Updated March 16, 2023
15 Questions To Ask Before Buying A Refurbished Computer
Published by Joshua Crow in FAQ
Did somebody say refurbished computer?
The question of "Should I buy a refurbished computer?" often comes up when looking to purchase a computer. That's for several reasons, but mostly arrives after your mouth drops from reading the price tag on that new i7 desktop.
Price aside, you may be wondering: What were those other reasons?
But first, a question for you: What do you think happens when you get home from buying a brand-new product, rip open the box, only to find your brand new computer has dent, or is missing a feature that you desperately wanted? You return it, right? But then what?
Food for thought, we'll come back to that later.
1. What are the advantages to buying a refurbished computer?
First and most obviously, you cannot beat the price of a refurbished computer. In fact, buying refurbished can offer dramatic savings, from 30-70% off of buying new.
Second, it might surprise you, but refurbished products are often more dependable than new products. Refurbished computers are going to experience a more rigorous testing and retesting procedure than a new product, often times tested by the recyclers who retrieve them from original owners, and again by wholesalers and brokers who pass them to the retailer, who tests them again. Every step of the journey from original manufacturer to final destination and new home, your refurbished computer will ahve been tested, retested and evaluated for possible issues.
Last, but not least, refurbished computers can do everything you need them to do. When you buy refurbished, you are typically buying a computer from the prior generation of working class dependable computers. These computers were originally chosen because they would be able to keep up with the demands of business computing in the future, and were deployed in an environment that demanded much more than that of your average user today. Refurbished computers are great for business use, and for typical home activities like watching Netflix, writing book reports, keeping track of the family budget and keeping up in the modern world.
2. What brand of refurbished computer is best?
Always choose a reputible brand. Choosing a reputible computer brand is essential when buying refurbished. Dell, HP, Apple and Lenovo are the easy choices for best brands when looking for a dependable computer. These brands are the largest in the world because they produce a powerful computer you can trust, with build and quality standards that lead the industry.
When it comes to choosing a refubisher to buy your new-to-you computer from, make sure they are a registered refurbisher. Registered refurbishers are going to meet high standards, offer quality products, and are going to be accountable to a third party.
3. What are you going to be doing with your computer?
Know what you are going to use the computer for before you buy. If you haven't thought about it, perfect uses for a refurbished computer include, but are not limited to: Email and typical business aplications, internet browsing, social media nd streaming, writing documents for homework reports, take-home office work and creating home budgets and tracking finances.
5. What will your budget for your refurbished computer be?
Know what you want to spend before you call a sales rep. Knowing the ballpark, along with the answers from the questions we have already covered, makes finding the right computer for you simple and painless.
6. Do you need a monitor?
Don't forget the monitor, if you do you won't be doing much with your brad new refurbished computer. It sounds a little tongue in cheek, but anyone who has done much online shopping has made a similar mistake; that brand new kayak is useless without a paddle, same idea here.
7. Do you have a keyboard and mouse?
Don't forget the peripherals! Some of us have accumulated, over time, a spare keyboard and mouse, and have them in the bottom of a closet or a filing cabnet, so this might be less of an issue than the monitor. Though, most refurbishers will offer a bundle with a monitor, keyboard and mouse for a lot less than the price of everything individually, so be sure and ask.
8. Does the computer come with a warranty?
While you are asking questions, don't forget the warranty. An online retailer is only as good as its warranty. Even though the chances of failure are much smaller with a certified refurbished computer, in the event that you do encounter a problem, a warranty is the only thing standing between you and a good working replacement. Find a retailer that will warrant your refurbished computer for at least a year, preferably for free.
Find a retailder who will warrant you computer for at least a year, preferably for free.
9. Is the operating system properly licensed?
Many unscrupulious refurbishers will sell refubished computers without a properly licensed copy of Windows, or with an outdated version of Windows that no longer receives updates from Microsoft. This could leave you open to possible attack by identity thieves looking for outdated and compromised systems.
A good refurbisher won't cut corners in this department. Your refurbished computer shopuld come with a legit licensed copy of Window's newest operating system. Fradulent copies of the operating system not only puts the refurbisher at risk, but could land you in hot water as well.
10. Does the computer come with WiFi?
Often, refurbished computers come from the business that have udated their computers to newer models, leaving them in a position to liquidate their old computers with a refurbisher. These computers will have been built to survive a high usage business environment and are some of the most solid computers on the market, however business class computers are typically designed to plug into an existing wired network and do not come with a standard wifi otion. It is critical when purchasing your refurbished computer that the reseller provide a solution via USB WiFi Adapter or similar work around, so that your new computer can connect to your home or office WiFi network.
11. Does this refurbisher offer dedicated customer support?
A good computer refurbisher will have a good customer service team available to its customers free of charge. When looking for a reputable refurbisher, find one that cares about creating great customer service experiences, and includes providing assistance and support when life intervenes or things don't go exactly as planned.
12. What is the return policy?
A solid PC and Laptop refurbisher will stand by their product, not try to pawn damaged goods off on an unsuspecting customer. Always, always, always ask if they have a 30 day no questions asked return policy.
13. Is refurbished Eco Friendly?
Yes! Buying refurbished PCs, Towers and Laptops takes those same devices out of the global e-waste stream. Similarly, buying a refurbished computer has a drastically smaller carbon footprint when compared to alternative electronics recycling processes, (think breaking computers down into their component parts, peices and metals and using those comodities to create a new computer.)
14. Will your refurbisher test every connection and port?
Computers come with a variety of connections and options, from USB to VGA and HDMI, each of these connections will need to be tested by the refurbisher. There is nothing more frustrating than something not working and not knowing why. Take the frustration out of the equation and make certain these connections have been tested by the company that refurbishes your new computer.
15. Does your refurbisher check the Disk Drive?
You probably see a pattern here, that's on purpose and there is a point. There are a lot of working parts associated with your new refurbished computer, and there are really good refurbishers out there who check every thing before they send out a computer to a customer. Just make sure you are working with a refurbisher with a great reputation, like Discount Computer Depot.
So, without further ado, the answer to "What do you think happens to returned products?" is: They end up right back up on the shelf. Obviously, they are cured of defects and cleaned of germs, but this is where "refurbished" products come from!
No, not all refurbished computers, or other refurbished products for that matter, were once broken or misused before recieving the refurbished label.
If you shop carefully and understand the product you are getting, you can save money on your next computer purchase with virtually no risk. Oh, and by the way, Discount Computer Depot is a careful place to shop =)