As you can see from the overview on the previous 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 he/she has no inside knowledge on this issue either.
Therefore, taking all of the above possibilities into consideration, here are several questions you need to ask when shopping for a refurbished product.
1. Is the refurbished unit being sold by a retailer that is also authorized to sell new products made by the same company?
2. Does the refurbished unit have a U.S. warranty (it should have a 45 to 90-day Parts and Labor warranty)? -- Also, some times refurbished units are gray market -- which means they may not have been originally intended the U.S. market.
3. Does the retailer offer a return or exchange policy for the refurbished unit if you are not happy (15-days or more).
4. 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 authorized dealer of the brand, they would be hesitant to offer an extended warranty for it.
If the answers to all of these questions is 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 (such as a series of defective chips, etc...) or subject to an earlier recall. However, the manufacturer can go back, repair the defect(s) and offer the units to retailers as "refurbs".
Final Thoughts On Purchasing Refurbished Items
Buying a refurbished item can be a great way to get a great product at a bargain price. There is no logical reason the why being merely labeled "refurbished" should attach a negative connotation to the product under consideration. After all, even new products can be lemons, and lets face it, all refurbished products were new at one point. However, when buying such a product, whether it be a refurbished camcorder, AV receiver, television, 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 my buying tips to insure that your purchase has value.
For additional information on what to look out for when buying products during Clearance Sales, be sure to also check out my companion article After-Christmas And Clearance Sales - What You Need To Know.
For more useful shopping tips, check out the great article from the About.com site for TV/Video: Save Money When Buying A TV.
More Tips On Buying Refurbished Products: