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Last Updated Sunday January 21 2018 02:36 AM IST

Refurbished market: Cheaper than the cheapest

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Refurbished market: Cheaper than the cheapest Image for representation only. Photo: Reuters/File

Rahul has been eyeing an iPhone 6 for quite some time. His budget was Rs 20,000, but he couldn’t find the phone that cheap anywhere even three years after its launch. He hoped for the price to come down during Diwali, but that didn’t happen either. He didn’t want to take the risk of buying from the secondhand market since that would mean no warranty.

That was when this young executive, a native of Kozhikode who works at a new-gen bank in Kochi, heard about the market for refurbished products.

He got the device he had been longing for long. It looked new, and came with a warranty and within his budget.

The market for refurbished products is growing at a fast clip in India. While there have been a few portals already offering such stuff in the country, Amazon India’s entry has given a strong impetus to the market.

What is refurbished?

Refurbished products are devices that are repaired by experts and restored to the original settings. These are put through rigorous quality tests before being put up for sale again. They look and work like new.

The e-commerce sector in India started watching this market seriously after the launch of Amazon’s platform, Amazon Renewed, to sell certified, refurbished items.

Mobile phone, camera, laptop, tablet, television and music system are the most common stuff available on the platforms for refurbished products.

Is it secondhand?

Secondhand market is where you buy an item that someone has already used. It does come cheap, but is not new. There may be faults that are deliberately hidden from you.

The market for refurbished products is different.

Most e-commerce platforms allow return of products. If the buyer didn’t like what he received, or the device was defective, he could return it.

So, what happens to the returned products.

If a product is within its warranty period, it can be given back to the manufacturer. It is put through various tests. Its faults are rectified, quality is checked and is restored to the original condition. It is then sold as refurbished, with a limited warranty.

Companies like Apple, Dell and Lenovo directly sell such refurbished stuff. These are available at a 20% to 40% discount to brand-new products.

If the defect is technical or just visual (cosmetic damage), the product will be repaired at the company or a service center. These are then packaged (generic packaging) with all accessories and offered for sale under warranty on the platforms.

Before the entry of Amazon, overcart.com and greendust.com were two platforms that were in the market for refurbished products in India.

Are these worth buying?

The market for refurbished items is quite popular in developed markets like the US and UK. One of the major advantages is that the bugs that are seen even in new products are not usually found in refurbished devices that are thoroughly checked, cleaned and updated by experts before putting up for sale again. And the price, of course, is the biggest draw.

Before you buy…

· Compare the price online with new products. If the difference is not more than 10%, it is better to go for new since that comes with a longer warranty

· Look for products that offer warranty of at least six months

· Check the return policy, buy only if you are satisfied with it

· Once you received the item, check it for any defects. If you find something amiss, return it immediately

The opinions expressed here do not reflect those of Malayala Manorama. Legal action under the IT Act will be taken against those making derogatory and obscene statements.

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