Vision Investment Group

( V.I.G)

Refurbished laptops, Desktops, and other electronics are products that have been returned to the retailer or manufacturer, and then repaired and put back on sale at a discount. So, if you’re interested in saving a few bucks, does it make sense to buy refurbished electronics? What should you watch out for? And what happens if something goes wrong? Surprisingly, only 5 percent of returned electronics are defective, according to a 2011 survey by technology consulting firm Accenture. Some refurbished laptops and other products haven’t even been touched by the person who purchased them—they've been returned because a clerk or delivery guy nicked the box during shipping. In other cases, there is a true defect. In that situation, retailers such as Best Buy send the item to an authorized repair center or the manufacturer for inspection, repair, and repackaging. For a consumer, the savings can be dramatic. On some high-ticket items, such as Desktops, the price cut can approach 50 percent. Thinks that buying refurbished can be smart, even if you don't care about getting a deal. “Every computer I've ever bought has been a refurb,” a customer says. Refurbished electronics get a once-over from a technician, which doesn't happen with most new products, and they're also environmentally friendly—it costs vastly less in terms of energy and raw materials to refurbish a product than to manufacture a new one. Consumer Reports tests only new products that consumers like you can buy at retail. But if you’re looking for refurbished laptops, phones, or other items, we do have some advice. 4 Tips for Buying Refurbished Keep an eye on return policies. Understand credit card protection—or lack of it. Look for a long warranty period. Buy from brands you trust.