Hesitant about refurbished

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Beowulf666, Dec 12, 2007.

  1. Beowulf666 macrumors regular


    Nov 26, 2007
    I will be purchasing a refurbished mac (macbook pro or macbook) soon. It will be my first mac ever and i'm really excited to get it. I've been looking at the refurbished prices and they're significantly cheaper. Money is somewhat of an issue for me, but not a HUGE deciding factor. I mean i can afford up to maybe $2000, but it'll really put me back a ways financially. So what do you guys think of refurbished computers? I've read some other forums, and apparently they're good. But I just want to know some details like what I can expect right out of the box. Will i recieve everything that a new mac would have? Will i have tiger installed or leopard? If there are scratches or dents, will i be able to swap it? Thanks for taking the time to read this guys.

    I live in Canada so the prices are a tad more expensive than that of the US and the UK. Also, there is no apple store in the city i live in (from what i know, if anyone knows of a apple store in calgary please let me know).
  2. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Dec 6, 2007
    The only way you'll be able to tell it's refurbished is because it'll come in a brown box instead of in the original one. Apart from that, refurbished books are a far safer buy than "new" ones, because they've actually gone through quality control.
  3. Beowulf666 thread starter macrumors regular


    Nov 26, 2007
    what about cosmetic appearances like dents, dings, and scratches? those won't be on there? and what about hardware? everything i can expect on a new model?

    Thanks for replying by the way :)
  4. macpluslaptop macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2007
    If you buy a refurb from Apple you'll be very happy. Mine was less than a month old and perfect. And you get the same warranty as with a new machine. There won't be any dents (they replace parts as needed before they go out again.) I buy everything refurb from Apple now (ipods, etc.). Only way to go.

    You'll also get Leopard, but the machine will come in a brown box.
  5. brad.c macrumors 68020


    Aug 23, 2004
    50.813669°, -2.474796°
    Hey, you said that just two days ago in another eerily similar thread. Is this a refurbished comment? :D

    BTW: I love the money I saved buying my Mac Mini as a refurb almost as much as the cute little box itself. Besides, a couple of months down the road, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference.
  6. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Dec 6, 2007
    Apple doesn't take in dinged books from the store and rebox them as refurbished things online. :^) Yes, you'll get everything you can expect on a new model.

    Hahaha...I guess so! It's time for me to go to bed...
  7. danny-bonaducci macrumors member

    Jul 3, 2007
    In the last two months I have purchased a total of 4 refurb iMacs. Two of the 17" whites and two of the 24" alum. Of the four, one of them had a problem, the fan was excessively loud on of the the 24" models. I had a few hiccups in getting it replaced, AppleCare sent me to an Apple Store and the Store sent me back to AppleCare, but with a little persistence and patience, I have been able to save a ton of cash going with refurbs. I have to say, Apple does a wonderful job with their refurb process, and even though I had one issue, I would do it again in a heartbeat. I have saved close to $1000 going this route.

    Each unit appears brand new, I have not even found as much as a scratch on any of them. I work for a very large tech company that sells PC's, printers and other products. I have firsthand experience with the refurbs we sell, it is a night and day difference. It is sad to say, but I would never purchase a refurb unless it was from Apple. Even though I got a bit of the run around, the service I got was first rate and I did not end up on the phone with someone in India once (which is a huge plus for me).

    So, weigh your options, but if you are concerned about cosmetic defects on a refurb, I have not seen that as an issue. I would say in my experience, you are just as likely to have an issue with brand new as you are with a refurb. However, with brand new, you can exchange at an Apple store on the spot and get a faster turn around if you have to return or exchange within days of purchase. That may or may not be a factor for you...

  8. flyinmac macrumors 68040


    Sep 2, 2006
    United States
    I've been through the refurb deal, and it did save me money. But, it severely cost me time and aggravation.

    My system arrived with a big chip in it's case, and lots of dings and scratches in the computer's case and the mouse. The LCD screen had a rather large abrasion mark across it's surface, and it required a lot of "buffing" to work it out to where it was only minimally visible.

    The computer was in for service immediately due to needing a replacement logic board right out of the case (a dead ethernet port required a new logic board to repair make the fix). I had it in the shop within an hour of delivery from FedEx.

    My computer's case was also extremely grungy / grimy and needed a severe scrubbing to clean the embedded dirt from it.

    I would not count on them letting you exchange it unless the computer fails to work.

    For me, they initially only repaired the main logic board (requiring me to wait for a replacement).

    The physical damage was all considered "Cosmetic" and I was told that Apple does not cover cosmetic issues since they don't affect the operation of the computer. And, that is in-fact in Apple's warranty statement. Even new systems are not guaranteed against cosmetic issues.

    It took me a long time (around a couple of months of arguing) to finally get a new case for my computer, and for them to finally replace the dud mouse that was also dinged-up.

    But, while dealing with all that, the computer itself kept breaking down, and was constantly needing new internals.

    A lot of people seem to think that a refurb is a better deal because it's been re-examined. But, really, the only thing you can be sure of is that someone else returned it for some reason (and you just have to hope Apple really addressed the issue).

    Many of the people who purchased the original MacBook Pro returned them for over-heating issues. And, many people who later purchased the refurbs from that batch found the issue was still there and ended-up returning them again.

    Sure, Apple says they put them through a thorough refurb process and thoroughly re-test them. But, really, there are no stated standards that we know of, and there are no published details of exactly what Apple does to each system.

    The best you can hope for is a system that someone returned because they just didn't like it. And, hopefully they treated the computer very well.

    Otherwise, you could get a system that had a number of issues, and perhaps Apple fixed some of them but missed repairing others. And, perhaps the person was also abusive to the computer and it now doesn't look so pretty.

    Apple doesn't tend to jump right on fixing cosmetic issues. A number of people who purchased the original MacBook Pro (first revision) also had them come in with physical damage or cases which were improperly assembled. And, those systems were brand new. Many of them reported small dents in the case that Apple refused to repair (even though they were there when the computer came out of the box). Many reported panels that were bent or improperly lined-up, and Apple refused to repair those.

    My iPod even had some cosmetic issues right out of the box. But, Apple wouldn't cover that at all.

    You're chances are better of getting a clean looking system if you buy new. So, if nice looking is an important consideration buy new.

    But, as mentioned, even that is no guarantee. Even my Mac Pro arrived with a few minor dings in the top of it from the factory (purchased brand new). The dings were obviously there when it was boxed because there was so much foam on the top of the case that shipping couldn't have caused it.

    If you have a cosmetic issue, don't count on Apple fixing it. But, if you buy new, you'll have a less likely chance of getting something with damage.

    Sadly, upon reflection, I can only think of a couple of computer's I've purchased from Apple that arrived in excellent shape without a single blemish (although usually rather minor). But, by far, the refurb was the nastiest experience. It's appearance was more along the lines of a 3 year old computer from a messy child being sold second hand.
  9. Beowulf666 thread starter macrumors regular


    Nov 26, 2007
    you've just scared me from buying refurbished laptops.....or apple.....or ANYTHING!
  10. flyinmac macrumors 68040


    Sep 2, 2006
    United States
    I know what you mean. I sometimes wonder why I tolerate it. But, it comes down to the results for my projects coming out better from OS X applications than the competitors which run in Windows. I tried to get by with the Windows applications for a while, but my finished product suffered.
  11. ricardo1064 macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2007
    refurbished? you're just wasting money if you don't use that option....

    I just got my new macbook pro, um I mean refurbished. Apart from some technical issues with FedEx and Apple this machine is incredible and new. While there are bad stories to every situation, those odds are minimal and this is a time to play the odds.

    You get the same warranty, same customer service, and the same product.

    (By the way, if anyone has any "closure" experience in dealing with Apple's Customer Service, please message/email me.... they pissed me off so much I purchased applecustomerservicesucks.com , just to give people an idea of the hell I went through with them.)
  12. Lang Murphy macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2007
    Hesitant about refurbished

    I took delivery of a refurb Mac Pro 10 days ago. No dings on anything. Keyboard and mouse packaged as brand new. Came with Tiger installed and got a Leopard DVD in the box.

    I've been using it everyday and have had no problems whatsoever. Installed an additional 2GB RAM and intend to put more hd's in, but my OoBE was great and I am quite happy to have saved $300 in buying what, for all intents and purposes, seems like a brand new box.

    Most feedback I've read, here and in Apple's discussion forums, indicate that refurbed Macs are a great deal. I must agree. Flyinmacs experience sounds singular; hard to believe Apple wouldn't take the time to clean up a box as dirty as indicated in that post. (Not saying I disbelieve the statement... just seems like an anomaly given all the positive posts I've read about refurb units.)

    I may get a Mini for my wife... I'll be watching the refurb list on Apple's site.

    Good luck, whichever road you head down...

  13. scienide09 macrumors 65816


    May 5, 2007
    +1 for buying refurbs

    I bought an MBP last April. Dings, scratches, dents? No way, the lappy looked in pristine condition. Better quality assurance than those units fresh from the production line.

    Would I do it again? Of course. Save some money. Same warranty as you'd get on a new unit, so you're protected.
  14. GlynJones macrumors 6502

    Jun 15, 2005
    -1 for Refurbs.

    Bought 2 in the past. Powermac G5 arrived with one of the foot pillars badly dented. It was so bad that it could not stay straight unless I propped it up with a cut to measure rubber. Was not happy but a works collegue bought it off me for the price I paid.

    A few months ago bought a refurb BlackBook and that arrived very badly scratched and a very worn trackpad. I was not happy so sent it back and bought a new one.

    I was probably just unluck but that's the chance you pay when playing the refurb lottery.
  15. Squonk macrumors 65816


    Mar 15, 2005
    My PowerBook is a refurb purchase and has been 100% perfect in operation. It came with two dings that were so minor I decided to just keep it. I'll be buying a refurb MBP in the new year as well.

    Don't worry about hearing one or two bad stories about refurbs - how many bad stories have you read about with people and new machine purchases? Probably more.
  16. nomad01 macrumors 68000


    Aug 1, 2005
    Birmingham, England
    I used to believe that too. However, in the UK anyway, every refurb I've bought has been a heap of junk. I got through 3 Macbook Pros and one Mac Pro. I only buy new now.

    They were all fine cosmetically though. They just has hardware defects!

    Other people swear by the refurbs though. <shrugs>
  17. gkroeger macrumors member

    Sep 15, 2007
    Just got a refurb 20" white iMac for my daughter and it was perfect.

    Obviously, none of these reports are documented, so the best you can do is tally up the responses and go with the numbers... but to me it looks like about 3:1 in favor of refurbs.
  18. nhexima macrumors member

    Dec 3, 2007
    I still haven't bought a mac yet, but my friend who used to work at the store got a refurbed MacBook 3 years ago. He was pretty happy with it, though the hard drive went bad, he had it replaced for free as it was under warranty. He still told me to go straight for refurbs to save money. I'm especially considering the lower-end 24' iMac, as you save $250 by getting the refurb... though I'm waiting right now for unlikely MWSF announcements anyway.
  19. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    On the refurbished store, you find both current and older models. If you buy an older model, there is a very good chance that it is brand new. Whenever a new model comes out, everything old that hasn't been sold becomes refurbished. So any of these, chances that your Mac is 100% fine are the same as with a new one bought in the shop.

    Another source of refurbished Macs are computers that are returned by customers for any reason, including being defective. All defects are obviously fixed. It may be possible that a Mac slips through the system and gets sold without its problems being fixed. In that case you ask for a replacement and you will get it. The machines are all supposed to be without any faults and clean.

    On the positive side, you may get more than you bargained for. If model X sells with one GB of memory, and a customer ordered one with 2 GB and returned it, then Apple doesn't remove that second GB or sells it for more money. If you are lucky, that is the Mac that you get and you have one GB more for free.
  20. osequis macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2005
    See my refurbished MBP17 C2D gallery... I have it since february, is rock solid and came with a 3GB of RAM instead of the original 2GB free of charge! :)

    http://xaguaro.com/picz/MacBookPro17 arrives/

    Yes, is kind a lottery but you can win!, and always you'll have 14 days to return it if you don't like it...
  21. Squonk macrumors 65816


    Mar 15, 2005
    Umm - the MacBooks aren't that old. :D They came out in May 2006, right?

    Anyway, perhaps a poll should be started to determine peoples satisfaction level:
    Bought new - 0 problems
    Bought new - needed 1 swap out
    Bought new - needed 2 swap outs
    Bought refurb - problems
    Bought refurb - needed 1 swap out
    Bought refurb - needed 2 swap outs

    BEFORE putting up a survey, let's get some input on what you'd like to see. :cool:
  22. aquajet macrumors 68020

    Feb 12, 2005
    I've purchased an iMac G3, iMac G4 and a MacBook Pro -- all refurbished. All of them had some minor cosmetic flaw, but not anything I would consider "damage". For example, the G3 and a number of swirl scratch marks and my MBP has a small scuff on the palm rest. Nothing serious though, and you'd never notice it unless you were looking very closely under a bright light.

    On the upside however, occasionally you might receive a computer with higher specs than what you paid for. A number of people have received larger hard drives or more RAM. My MBP included a 7200 rpm drive, rather than the stock 5400 rpm.

    Refurbs are a good value. I'll never buy another new Mac again.
  23. sk8ordie macrumors regular


    Nov 16, 2007
  24. DesignerOnMac macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2007
    I have purchased 3 laptops: 2 ibooks, and 1 PowerBook. They looked and worked as if new. The only issue I had was with 1 of the iBooks where the keys kept popping off. Called Apple, they sent an over night box to me for free. Shipped the ibook out the next day and within 3 days, I had the defective ibook back and has worked fins since.

    Some people do have issues with refurbished, but most do not. (I could write a book about PC machines and refurbished, but I won't....to painful.) I will only say OUCH!!!
  25. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    My Refurb MacBook C2D from Apple.ca was perfect, cosmetically and operationally.

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