Monday, February 21, 2011

Refurbished Items Are Good, Too



Buying gadgets is never cheap. In an instance or two, we have had experiences of purchasing our most wanted electronics only to find out that something is not right. Our excitement dies down when we get home upon seeing that our new gadget has dents on the side, maybe a scratch on the screen or there is just a feature that does not function properly. Naturally, we go back to the shop and get a replacement.

Have you ever wondered what happens to returned items then?

Unless technology products like printers, phones, computers and others are already beyond repair, the items that we return will ultimately be found in the shelves again. Companies tag these gadgets as refurbished/refurb, remanufactured, reconditioned or pre-owned products; thus selling it at a much better price. And, better means cheaper.

Such products are not necessarily out of shape. In the case of most manufacturers, returned items undergo thorough testing and re-imaging to make sure that they work like new, even if they are not. Of course, being careful is still a must. But with common-sense in shopping for gadgets, you will surely find an awesome “like-new” item that will save you hundreds to thousands of money.

Case in point, my friend and I were roaming SM North EDSA a few weeks back and saw a stall labeled as an official distributor of Garmin GPS devices. If you are familiar with the brand, you will definitely agree that it would cost you no less than Php10,000. True enough, we asked the price of the most basic device and was told that a brand new costs about Php18,000. However, upon further discussions, we were offered a refurbished unit that can save us Php6,000 – a huge savings I must say. The said refurb had non-upgraded software when it was sold, and as such was re-imaged. It works perfectly like a new one, only at a much better price (and now with upgraded software). In fact, they said that more consumers buy their refurbs than the real new ones.

Note that purchasing refurbs is nothing like buying gadgets directly from previous owners, as from via eBay or TipidPC. Generally, this is a good deal you can trust. How come? Just like real new ones, most manufacturers will throw in a warranty again – at least for a while. You know that you are covered if ever there will be faulty features, which are usually seen at early stages. (If it does not come with any warranty, forget it.)

There are a couple of downsides though.

Psychologically, I do not suggest buying refurbs if you are the type of person that always thinks of what might have been wrong with the product in the first place. You should also give up the idea if you are not comfortable with things that have been previously touched or used by unknown people. You might not feel comfortable in the long run.

Ultimately, a big downside in buying refurbs can be attributed to customization of computers. For someone who is a technology enthusiast and would want to personalize or customize the different parts of the CPU, they will definitely drop the term ‘refurbished.’ A solution for this though is to buy a refurb and use the savings to upgrade parts one at a time. Unless you feel strongly in specifying every component, refurbs are great alternatives.

So when you have decided you want to buy a refurb, where can you find them?

With the Internet as our digital world now, finding items is as easy as 1-2-3. Some big brands like Apple, Dell, HP or Lenovo publish refurb sales in their websites for a limited time only. Beyond PCs, you can also consider looking out for gadgets like Xbox 360s, mp3 players, and more. To add, you can click any kind of electronics in Amazon.com, scroll down, and under “Condition” look for the link to “Used” or “Refurbished” to find deals. If not there, just visit our friend Google and type in “Refurb iPads” to find a deal on the popular tablet.

Remember to not limit yourself to “new” items when “like-new” can just be as useful and good; not to mention budget-friendly. Good luck on your gadget hunt!

Send me your good finds at glenn@glennong.com or via Twitter @GlennOng.

This article is my fifth contribution to Manila Bulletin -- one of Philippines' leading broadsheets -- published on February 21, 2011 (Monday) in the TechNews Section. You can view the PDF version here.

Photo Source: EchoScene

3 comments:

Nice, refreshing article... Made me think of legit refurbs, meaning other than those sold in Greenhills..

It's good Manila Bulletin now prints your articles... Keep it up!

cool!
I'm embracing this idea specially for car purchases. :)

thanks!

cool!
I'm embracing this idea specially for car purchases. :)

thanks!

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