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From the Magazine

4 Tips to Get the Best Deals on Refurbished Electronics


Opting for a refurbished computer, smartphone or other device can save you big — so it’s no wonder research shows 90 percent of us have bought at least one refurbished product in the last three years! 

To be sure you’re getting the most from your next refurbished purchase, follow these easy steps:

Check the warranty

A refurbished product may simply be an unused item that was returned by another customer but can’t be sold as new, or it may have had a malfunction but technicians restored it to its original fully working condition. 

In either case, it’s smart to not only check the retailer’s return policy but also the length of the warranty —some cover refurbished items for up to one year while others offer just 90 days! If you still want the deal despite a short warranty, here’s good news: If you purchase it with a credit card that extends store warranties— making sure that it covers refurbished products — you’ll be covered! 

Compare prices

Impressed by how much you’re saving when you see a refurbished item’s price listed next to its “original” price? Believe it or not, you might be able to find a new version of the same product for even less somewhere else! 

That’s because many refurbished products are older models whose prices were reduced once newer versions came out — which means they’re already being sold for less than their original price. So before you make your purchase, visit a free price-comparison site, such as PriceGrabber, and type in the product’s name and model number. You’ll get a list of stores offering what you want, plus how much they cost, so you can pinpoint the best deal! 

Buy from a reputable retailer

Large retailers and manufacturers (like Apple and Best Buy) typically follow strict refurbishing standards, test products and use matching parts. On the other hand, a refurbished product you find on an auction website, in the classifieds or from a third-party reseller (like on Amazon) could be full of mismatched parts that cause expensive problems later. 

The smartest bet: Stick to stores and companies you know and trust! 

Shop online and in the store

Found a deal on a refurbished product? Before you buy, check the retailer’s website if you’re in the store or visit your local store if you’re on the retailer’s site. Refurbished stock varies based on items that have been returned by customers — so you may find a better refurbished product at a lower price being sold by the same business! 

This article originally appeared in our print magazine.

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