Refurbished IT Products you should not buy

Refurbished IT Products you should not buy

Refurbished IT Products you should not buy

Refurbished IT Products you should not buy

Some refurbished IT products have great prices, but even so there are certain products I would never buy.

Some of the most popular questions I get are; Is it good to buy refurbished? What is the meaning of refurbished? Is it good to buy a refurbished Iphone? So this week I decided to tackle some of these questions and drill down into what not to buy.

Refurbished IT Products you should not buy.

Although the temptation is to just buy everything you can refurbished, you should be selective, and here, I discuss which items you should avoid. One reason to be cautious is that first, there is no definition of “refurbished” that everyone agrees upon. From company to company, there are different processes for and quality of refurbished items. Most people think that refurbished means an item was returned because it was broken, then fixed, and then resold as refurbished product. However, in 2011, Accenture reported that only five percent of technology returns were due to defects.

Who wants to save money?

Refurbished tech is a great way to save money and why not? Some of the equipment is barely used. Why pay new retail prices when you can buy something rigorously tested and most of the time won’t notice any defects or performance degradation? A lot of these products are close to new and don’t carry the high price tag.

Who is doing the refurbishing?

This will vary and depends on the product. The manufacturer as well as third parties will refurbish products; either way, the product is tested and checked thoroughly. For example, Apple refurbished products are pretty much as good as new, and you’ll always get a one-year warranty. I would never second guess buying anything from the Apple refurbished store.

Does the warranty state risk?

A warranty will always state the risk on your refurbished IT product. Refurbished 30-day warranty vs. a 90-day and one-year warranty: which of these do you feel more comfortable buying? In my experience, if you buy something refurbished and do not have a problem after 15 days of use, then you are good to go.

Ok, now that I have that out the way, here is what you SHOULD NOT BUY REFURBISHED.


Length of use and questionable ink and toner make this one an unsafe bet. In the case of printers, there are too many questions that cannot be answered only by the use of the word refurbished. For example, how long has the printer been sitting idle? They are not worth the headache of support and have too many moving parts that make it hard to know if you are going to have a great experience with these products. In addition, having to deal with the return process if something goes wrong will be a nightmare.

Hard drives

Why would you take a chance with your data on something that was already questionable at the point of manufacture? Hard drive manufactures have to get a hard drive right the first time, or it’s a DO NOT BUY. These products have a ticking time clock in them and can fail anytime from 5 minutes after buying them to up to 5 years. Always buy this product brand new. They aren’t worth the risk, and you are not saving too much by buying refurbished.


Refurbished cell phones are the worst. I have never ever been happy with a refurbished phone; it is very difficult to know what the story is behind that used or refurbished cell phone. For example, you can never know what the battery life will be like. Is it locked or unlocked? Will I be able to activate it with my carrier? I will go into more detail below, but these are a don’t buy.

Batteries are pretty much embedded in the case and/or difficult to swap out. Phone batteries are not cheap, and if you get a phone with a terrible battery, this will cancel out any savings you have made very quickly. Hey, if you are tech savvy and feel good about doing it yourself, then take that chance. However, I advise walking away from them if you can.

Don’t buy TVs

You can really save money here, but TVs do get a workout, and it’s really hard to thoroughly test TVs. The size of the TV makes it difficult to handle properly. They don’t go through the same types of refurbishing process as a laptop or desktop computer. If you are considering it, then I would recommend buying a third-party warranty from Square Trade

What do you think? My name is Phil, and I am with a company called Filmar Technologies located in Michigan. We purchase as many I.T. assets as we can, including off-lease, end-of-life, and obsolete I.T. equipment. We audit and test their functionality, destroy the data to DOD standards (i.e. Standard DOD 5220.22-M or US DOD 5220.22-M) and re-market refurbished assets that still have value. I have been buying and selling IT products for 20 years and specialize in used and refurbished IT products.These are my experiences based on 20+ years of tech know-how. Have a story to share or comment? Please let me know. We would love to hear your positive experiences and your horror stories.

I hope you enjoyed this article on Refurbished IT products and Thank you for taking time to read my article. If you want to learn more about how you can make money selling Refurbished IT equipment then go to my website

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Comments (7)

  • Marc Reply

    Hey Phil,
    Thanks for the insight.
    While I agree with some of your info, Printers are dead wrong.
    We refurbish Barcode printers all the time for customers, and usually sell them with new printheads and/or switch out the moving parts that wear regularly.
    And with POS printers being such a high cost of hardware for many large retail customers, saving 50% or more on a printer can make a big difference…with such a low failure rate, it just makes sense in the long run.
    If you do your research upfront and choose a partner that knows what they’re doing, printers are just another piece of the refurbished hardware puzzle.
    All the best! MS

    May 10, 2018 at 12:50 pm
  • Phil Reply

    Marc, nice to see you here. I agree with you. I will update to add thermal bar code printers. Thanks for sharing!

    May 26, 2018 at 3:02 pm
  • Arnas Reply

    So you say, that if Apple corp refurbs Phone or Hdd it’s OK, but if it’s third party, then is not ???

    September 27, 2018 at 4:04 am
    • Phil Biundo Reply

      Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. Hard drives refurbished by a third party are not looking for bad sectors on rotational drives. SSD drives, on the other hand, might be worth buying used but I would only buy if the data that I am storing is not sensitive.

      September 27, 2018 at 12:36 pm
  • Azhar Musleem Reply

    hmmmm……. We are buying SATA and SAS hdds in large qty all day long..please send your inventory to us for cash evaluations now.

    June 15, 2020 at 11:14 am
  • Nitin Goyal Reply

    Nicely written. I partially agree. Printers/TV/ Hard drive and parts are different to deal with. Phones are also getting difficult to deal with. I would also add cameras, speakers, keyboards to the same list.
    At the same time everything has a number and everything works as long as price is right.

    March 18, 2024 at 11:17 pm


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