Will You Buy Refurbished? Part 1

A couple months back the laptop my wife uses was fading away, the internal power connector was broken/barely working and it looked like a motherboard swap would be required. Out of warranty and at $150+ for the motherboard (plus some aggravation), time to buy something new. It’s used for browsing, email, etc, and the one thing she knew was that she wanted something lighter and smaller than the 17” media focused one she had.

There is a CompUSA just around the corner from us, so I went over to look at their selection, including the refurbs. Refurbs tend to strike a chord of fear, but in my experience there are often good deals to be found, especially if you don’t need the latest and greatest (say one year back).

There was a decent Acer refurb for $300. Probably can get a new one for $500, maybe less. Worth the $200 extra? What would it get me? Mostly confidence and a longer warranty.

Rather than decide, I had her look at it and you couldn’t tell from looking at it that it wasn’t brand new. Not much different than the new but slightly different model next to it. Looks new,no scuffs. Decide to get it,find out that it’s out of stock at the store. Naturally. Call the other store in Orlando, they have one, so we drive down to get it (spending some of that savings on gas!). Getting service took a bit, we pay for it and go out, and just because it had been that kind of day, had her open it up in the car. Turns out it was missing a key. Not a great moment for the Andy saves $200 plan.

Back in the store we go. Luckily for me they had one more in stock. Opened it in the store this time and all was good, powered up fine.

Still works fine after a month. My theory on electronics is that if it works for a week, it’s a good as anything I bought new. Most come with a 90 day warranty – don’t spend the savings on the extended warranty. The real risk is aggravation, as in the missing key, not that the money will be wasted (which tends to be the fear);.

Was it worth the effort to save $200? I like shopping smart. I could have spent the $500 or twice that, but there was no reason to – this did what she needed. I thought it was worth the effort.