Don’t Buy a Refurbished PC

The cost of a new PC versus the savings from buying a refurbished PC simply don’t justify the risk involved.

Computers often develop “intermittent” problems. These are things that happen once a week, twice a month, or once in an 8 hour day.

When they do this within the original warranty period they sometimes can be returned to the manufacturer for replacement.

A PC returned for replacement is often put on a test bench and restored to the factory software condition for testing. Occasionally the bench tester will replace parts that were involved in whatever problem got the computer sent back in the first place.

If it passes the bench testing period it can be sent out for sale as a “refurbished” PC. When they do this, the PC has a much shorter warranty period, if any at all.

But, what if the reported problem, say a faulty hard disk drive, was actually caused by a different component failure that wasn’t discovered during testing and re-certification?

Take this example:
Suppose the disk drive fails over time because the power supply intermittently puts out improper current to the hard disk causing it to burn out. Let’s say that it takes about 2-4 months for this to cause the hard disk to fail.

The bench tester was told to check the hard disk drive and, if need be, replace it and test it again. Sure, he/she also tests the power supply, but, its not the focus of the reported problem and only gets a short period of time being tested.

This is the key problem, the period of time being bench tested is short enough that the intermittent power supply issue simply never comes up.

The PC passes testing because the replaced hard disk drive hasn’t been hit with too much current to it’s circuitry enough times during the testing period to cause it any problems.

But, that same PC still has an intermittent problem. The technicians never saw the problem manifest itself because they just simply got lucky and/or the testing process wasn’t long enough for the issue to arise randomly.

It’s still a buggy computer, and if you buy it, the bugs come with it.

What if you get a refurbished PC with a warranty?

If you get a short warranty period with your refurbished PC it’s going to be typically a 30-day period and isn’t going to be enough time.  In the above example, the new hard disk will still fail sometime after 60-120 days and now it is your problem, not the PC manufacturer’s.

Taking on the risk made sense when buying a new computer was a $2000 expense and the savings offered for a refurbished PC was 25-50% of the new price. With new PC’s costing as little as $500 I believe it is no longer worth the time when considering the risk of getting a computer with an intermittent problem and too short of a warranty.

It’s a simple risk vs reward calculation.  Now you know the risk, you decide if it is worth the small amount of money potentially saved.  Keep in mind if you get unlucky, you have to pay for repairs or buy a new PC.

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