Buying an outdated technology product saves you money compared to buying a new one. It also gives a device a second life instead of sending it for recycling. And especially in these times when the demand for all types of technology is high, buying outdated products is sometimes the only way to get your hands on a product when the retail channels are overloaded or simply no new goods are available .
These are all good things – and yet “renovation” is still a loaded word for many people. New means new, a product that nobody has used before. On the other hand, buying something renovated can be a gamble, although the product is probably cheaper.
When you buy a refurbished product, it helps to have criteria
If it was renovated, it likely means that the product was either broken or rough enough to warrant a repair. It could also mean that anyone who bought it simply decided that they didn't want it and brought it back to the store. The definition of what constitutes an outdated product varies depending on the seller. However, it can alleviate some concerns that there are U.S. laws that prevent technology from being used from being sold as new. We also saw it in action. In 2019, New York City filed a lawsuit against T-Mobile alleging that it misled customers by selling used phones to customers who paid for new phones.
However, buying refurbished products raises many questions. Has the original manufacturer overhauled the product or was it carried out by a third party? Has the product been returned to a new condition or does it look visible when you receive it? Has it been professionally cleaned and disinfected and is it supplied with new accessories? Does it have a guarantee and who is responsible if it breaks?
It is easy to understand why many people prefer to simply pay more for something new. However, it is possible to save money and not be cheated when buying refurbished products. Below are some tips to follow when buying outdated technology, as well as links to trusted retailers. None of this is failsafe, but it makes the process a lot safer – and you can get some great devices at lower prices.
Photo by James Bareham / The Verge
What to look for if you want to buy renovated
When you buy a refurbished product from the original manufacturer, it is generally far less of a gamble than buying from a third party. The manufacturer is likely to have higher standards for refreshing and repackaging the product and, crucially, should have access to authentic materials and components. But there are also many companies that only refurbish products, and they can also do a good job. You just need to be extra vigilant, ask the right questions, and make sure all of your questions are answered.
In other words, when you buy a refurbished product, it helps to have criteria. This quickly becomes second nature as soon as you get used to dealing with outdated technology. Here are some questions to start with:
- What condition is it in? Is it in mint condition or something used?
- Does it come with all original accessories and documentation?
- What kind of guarantee does it have and who offers it?
The answers to these questions are not necessarily obvious. Sometimes the product is visibly damaged, comes in a different packaging, or has a six-month guarantee. This is fine as long as you know before you buy. In fact, you can often use this information to your advantage to save money, as resellers can sometimes cut costs if the product is not in good working order. You just have to decide what you want to be satisfied with.
What is an open box product?
Sometimes products are listed as "open boxes". This term can mean something different depending on the retailer, but most use it to mean that the product was opened by a customer who bought it, and then returned to the store in the original packaging with all accessories. In other words, it didn't need to be refurbished, since it is assumed that it was either never used at all or was only used once and then repackaged. In general, an open box product can be assumed to be in good condition, although it never hurts to ask for clarification or to look for the information anywhere on the website.
Some people may have concerns when buying refurbished headphones or other technical products that you use in or on your ears.
Photo by Becca Farsace / The Verge
Is there anything I shouldn't buy renovated?
Ultimately, this is your call. Some employees at The Verge are upset by the idea of using reconditioned headphones, especially in-ear headphones. I think it is natural to have this reaction considering how intensely you would use such a product. Many, but not all, companies thoroughly clean overhauled products before reselling them. For some people, something that has been used in this way is impure forever.
In my opinion, the most important thing when buying a refurbished product is that the warranty is good enough to support you in the event of a device failure. And when the retailer says your product arrives in a clean, well packaged condition, make sure that what you get is representative of their claims.
Where can I find outdated technical products?
Outdated products are usually not put in the spotlight by retailers such as Best Buy, Amazon or B&H Photo. You won't find them on the Apple, Google, Nintendo, Sonos or Olympus homepage, just to name a few. However, this does not mean that you cannot find refurbs on these websites. Here are some places to try.
Best Buy & # 39; s Outletis said to be the retailer's dedicated website for outdated technologies. Here is Best Buy's claim for its renovation work:
Refurbished products have been repaired and restored to new condition. All parts and accessories that would have been included in the original product are present, and our thorough inspection process ensures that the product is clean and in perfect condition.
Products purchased through the outlet are subject to Best Buy's standard return policy. Regarding warranty coverage, it says that overhauled products sold through the outlet "often include a Best Buy limited warranty". Since not all refurbished products are guaranteed, it is worth examining a product before buying it.
You can also go to Best Buy to find the product you are actually looking for, and then scroll down the page until the "Purchase Options" tab appears. Click it to see some other, cheaper options for buying similar devices. Sometimes you see refurbs, but mostly it's just open box returns.
You can find outdated or used options at Best Buy by clicking the "Buy Options" button.
Amazon Warehouse is the section of the retailer's website dedicated to used, refurbished products – or "renewed" as Amazon calls it. If you regularly search for technology on Amazon, you can save some money here. Here's the fine print from Amazon on its renewed devices:
(Amazon Renewed Products) have been professionally checked and tested by Amazon qualified and performance-based suppliers to work and look like new. The inspection and test process typically includes a full diagnostic test, replacement of defective parts, and a thorough cleaning process performed by the supplier or Amazon. The products have no visible cosmetic defects if they are held 12 inches away. The products can be packaged in generic packaging and delivered with the accessories expected for a new product, with any exceptions noted on the product detail page.
Here you can discover renewed products for many technical products. You can also find warehouse deals by searching for the "used" options on the product page of the device you are interested in. If Amazon offers an outdated or used option, it will be listed at the top. The "Condition" section, which is listed next to the price, lists all disclaimers that you should be aware of regarding the condition of the product.
The outdated or used options from Amazon Warehouse are usually at the top of the "used" offers
Amazon also owns a company called Woot, which often offers great deals on outdated technologies. This website typically provides warranty information for each device and the condition it is in. Woot grants a 90 day limited warranty on most products. However, you can purchase a SquareTrade protection plan at checkout.
Ebay is another great resource for refurbished technologies of all kinds. There are official reseller sites from brands like Nintendo (who didn't take orders at the time this was written) that you can rely on if you want quality refurbished products to sell. Best Buy, Dell, DJI, and other large retailers sell outdated technology on eBay, and you can usually trust it too. If you are shopping from a one-time seller that you have never used before, review their ratings and reviews as a guide and refer to the questions above when shopping.
Apple has one of the best renovation programs. All products that are sold as refurbished are delivered in “like new” condition with a saving of at least 15 percent compared to the cost of a brand new device. The products are delivered in a white box with all original accessories. In addition to a one-year warranty, you can purchase AppleCare for your refurbished purchase. Just to give you an idea of the care Apple takes in its renovation work: it replaces the battery and outer case of all iOS devices.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
Google sells a few obsolete devices (as of this writing, it only sold the Pixelbook and a triple pack of Google Wifi mesh routers) through its Google Store. It is said that these products are in new condition and have been cleaned and repaired. You get a one-year warranty directly from Google.
Some Sonos products are cheaper if you buy them overhauled through the company.
Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge
Sonos sells refurbished audio products on its website, each with a one-year warranty from the company and a 45-day money-back guarantee. According to Sonos, each product was cleaned and checked internally and externally and delivered in a brand new box with all original accessories and cables.
Nintendo's Switch rarely sees a discount, although you can save money by buying one renovated through its website.
Photo by James Bareham / The Verge
Nintendo usually sells outdated Nintendo Switch consoles through a hidden side. It is currently sold out due to the demand triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. In normal situations, you can save money on a renovated device. Nintendo says the following about its restructuring process:
The Nintendo Switch is now only available as an authentic Nintendo Refurbished Set from Nintendo and comes with our standard one-year warranty. Although it may have minor cosmetic blemishes, it is guaranteed to be fully functional. We believe that you will find that the standards for authentic Nintendo Refurbished Products are VERY high.
The Oculus Rift headset is overhauled through Oculus at a discounted price.
Photo by James Bareham / The Verge
Are you looking for a VR headset? Oculus sold refurbished Oculus Rift headsets for $ 299. It is said that you can assume that your purchase has been "inspected, cleaned and tested to work and look like new". I should mention that I bought one of them to play Half-Life: Alyx, and my experience buying refurbished products was great.
Not sure if your favorite brand is selling refurbished? Just search!
Chances are in your favor that your favorite brand will sell refurbished technology. I recently went to the desktop graphics card upgrade market and found that both EVGA and Zotac had a steady stream of outdated (sometimes referred to as B-Stock) graphics cards. The chances were also in my favor when I was looking for refurbished lenses for my Olympus camera. Nikon also offers its own refurbished products. Just search!
It is possible that some brands do not offer their own shop for refurbished goods. In this case, websites like Backmarket, Decluttr, Daily Steals and other refurbs offer – and usually with a good guarantee. In fact, there are some websites dedicated to selling refurbished products. However, you may have to snoop around a little more to find what you're looking for.