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5 Myths About Buying Recertified or Refurbished Hardware

Anyone who has ever shopped for tech items knows that buying recertified or refurbished products can mean big-time savings. But there is something about the word “refurbished”—as if it connotes a rejected product that might not work, or is somehow inferior to something purchased new. Everyone likes to save money, but does not want to risk getting burned by a faulty item.

Historically, the difference between “recertified” and “refurbished” is that the former is covered by a warranty whereas the latter is sold “as-is.” For our intents and purposes, the terms are interchangeable. NeweggBuisness products called either recertified or refurbished come direct from manufacturers, and are guaranteed for a 90 day period.

There are other points of confusion as well. Let’s take a look at some of the other misconceptions about refurbished products to sort things out.

Myth #1: Refurbished hardware was at one time defective

Anyone who has ever worked in retail will tell you that devices are returned for a slew of reasons unrelated to defects. Retailers commonly have a 30 day return policy for electronics, and returns often happen as a result of buyer’s remorse, or the customer found a better deal after the purchase was made, or didn’t like some arbitrary feature about the product. Other reasons for a product being labeled as refurbished include:

  • The product incurred minor exterior damage from shipping;
  • The product served as a demo unit on the floor of a storeroom or tradeshow;
  • The product is an overstocked item not sold by the time the next generation becomes available.

We are not saying products are never returned due to defects—of course it happens. When it does, manufactures put them through a rigorous re-building process before placing them on the refurbished market. This process involves replacement of broken parts if needed, thorough testing of the product, and re-verification of the test results.

In any case, the best advice is to shop from a reputable authorized dealer that gets refurbished products direct from the manufacturer. This ensures that appropriate quality assurance measures were taken in restoring the product.

Myth #2: Refurbished computers are not guaranteed

On the contrary—manufacturers and authorized dealers commonly guarantee their refurbished products in writing. For example, NeweggBusiness includes a 90-day product warranty upon purchase of a refurbished product. Customers can further protect their refurbished item with an  extended warranty of up to three years for notebooks and desktops.  Should the refurbished product fail, the warranty guarantees free replacement of your item within five days, carries zero deductibles or shipping fees, and covers full parts and labor for any repairs. Buying an extended warranty comes highly recommended when dealing with refurbished products.

Myth #3: Refurbished computers are only for schools, libraries, and other public use places

There are plenty of feel-good stories about school districts saving taxpayers’ money by purchasing refurbished computers in bulk, and that’s great—saving money is the whole point of buying a refurbished item. But plenty of enterprise users are helping their bottom line by stocking up on refurbished equipment as well. The value-per-performance aspect of refurbished equipment is a solid bet for non-profits and small businesses, especially if the machines fit their performance needs. Even in larger scale enterprises and software development labs, it is not uncommon to find development environments comprised entirely of refurbished gear.

Myth #4 Refurbished PCs do not come with a Windows license

This all depends on where you buy the PC. Manufactures and authorized retailers like NeweggBusiness sell refurbished PCs that meet the Windows licensing requirement. If you buy a refurbished PC from Craigslist or some other third party source, you must ensure it meets certain criteria—and you must be careful with this to avoid a software piracy situation. A new Windows license is not required for a refurbished PC that has:

  1. The original Certificate of Authenticity (COA) for a Windows operating system affixed to the PC, and

  2. The original recovery media or hard-disk based recovery image associated with the PC. In most other instances, a Windows license must be purchased.

If you buy refurbished from NeweggBusiness, your PC will come with an appropriately licensed operating system.

Myth #5 All refurbished items come at a deep discount

This is true a lot of the time, but some items—especially current generation, high-demand tech gadgets and some models of LED and plasma televisions—are discounted as little as 5-10 percent. It always pays to exercise due diligence as a consumer and double-check the price of a new item before pulling the trigger on a refurbished deal. New items will often have a longer warranty than a refurbished one, which could tip the scales in favor of buying new.

We hope that clears the air a little about refurbished products. These items present a strong value proposition that should not be overlooked.

Let us know in the comments below—how have your experiences been with recertified or refurbished computers?

Adam Lovinus

Adam Lovinus

A tech writer and Raspberry Pi enthusiast from Orange County, California.

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