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3 top stores for refurbished products

To the uninitiated, buying a refurbished product may seem like a compromise, as if you’re settling for a product likely to have dents, scratches, or unknown problems. In fact, buying refurbished allows you to knock a sizeable chunk off the purchase price of a PC, digital camera, or MP3 player, and still have a product that’s essentially new, often with a warranty from the manufacturer.

And now it’s a lot easier to locate refurbished merchandise.

Until the late 1990s, finding refurbished products was a hit-or-miss affair, requiring you to scan mail-order catalogues and ads. Now, with scores of retailers offering refurbs online, anyone with patience and a talent for online sleuthing can scour the web to find just the right deal.

In fact, the name “refurbished” is something of a misnomer. Typically, they’re products returned by customers, for any number of reasons, and then tested at the factory to make sure they’re in tip-top shape. Defective or damaged parts will be replaced. But you should exercise a certain vigilance in buying a refurb.

For instance, you might want to buy only “factory-certified” refurbished products. These products have been returned to the manufacturer and tested by them. They also typically carry a manufacturer’s warranty.

And be wary of products labeled “reconditioned.” These may be used products, such as a group of computers previously under lease, then repaired and resold by a retailer.

  1. The Refurb Depot
    The Refurb Depot bills itself as the number one source for everything refurbished, and it’s easy to see why. From plasma TVs to MP3 players to digital cameras to computers, they’ve got just about everything you’re able to buy with the “refurbished” label, including fax machines, videogame consoles, GPS units, and more.
    Overstock sells discounted merchandise of every type imaginable, including refurbished computers and electronics.
  3. Tech for Less
    Cameras, computers, printers, and other tech products—Tech for Less stocks it all, and specializes in open-box, refurbished and factory-sealed products.

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