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A Look at Why Green Consumers are Buying Refurbished Electronics



If you’re in the market for a consumer electronics product such as a phone, computer, or TV, you may find yourself presented with two options: new or refurbished. While your initial reaction is to go with the new product, the price tag on the refurbished alternative can be tempting. Do you know the benefits of refurbished products?

3 Benefits of Buying Refurbished

We’ve all heard the term “refurbished” thrown around, but how much do you actually know about these products? According to a survey by technology consulting firm Accenture, only five percent of returned electronics are actually defective.

Some refurbished products haven’t even been removed from the original packaging by the consumer. And if there is a defect, most companies send the product to an authorized repair center for inspection, repair, and repackaging.

Now that you understand the reality of the refurbished market, let’s take a look at some of the biggest benefits to buying these products:

1. Environmental Impact

One of the biggest reasons for buying a refurbished product is the positive environmental impact this type of transaction produces.

“For starters, it reduces the amount of electronic waste because this way life cycle of devices becomes way longer,” says Megan of, who has experience with the refurbished cellphone market. “It also decreases demand for new phones which in turn helps preserve earth’s raw materials. In other words, by buying refurbished phones, you will contribute to improving our planet’s wellbeing.”

While you may not personally see the tangible effects of your decision to purchase refurbished, you can rest easy knowing you’re doing your part to reduce your footprint as a consumer.

2. Price

One tangible benefit you will experience when purchasing refurbished is cost savings. For phones and smaller electronic devices, you can see savings of between 30-50 percent when compared to the exact same product with a “new” label. For computers and larger devices, savings of 10-25 percent are common. Not bad when you’re getting the same exact product!

3. Test Unit

Are you thinking about switching from one PC brand to another? Do you want to see if your child is responsible enough to own a cell phone? Is your office about to purchase 100 new printers? Any time you’re preparing to invest a substantial amount of money in new technology, it can be a smart idea to test it out. With a cheaper refurbished unit, you can see how well you like the technology without investing much.

What to Look for When Buying Refurbished

While most refurbished products will have the same quality as brand new products, there are some specific things to look for when shopping for a refurbished item.

Return policy. A return policy is important when you’re purchasing a refurbished unit. Some companies offer 14-day return periods, while others label the sale as-is. “We think it’s best to avoid purchasing products as is,” says Patrick Austin of Consumer Reports, “since they may not have been through a refurbishment process.”

Brand name. It’s also important to consider the brand name. Are you buying from an established name like Best Buy or Apple – or is it a tiny online retailer you’ve never heard of? As a rule of thumb, only purchase refurbished products from reputable brands.

Look for warranties. It’s sometimes hard to find a good warranty on a refurbished product, but be patient, and you’ll find one. When it comes to electronics a 30 or 60-day warranty is nothing. Look for ones that are six months or one year in length.

If you’re looking to purchase something like a phone, computer, or TV, don’t shy away from refurbished options. While there’s some risk associated with these purchases, the fears most people have aren’t valid. The environmental impact can be significant and it’ll feel good knowing you’re an eco-friendly shopper.


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