Refurbished Appliances: A Risky Money Saver?

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Refurbished appliances are those that have been returned to the manufacturer and repaired. In the case of large appliances, this may involve rebuilding or replacing the motor, replacing defective or damaged parts or otherwise making it work and look like a new appliance.

Refurbished appliances are normally returned to the manufacture while they are still under warranty. The buyer, who has purchased a new appliance, expects an appliance that works and looks perfect. If there is a problem, the dealer has several options. He may send a repairman to fix the appliance, or he may exchange the appliance for a new one.

The decision to replace or repair the appliance is based on several factors. If the repair work is relatively minor, the dealer would prefer to have their repairman complete the repair. If the problem is more extensive, the dealer will often give the customer a new appliance, and send the damaged one to the manufacture. The manufacturer's repair center is more expansive, and they are able to do major repairs. Once they have repaired the appliance, it is resold as a refurbished appliance.

Are They Worth the Savings?

Purchasing a refurbished appliance can offer you a substantial savings. Theoretically, the appliance should work as well as a new one. Whether you should invest your money in a refurbished appliance is determined by a number of factors. Before committing to a refurbished appliance, ask the salesman what warranty the appliance comes with. If there is no warranty, or just a short, 30 day warranty, that may be a warning sign that you are not getting a good deal on this appliance.

Another consideration when deciding whether a refurbished appliance makes sense in your situation is the amount that you will save. Often, the sales pitch for refurbished appliances are that they are as good as new. While they have been factory repaired and inspected, and should last as long as any other appliance, they are not new. Whatever level of use the appliance received before it had to be repaired is still with the appliance. If you are considering buying a refurbished appliance, expect a substantial savings over the cost of a new appliance.

If the appliance comes with a full warranty, that includes the parts that were originally repaired, and the savings are significant, a refurbished appliance may be a good deal. Keep in mind that a refurbished appliance has been in someone else's home and has been used, so in addition to checking the price and the warranty look the item over carefully for cosmetic damage or missing pieces, such as shelves.

Another Choice, Scratch and Dent

If you are trying to save money when shopping for appliances, but purchasing a refurbished appliance seems risky, another option is shopping at a scratch and dent appliance store. These stores sell new appliances that have been damaged in the store. They have never been used. While no one wants a stove or refrigerator in their kitchen with a huge gouge down the front, you may not mind it in the laundry room. Also, many of the scratches are cosmetic, barely visible or can be touched up with a little appliance paint.

Saving Money When Shopping for Appliances

Appliances are expensive, and the two times most people shop, when they are replacing an entire kitchen or when an appliance unexpectedly quits working, are times when there may not be a lot of discretionary money available. There are, however, several ways that you can save money when shopping for appliances. If you decide that refurbished or scratch and dent appliances are not for you, contact the large appliance stores in your area. They often have brand new appliances that were never delivered for some reason, perhaps the customer changed her mind before delivery, or there was a mistake in the warehouse. These "returned" items are brand new, but will still be sold at a discount.

When new floor models arrive, the older models are sold at a steep discount. While they may have some minor dings, they will not be in too bad of condition or they would not be on the floor. Purchasing one of these floor models is a good way to save money. If you have your heart set on a brand new appliance, with no damage and not previously sold, ask the salesman when they are having their next appliance sale. The salesmen know what products are going on sale each week several weeks before the actual sale. They can let you know when to come back, or may even be able to give you the discount early.