Pros and Cons of Refurbished Hardware

Nobody wants to pay retail.

If there were a way to avoid paying the list price every time you purchase something, you probably would. It could be a friend in the business hooking you up with a discount, a promotional offer, or just an old-fashioned coupon.

Being part of the ITAD industry, there’s a way to avoid paying list price that’s part of our daily operations, and that’s refurbished hardware. Estimates show that almost 1/6th of all hardware sold is going to have a second life when it’s sold as a refurbished device. That means that there’s a huge market and a huge opportunity for savings, but what you’re getting for your money isn’t quite as clear.

The biggest hang-up people have with refurbished hardware is the uncertainty. Is it junk? How long will it last? Why did the customer stop using it? Does it come with a warranty? Is this too good to be true?

We get it, and at CDR Global, helping to educate our customers about the best way to make use of refurbished equipment is something we feel strongly about. Like any other market, the available offerings of refurbished hardware represent a wide range of quality and value. If you know what to look for, you can find some great deals while avoiding a future bout of buyer’s remorse.

Misconceptions about Refurbished Hardware

Understanding and dismantling some of the preconceived notions about the second-hand market is a great way to educate yourself. Let’s take a look at some of the more common misconceptions.

Refurbished Hardware Was Defective

Maybe, but it’s also possible to say maybe not. It’s true that some of the hardware may have been defective at one point. It is likely (more likely, actually) that the former owner, as part of an equipment upgrade, traded in the hardware.

Consider your own situation as a baseline – how often do you get a new phone because you’re upgrading the model versus making a new phone purchase because the old one died? For most people, the prime motivation behind ditching the old hardware is because we’ve replaced it with something shiny and new.

Refurbished Hardware Never Comes with Software Licensing

This may have been true in the past, but the big companies are taking steps to make sure that they meet their customers wherever they can. Apple offers a wide variety of Apple-certified refurbished products on their site, and they also certify third parties to repair and resell their products.

In 2015, Microsoft changed their internal policies and lowered the prices on their software licenses for refurbished hardware.

Choosing Refurbished – Some Handy Tips

So what can you do to make sure that you’re not getting taken for a ride when you start shopping for refurbished equipment? The definition of refurbishing is where the gray area lies, but you can cut through the fog if you know what to look for.

Look at your seller’s credentials – If you want to see an example of what a solid furbisher’s resume looks like, you should check out CDR Global’s qualifications. If you’re shopping with someone who has the verified skills, it is a good start.

The kind of warranty you are getting – By now you should know that “As-is/No Warranty” is an invitation for trouble. If a refurbished item includes a warranty, the scope of that warranty is a good indication of the seller’s confidence in the product. A 12-month warranty is a pretty solid clue that you’re probably not getting a lemon. And if your hardware does give out inside the warranty period, well that’s just what warranties are for.

Be informed about pricing – Common sense should tell you that all things being equal, the price of a refurbished device should be less than the retail price of that device in a new, un-used condition.

When you’re buying refurbished hardware, you’re usually not dealing with the latest models, so try to find out what the retail price would be of a new model right now, not when it first hit the showroom floor. If you’re buying a 3-year-old, refurbished laptop for $100 and it sold for $600 dollars when it was released, don’t let the dealer tell you that you’re saving $500. Don’t let an artificially inflated discount figure sway you when it’s time to put down the money.

Understand where your refurbished equipment fits into the product cycle – Buying used equipment can save your organization money, but it’s important to be aware that you could also be purchasing a shorter-than-average life cycle. This could be due to the age of the equipment, or it might relate to the fact that the changing landscape of technology means that your refurbished hardware may not stay relevant for as long as the latest models.

Refurbished hardware might save you money today, but it may also force you to schedule your next upgrade sooner than you would experience with a new-hardware purchase. These aren’t necessarily negatives, but simply factors to be aware of.

Lowering your hardware expenses and keeping more devices out of the landfill is a win-win for everyone, and we think that a smart examination of the refurbished hardware market can give your organization a strategic edge.

When you’re ready to be a participant, either as a seller or as a consumer, be sure to involve CDR Global in your efforts and we can definitely make it worth your while. We’ll make sure that you are on the receiving end of the best prices that the market has to offer and that you’re making the smartest IT moves possible.


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