Refurbished products guide, definition and tips

Refurbished Products Ultimate Guide (2020 edition)

In this guide, we cover frequently asked questions about “Refurbished products” with definitions, stories, and tips.

When we want to shop for an electronic product, we generally think of two options:

  • either getting it cheap from Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace and hope it won’t fail on you the next week
  • or break the piggy bank and get a brand new from a retailer.

There’s another way that is getting much traction recently: Buying refurbished.

What is a refurbished Apple product?

A refurbished device means that it was either pre-owned or used as a display model. The products are then returned to working condition and sold for a reduced price. Sometimes they are called refurbed, reconditioned, or remanufactured.

Refurb definition (compared to Used and New)

On this “Scale of happiness,” refurbished get close to the experience of buying new. Every refurbished product comes with a warranty, a great price and more importantly is a responsible way to consume electronic goods. Buying refurbished avoids adding more electronic waste on our planet.

How are Apple products getting refurbished?

All refurbished Apple products go through strict quality control checks; it is an essential stage in renewing a product.

Technicians test thoroughly the devices, which include hardware tests, software tests, and thorough checking of all components by a refurbisher. Most parts, if not all, pass the checks with flying colors.

Refurbisher repairing a phone

If there are any issues found, however, the refurbisher works tirelessly to find an informed solution. Sometimes, they replace or fix the part: screen, battery, keyboard, phone/laptop body, etc.

You can also learn more about how Mac of All Trades ensures high-quality refurbishment.

After the fixes or replacements are complete, the refurbished product needs to go back through the full product test again. Only when a product passes all tests – just like a new one would! – the refurbisher can stamp them as refurbished.

Apple refurbishes its products as well and doesn’t advertise much about it (small section at the footer of their homepage page). They source products from users who return products for repair or open-boxes. The manufacturer sends these products back to the factory in China to refurbish the product completely. And sell it back online with up to 25% discount.

What is the difference between a new vs. refurbished product?

Mainly the price (up to 70% discount). Refurbished Apple products are 100% functional, and all components work like new. Refurbished products are in full working condition, just like their brand-new counterparts.

Refurb cosmetic condition differences (Excellent, Good, Fair)

If any parts on a refurbished product are not up to the functional standard of a new product, a technician replaces it with a new one. When you buy a refurbished Apple product, it is 100% functional.

Aside from the much lower price, of course, the difference between refurbished products and new products is the item’s cosmetic condition. It concerns the appearance of the product purely and not at all the functionality and cleanliness.

There are 3 different levels of refurb cosmetic condition you can choose from:

  • Grade A: Excellent – This is the best condition you can reasonably expect for a refurbished product. The imperfection is very minimal, and usually would be like new cosmetic condition.
  • Grade B: Good – The device has been gently used and well taken care of. You might notice some light scuffing on the edge of the device, or some light scratches on the body. The device remains, of course, 100% functional and under the same warranty.
  • Grade C: Fair – Light but plainly visible scratches on the body. Some products might have visible scratches, and maybe some dents on the exterior. The device remains also 100% functional and under the same warranty.

Apple refurbishes itself the products and classes them as Excellent (Grade A). If your device breaks and Apple give you a replacement, they give you a refurbished device. That’s right; you literally can’t tell the difference between new and refurb in this case.

Where to buy Apple refurbished products?

Refurbished products can be both sold by the manufacturer itself (Apple, for instance), a large retailer (like Amazon), or professional refurbishers (such as BackMarket or Mac of All Trades).

However, shopping around for a refurbished product can a frustrating, random, and unpredictable experience. You’ll find every merchant using a different vocabulary to describe the quality of the product (Grade B, Stallone, Fair), which can be confusing.

Places to buy refurbished Apple products (BackMarket, Walmart, Gazelle)

At RefurbMe, we aim to provide consistency by aggregating most of the refurbished Apple products on the market. We list refurbished products from several professional refurbishers. RefurbMe delivers a consistent way to discover products and compare cosmetic conditions, warranties, and return policies.

How can I track refurbished product availabilities?

While the inventory of refurbished products fluctuates during the time, it’s hard to get the right product at the right time (some references can be out of stock in a matter of hours).

That’s especially the case for products that have just been announced recently (it would take around 3-4 months to see them refurbished)

Track refurbished products (MacBook Pro Excellent condition up to $1000, 16GB or more in memory).

Luckily, RefurbMe has a monitoring service to receive a notification when a product that meets your filters is available. Moreover, you can also set up alerts for price drops on the product page.

Do refurbished products come with a warranty?

Warranty for refurbished iPhone

They do! That’s what makes refurbished products a better choice than used products and a reliable choice for a day-to-day companion. To avoid having bad surprises, we recommend you to make sure that you buy only products sold by professional certified refurbishers.

Thankfully, RefurbMe aggregates all refurbished Apple products on the market, and they all provide warranties with their products. Some even allow you to pay to upgrade the warranty period so that you are covered for multiple years.

RefurbMe compares these products based on the warranty length and the return policy.

Do refurbished products have other people’s stuff on them?

None at all. Refurbishers make sure to wipe all data stored in products, which means that you’re sure to not find John’s homemade movies or even Stacey’s countless cat GIFs.

The internal storage, whether on a computer, iPhone, or iPad, is completely fresh and ready for you!

Are refurbished Apple products more likely to fail?

When buying any electronic product, you probably understand that it might break. Sometimes products can get through the highest standard of product checks and still malfunction in the hands of its new owner. Like new products, most of the refurbishers provides a year warranty on their products, which lowers your risks on your investment drastically.

How can I sell my old device?

Many refurbishers have a buyback option: Converting an iPhone/iPad/Laptop to cash. This is a clean way to recycle your old device while also making a few bucks!

We negotiated with a partner SellYourMac, a deal (+$10 on your quote) to sell your old devices.

Is it worth buying a refurbished product?

Happy girl saving on tech

Definitely! By purchasing a refurbished product, you’re saving between 15% and 80% of the original retail price of the new product. It’s also way less risky than buying a used product because it got a warranty and return policy.

Finally, there’s also an ethical side of it, where you give a second chance to a product that could have ended up in the landfill. We believe that buying refurbished is a responsible way to consume electronic goods.

At RefurbMe, we aim to provide the best comparator dedicated to the refurb industry.

Thanks for reading! Please, if you do have a question, do not hesitate to reach out to us.