Should You Buy A Refurbished Computer

BY STANLEY ZAROWIN

Q. A dealer has offered to sell our firm two-year-old refurbished computers at prices way below those for new machines. The computers are fully upgraded and carry the same guarantee as new ones. Should we consider it?

A.That’s an interesting question. If you know the dealer’s reputation, the offer may be a good deal—and that may have less to do with your initial cost savings. Consider this: If a computer is going to break down, it’s likely to happen early in its life because of a faulty component. In fact, back in the 1980s, some computer makers and dealers “burned in” new computers for a day or two to filter out lemons. Today, however, with better-engineered components, there is little need for burn-ins because far fewer computers fail. But on occasion they still do, and the real cost of a breakdown is lost time and lost data. So buying a refurbished machine may not be such a bad idea.

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