“Home Theater” consumers are frequently looking for advantageous audio visual deals. For some people it is difficult to resist those clearance sales. In spite of this, another way to save money throughout the year is to buy refurbished products. This review discovers the nature of refurbished AV products with specific useful suggestions on what to ask and look for when purchasing such AV products.
When individuals think of a refurbished item, they think of something that has been opened up, ripped apart, and rebuilt, like new, for instance. On the other hand, in the electronics world, it is not as obvious as to what the term “refurbished” actually means for the consumer.
Audio Visual Components Can Be Categorised as Refurbished if you Discover Any of The Following Conditions
- Customer Return: Generally most retailers have a 30-day return policy for their products and many consumers, for whatever reason, return products within that time period. Most of the time, if there is nothing wrong with the product; AV stores will just reduce the price and resell it as an open box special. However, if there is some sort of defect present in the product, many stores have agreements to return the product to the manufacturer were it is inspected and/or repaired, and then repackaged for sale as a refurbished item.
- Item Was Partly Opened: Even though, technically, there is no issue here other than the box was opened and was sent back to the manufacturer for repacking (or repacked by the retailer), the product is still classifies refurbished, because it was re-packed, even though no refurbishing has occurred.
- Demonstration Units: Although, at the store level, most retailers sell their old demos off the floor, some manufacturers will take them back, inspect and/or repair them, if needed, and send them back out as refurbished units for sale. This may also apply to demo units used by the manufacturer at trade shows, returned by product reviewers or has been used as internal office use.
- Shipping Damage: A lot of times, parcels can get dented in shipping, whether due to mishandling, the elements, or other factors. In most cases the product in the package may be perfectly fine, but the retailer has the option to return the damaged boxes to the manufacturer for full credit. The manufacturer, then, is obligated to inspect the products and repackage them in new boxes for sale. However, they cannot be sold as new products, so they are relabelled as refurbished items.
- Cosmetic Damage: Occasionally, for a variety of reasons, a product may have a scratch, dent, or other form of cosmetic damage that does not affect the performance of the unit. The manufacturer has two choices; to sell the unit with it cosmetic damage visible or fix the damage by placing the internal components into a new cabinet or casing. Either way, the product qualifies as refurbished, as the internal mechanisms that may be unaffected by the cosmetic damaged are still checked.
- Defect In the course of Production: In any assembly line production process, a specific component can show up as defective because a faulty processing chip, power supply, disc loading mechanism, or other factor. Most of the time, this is caught before the product leaves the factory, however, defects sometimes can show up after the product hits store shelves. As a result of customer returns, inoperative demos, and excessive product breakdowns within the warranty period of a specific element in the product, a manufacturer may “recall” a product from a specific batch or production run that exhibits the same defect. When this happens, the manufacturer can repair all the defective units and send them back out to retailers as refurbished units for sale.
- Overstock Items: Every now and then, if a retailer has an overstock of a particular item they simply reduce the price and put the item on sale or clearance. However, sometimes, when a manufacturer introduces a new model, it will “collect” the remaining stock of the older models still on store shelves and redistributes them to particular retailers for quick sale. In this case, the item can be sold either as “a special purchase” or can be labelled as refurbished.
- What This Means for the Bargain Hunter: In reality, when an electronic product is shipped back to the manufacturer, for whatever reason, where it is inspected, restored to original specification, tested and repackaged for resale, the item can no longer sold as “new”, but can only be sold as “refurbished”.
- Guidelines on Purchasing Refurbished Products: As you can see from the above page, it is not always clear what the exact origin or condition of a refurbished product is. It is impossible for the consumer to know what the reason is for the “refurbished” designation for a specific product is. At this point, you must disregard any “supposed” knowledge the salesman tries to impart to you on this aspect of the product, because the sales people have no inside knowledge on this issue either.
Here is a number of Questions You Need to Ask When Shopping for a Refurbished Product
- Is the refurbished unit being sold by a retailer that is also authorised to sell new products made by the same company?
- Does the refurbished unit have an original warranty (it should have a 30 to 60-day Parts and Labour warranty)? Also, occasionally refurbished units are gray market which means they may not have been originally intended the local market.
- Does the retailer offer a return or exchange policy for the refurbished unit if you are not happy (14-days or more).
- Does the retailer offer an extended warranty for the item? This doesn’t mean you have to buy an extended warranty but whether or not they offer one indicates their degree of support for the product. In addition, if the dealer is not an authorised dealer of the brand, they would be hesitant to offer an extended warranty for it.
If the answers to all of these questions are positive, purchasing a refurbished unit may be a smart move. Although some refurbished products may be repaired or serviced units, it is very possible that the product merely had a minor defect during its initial production run or subject to an earlier recall. However, the manufacturer can go back, repair the defects and offer the units to retailers as “refurbish”.
Definitive Considerations on Purchasing Refurbished Items
Purchasing a refurbished item can be an obvious way to obtain a great product at a bargain price. After all, even new products can be lemons, and let’s face it; all refurbished products were new at one point. However, when buying such a product, whether it is a refurbished Home Theatre system, Plasma TV, Video Projector, Camcorder, Set-Top Box, Blu-ray or DVD player, etc. From either an online or off-line retailer, it is important to make sure you can inspect the product yourself and that the retailer backs up the product with some sort of return policy and warranty to the extent outlined in these buying tips to insure that your purchase has value.