What are Refurbished Products?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

When most people think of refurbished products, the general perception is that the items in question are used goods that have been reworked and restored to an acceptable working order. While that definition is one example, the concept actually covers a number of other scenarios as well.

Woman holding an optical disc
Woman holding an optical disc

Goods that have been returned by customers also qualify as refurbished goods. In this instance, the refurbished product likely has nothing wrong with it at all. The item may have been returned for any number of reasons, including the fact that the customer simply changed his or her mind about the purchase. In cases where the returned item has obviously not been used, the store will usually simply reseal the packaging and sell the item at a discount as a refurbished good.

In cases where some shipping damage is involved, the manufacturer may choose to repair the item and then sell it as a repaired or refurbished product. Because the item is factory refurbished, the level of quality is often the same as a product that is sold as new. The advantage to the consumer is the ability to obtain the item at a lower cost.

Floor or demonstration models also qualify as refurbished products. Often, a retail outlet is willing to sell a floor model of a product at a discounted price. This is due to the fact that the factory packaging was opened, and there is a good chance that the product has incurred a few small scratches during the time spent on display. While some floor models are lifted right off the sales floor and presented to the consumer, many stores choose to clean and package the product before delivering the item to the customer.

While this is not always the case, refurbished products often come with some sort of limited warranty. The duration of the warranty may range from thirty days to over a year. Depending on the product, it is also sometimes possible to obtain a service contract on these products that is comparable to service contracts on brand new goods.

Refurbished products are often a great bargain for consumers. Typically, any defects are usually small and cosmetic in nature, and are not readily apparent to the naked eye. Even in situations where refurbished items are older models that have been revamped by a second trip to the factory, the level of quality will be comparable to a new item, and will cost a fraction of the usual retail price.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including EasyTechJunkie, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


@cmsmith10: I actually purchased a refurbished phone from AT&T last year. It came with a 60 day warranty and they assured me that it was as good as new.

I have had no problems with it and have had it for over a year. It is much more economical to go that route.


I was looking to buy a new cell phone and I was on AT&T's website. They had 3 phones that were refurbished. They had a great price on them but I was uncertain if that would be considered a safe purchase. Any thoughts?

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