Resolved Refurbished vs New

revmacian

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Original poster
Oct 20, 2018
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I keep hearing people say that refurbished Apple devices are no different than brand new Apple devices. If this were true, why doesn't Apple sell the refurbished as brand new devices? Apple doesn't do this, so that tells me there is a difference.

I see that we can buy MacBook Pro's, made in July 2018, for much less than the new MacBook Pro's.
 

bobcatou

macrumors newbie
Jan 6, 2009
17
16
I believe it is a law that you can't call something new that has been returned already. That is why they are called refurbished.

These are items that might have just been a return because someone didn't like the product or there might have been something wrong with and had to be fixed.

They have been tested and checked out and are ready to be sold. The only difference is that you don't get a nice shiny Apple box. Warranty is the same. Typically they cut the price by 15 %. I've never had an issue with a refurb.

Bryan
 

revmacian

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Original poster
Oct 20, 2018
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I believe it is a law that you can't call something new that has been returned already. That is why they are called refurbished.

These are items that might have just been a return because someone didn't like the product or there might have been something wrong with and had to be fixed.

They have been tested and checked out and are ready to be sold. The only difference is that you don't get a nice shiny Apple box. Warranty is the same. Typically they cut the price by 15 %. I've never had an issue with a refurb.

Bryan
Thank you for that. Warranty and performance were my main concerns. So, it appears that I may be able to move up a level in hardware if I buy a refurb instead of buying the new item. That opens many doors.
 

mar58

macrumors member
Sep 19, 2017
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. The only difference is that you don't get a nice shiny Apple box. Bryan
I actually think this has changed. The last few items I've purchased including an Apple TV a couple of weeks ago came in brand new white sealed box. I believe the only difference now is that it does note "refurb" on the sticker attached to the box. Now you honestly wouldn't know it wasn't brand new just by looking at the box.
 

techwarrior

macrumors 65816
Jul 30, 2009
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Colorado
Many of my Apple devices have been refurbished devices. I have never had issues.

I understand they are either devices the buyer returned in the first 14-30 days because they decided they wanted a different device (or a new one came out with better specs), or they had some sort of hardware issue.

Apple diagnoses and repairs these. Sometimes they come in original packaging, sometimes in plain white boxes (probably depends on whether returned items included original packaging). Generally, all accessories that shipped with the new item are included. They qualify for the same warranty and are eligible for Apple Care.

It has been said Apple does more diagnostics on returned items than new. So, chances are perhaps equal or better that the refurbished item will preform at least as good as new.
 

eyeseeyou

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Feb 4, 2011
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Thank you for that. Warranty and performance were my main concerns. So, it appears that I may be able to move up a level in hardware if I buy a refurb instead of buying the new item. That opens many doors.
95% of my apple products were either refurbished or "used". All visually and functionally new.
 
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vertical smile

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Sep 23, 2014
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I keep hearing people say that refurbished Apple devices are no different than brand new Apple devices.
They are, in fact different. In many ways, the Apple refurbished device is better than the new one.

I have purchased many Apple Refurbished items over the years, including Macs, iPods, AirPorts, Apple TVs, and other things.

You wouldn’t be able tell the difference between new and refurbished out of the box. From my experience, the box is even the same, it just now has a refurbished label and SN. It used to be that refurbished ones came in a different box, sometimes just a plan brown one. Although, one or two Apple Refurbished product I purchased a long time ago came in what appeared like original packaging and label.

Refurbished have the same warranty and qualify for Apple Care.

The real differences include what is done to the Apple Refurbished products. They are tested extensively, while new products just go though a basic test.

Think of it this way, if you have two identical looking devices, same internals, same warranty, but one had extra testing reducing its chance of failure and is cheaper, would you buy the more expensive higher risk one?

With everything else being equal (time until it arrives at my home, BTO options, form, fit, function...), I personally would always buy a cheaper Apple Refurbished over full retail.

Although, many times, you can find better deals on new Apple products from sales at online and retail stores like Best Buys.

If this were true, why doesn't Apple sell the refurbished as brand new devices?
As other people mentioned, there are consumer laws preventing this.

Another important thing to note is that Apple's Refurbished products is NOT the same thing as refurbished Apple products.

Buying from third party venders and eBay, many times they have things labeled as "refurbished", but afaik, there no legal definition of refurbished and you never know what exactly was refurbished. Maybe the seller considers just a wipe of the OS and a wipe down with a damp cloth as refurbished. They don't always have a warranty, or one via Apple. They don't always qualify for AC. So, unless I get a really good deal, I stay away from these.

Apple clearly defines what they mean by refurbished on their website. They also have a full warranty and can get AC.
 
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Starfia

macrumors 6502a
Apr 11, 2011
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They are different – Apple describes the differences: https://www.apple.com/shop/refurbished/about

What's similar, to the satisfaction of users who might say they're "the same," is the quality and peace of mind they get from buying them. While eBay and other sellers use "refurbished" to mean anything from "professionally cleaned or repaired" to simply "used," Apple is equipped to replace parts and restore devices to their own standards, and they cover them with the same warranty as they would new ones.
 
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HappyIntro

macrumors 6502
Apr 30, 2016
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I recently (several months ago) purchased my iMac Pro from the Apple refurbished store and I am very pleased - it's been rock solid since day one. It was the first refurbished item I have ever purchased; generally I am weird and really value being the first and only user of items so expensive and personal to me. However I heard so many rave reviews from people who've purchased them that I felt like I had to give it a try.

One thing - my iMac Pro did have multiple scratches on the back shell. There is no guarantee that what you order from the refurbished store will be 100% new looking. Since when I use the computer I don't see the scratches, they did not bother me.
 
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GGJstudios

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May 16, 2008
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I believe it is a law that you can't call something new that has been returned already.
That's true.

Apple refurbished products are considered by most to be a very good deal, as they're pretty much like buying a new product, except for the box.
Apple Certified Refurbished Products are pre-owned Apple products that undergo Apple's stringent refurbishment process prior to being offered for sale. While only some units are returned due to technical issues, all units undergo Apple's stringent quality refurbishment process.
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 notebook 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, refurb.me can alert you when it becomes available.
Guide to Buying Refurbished Apple Products
 
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gertruded

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Jul 5, 2007
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My purchased refurbished mid 2007 20" imac is still in every day service. my late 2009 Mini purchased refurbished is still in everyday service. Anecdotal stories are not evidence, but they do count.

Yes, I would like to replace them with new machines, but the lagging updates and prices..........
 
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goslowjoe

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Dec 22, 2017
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Buying from third party venders and eBay, many times they have things labeled as "refurbished", but afaik, there no legal definition of refurbished and you never know what exactly was refurbished. Maybe the seller considers just a wipe of the OS and a wipe down with a damp cloth as refurbished. They don't always have a warranty, or one via Apple. They don't always qualify for AC. So, unless I get a really good deal, I stay away from these.

Apple clearly defines what they mean by refurbished on their website. They also have a full warranty and can get AC.
I purchased a refurbished Late-2014 Mac Mini from Amazon last week - it is still under warranty (only about four months old) and has an Apple Care warranty until February 2021. In addition, the unit I received was a higher specification than advertised. The only indication that this was not a brand new unit at the time of my purchase was that the box was not sealed and had a dent or two. It is absolutely awesome and I can only imagine what the new 2018 Mac Mini must be like.
 

vertical smile

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Sep 23, 2014
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I purchased a refurbished Late-2014 Mac Mini from Amazon last week - it is still under warranty (only about four months old) and has an Apple Care warranty until February 2021. In addition, the unit I received was a higher specification than advertised. The only indication that this was not a brand new unit at the time of my purchase was that the box was not sealed and had a dent or two. It is absolutely awesome and I can only imagine what the new 2018 Mac Mini must be like.
Glad you like it.

Don't get the wrong idea from my post, there is nothing wrong with buying others' refurbished Apple products. If I could get a great deal buying a used Mac on eBay which saves me a lot of money versus buying directly from Apple's refurbished store, then I would most likely go for the money savings from the eBay Mac.

The issue is that not all venders' refurbished items have Apple's warranty. Plus, many places, including Amazon, do not have a clear definition of what refurbished means, and in many cases just be a used item that was wiped down with a wet rag.

There are many people that assume that Apple's refurbished Macs is the same thing as Amazon's refurbished Macs, and eBay's refurbished Macs, and everyone else's, and this is not true, that was all I wanted the OP, or anyone else to know.
 
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goslowjoe

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Dec 22, 2017
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Glad you like it.

Don't get the wrong idea from my post, there is nothing wrong with buying others' refurbished Apple products. If I could get a great deal buying a used Mac on eBay which saves me a lot of money versus buying directly from Apple's refurbished store, then I would most likely go for the money savings from the eBay Mac.

The issue is that not all venders' refurbished items have Apple's warranty. Plus, many places, including Amazon, do not have a clear definition of what refurbished means, and in many cases just be a used item that was wiped down with a wet rag.

There are many people that assume that Apple's refurbished Macs is the same thing as Amazon's refurbished Macs, and eBay's refurbished Macs, and everyone else's, and this is not true, that was all I wanted the OP, or anyone else to know.
True - I would probably have felt more comfortable buying a refurbished item directly from Apple than Amazon but because of my location, where there is not even a decent Apple Store let alone an Apple reseller I can trust, Amazon was my best bet. And I must say, Amazon has not let me down once this year. Their delivery service is superb.
 
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