Buying refurbished is good for you and good for the earth
There is a common fear among consumers that buying a refurbished computer means buying something of lesser quality that will crash fatally just as you put the final touches on your career’s most pivotal report. Not necessarily! Sure, there are two-bit shops out there that sell you the digital equivalent of a freshy-painted mustang with sawdust to smooth out the engine. But by shopping through the original manufacturer or a reputable reseller, you can actually get a quality computer for a much more affordable price than buying new.
Here are some great reasons to buy a refurbished computer:
- The quality can be excellent and even better-than-new: Since manufacturers and certified refurbishing companies are held to high standards, an expert technician has spent some personal time with each refurbished machine, fixing any issues.
- It’s more sustainable: Reuse is far more energy-efficient than building a new computer or recycling for various reasons listed here. By going refurbished, you are supporting reuse as a sustainable practice.
- It’s cheaper: We already knew this, but yes! Buying a refurbished computer could save you at least $200 if going through a manufacturer and even more if going through a reseller.
Buying refurbished means reducing e-waste
Where do refurbished computers come from? Many sources— product returns, shipping issues, aesthetic defects, manufacturing defects or end-of-life donations. In 2011, Accenture consulting found that just 5% of returned products had actual defects. Often, people just return products because they changed their mind or had a little trouble operating it correctly. Even used corporate computers can be good candidates for a tune up and resell. Let’s say conservatively that an office replaces their batch of laptops once every three years. There are bound to be people who barely touched their work computer, not even to mention the usable computers that are probably just collecting dust on a shelf.
So, refurbished is good for you and good for the earth. You want to try it but don’t want to be the exception and get a lemon. Here’s how:
- Shop from tried, tested and trusted brands: Manufacturers and authorized refurbishes. Manufacturers like Dell and HP offer their own storefront and warranties, but you might just as well have a local refurbisher where you live. Look for brands that are manufacturer-authorized and known around town, like e360 Technologies.
- Look for return and warranty policies: Return policies mean that you didn’t buy from a pop-up shop. They are there to stay! Warranties are a promise to you that your computer won’t break when you need it most. And if it does, you’re protected. A good warranty lasts at least 90 days but the longer the better!
- Make sure it comes with parts and docs: A quality refurb job comes complete with power chords, some kind of documentation and (in the best case) an adoption report that says where the computer was born and who raised it.