What’s the Difference Between Used and Refurbished?

Nov 21, 2023

Whether you’re in the market to buy or sell electronics, you’ve probably come across the idea of marketing pre-owned merchandise for sale. You may have also realized that there are a few industry-standard terms to describe these items, but what you may not know is that many of these terms have distinct definitions and cannot be used interchangeably — “used” and “refurbished” are two such terms.

“Used” is an umbrella term for items that have been sold to a person or business and can no longer be considered “new” due to their handling. These electronics may not have ever been turned on, or they may have sustained damage due to years of wear and tear, and refurbished items fall under that broad category.

As such, if you’re currently in the process of making critical decisions regarding equipment for your business or getting rid of old items, it’s important to know the key differences between used and refurbished electronics.

Four Essential Differences Between Used and Refurbished Electronics

Despite used and refurbished electronics being in the same general category, there are a few essential differences between them. These include the following:

1. Condition

Though some items classified as “used” have never actually been touched, that’s not usually what business owners think about when they hear the term. For them, it’s far more likely that most used items they discover have been in operation for some time and may have visible or functional damage as a result.

Refurbished items, on the other hand, have been professionally tested and repaired, so they are generally in much better condition.

2. Guarantees

Refurbished items usually come with a warranty or, at the very least, a guarantee of functionality. If the company you’re buying from has either R2 or e-Stewards certification, they must provide full transparency about testing and damage alongside a full return policy.

Because used items typically don’t have such guarantees, you can easily lose money on your purchase if it has more damage or functional problems than initially anticipated.

3. Price

Because of their perceived condition and lack of guarantees, many business owners consider used electronics to have a lower value than refurbished items. As a result, you can often buy used items for a much lower price.

4. Age

Vendors who sell refurbished electronics are generally looking to make a profit and will, therefore, likely not offer very old items. That is especially true when items are discontinued or no longer supported by the manufacturer.

With used items, however, there is typically less worry about their age, especially since the asking price is much lower and there are no guarantees about functionality.

SEAM Can Help With Your Electronics Disposal or Procurement Plans

Deciding to get rid of dated electronics and purchase new equipment is a complex undertaking that requires a well-thought-out strategy. Fortunately, our team has been helping businesses in North Dakota and South Dakota execute their disposal and procurement plans for many years, and we have options to help you with your next steps.

If you have used electronics you wish to dispose of, we can evaluate their resale potential before completely wiping, refurbishing, and remarketing any that can be reused. You may even be eligible for revenue sharing from the sale. In addition, if you’re looking to purchase new electronics to replace them, we can help you conserve cash flow with professionally refurbished equipment.

Contact SEAM today to learn about our IT equipment reselling services and how we can help you find value in quality refurbished electronics.

SEAM provides IT recycling and data destruction services including onsite shredding and hard drive wiping to South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska.

Schedule a pickup or contact us for more information.