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Beware of Buying Used or Refurbished


”It will save so much money!”
”I don’t need a brand new one - I don’t use a computer enough.”
“I just want something extra for school or work.”


Have you ever used any of the above logic as reason to consider purchasing a used or refurbished computer? For many computer users, the above reasons are the most common for resorting to buying a computer that was previously owned. Logically, nearly everything used is much less expensive than something brand new. From vehicles to clothes, buying used can save a lot of money. While purchasing a used computer can save a lot of money, it can also be risky. There is a big difference between purchasing a used computer or a refurbished one. Buying a used computer carries a much greater risk.

What’s the difference? A refurbished computer is a PC or notebook that has been previously owned and used, but went through computer rehab. It may have had some glitches repaired, hard drive wiped clean or replaced, or it may also have had some minor external issues resolved. The good thing about buying refurbished is that, depending on who you buy it from, you can get a computer that is fully compliant with the manufacturer’s original standards. It may even come with a decent warranty or guaranteed replacement parts.

A used computer is a PC or notebook that has been previously owned and used but has probably not had any rigorous repairs. After the owner decides to unload the computer, they may or may not wipe the hard drive, which means that you may get a computer without an operating system. If the hard drive has not been wiped clean or was improperly purged however, you may end up with a computer that gives you more headaches than help. The headaches would be in the form of malware that wasn’t removed from the computer before it was passed on to you.

Whether you decide on a refurbished computer or a used one, it’s a good idea to refer to your checklist to make a wise, safe choice. What list? The one below:

  • What are the computer’s full specs (including any upgrades)?
  • Who is selling the computer?
  • Where did the computer come from?
  • Does the computer come with a warranty or guarantee? If so, what are the terms?
  • Does the seller of the computer offer tech support?
  • Can you return the computer?
  • Does the seller have a good reputation?


Although it can save money, in the long run buying a used computer can be more trouble than it’s worth. To avoid unnecessary complications, research your options and shop smart.
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Content copyright © 2014 by Rayna H. Battle. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Rayna H. Battle. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Rayna H. Battle for details.

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