How does a retailer's refurbishment process differ from the manufacturer's?

When you buy a refurbished Apple product, you could get it from one of two places: a retailer such as Mac of All Trades or Gazelle, or the manufacturer; Apple itself.

A refurbished product is one that has been owned (bought by someone) or pre-used (as a display item for instance), and has been refurbished to work—and sometimes even look—as good as new.

What are the differences in a retailer's refurbishment process and the manufacturer's refurbishment process?


Well, as far as we know, there are no major differences. The following steps are followed:

  • Testing of hardware and software 
  • Troubleshooting of any faulty part
  • Repair or replacement of any faulty part
  • Full product testing again

A refurbished product, whether sold by its manufacturer or by a professional refurbisher/retailer, will be in perfect functional condition. The differences between a retailer refurb and a manufacturer refurb are related to three points:

  • An Apple Store refurb comes in its official packaging and includes any extra accessory usually included with a new product (e.g. earphones that come with iPhones). A retailer refurb does not come in the official Apple packaging.
  • An Apple Store refurb is always in excellent cosmetic condition. Retailer refurbs can be in excellent cosmetic condition too, but retailers also sell products which show signs of previous use, so-called grade B and grade C products. They work just as well but are cheaper because of the scratches they may have.
  • You can purchase an AppleCare warranty extension only when you buy a refurbished product from Apple. However, lots of retailers also offer a warranty extension option. But you will need to go through them and not Apple should you want to use your warranty policy.

Updated 3 months ago

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