I've loved my Dell desktop - bought it new 5 yrs ago! Thank you!
It is a 50/50, toss of the coin issue when it comes to buying refurbished anything. Sometimes you make out OK, sometimes you don't. Personally, I stay away from them, I have had my inkjet cartridges refilled, and have bought refurbished ink cartridges before, and most were OK., but I will not buy computers, or printers etc. that have been refurbed or recertified, it's too much of a risk. Yes the lure is there, because of the savings, but I prefer to buy new. If I can't afford new, I just don't buy it.
My impression, based upon reading and reading and reading, is that refurbished consumer electronics are products which have been returned to the manufacturer (for any variety of reason) and gone through a process by which broken or otherwise damaged parts are replaced or repaired and the unit is returned to "factory fresh" condition. I'm assuming this would also mean that any software or firmware is re-installed to the original as-sold condition.
I've heard several stories from friends who bought the "classic" version of the iPod (with the rotating disk) refurbished when their originals failed (or were sent them by Apple to fulfill their warranty). And the results weren't good. Of course, I wouldn't recommend the classic iPod even new, since everyone that I know that's had one has had problems with them. I'm sure that there are a good number of them out there that have been fine, but I've been surprised by how many have failed.
That is what refurbished means, and if it doesn't have a warranty, it means that either (a)it was in a warehouse for a long time for an online site (i.e. Amazon, eBay, etc.), or (b) it was refurbished by someone no longer working or privately refurbished (basically unofficial refurbish), so try and buy from the manufacturer if you want refurbished. If it's discontinued, look for something with a good return policy, and make sure they have lots of good reviews, and try and buy from people who have return/fixing policies, so you can get the most for your money.
Basically refurbished items are units that have been returned to the manufacturers original "fit for sale" specifications.
Manufacturer refurbished items are usually items that have failed during the warranty period, have been repaired and are being resold by the manufacturer to recover costs, these are also sometimes referred to as factory seconds.
Recertified means the item has been tested by the manufacturer or manufacturers agent using the same specifications and test equipment that is used in the manufacture of new items.
Recertified "new" means the item did not work when it was new and has been repaired and recertified by the manufacturer or manufacturers agent.
I hope this answers you qusetion.
Your chances of trouble with a recertified computer is basically the same as with a "new" computer.
As others have said, you're getting an almost-new computer with any problems components replaced. Most reputable places will have some sort of warranty. And, most electronics either die in the first 90 days or last a long time, so you're going to be covered.
I put my money where my mouth is. I bought a recertified Toshiba laptop a few weeks ago. By going with recertified I was able to get a 17" within my budget. I saved about 20%.
Refurbed or Recertified come in a plain brown box rather than the colorful box. I have a Toshiba 17" Notebook I bought in 2001 and still working perfectly. On the other hand 2 Brand new ones same Model one for myself and another for my GF broke down shortly after the extended warranty expired, but was easily repaired by a Tech friend.
Have bought plenty of Refurbed Electronics over the years and saved Thousands of Dollars. Only twice did they fail to operate. The Seller replaced them. This includes anything from small appliances to Computers.
By the way if you use s debit or credit card to purchase anything the Bank will double and sometimes tripple the warranty at no cost to you after the original warranty expires. The I only buy new attitude is mostly snobbish and reslly does not help you save money.
I purchased an Onkyo Receiver in 2008 from Ecost.com at a 65% savings over retail. It's worked flawlessly and I use it every day. I also purchased a wireless mouse for a laptop that was a dud right out of the package. But since it only cost 4 bucks it wasn't worth the hassle to return it. So like a lot of things, sometimes its a crap shoot.
Let me speak for what I do, which is sell some refurbished computer equipment: laptops, desktops, LCD screens and occasional printers.
When I refurbish a laptop, I replace all badly worn, broken or defective parts, clean all exposed surfaces thoroughly, make sure that dust and dirt are gone from the interior including ventilating fans and heat sinks. Often, I upgrade the laptop to more modern amounts of memory and hard drive capacity. Then I test, test, and test. The best and final test is to install the operating system, typically Windows. I also make sure that the battery has at least 50% of its original capacity. Then I sell with a 6-month warranty, more than the 30 day warranty you get from a big box mass market store when buying new.
Desktops go through the same procedures and I sell them with a one-year warranty. LCD screens and printers are tested less stringently, but carry a generous warranty.
The goal here is 100% customer satisfaction, because my reputation is on the line.
I cannot speak for what other refurbishers do, but the number of complaints or service under warranty is really small.
The term "recertified" is typically applied to hard drives, and I cannot explain what a manufacturer-recertified drive is, because I do not do what they do. However, I do run manufacturer diagnostics on any drives I sell, and then I run software to see if any sectors have become bad or have been reallocated because sectors have gone bad. If a hard drive has zero defects, I sell it. The only customer returns I have ever had have been NEW drives that died early on, usually within 30 days.
One minor issue with new items is that often they have not been burned in for extended periods. Usually it is in this burnin period that a lot of components fail. So if an item is secondand and been refurbished then it will be a good indication that there are no hidden issues.
My house is filled with secondhand items and it tends to be the new items that are the ones that fail first.
Hope this helps
Usually, but research, research, research! My husband and I each bought refurbished Acer laptops from Tigerdirect last November and have had no problems at all and we use our computers heavily. If you're worried about a warranty on your purchase, Squaretrade offers good aftermarker consumer electronics warranties at a good price. I bought and later had to use one of their warranties a few years ago on a refurbished XBox 360 I got on Ebay, and we had no problems, their service worked just as advertised.
I bought a laptop for a relative overseas from Tiger Direct with their 2 year replacement warranty. By the time it got to her, a few weeks went by. She used it about 90 days when the hard drive failed. It wasn't covered. The 2 year warranty wouldn't cover the new hard drive. They sent me the original purchase price for the laptop - not the shipping, tax, etc. and they were finished with me. So, while I got the money back for the cost of the laptop, I lost all of the money for the shipping, the tax, and, of course, the cost of the warranty. What a huge waste of money! I will NEVER buy a warranty from Tiger Direct again!
On the other hand, my desktop was a refurbished and it's nearly 4 years old, and my printer, from Lexmark, is older. That one failed the first week and they sent me another one the very next day! Also, I bought a wonderful projector that worked for over 3 years until someone dropped it and it broke. Not worth the $ to fix it.
I guess you take your chances with refurbished. If you save a lot of $, it might be worth it. For 25% or less, I wouldn't do it.