I have bought a lot of refurb electronics since I retired 12 years ago. VCRs, DVD players, video cams, and 5 computers. Some of these were for my own use, many were gifts to family. My favorite source is TigerDirect.com but have also used refurbdepot and heartland. All 3 stand behind their products and often offer an extended warranty at a reasonable price. I am currently using a refurb Gateway from TigerDirect with Vista home premium, a dual TV tuner, plenty of memory, disc, etc. It was much cheaper to buy that than to try to upgrade my 5 yr old HP Media Center PC. Further, my attempts to get HP to help make the computer I bought [new] from them work as advertised were totally frustrating. Some of the features never worked.
Some of the posts advised against refurb laptops. I bought 3 refurb Emerson laptops from TigerDirect last summer for my homeschooled granddaughters [10, 12, 14] at less than half the cost of similiar laptops new. One had a small problem which Tiger took care of.
I started buying refurb products almost 20 years ago when I worked for the Aerospace part of GE. I visited a GE office in El Paso that had been set up to handle customer returns of consumer electronics such as phones, radios, TVs, cassette players, etc. I learned that, industrywide, such products were rarely tested during manufacturer. GE had discovered that the failure rate was so low that it was cheaper to exchange the occasional defective product for a new one; they would then do some simple testing on the returned product. If it was easy to fix, they would do the repair and resell at half price or better. If the problem was more expensive, the unit was discarded.
I talked to TigerDirect reps before I bought refurb computers from them. They said that their return rate on refurbs was actually lower than on new products. [The infant mortality issue]. They also told me that if my refurb failed, to be sure to remove any extra memory, etc that I had installed because they would not even attempt to repair a failed refurb--they would simply send a replacement.
I think [but do not know for sure] that modern computer manufacturers often do system level test when they download software, etc. but doubt that they do much longterm burnin. Does anyone have any facts on that?
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