How to buy a refurbished TV the right way: Everything you need to know

Samsung 2019 Q90
2019 Samsung Q90 4K TV

There’s nothing wrong with buying a refurbished TV. In fact, for most, it’s a chance to own a bit of tech — an OLED or QLED TV, for example — they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to afford.

There are a couple of things you’re going to want to keep in mind when shopping for a refurbished television, however. Failure to do so could just lead to that $2,500 LG C8 OLED TV you snagged for less than half the price breaking down after a few months.

What does refurbished mean?

When a television — or other product, for that matter — is refurbished, it generally had some form of a defect when it started life that was unearthed by its first owner, who sent it back to the manufacturer and received a like-for-like replacement.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Instead of scrapping the troubled model, the manufacturer broke it down, repaired the issue, then inspected the rest of the unit to make sure all was prim and proper, before handing it over to a retailer to sell off at a reduced price.

Interestingly, because the refurbished device has been under the knife, it may be subjected to stricter testing procedures than a brand new model that just rolled off the production line, which has led some people to believe they’re more reliable.

But we digress.

What to look for when buying a refurbished TV

There are three main things to keep an eye out for when hunting down a refurbished TV: Make sure it’s Factory Refurbished, meaning the actual manufacturer repaired it; comes with at least a 12-month warranty; and is being sold by a reliable retailer.

By doing so, you’re covering all your bases — it was repaired with factory parts, so it will work as intended; if the same (or a different) issue crops up, you can have it repaired for free; and it’s being sold by a trusted retailer, so it is definitely legal stock.

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

If you stumble upon something that hasn’t been reconditioned in the same factory in which it was made, and therefore isn’t described as Manufacturer or Factory Refurbished, all hope is not lost — if it is listed as Certified Refurbished, it has been as good as factory repaired.

Finally, use your common sense. If something seems too good to be true — like the $2,500 OLED TV for $900 deal we mentioned earlier — it probably is. And even if it ends up materializing, there’s a good chance you’re buying trouble.

Where to buy a refurbished TV

So, who are these reliable retailers we speak of? Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart all sell reconditioned TVs, stocking everything from HDTVs and 4K TVs to OLED TVs and QLED TVs — and they’re all either Factory or Certified Refurbished.

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