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Understanding Just What Refurbished Means

Jul 18, 2008
Gaining an understanding of what it means for an item to be refurbished is important if you are planning on buying a product, but especially any consumer electronics. Many items often appear under the moniker of refurbished in this area, with very notable examples in MP3 players, cell phones, desktops, laptops, and televisions. Because it appears so often it is important that we have a better understanding of what retailers mean when they apply this term to products, such as refurbished GPS.

An item is considered refurbished when it has undergone major maintenance or minor repair for mechanical or aesthetic malfunctions. To put it another way, a refurbished item is an item that was once broken but is now fixed. These repairs can be as minor as replacing a faulty button or switch to a wholesale gutting of a product and replacing it with new guts to make it work better or more efficiently.

Refurbished items are often very complex devices. Let us take a GPS unit as an example. These devices have many interconnected parts including wiring, GPS signal receivers, a CPU, and many other complex parts that interface with each other. When a single piece in this system malfunctions the device is unable to function properly. The rotten apple has in effect spoiled the whole barrel.

When this happens to a GPS unit the manufacturer almost always picks up on it during the quality assurance section of manufacturing. Through testing they find out that widget C is not functioning properly and needs to be replaced. But according to regulations they are not longer able to sell this product as new because it already reached a certain stage in the production process.

Instead of wasting all those other widgets that work perfectly fine and losing all that money that they invested in the product they will simply fix the error. This is what a 'refurbished GPS' could typically be.

The other possibility is that the GPS device got a scratch on its surface during the manufacturing process. Upon inspection the scratch was too large to send the product out to stores to be sold as new. Instead, the product is give the label 'refurbished GPS' and sent out to the retailers at a steep discount.

Still another possibility for the being labeled refurbished is open box items. It is common for purchasers of expensive electronic device to feel buyers remorse and return the item. These items have no defect but have only been returned because the original purchases did not like the item, felt bad about purchasing the item, or just did not feel like they really needed it.

Whatever the reason, in the end it boils down to them returning a perfectly good item and you stepping in and buying it at a large discount.

This discount can be very substantial, sometimes as much as thirty percent. Considering that a refurbished device is for all intents and purposes the exact same as one that is 'new' means that you would be throwing away money if you bought a new item when a refurbished alternative is available. Buying a refurbished GPS is a great way to save money and to help stretch your paychecks a little further.

Buying refurbished is definitely the way to go for savvy consumers looking to enjoy the comfort of electronics while being conscientious about where there money is going.
About the Author
Joe teaches people about the benefits of refurbished GPS and how businesses can utilize gps fleet tracking.
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