Amazon: Refurbished vs. Used vs. Second Hand

Every year, we are encouraged to buy new technology within Amazon. Smartphones, televisions, laptops and other devices are released annually. However, you may be concerned about the financial or environmental cost of periodic updates.

If you are in the market for a technology article, you can choose to buy non-new devices. It should be assumed that these items are second-hand in some way. Many terms are used: used, renewed, used, and even certified as used.

But what is the difference between all of them within Amazon?

Refurbished Technical Hardware

It is likely that a reconditioned item was used and returned as used or defective. Next, the device will undergo diagnostic tests and the necessary repairs will be performed. The item is thoroughly cleaned and repackaged for sale.

To encourage you to buy a refurbished item, a new warranty will often be added. The warranty will often not be as complete as for a new item, but it gives you peace of mind in case something goes wrong. However, you should check the duration and terms of the warranty, as it will vary from one retailer to another.

eBay has two categories of reconditioned devices: the reconditioned manufacturer and the reconditioned seller. Both styles must have restored the device to almost new specifications, but the manufacturer has not approved an item reconditioned by the seller. If all of this sounds confusing, they provide an Item Conditions Query Table to help you identify the condition of a product.

How to buy reconditioned

Before committing to a refurbished device on eBay, it is worth investigating the seller. You will want to see their rankings, how many products they have listed and their renewal process. If you cannot find the answers you are looking for, ask the seller.

Many manufacturers also have their own devices

Reconditioned certificates for sale, often with a significant discount. There are a handful of places where you can buy a used or reconditioned iPhone, for example, including Apple's own website. Amazon even has a renewed and certified storefront so you can browse all available devices.

Amazon allows both manufacturers and reconditioning vendors. However, the company may revoke the Certified Refurbished label if it is discovered that a seller has an imperfect renewal process. These items are covered by the Amazon Renewed Guarantee, which offers a 90-day US warranty. and 12 months in the EU.

Smaller retailers can also offer refurbished items, but these often come with less protection in case something is wrong. If you decide to buy a refurbished item outside an important store, make sure that the conditions of sale are established in writing before paying and that there is a guarantee or return process.

Used devices

Depending on where you buy the article, there will be different definitions of used. eBay defines it as "(an) item (which) may have some signs of cosmetic wear, but it is fully operational and works as intended." By that definition, the element should work as expected, but it may be scratched or have a damaged screen.

Outside a regulated site like eBay or Amazon, the term can have several meanings. While sites like Craigslist are a great way to buy and sell used items online, there is no regulation of how items are described. Any sale is only between you and the seller, which makes claims management difficult.

Some people are happy to accept the risks of buying a used device, especially because they offer much more substantial discounts than used or reconditioned devices. However, if you do not want the trouble of trying to fix a broken item, or of being out of your pocket, then you may want to overlook used items.

Second hand hardware

Second hand is usually a bit of a gray area. Although technically it refers to any second-hand product, in most cases it refers to a well-maintained item. This category of device is between Reconditioned and Used, where it is in good condition, but not exactly new.

In this sense, it is similar to the vintage label that is applied to clothing. Another term that you tend to see mixed with used is pre-bruised. These terms imply that in general they are in good condition despite having been used. You would expect that there is nothing explicitly wrong with them outside of some minor cosmetic damage.

However, it is always better to be skeptical of terms such as "used," "pre-bruised" and "vintage." These are words designed to evoke a feeling in you that the items have been taken care of, but this is not guaranteed. As there is no agreed definition, it varies from one store to another, from one site to another and from one seller to another.

As with other second-hand items, understand the risks of buying a used item, especially when it comes to electronic products or high value purchases. Before committing, be sure to know the seller's return policy and the guarantees offered.

Second-hand Certificate

While the term "used" refers primarily to commercialization, "used" (CPO) has a completely different meaning. CPO is a term in the used car industry that describes a vehicle that has been inspected by the car manufacturer or distributor and returned to the original specifications. In this sense, it is very similar to a certified restored item.

The used car is inspected and, if found, the faults are repaired and the parts replaced. The warranty is normally extended based on mileage, months of the original warranty or a parts warranty. However, as in the case of Certified Refurbished, there is no rigid rule and details often vary between dealers and car manufacturers.

What second-hand device is right for you on Amazon?

In most cases, when you buy a second-hand product, it is best that it be renewed. The device will have been returned to its original state and will be cheaper than a new model. Certified reconditioned products go one step further, adding a manufacturer's warranty to the mix. Buying a second-hand computer instead of a new one has even significant advantages.

However, you may decide that a second-hand product is not right for you. That does not mean that you have to break the bank the next time you decide to invest. If you are prepared to buy on these online shopping sites for cheap electronics, there are offers that are found.