A Guide to Refurbished and Pre-owned Items

A Guide to Refurbished and Pre-owned Items

Products come into the secondary marketplace for several reasons. Technology changes constantly. As a result, there are many returns and products that can be resold which are brand new, factory sealed. If you don’t mind a little wear and tear, or an item that has gone through a full quality and performance check and like saving money, then buying pre-owned or refurbished products are a great, cost-effective alternative to brand new products. Refurbished and pre-owned goods are a great way to recycle items that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

Refurbished Items

Refurbished items are processed by one or more third-parties to test and restore their condition. The goal is to restore the product to a standard as close to its original condition as possible.

A-B-C grading scale

If a refurbished item has been graded on the typical scale, one can safely assume it’s in full working condition. The A-B-C scale simply refers to its appearance:
   A: Appearance is close to new
   B: Appearance may show very slight signs of wear
   C: Scratched or bearing some other cosmetic imperfection

A Factory Refurbished product has been refurbished by the actual manufacturer.

Refurbished describes items that are refurbished by a 3rd party company that specializes in repair of those devices. A 3rd party uses their own standards of refurbishment and quality control. Because this process operates outside of the original manufacturer, manuals and software are typically not included. These are usually available for download from the manufacturer’s web site.

Pre-owned Items

Pre-owned describes products that have been purchased, opened, and operated. Then, for a multitude of reasons, from buyer’s remorse to functionality, the product is returned to the store. When a pre-owned product is processed by Cowboom, it is tested for power and basic functionality. When buying an item that is not brand new, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Factory refurbished or Refurbished items frequently come in store-like packaging. This is usually noted in the item’s description.
  2. How much visible wear are you comfortable with? Pre-owned items and certain grades of refurbished items may have visible imperfections. If you are planning on putting the item in a protective case, this may not be as important to you. Or if you are particularly hard on your items, the cosmetic condition may not be as important as having a device that works. Usually, the more scratches on an item, the better the deal you can get

Cowboom displays the functional and physical condition of all items for sale, so that you can make an educated decision regarding your purchase. They are listed as follows:

Functional Condition Description
Factory Sealed New This item is factory sealed with no apparent damage. Any originally provided parts, manuals, accessories, warranty cards, or other items that were provided with the unit will be contained in the original packaging.
Factory Refurbished The item has been factory refurbished to the factory specifications and is in like-new condition.
Refurbished The item has been refurbished by a 3rd party company and has gone through their quality control process.
New This item appears to be in brand new condition with all of the functions working perfectly. Item is not factory sealed, but the product is in unused, new condition.
Parts Missing Item is present, but is missing accessories that come with the item. The item may or may not depend on these accessories to function. The parts missing are listed in the item description.
Like New This item appears to be brand new, packaging is not factory sealed, the item may have been used, but appears to be in "as new" condition.
Tested Working The item is not factory sealed and not in new condition. The item appears to be in good working order although it may have some visible normal wear and tear.
Tested working—minor defects This item has been tested for basic functionality and appears to be in good working order, but has minor defects that are listed in the notes of the item description.
As-is – damaged and or not working The item has some damage or imperfection that may or may not impede it’s normal function. Imperfections, functionality, and overall condition may not be fully evaluated.
Item is cracked or dented Item has extensive physical damage including a noticeable crack or large dent. Item may or may not be functional. Item will have a photo showing the imperfections.
Item has dents or dings Item has noticeable dents or dings and may also have scratches and/or scuffs. Item will have a photo showing the imperfections.
Significant scratches or scuffs Item has pronounced cosmetic imperfections which may include deep scratches and/or large scuffed areas. Item will have a photo showing the imperfections.
Some scratches and/or signs of use Item shows signs of extensive use in the form of multiple scratches and/or scuffs.
Overall Good Condition Item has minor cosmetic imperfections but is free of any dents, scratches or noticeably scuffed areas. Item definitely is in good working condition.
Almost new, minor signs of use Item appears new with minor blemishes but with NO scratches. Item may have very minor signs of wear.
Like New There are no imperfections and the item is in "new" condition. These are either in their factory boxes or may be repackaged, but otherwise intact.
New There are no imperfections and the item is in "new" condition. These are usually open boxed items where the factory seal is no longer intact.


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