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Considering refurbished gifts this holiday season? Follow these tips

Posted at 3:26 PM, Nov 30, 2020

Cyber Monday shoppers may also want to consider refurbished gifts.

Monday, U.S. PIRG released its “Fixed for the Holidays” update. It found the variety has expanded greatly since the last report two years ago.

There are options like refurbished smartphones, vacuums or professional cameras.

“The deals and the quality have gotten a lot better, and in fact some of the refurbishers have told us that they've seen a significant increase in their operations over the course of the pandemic,” said Nathan Proctor, Director of U.S. PIRG's Right to Repair campaign.

Refurbished products can be a great alternative for new devices that are hard to find amid manufacturing disruptions caused by the pandemic. Plus, the savings can be significant. Most of the time, they’re even better than the discounts on Black Friday.

Buying refurbished is also a green option because it cuts waste.

Many of the big retailers do their own refurbishing. There's also certain websites U.S. PIRG recommends, like The Store, Back Market, and Gazelle. They have extensive quality checks and great coverage options.

“We recommend some of the retailers we do because the warranties are so good. I mean you can get a product with a longer warranty from the refurbisher than the new equipment manufacturer provided,” said Proctor.

When shopping refurbished, learn how the site differentiates its products. Then, decide what balance you're looking for.

Some products may be less expensive but have more cosmetic issues like scratches and dings. Others were returned without ever being opened.

Look for brands with a reputation for higher quality.

A good rule of thumb is if it was cheaper when it was new, it's higher risk as refurbished.