BOSTON (CBS) – This past week has been a busy time at the customer service desk as all those presents that didn’t quite work out are brought back to the store.
Those returns could mean a deal for you. And many of those items have barely been used, if at all.
Two similar TVs at Best Buy were actually selling for different prices. One was $30 less.
The cheaper set was “refreshed” or “refurbished” which means it was repackaged and put back on the store shelf after being slightly used, or just opened and taken out of the box.
“It still has the same return policy, manufacturers warranty in place,” said Brian Ledgister of Best Buy.
WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben has the report.
Lance Ulanoff of PC Magazine explained, “Returned, refurbished, remanufactured, open boxed, are all kind of the same thing. So they’ve been owned for a short time.”
Ulanoff said these days used doesn’t mean abused. Just about every major retailer and manufacturer now sells these types of items.
The good news for consumers is they function the same as their brand new counterparts. “The savings can really be significant. Anywhere from $20 to hundreds of dollars, depending on what you get,” said Ulanoff.
There are now web sites like refurbdepot.com which have all kinds of choices. We found a popular GPS selling for about $100. The same device was selling for $180 brand new.
“Movies, phones, CDs, digital cameras, printers, pretty much anything you can buy, you can get refurbished,’ said Ulanoff.
Retailers maintain there is quality control. Ledgister said at Best Buy these items are checked out by their Geek Squad. They make sure it’s functional, and has no scratches or dents. Only then is it put out for sale.
They refer to this as their Open Box Program. A product that has been opened for any reason, or discontinued by the manufacturer, is sold for at least 10% less.
Ledgister added, “It gets discounted week by week, if it seems to not be selling off the shelf.”
Despite the savings and the assurances, some shoppers are still a little skeptical. Experts say that if you shop with a reputable retailer, there’s not much risk involved.
Ulanoff added, “You get the same coverages that you would get with the new product.” Since return policies can vary, it’s still a good idea to ask about the return policy at the store where you shop.