Pros & Cons of buying Refurbished...

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Prise, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. Prise macrumors regular

    Dec 14, 2008
    Up until now, I've always eschewed refurbished products when it comes to computers, it's components, and basically anything where semi-conductors are involved. The premise being that refurbished products were problematic in some way whereby they were returned.

    All things being equal, once chips (RAM, cpu, gnu and motherboards) burn in and run properly, it is unlikely any will fail; hence, refurbs were returned products where one of the afore mentioned main components were defective (bad chips which made it pass the throughput quality control process), which is why I've never purchased used or refurbed computers and/or components.

    I've seen some recently good deals on Apple refurbs. Just wondering on some of the generally accepted pros and cons with Apple refurbs?
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Apple refurbished products are considered by most to be a very good deal, as they're pretty much like buying a new Mac, except for the box.
    Click the link in that quote for more details on the refurbishment process.
    • Apple Certified Refurbished Products are available online from the Apple Refurb Store and are not sold in local Apple stores
    • Educational discounts do not apply to refurb products.
    • Refurb products come with the same warranty as new products, and qualify for AppleCare
    • Refurb products have a changed serial number that identifies them as refurbished
    • Refurb products come with whatever OS version and software they originally shipped with as new
    • Refurb products come with the same items in the box as new products, only the box is a plain one, not the new box.
    • A refurb product could have some cosmetic signs of prior use, but rarely do
    • A refurb Mac may have some cycles on the battery, but not a significant enough amount to affect usable life
    • The refurb store inventory changes frequently, sometimes several times a day, and doesn't have any direct relation to upcoming product releases. What's available in the refurb store is determined by what has been returned to Apple.
    • If you're looking for a particular item, can alert you when it becomes available.
  3. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    What I am saying here only applies to refurbished equipment sold directly by Apple.
    • Get the same 1 year warranty as new equipment sold by Apple.
    • You can add AppleCare if you want.
    • Save money.
    • If you didn't see the box, often you can't tell the difference from new.
    There is one con and that only applies if you care about the box that the gear comes in. Refurbished gear comes in plain white boxes - some people care about their cardboard boxes.

    I have twice ordered refurbished gear and will do so again and soon at that.
  4. Prise thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 14, 2008

    Good info here, never realized Apple's refurbs go through a process of quality control internally.

    Agreed on the pricing. I couldn't care less about the retail box. For a good deal, Apple can put it into a paper bag, for all I care.
  5. jondunford macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2013
    Going for a poo Moderator
    i wouldn't buy a used device from a single teenage guy (goes more for laptops/handhelds)
  6. noisycats macrumors 6502a


    Jun 1, 2010
    The 'ham. Alabama.
    I don't believe I've ever purchased from Apple direct without going through the refurb store (excluding iPhones).

    iMacs, laptops, iPods, iPads, etc. Probably 20 products over the past 10+ years, only one was a dud and it was replaced via express mail in less than 2 days.

    To answer your question, zero cons.
  7. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    We're not talking about buying used devices from individuals. We're talking about buying refurbished devices from Apple. There's a world of difference.
  8. IA64 macrumors 6502

    Nov 8, 2013
    I think I'm getting confused. Refurbished can also be used machines but certified by Apple?

    Correct me if I'm wrong but assuming that a HDD lifetime is 3 years with continuous power on, if you buy a one year used-refurbished iMac chances are that the drive will fail sooner after hitting its lifespan... ( it also applies to LCD and other components )
  9. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    They're not always used machines and those that are, are not simply used. Read the quote from Apple in my first post, as well as the link to understand the refurbishment process.
    How did you come to the assumptions that a HDD lifetime is 3 years, or that a refurbished Mac has been in use for a year? Many Macs are returned with little or no use, and I've never had a HDD fail in 3 years unless it was defective. Also, refurbs come with Apple's 1 year warranty and qualify for AppleCare, which extends coverage to 3 years.
  10. IA64 macrumors 6502

    Nov 8, 2013
    I read the quote from Apple and it isn't really clear. Most refurbished iMacs are a year old or so. I'd really like to believe that they're barely used after that time.

    I am not assuming, I'm just saying. This article has some statistics.
  11. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Most of the drives I've used, including those built into Mac models, are still going strong after 5-6 years or more. If you buy a year old refurbished Mac and get AppleCare, it's covered until the drive is over 4 years old.

    With the overwhelming majority reporting very positive results from buying Apple refurbished, it's a safe bet. If the age of the drive or components is of major concern, perhaps buying only new Macs is the best choice for you.
  12. Nismo73 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 4, 2013
    How do you account for the late '13 iMacs that are already in the refurb store? (just a general statement) They were released late September.
  13. IA64 macrumors 6502

    Nov 8, 2013
    That's why I said " most " which implies that although some refurbished Macs may be barely used, it's not the case with the others.
  14. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Oct 9, 2007
    Another issue in favour is Apple's generous return policies. A lot of refurb units, perhaps most, never had anything wrong with them. They just weren't what the original purchaser wanted.
  15. Prise thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 14, 2008
    Also, all things being equal, new PCs (Macs or otherwise) will always have a DOA risk, however remote. New PCs are all manufactured by machines in an assembly line and shipped with minimal testing. It's impossible, nor would it be feasible, to quality test every new PC before it ships. Moreover, each chip (whether the cpu, gpu, mainboard) has a small chance of being faulty, which can only be noticed after the burn in period.

    According to Apple, they "rigorously" test each refurbished unit replacing any of parts which may be faulty. In this regard, buying a refurb may entail less risk, since (assuming Apple is true to their process) a refurbed unit has been tested with all of it's components amply burned in.

    At the very least, it should eliminate the chance of getting a DOA computer, or one that fails within the first 72 - 100 hours of operation.
  16. mcpix macrumors regular

    May 13, 2005
    The 15" Macbook Pro with Retina Display I'm currently typing on, and my last two iMacs were all refurbished machines. They all work great. I've also bought several refurbished Mac Minis, one of which shipped with a bigger hard drive and more memory than I paid for.
  17. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    I've bought probably 6 refurb'd Macs of different types over the years and never had a problem with them I didn't also have with non-refurbs. Lots of folks return Macs or other computers because they can't figure out how to run or fix software; the hardware is often fine.

    iMacs are problematic IMHO because of the HDDs, as you mention. But I've had ones go bad after 2 years on Macs bought new, and last longer on refurbs. YMMV. Apple sorta forces everyone into Apple Care now because they make it so difficult to do something as simple as replace a fungible part like the HDD. So you need the same warranty coverage either way, much as it pains me to say that.

    The big diff vs new is the lack of BTO options.

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