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What is the difference between Refurb, Open Box, and Used?

Posted on 2009-04-13
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What is the difference between Refurb, Open Box, and Used?
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Question by:RalphS007
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Lee W, MVP earned 125 total points
ID: 24134177
Refurb - It was sent back to the manufacturer because their was a suspected or confirmed problem.  The manufacturer has made any necessary repairs and it should be "good as new" - but I don't trust them.

Open Box - may be just fine - somebody purchased it and then returned it after opening.  Maybe they bought a printer, opened the box, unpacked it, then realized it didn't have a parallel connection that they needed.  Or perhaps the monitor they just bought just doesn't fit where the original buyer wanted it.  Whatever the case, it was returned with no indication that there was anything wrong with it.

Used - used.  Someone bought it, used it, then sold it.  A la a used car.
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by:aleghart
ID: 24134254
I've bought a fair amount of "refurb" equipment, including servers, desktops, scanners, printers, even an Apple Powerbook.  My refurb Powerbook was in better shape than my co-worker's "new" model, which ended up with 2 dying and 1 dead pixels in the first month.  Not replaceable by Apple's warranty because it wasn't defective until it meets the defective pixel placement parameters. (Same with most manufacturers.)

In my mind, refurbs are safer than "open box".  I've found that open box returns are by inexperienced consumers that broke the merchandise (or think they did) and are returning it to the store with a lie...."Nothing's wrong."  They just want to get money back, or trade it in without having to pay for what they broke.  I got an inkjet that worked fine for 2 pages until I had to retrieve a little girl's bracelet from the inner workings.  Worked fine after that...but obviously the consumer lied when they returned the goods.

With open box goods, make sure there is at least a 7-day return policy to account for the liars who return broken merchandise.  Also, there should be a minimum 10% discount for a 100% new product (i.e. box opened by sales/support staff to get a manual).

Display merchandise should not be (but often are) sold as open box.  The stuff has been flipped over, poked, prodded, and possible running for months on end.  Demand at least 25% discount if it has been powered on.  If it was non-running display, then 10-15% is normal if all the materials are still there.  Even BestBuy has a return policy for the display/close-out merchandise.

Used...caveat emptor.  I've had good luck with battery backups.  Not so good luck with car audio that was previously self-installed.  Another one of those "nothing wrong..." explanations.  Unless you know the seller personally _AND_ have recourse for DOA goods, you may be better off buying new.
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