Buying a refurbished laptop or tablet from a reputable retailer is a great way to save money on those expensive items.
You have electronic devices all over your house or apartment. You carry electronic devices with you when you leave your home. For many people, electronics dominate their lives.
They also dominate pocketbooks. It is expensive to buy any electronic device and it is very expensive to keep up with the latest trends in computers, television monitors, smartphones and wireless devices.
But there is a way to stay current with the devices and stay afloat financially. Many established electronic retailers offer refurbished devices at vastly reduced prices.
While some people would consider it anathema to buy an electronic device that is not new and has been used, many devices offered as “refurbished’’ have actually only been returned for non-functional reasons.
Consumer Reports, which does not test refurbished items, still promotes the purchase of those items in the cases where the item’s history can be determined.
The technology consulting firm Accenture reports that only 5 percent of returned electronics are defective. Instead, they get returned because there is something wrong with the box, or the color is wrong, or the item came without necessary attachments or an instruction booklet.
Retailers such as Best Buy and Amazon always send returned electronics to an authorized repair center, and then resell the item on their own website (on a “refurbished” or “clearance” page), often for half the price of the original.
In fact, the item that was returned may undergo a more strenuous inspection than a new item that is assumed to be functioning before it is sold.
Consumer Reports issued these warnings regarding the purchase of refurbished electronics:
Check the return policy: Some stores do have a return period for refurbished items, although it may be shorter than that for a new product. However, some stores do not offer any return policy for second-hand items.
Protection plans: Some credit cards offer protection for purchases of new electronics but do not extend it to refurbished ones.
Warranties: Refurbished products do carry warranties, and Apple often extends its to one year. Some retailers offer a warranty for a price.
Buy from a trusted retailer: Ask or investigate the return policy of the retailer you want to buy your refurbished item from. If they are willing to explain their procedures, they are probably reliable.
Go to the original manufacturer: Many electronics manufacturers offer refurbished items on their own websites.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.