What disadvantages are in buying Macbooks from Apple refurbished?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by HardBall, Mar 24, 2013.

  1. HardBall macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2006
    Other people here already confirmed that MBP purchased from Apple refurb has the same exactly warranty and conditions than the new machines. So I was wondering if this means that it's always a good idea to buy refurb, and save a couple 100s. Is there really any downside to it?

    • would there be scratches, seal imperfections, and other cosmetic damage that is baked into the machine?
    • would there be possibly some unseen technical issues and glitches that have a tendency to occur with refurbs?
    • would there be more likely inferior components, such as the LG but not Samsung panels used in the rMBP, due to people returning LG panels?
    • could there be any issue with subpar battery life with machines sold refurb compared to new?
    • any other possible issues that I should be aware of?
  2. TofSanity macrumors 6502a


    Oct 29, 2010
    i have bought a refurbished iPad that had no issues. Also, I had a 15" rMBP base model that had a Samsung screen. I returned it ONLY because I want 16GB of RAM. So, eventually that rMBP will end up on the refurbish list to be sold. I can imagine that there are many that fit this example.
  3. MrMacMack macrumors 6502a

    Oct 24, 2012
    I don't think that there are any disadvantages. They come with the same warranty options. If anything there may be an advantage. I have seen many people get more than what they ordered. (i.e. Ordered i5 processor and the computer they got had an i7, etc...)
  4. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    The only disadvantage is that they may have some minor cosmetic imperfections (like scratches). But given that you still have the 14 days no questions asked return period, refurbs are as good as new.
  5. MrMacMack macrumors 6502a

    Oct 24, 2012
    Yep, aside from the slight risk of inconvenience with having to go thru with doing a return I think it's virtually risk free.
  6. Asuriyan, Mar 24, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013

    Asuriyan macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2013
    -No retail packaging
    -No fancy microfiber screen cloth
    -Limited customization options

    -You aren't paying $300 for a microfiber cloth and a box that says MacBook Pro

    EDIT: As pointed out since I bought my last refurb they have in fact started putting microfiber cloths in the box (or perhaps I just got shorted and didn't realize it at the time). My point remains.
  7. swerve147 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 12, 2013
    You do in fact get the fancy microfiber screen cloth :). The white box it comes in however is a bit bland.
  8. MrMacMack macrumors 6502a

    Oct 24, 2012
    Which options are those?
  9. trikky macrumors regular

    Nov 10, 2011
    I would say any of the options. Like changing the HD, RAM, screen...any of the options available if you were buying new through Apple.


    Possible to get some cosmetic wear, but unlikely - and if you do it's highly unlikely it will be enough to warrant paying an extra $300 for a new machine in order to avoid it.
    If you don't like saving a crapload of cash, it could be an issue. Otherwise, enjoy.
  10. troy14 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 25, 2008
    Las Vegas (Summerlin), NV
    Apple product's that are "refurbished" (and I hesitate to say that term) are generally regarded as good as new. From my PERSONAL experience, I have purchased a few Macbook Pros (for myself and others), 2 iPod touches, an iPad 1, 2 Macbook Airs, an Airport Extreme, and a Time Capsule. (Note: I didn't keep all of these, some I returned) and I can honestly say in every item there was not a single scratch or cosmetic imperfection and every item had all of it's accessories.

    I don't think I've ever read on these forums about anyone getting a refurb with a cosmetic imperfection either.
  11. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    The only downside at all I can think of is you might get a slightly lower price when you go to sell it later since you don't have the retail box and it is a refurb. Uninformed buyers might attach some stigma to a refurb that could lower resale price.
  12. darkinners macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2013
    Incorrect, it does come with that fancy microfiber cloth.
    I know because my refurbished rMBP 15" have it came with the package.
  13. c1phr macrumors 6502

    Jan 8, 2011
    I also got the fancy microfiber!

    I've been loving my 2010 MBP (and putting it through its paces many times over) that I got refurb 2 years ago, and my brother hasn't had any issues with his refurb iPod Touch.
  14. patrickoneal macrumors newbie

    Feb 19, 2013
    The only disadvantage I can think of is that the extra year of warranty that Discover and Amex include on purchases does not apply to refurbs. You do still get 5% cash back if you buy with a Discover card through the shop discover portal.

    For what it's worth, I ordered a 2.3/8/256 rMBP refurb and I received a 2.3/16/256 with a Samsung panel, and a Samsung SSD. Looked like brand new. You most likely won't get a ram upgrade, but I'd keep my fingers crossed for the Samsung components.
  15. HardBall thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2006
    Thanks a lot guys; I guess that answers most of my questions.

    About that blurb about Discover; what kind of stuff do they cover in those rewards programs, if I buy peripherals along with the MBP at the same time, would they also count toward the 5%?
  16. patrickoneal macrumors newbie

    Feb 19, 2013
    Yes it does, on every dollar spent except on sales tax. If you have a "discover more" or "discover it" card, you just log in at discover.com and click shop discover, then click on apple. There are a bunch of stores to choose from with varying amounts of cash back. You can take the cash as a statement credit, or leverage it further by purchasing gift cards at a discount. On the rare occasion that crutchfield has a good price on something, I use my accumulated cash back to buy $50 gift cards for $40 to spend there.
  17. HardBall thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2006
    Ah, I see. Do you have to have a specific type of discover card? I m not that familiar of the distinctions.

    Also, how would you get to the refurb section from apple's page, after entering through discover portal? I dont really see a refirb section on the mac part of the site.

  18. trikky macrumors regular

    Nov 10, 2011
    I didn't get any microfibre. :( I did get twice the RAM, however. :D
  19. MrMacMack macrumors 6502a

    Oct 24, 2012
    2x the memory instead of the cloth. Not a bad deal. :)
  20. HardBall thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2006
    Also, does anyone know if the different refurb models just randomly appear to be available and disappear, then appear over again. That seems to be the case that I have seen in the last couple of months. Or is there any rhyme or reason to it?

    I havent shopped refurb from apple before, so jusy curious to whether any planning can be done, or we can only grab the deals when they appear. Thx
  21. B... macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2013
    The refurbs are only available when people return their computers. It all depends on that. Check often and grab the deals when they become available. There is no way to plan it...
  22. 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, refurb.me can alert you when it becomes available.
  23. mobi macrumors 6502


    Jul 26, 2004
    Penn's Woods
    Well put! The defect rate of my refurbs, have been the same as new stock. No worries, BUY refurb with confidence!
  24. HardBall thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2006
    Thanks, that's a very handle site to know shopping for refurbs..... :)
  25. bniu macrumors 6502a

    Mar 21, 2010
    I managed to get a refurb with a defective graphics card, but a quick swapout resulted in a free magic mouse + a free upgrade to 8GB of RAM.

    No complaints from me!

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