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Refurbished desktop computers: is it safe to buy them?

If you like to save money when buying electronic devices, you might like to consider buying a refurbished product. But how much do you know about refurbished computers? Do you know about the difference between used, open-box, off-lease, and refurbished desktop computers? Many people think that buying a refurbished PC means buying a secondhand PC Desktop with poor quality and without any warranty. We are here to tell you why they are wrong. In this article, we will talk about everything you need to know before purchasing a refurbished computer.. Click to read more…

what is a refurbished desktop computer?

If you like to save money when buying electronic devices, you might like to consider buying a refurbished product. But how much do you know about refurbished computers? Do you know about the difference between used, open-box, off-lease, and refurbished desktop computers? Many people think that buying a refurbished PC means buying a secondhand PC Desktop with poor quality and without any warranty. We are here to tell you why they are wrong. In this article, we will talk about everything you need to know before purchasing a refurbished computer.

What is the difference between refurbished, used, off-lease, open-box, and renewed desktop computers?

An important thing you should know before purchasing a new desktop computer is the difference between renewed, used, and refurbished desktop computers. This information may change your decision about what is the best choice for you.

Used desktop computers

Used computers are the cheapest option for anyone who wants to buy a laptop. Buying a used desktop means that you are buying a secondhand computer that has been used by someone before. You can find these computers on intermediary sites like eBay or Craigslist. Since used desktop computers are usually sold as they are, they may have minor or major cosmetic damage. When buying a used desktop computer, you have to rely on the owner’s knowledge to clean and test the device before selling it. In fact, you cannot be sure about the product being problem-free as the product is not backed with a warranty. If you have decided to buy a used desktop computer, make sure that you can return it for a refund if anything is wrong with it, and test it quickly after you buy it.

Open-Box desktop computers

When a product is labeled as “Open-Box,” it means that the packaging has been opened. Open-box computers have likely been returned for some reason which might be something other than being damaged. An Open-Box product might be a computer that a shopper changed their mind about. The reason can be as simple as not liking the color, however, the product may have been used for some weeks. Open-Box computers are around 20% cheaper than new computers. But when you buy a refurbished PC, you can be more sure about the product being in a like-new condition as they are tested before being sold.

Refurbished desktop computers

These products may have been used before, and then sent back by the customer. The reason customers send these products back can be a problem, or because they simply didn’t want them anymore. Refurbished computers sellers will repair everything that is damaged and test the device to assure it works properly. Sellers also clean the computer and replace worn exterior parts like the faceplate or buttons in many cases.
Refurbished products come with a warranty, but it is shorter than the warranty of new products. Sometimes buying a refurbished PC from the original manufacturer gives you access to the tech support you would get with a new product. You may also see the refurbished products named as “refurb,” “reconditioned,” or “renewed.”

Certified refurbished desktop computers

A desktop computer refurbished by a third-party company or individual is called a refurbished desktop computer. But if a manufacturer, dealer, or an authorized third-party refurbishment company does so, the computer is called a certified refurbished desktop computer.

Renewed desktop computers

In most cases, when someone talks about a renewed laptop, they mean refurbished. But renewed desktop computers in Amazon are products that are either refurbished, preowned, or open-box. Although preowned computers may have scratches or dents or other minor cosmetic issues, they are in fully functioning conditions.

Off-lease computers

Off-lease computers are devices that were lent to a company for a period -usually two or three years- by the manufacturer. The company returns the computers at the end of this fixed period and rents newer modes. What you see as off-lease deals are these old models being sold after being refurbished and certified.

The refurbishing process

Different companies have different refurbishing processes, but all in all, the refurbishing process has almost fixed steps. It is all about repairing spare parts and returning them to the warehouse or to the equipment. 
In short, different steps of the refurbishment process include:

  1. Sourcing cores
  2. Sanitization
  3. Triage
  4. Data wipe
  5. Repairs, replacement, and reassembly
  6. Testing and quality control
  7. Cosmetic repairs
  8. Software installation and licensing
  9. Packaging and shipping

What are the benefits of buying refurbished PCs?

Not many people have unlimited budgets to purchase the latest brand-new tech as soon as it comes out every time. If you are one of the people who can’t keep up with that sort of lifestyle, you can think about buying refurbished PCs as a much more affordable way to get new-to-market tech. However, you may have to wait for a few months before refurbished models of brand-new releases become available on the market.
Moreover, buying refurbished products is a good way to help the environment as it reduces the need for manufacturing new computers.

Is buying refurbished desktop computers risky?

As long as the refurbished computer you are buying has been cleaned and reset properly, there is nothing to worry about. However, if you want to buy a refurbished desktop computer, don’t forget to pay attention to the terms of sale, warranty, and return policy. Try to find a reliable seller and ask about the warranty; sellers may offer you a full warranty, a 90-day guarantee, or say that you can’t return the product. Another thing you should consider is the product’s grade. As the last point, it is better to test the refurbished products before the warranty ends.

Refurbished desktop computers’ grades

One thing you should have in mind when buying a refurbished PC is paying attention to the grades the products are marked as. Many suppliers have a grading guide to explain what they class as different grades. Refurbished desktop computers’ grades can range from A-D. Being labeled as an A-grade means that the refurbished PC is the most pristine (and possibly the most expensive one), while grade-D products are more heavily-worn (and the cheapest).
All refurbished desktop computers are supposed to have the same high-functioning components and security no matter how much their appearance is damaged. You can see what the grading scales are based on, on each sellers’ website.

Final words

Whether you have a limited budget or want to be eco-friendly when buying a new PC, refurbished desktop computers are the best choice. Comparing refurbished computers to open-box, off-lease, used, and renewed computers shows that purchasing a refurbished computer is the safest and most economical option for those who don’t want to buy new computers to enjoy the latest tech. However, there are different things you should have in mind when buying a refurbished computer the most important of which is finding a reliable seller.

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Buying a used laptop: Where to find the best deals

Buying a used or refurbished laptop doesn’t have to be a frustrating hassle. Whether you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime discount deal or just want a functional laptop for casual use, you can find one at a big-name retailer or local seller. Click to read more… 

Buying a refurbished or pre-owned laptop can be an exhausting process; from double-checking model and serial numbers, to confirming proper start up and build configuration, the burden of truth seems to rest squarely on the shoulders of buyers. 

Also: Buying a used Mac laptop: how to avoid scams and find the best deals

Thankfully, there are plenty of options out there if you’re looking for a good deal on a laptop and don’t mind that it’s not the latest and greatest tech. Big-name retailers like Best Buy, Amazon, and even Apple have certified refurbished, open-box, and pre-owned tech covered by a myriad of return and exchange policies as well as limited warranties. They either have their own teams or use third-party suppliers to thoroughly inspect, clean, and repair units for resale so you can buy with confidence. The drawback is that you may not get the kinds of discounts you’d like to see, especially from Apple Certified Refurbished.

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If you’re willing to put in the work, you can also buy with confidence from sites like Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, and Craigslist. Craigslist is the most difficult to work with, since listings don’t include photos of what’s being sold, just text descriptions; this means you have to be willing to exchange contact information with sellers in order to get photo and video proof of working condition. Even then, it’s possible that this evidence has been faked in order to dupe you into buying a dud item or sending money without ever receiving your laptop. 

3. What should you do before buying a pre-owned laptop?

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  • If you’re considering buying a pre-owned laptop — whether it’s used or refurbished — from a local buy/sell/trade page, here are a few tips to keep in mind to protect yourself as well as your wallet:
  • Ask for proof 

    Buying used from a local seller is much different than walking into a big -name retail store and browsing their pre-owned items. You often can’t get your hands on the actual laptop to make sure it works. So you have to get creative. If a listing provides pictures that show the laptop is on and running properly, ask for a video of the entire boot-up sequence from black screen to home screen. You’ll be able to tell if the seller has made any cuts to hide problems or has faked the still photos. You should also ask for a photo of the laptop model and serial number; you can plug these into Google to find exact manufacture and release dates, build configurations, known issues, and any product recalls. This helps you to fact-check seller-provided information.

  • Never pay sight unseen

     If a seller is insistent that you send money via check, money order, or services like Venmo and PayPal before you ever lay eyes on the laptop, that’s a huge red flag. A reputable seller should have no issue with you asking to send payment after the item arrives (if able to be shipped to you) or after you’ve confirmed yourself that the laptop boots up properly during a meet-up sale. Sending payment after an item arrives in the mail or you can actually see it for yourself will save you a lot of heartache as well as cash; unlike typical online shopping, it’s a lot more difficult to get your money back from a bad Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist sale since it isn’t a business transaction. 

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