Guide to Buy Refurbished Laptops in India

Written by Pavan Kumar on January 27, 2018

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As per Wikipedia, here goes the definition of refurbished products –

Refurbishment is the distribution of products usually electronics and electricals that have been previously returned to a manufacturer or vendor for various reasons. Refurbished products are normally tested for functionality and defects before they are sold. It is repaired from manufacturer and resold.

Buying refurbished products is an easier way to gain a higher value product for the same money spent. Though this is quite well known in fewer countries where manufacturers themselves refurbish and sell the products, its not so popular in India. Having gone through one such successful experience recently (and saving INR 40k), providing here a few details that any buyer needs to evaluate and decide. Even the ones interested in buying refurbished mobile phones or tablets too can read on to get some hints on further steps.

Refurbished products, especially laptops on e-commerce portals are sold in two categories – manufacturer refurbished and seller refurbished. Manufacturer refurbished are the ones which have been returned by a buyer, gone back to the manufacturer, run through a round of testing and covered under manufacturer warranty. Whereas, seller refurbished are the ones which were returned to the seller / procured by the seller from different sources, might have run through a round of their own testing and covered under the seller warranty under their own terms and conditions.

While making a purchase, it is important to look for other catch words like open-box, pre-owned, used, imported, surplus stock etc. These can provide a hint on the condition of the product.

  • Manufacturer Refurbished / Brand Refurbished products are generally as good as new, might have minor cosmetic issues, but no hardware issues as a round of testing (and repair if required) would have already been completeed by the manufacturer, and moreover covered by the trusted warranty.
  • Open-Box are the ones which were bought, and returned in an open box condition for a reason not relating to any defect. They would be working perfect and might / might not have made a trip back to manufacturer. These mostly look as new, but not guaranteed about hardware / software issues, and not clear on warranty as well, whether manufacutrer would honour warranty or just seller. If you buy one, you can try registering the product for warranty on the manufacturer website.
  • Pre-owned or Used are just the second hand products and you're not really sure about the period of usage and condition of the product. Few sellers are honest in providing the snapshots of the product and its working condition, but warranty if provided, would be by the seller in their own terms and conditions. Buying these would carry a higher risk for the buyer.
  • Imported ones are generally sold on eBay and are brought mostly from US, they would have a different pin configuration in the adapter and might not carry a manufacturer warranty if warranty for the product is not global. In such cases, seller might give a cover under their terms and conditions.
  • Surplus Stock / Excess Stock would be those which were manufactured by the brand, but remained unsold when a newer model is introduced. If more such old models remain in stock, they are sold through third parties at a lower price and carry manufacturer warranty.

In India, none of the manufacturers directly seem to sell refurbished products. Thus they are sold through third parties and its difficult to identify the genuine ones. These third parties are spread across Amazon, eBay and other websites as well. Few of the significant ones even run their own websites to sell such products. One definitely carries a risk if bought from any untrusted websites and product turn out to be fake / undelivered / not in mint working condition etc.

Apart from internet, there is a much reliable channel to buy almost brand new laptops at cheaper price. The authorized stores or any retailers – usually the laptop showrooms keep a few laptops open for display to the customers. The moment a laptop is out of the box, its price is considerably reduced and it is up to the buyer on how they negotiate with the store keeper and crack the best deal. The upside of this channel is that the buyer actually gets to see, touch and experience the model before buying. Also, such products generally carry complete company warranty similar to brand new. If you have finalized on the model to be purchased, collect contact details of all dealers of the brand and keep checking timely to know if such offer is available.

And below would be few cautions to be taken while buying refurbished products:

  • Go for brand refurbished laptops, they would have gone through complete testing and any fixes if required and carray a warranty from the brand.
  • Buy from a renowned vendor. If buying from eBay or Amazon Renewed, check for the seller rating, reviews etc. For Amazon, you can even search for reviews on other products from the seller, including out of stock listings as well. On eBay, imported products are listed not always in the refurbished section, but it would be available in search result if you search for refurbished laptops. Its also preferable to run an analysis on the seller profile over the internet. First step is to Google with seller's name and website name. Look for their founders, revenue, reviews, history etc.
  • Read all terms and conditions if a third party website. Give importance on their return policy and cash on delivery availability.
  • If the product is not Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA), go for cash on delivery. You probably need to really keep cash in hand, as courier service might not have a POS terminal, but you are still at peace even if product is delayed in the delivery process and can deny to accept if packaging is damaged or tampered without being bothered about refunds.
  • If not FBA, get in touch with the vendor, talk to them and try to obtain details on how they procure the products from the brand. More clarity can count to more confidence.
  • Imported laptops might not carry a warranty, few brands like MSI who boast about global warranty does not really include all coutries under the global list, and India is not covered as well. And imported laptops are not sold with an authorized bill and box and thus, warranty might not be applicable even when country is covered.

Third parties in India in the refurbishing business:

Electronics Bazaar – This is where I purchased mine from. I guess the best of Dell refurbished products are available with them. They do stock others and you can check out more details. Scroll down to see how I proceeded to purchase from them, whose name I was unaware before. Product listing is not so great on the website, important details are listed in the title and thus, search, filter, sort functions do not work well. But products get sold out fast, I know it being an observer before making the purchase.

Worth It – They provide real pictures on the website so that you can identify the visual defects etc. They even put a grade and give a description about any issues. You can raise for return within 48 hours after delivery. If you happen to stay in Bengaluru, they allow you to visit their warehouse and take a look at the product (I was invited by their chat representative), this way you can probably check the product and even choose one if multiple pieces exist in the stock. They have an online chat, toll free number for any queries and offer one day support in Bangalore and 1-2 days in few other locations, check for support in your location if you find your best deal here.

GreenDust – They have a wider range of products in their listing including electronics, home appliances, accessories, mobiles, tablets, notebooks etc. This seems to be a market place like Amazon or eBay and allow multiple sellers to sell products. They have even mentioned that the products carry one year warranty, but it is advised to read through all terms and conditions as multiple sellers are involved in this website.

ReNew – They are Microsoft authorized refurbisher and their products are all shipped with Windows 10 and their confidence in testing leads them to offer a six month warranty.

Things to do after buying a refurbished laptop:

  • Check the bill, it should have serial number / service tag, model number and other details appropriate.
  • Thoroughly inspect for any damages, signs of case removal etc. Check all labels including serial number, the same should be printed on the bill as well. This might not come packaged in a box similar to brand new (or like mobile phones), but should include a well packaged laptop for transit safety, adapter and might include a few disks and manuals. Mine came in a Dell box with adapter and two optical disks, no manuals. The laptop was enclosed in a protective foam case wrapped around the foam cover. As the box did not have compartments, there was enough room for the laptop with foam case to move, both foam case and outer box were sized appropriately stiff to keep the laptop intact without moving inside. The laptop looked exactly brand new, no damages, cosmetic issues, hardware problems, but came with a label as "DELL REFURBISHED" in the bottom.
  • Check the configuration in detail and ensure that it is exactly same as promised. My choice is to use Speccy. This includes, the processor model, RAM type, speed, hard disk(s) type(s), size, screen clarity (no deal pixels), highest resolution, touch sensitivity if exists, webcam, microphone, speakers, USB ports, audio ports, optical disk drive, memory card reader, keyboard (backlight if exists), touchpad sensitivity, adapter, battery performance and other features as applicable.
  • Run a few benchmarking tools, the load they put on hardware can confirm if any random issues exist in the hardware, say overheating, random restarts etc.
  • Check all softwares are installed as per the specification. Mine did not have MS Office installed, though it was a part of specification, Dell helped me install the same.
  • Use live bootable utilities like Clonezilla and take a backup.
  • Run through the registration utilities provided by the brand to register your product, or run through the registration process on their website, especially if you fall under refurbished / open box models. If you have the bill, and fall under warranty, the brands can help you rectify the details. Mine was not properly mapped with right model on the Dell portal, and warranty started a few days even before the billing. Dell rectified the details and I now carry a full year brand warranty.
  • Update OS, all the softwares, antivirus definitions and drivers. New vulnerabilities are found frequently and they are fixed through updates, it is important to keep the system updated. Take a backup again, you can now delete the previous one.

My experience with the purchase:

This must be interesting if you are already considering to make a purchase, and next, I shall list all the issues I had with this purchase. My intend was to replace the existing working laptop for a higher configuratiion, and thus not time constrained. Keeping a few search pages on Amazon and eBay in bookmarks, I was watching for appropriate configurations and offers on a daily basis and a listing on Amazon for Inspiron 7559 for INR 66,500/- caught my interest and before I made mind to purchase, it was sold out.

I kept on waiting for the same product to appear again, and continued my research. Luckily I had noted down the seller Amiable Electronics Private Limited and that helped me continue the research. This seller had many Dell listings and seller had mixed reviews which was pretty good over the period of a year. Other internet portals meant for customer feedbacks too had negative reviews. Their logo lead me to Electronics Bazaar which has listing of products better than the one I saw earlier.

Trust was the next question, even they had a lot of negative reviews on the internet, a few positive ones on their mobile app. To console the confusion, there was cloudtail seller listing page. Even they had a lot of negative reviews and ratings. General mentality is people appreciate less and complain more, and this affects the brand popularity.

Some research on the brand took me to the LinkedIn profile of the founder, who also happened to be the founder of GNG Electronics Pvt Ltd and one query on Google landed me on to CompuIndia, the only Dell Express Ship Affiliate in India. This established the linkage of Electronics Bazaar and Dell and thus it was quite acceptable to make a purchase, especially for the Dell products. Though in a little scepticism, made a purchase of Inspiron 7567 with COD option, it was shipped the same day and reached me in around 4 days.

Problems with this purchase:

Even though I am happy with the purchase, it was not a happy deal right from the box, I had to fix a few things to get it to the shape it is. Listed below are the details:

  • Performance Speed – It was very slow. For the configuration it offers, it took a lot of time to configure Windows and start up, even the restarts took close to a minute. The issue was due to the wrong mode of installing the OS. The laptop was equipped with an SSD, but was uninitialized and OS existed on the 5400rpm HDD. MiniTool helped me divide partitions and move the OS to SSD, making the laptop boot in as less as 5 seconds.
  • Pre-Initialized Warranty Period – Warranty for this product, when checked on Dell website was already initialized few days before I made the purchase and thus I was losing few days out of the 1 year warranty. Got in touch with Dell with the bill and it was fixed.
  • Service Tag to Model mismatch – The service tag associated with this laptop was mapped to a different model on the Dell portal, again Dell helped me in getting this fixed.
  • MS Office not installed – Again Dell came for the resque on this and gave me instructions to download and install.
  • Color – This model is available with lid in two colors – black and red. As there was only one product in stock, I had no choice than accepting what was available. Even the website did not list which one was in stock.

Overall, this was a great deal for a laptop which is going to last for few more years. Just the label should say it was a refurbished one, otherwise it was all new from all angles. If you have made a purchase or in the process of it, do share the details and it can help the next in line.

       

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About The Author

    Pavan Kumar

    Pavan Kumar completed Engineering in Electronics and Communication in the year 2008. He is very enthusiastic and keen to work on different aspects of computer, internet and mobile related fields. The articles here reflect his creativity. This blog was started as a showcase of solutions for different problems and today it has got a good reputation in the blogosphere. Read More...

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