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What Does it Mean to Buy Refurbished

What Does "Refurbished" Mean?

Although the word "refurbished" may stir up not-so-reassuring images of retailers and manufacturers resurrecting defective products, lots of items fall under the "refurbished" umbrella. Sometimes a customer returns a product for a refund without even opening the box or using the item at all. There's nothing wrong with it, but the item can't be sold as new and has to be offered as a refurbished product—often at a deep discount.

Other types of reasons products get labeled refurbished include:

Shipping or exterior damage: Minor scratches or dents to the product during shipment would force a retailer to return it to the manufacturer and put on the refurbish checkout lane.

Demo units: Demonstration units used at trade shows, retail stores, or product reviewers may be repackaged as refurbished items.

Opened box: Opened box can mean anything. Technically, there should be no issue and the item is "like new," but the box was simply opened.

Production Defects: If a defect in one part is found, manufacturers might repair the returned defective units and sell them or send them to retailers as refurbished units.

The issue is that in most cases, you don't know why a product has been labeled refurbished. If a customer just changed his or her mind and returned it, then the item is basically new and—sweet—you've saved yourself a lot of dough.

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