When shopping for a refurbished item, whether you're in the market for a brand new iPhone or a Fridge, it's crucial to know exactly what you're getting into, not just what you're getting. The type of retailer you're dealing with can be every bit as important as the make and model of the product. To find out where to find goods and electronics and what to expect, read on.
First off you should check manufacturers' outlets
- Many electronics manufacturers offer factory-certified refurbs directly from their own sales outlets. Though the discount can be less impressive than those given by independent outlets, a factory-direct refurb is your best bet for quality and customer support.
- If the manufacturer you're interested in appears in the list below, open the link in a separate window.
- If it doesn't appear, run a search for the name of the manufacturer, plus the phrase "store" or "outlet."
- If no official retail site comes up, try searching for the company's official site, then navigating to its webstore.
- Once you've located the manufacturer's webstore, select the category of the item you're looking for, or enter the exact model in the search bar. Results should include refurbs as well as new items.
- Sometimes the mainpage will contain links for "refurbs," "specials" or "open box items."
Then check online retailers
- Online retailers unaffiliated with the manufacturer sometimes offer better deals, but are a somewhat riskier proposition. Many of their products are factory refurbs complete with manufacturers' warranties, but some may be in-house repairs or open-box returns that haven't been tested by the manufacturer. Look for the phrases "factory refurbished," "recertified" and "manufacturer's warranty," so you'll know what to expect.
- Search online retailers known for selling refurbished electronics.
- Search shopbots for a direct price comparison between online retailers, but note that some retailers may not be listed. Enter the name of a product; results will include refurbs.
Then check brick-and-mortar stores
- The following retailers carry refurbs and have actual stores as well as online stores. The advantages of lugging home that 65" plasma screen yourself include the obvious savings in shipping and the benefit of dealing with a flesh-and-blood human in case you need to make a return. On the other hand, there's always a broader selection online.
- Select a store:
- Search for desired product.
- Select "store locator" to find a physical store.
- Note that the online selection vastly exceeds that in any individual store location. You'll need to call the individual location to verify availability.
In the end - check eBay stores!
- Electronics dealers on eBay are a wildly mixed bag, ranging from major retail chains (Best Buy has its own eBay outlet) to grey-market importers operating from self-storage units. Do not assume that all smaller retailers are unscrupulous—many offer quality products and service—but be sure to do your homework. Depending on the retailer, you might find the best price for your item, but potentially not the best value.
- Browse eBay electronics stores for your desired product.
- Go to eBay and search for the names of the products on your list, plus the phrase "refurbished" or "refurb."
- Be sure to review the seller's eBay history.
- If you're not an experienced eBay buyer, see how to shop on eBay.
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