Refurbished vs New Electronics: Should I Buy Refurbished?

Refurbished vs New Electronics

Consumers commonly mistake refurbished electronics for being simply haggard, old devices that somebody just wants to get rid of. Contrary to popular belief; refurbishers are not just shady salesmen looking to lure customers into a low-price trap to unload their rubbish. In fact, refurbished laptops and PC’s are far closer (sometimes even better) to the standards of new products than people think.

The refurbished electronics industry has become recognized for its high standards and environmental benefits. That’s why it’s reported growth was 25% in 2018 (Business Review 2018). More and more consumers are starting to see how refurbished goods can save them a lot of money while also, contributing to a circular economy for the benefit of the environment. Around 96% of consumers say that buying refurbished saves them money and 81% say they would recommend these products to family and friends (Liquidity Services 2018). 

Eco Friendly Technology


What is the process of refurbishment?

Here at Refurbo, you would be amazed at what we can do with used electronics. Our processes allow us to take an old machine and make it run like new; with a fresh cosmetic look. Take a refurbished MacBook for example. It might have faded paint on the palm rests and scratches on the base and lid. Our engineers can respray and use 3M protective vinyl to give the device a new lease of life. The use of protective vinyl film is quite unique. Film wrapping is known more so for the use on cars and buildings. At Refurbo however, we use all our resources to ensure that we continue to drive innovation in refurbishment. It is why we are one of the pioneers of certified refurbished goods and hold ourselves to the highest standard.

What about the internal components? Old machines can have damaged CPU’s or corrupted SSD’s; not to mention data from pervious owners. We use a testing software known as Aiken. This software allows us to test multiple machines and provide reports on faults occurring from the processor to the battery and everything in between. If you are interested in how Aiken works go to our parent company site https://www.cfatrading.co.uk/aiken/services. Once our engineers pinpoint what is wrong, we can delve into our extensive stock of parts and components to craft the next winning product. We have access to anything from motherboards, CPU’s and SSD’s to Keyboards and new screens. It allows us to have many different product offerings and upgrade options. This means our customers have more choices and can get more bang for their buck. Like the upgrade options on one of our best-selling MacBook Pro’s: https://bit.ly/2mkjWTd

Refurbished Macbook


What to look for when buying Refurbished Items

The term refurbished is widely used and is the most popular way to describe what we do; but descriptions and titles can vary depending on where you are looking. You may also see ‘reconditioned’ or ‘remanufactured’ in some titles. Even Amazon has its own certified refurbished seller program in which you can find refurbished goods labelled as ‘Renewed’.

The term refurbished or renewed does not fall under used, which is why customers should ensure they read listings and descriptions carefully. Used means that the item has not been tested or undergone additional work, making a purchase far riskier than buying under the renewed or refurbished banner.

Certified Refurbished

So what are the benefits and what do we mean by the phrase ‘certified refurbished’? We make it very easy for you to check our quality and standards; but this does not translate so easily over to other platforms. Refurbo leads the way with its own certified refurbished stamp which takes goods through testing, grading and final retail: https://refurbo.co.uk/blog/certified-refurbished-cr-standard-intro/

Certified Refurbished

Perhaps more commonly used is the grading system. No matter where you go for your reconditioned goods, always look for ‘certified refurbished’ or ‘grade 1’ standards in advertisements. This tells you that the company you are purchasing from adheres to the strict industry standards everyone should follow. We only sell grade 1 standard devices, with some exceptions on our website. Grade 1 means near mint condition; products will show next to no signs of previous use. Some exceptions are made where small scuffs or scratches cannot be removed. The devices also have either new or completely refurbished components that have been tested and certified for retail. Grade 2 items show moderate signs of usage with more visible cosmetic damage. These items might be sold as grade 2 as they are too difficult or expensive to fully refresh, therefore reducing the cost benefit of their sale. They have still been tested and certified for retail and are typically the cheapest option for customers. There is a grade 3 or C, however this is the lowest quality and is typically undesirable for retail customers.

Warranties & Returns

Another important factor you should consider is warranties. On our website we offer a one-year warranty with all purchases. This is very important to us; we take pride in our work and if there is a fault with any device we send out, we take responsibility and aim for a 2-5 day turn around on all repairs. When buying refurbished, always make sure you are getting a one-year warranty as well as the standard retail return window of 30 days. 


How does refurbishment help the environment?

When you choose to buy refurbished, you are contributing to the circular economy that is slowly becoming the norm in many industries. A circular economy is one that continually re-uses resources and eliminates as much waste as possible. It is more than just about saving energy. The benefits to our society can be exponential. Reducing waste means cleaner air and less landfill to take up space. It reduces the levels of plastics and metal which could otherwise end up in our oceans or parks. Choosing to buy refurbished rather than new can save 1500 litres of water and 200KG of CO2 per device! (FSC.org 2019). Whether we realize it or not, businesses and governments have been moving towards this way of thinking for many years. It is time for all electronics manufacturers to incorporate refurbishment into their processes.

Out of all the biggest corporations in the world, Microsoft might be the biggest contributor to the circular economy. Microsoft have always been a step ahead of others when it comes to sustainability. The company has always allowed for refurbishment of its devices and has pushed for the re-use of equipment. This is why their life cycles are much higher than most tech companies; whereas Apple might look to push out tech that’s 2 years old, Microsoft typically look at 10-year cycles! They created the MAR program a decade ago which allows for refurbished equipment to be sold with renewed license keys (to reactivate the operating system). Our whole industry and culture of re-using old devices has come off the back of this ideology and it has made a big difference.

Microsoft is also pushing to be carbon neutral, with a goal of 60% of its global data centres to be powered by renewable energy set for the end of 2019. They even have an internal company ‘tax’ to hold all of its divisions financially responsible for not being environmentally friendly. While there are still companies like Apple and HP who are largely carbon neutral in terms of energy consumption, few companies can say they have contributed more than Microsoft to finding sustainable solution for the tech industry. 

Refurbo has a similar philosophy. Based within the offices of parent company CFA Trading, our site runs on 100% renewable energy. With 240 solar panels and a biomass boiler powering us, our building is kept running without the use of any fossil fuels. For any additional energy needed from the grid, our directors ensure we source power that has only been harnessed through renewable methods. The refurbishment ideology runs right through our core and we know that in the long term, we are providing much deeper value for our customers and ourselves.


Should I Buy Refurbished Electronics?

As a clearly unbiased source to answer this question – YES! The benefits far out-way the potential doubts that you might have. You would essentially be buying a better than new product with a one-year standard warranty, money back guarantee in 30 days, grade A stamp all for a fraction of the cost of new hardware. You won’t find a better, affordable deal if buying new. Why not buy a refurbished item and see if you can tell the difference? Join us and become a refurbisher today: https://refurbo.co.uk/

17th Sep 2019 Sergio Osorio

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