Money Roundup: Refurb Electronics Edition

by Michael on Jan 11, 2014 · 3 comments

Do you ever buy refurbished electronics? I don’t. But I made an exception this past week — and lived to regret it. I found a great deal on a factory refurbished Asus laptop, ordered it, and when thrilled when it arrived ahead of schedule.

But then… I fired it up and was greeted with a message that Windows needed to be activated. And when I investigated further, I learned that the activation key associated with my shiny new computer was already in use on a different PC.

Confused, I starting by calling Asus. They told me to call the vendor. So I called the vendor and they transferred me to Asus. Round and round we went until I finally got them to offer a refund (after I threatened a credit card chargeback).

This isn’t to say that refurbs are a bad idea, but my experience this week did little to convince me that they’re worth the (potential) hassle. Sure, it was probably an isolated incident, but I lost the better part of an evening sorting it out.

And now… Here are some articles that caught my eye this past week:

That’s it. I hope you’re having a great weekend.


1 Adam January 13, 2014 at 11:09 am

I have purchased several Apple refurbished products over the years: an iMac for myself, a MacBook Air for my parents, and a couple of accessories. Never had any problems with them.

Last summer I purchased a refurbished Yahama home theater receiver from Amazon. A few months later the left audio channel started dropping out during use. I called up Yamaha, who told me to send it to a local authorized repair facility. 10 days later I had the receiver back, fixed, at no charge.

So yes, refurbished products can still have defects. But I think as long as you buy them directly from the manufacturer or an authorized retailer, you should be okay if any problems arise. I would not purchase anything that had been “unofficially” refurbished by a third party, regardless of their guarantees.

2 Money Beagle January 13, 2014 at 12:52 pm

I’ve done refurbs on a couple of minor products and have yet to have a problem. That sucks that it took them so long to make it right for you.

3 krantcents January 13, 2014 at 7:21 pm

When I bought an iPad, I decided to get an earlier version. I saved a lot of money and still got the same warranty.

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