Used Vs. Refurbished Laptops
If you decide you can’t afford a brand new high end laptop from one of the major manufacturers all is not lost. You should be considering used laptop or refurbished laptop which can get you most if not all the features you want, without paying full price. But what is the difference between a used notebook and a refurbished laptop? How do you choose which one is right for you? Who do you buy from? All of these questions can get make you impatient and frustrated and ready to just ditch the whole plan and overextend yourself for a new laptop, but stop!
First, let’s tackle the difference between a used laptop and a refurbished laptop. Used laptops are just like used cars. Someone bought new and eventually decided to trade up but the laptop was still working well and fully functional. The first owner sold the laptop on EBay or to another source and went on their merry way. Your friendly used laptop dealer checked out the machine and priced according to features, brand and age and is now offering it to you at a significantly lower price then when it was first offered. Typically, you can find used laptops for as little as $200.00. Bear in mind that you will have a smaller hard drive, less memory and older technology with an option like this, but if you are just planning to play on the internet and use basic applications, it may very well be all you need.
A refurbished laptop can come from a variety of sources. In some cases, when someone gets a brand new laptop it has a flaw, they send it back to the manufacturer who fixes the flaw (or leaves the flaw) and then they will sell the laptop as “open box” or “refurbished” at a discount. Perhaps someone had a laptop on warranty and the hard drive failed. They send it in and the manufacturer sends them a new one; the old machine goes to the refurbishment center and gets a new hard drive, is cleaned up and sold as a refurbished machine. In many cases, a refurbished laptop is a used laptop with replacement parts which can make it more reliable and typically means that newer technology is installed.
You can buy refurbished laptops from most manufacturers and when you do, you’ll often get a special warranty attached to the machine that gives you more peace of mind. They won’t even call them “used laptops” even though that’s what they are. They also won’t sell laptops that are a lot older and a lot cheaper which is when you need to look at smaller websites. You also may not get the best price for what you are buying. The brand name, as in all things, tends to raise the price. They will also try to sell you additional warranties, support contracts and the like so that your great deal on a refurbished laptop suddenly becomes a lot more money.
Buying from EBay, smaller used laptop websites and other purveyors can be successful; you just need to know what to look for. A lot of people have heard horror stories, and they can happen. EBay fraud does occur and sometimes if you opt for buying off a site like Craig’s List you’ll pay very little money and get very little for it. If you go with a smaller site, make sure they have been in business for a while and that they are up front about their warranty and their practices.
Will they take the laptop back if there is something seriously wrong? Are “All Sales Final”? What kind of operating system are you getting? Do they have responsive customer service? Do they have secure ordering? You can find the answers to all of these questions. Call the customer service lines before you buy so you can see how they operate as a company. Make sure you see “https” in the URL string when you are going through the ordering process. You can look or insignias from BBB Online (Better Business Bureau) online and other services like Verisign that act as third party validations of a site’s business practices. Make sure you feel comfortable with the site before you buy a machine from them and in most cases you’ll be perfectly happy with your purchase.
Choosing the right used laptop or refurbished laptop may take a little legwork. Establish what you want to do with the machine and then purchase accordingly. Seek outside advice so you know what you really need for successful web surfing, wireless capability, gaming, programming, or word processing. If you go into the buying process with the knowledge you’ll come out with what you need for the right price. The process may seem daunting, but think of how capable you’ll be of maintaining your new laptop when you know exactly what it has, what you need, and where it came from.
Don’t get pulled into the “new” buying craze if you don’t need to. You can find a great bargain and have a great laptop if you consider a used laptop or refurbished laptop. Buy smart and buy educated and you can’t go wrong!
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