A trend in computer stores, on the internet and in the real world, is to stock and sell items that are labeled as refurbished. They are also commonly referred to as "refurbs". Here is how my employer defines refurbished:

"Refurbished or reconditioned products are in complete working order and have been repaired and thoroughly tested by certified technicians. Products have a limited manufacturer's warranty or carry a 30-day warranty from us. Specifications, software, components and accessories may vary from original factory new condition. Products may contain minor blemishes and may not be in original retail packaging."

Here's what refurbished really means:

"Refurbished or reconditioned products might be in complete working order, but they might not be, and sometimes they have been repaired and thoroughly tested by certified technicians. We use trained monkeys mostly. Occasionally, we throw the parts in the case and hope it works. Products have a limited warranty because we know they will break soon. Specifications, software, components, and accessories WILL vary from original factory new condition. Generally, you won't get any software or accessories, outside of an OS and a keyboard. Products will probably contain a few major grease spots and/or dents, and its doubtful if we will ship them to you in original retail packaging."

Refurbished items have already been broken by someone else. These are units that have already been returned to someone, somewhere, for some random reason. You are getting someone else's castoff, and paying for the privledge.

Sometimes, refurbished items can be a good deal. If they break, they will generally break in the first 30 days and frequently you can get your money back or get the item repaired. However, you get what you pay for. If you are looking for a good deal, you might get one, but chances are you'll wind up with a huge headache.

If its critical to your business or school, don't buy a refurbished unit. Spend the extra money for a new unit.

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