Beware the refurbished PC - is it really refurbished?

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When is a refurbished PC not a refurbished PC?

Answer: When you're being scammed into thinking it's refurbished. Being cleaned and tested does NOT mean it's refurbished.
Buying a refurbished PC can save you money. In many cases you can get better value for money by buying refurbished. However, not all refurbished PCs are actually refurbished PCs. If someone's offering a refurbished PC and it has Microsoft Windows installed then there are (Microsoft imposed) rules that the refurbisher HAS to adhere to.
Here's what to look for to make sure it's genuinely refurbished...

Does it have an authentic 'refurbished' COA sticker?

Every, officially, refurbised PC MUST have a new COA sticker, attached by the old COA sticker. Both must be present, in order for it to be an officially refurbished PC.

Does it come with the installation media (Windows Disc / recovery partition)?

If the PC has been refurbished with a new OS (I'll mention Windows 7 simply because XP is being phased out and most PCs are likely to be refurb'd with Win7 these days) it MUST come with the install media (a new Windows 7, Refurbisher SPECIFIC, disc). It must also come with a print out that contains the new license details that includes the new license key.
There is an alternative to this and that is: The refurbisher is allowed to supply the PC with the original version of Windows (without having to purchase a new license) if one of the following is true:
  • The PC is supplied with the original Windows installation Disc
  • The PC is supplied with the Windows recovery partition for that PC (you'd normally see it as the D drive and named 'Recovery')
If either one of these is true, then the machine can be classed as officially refurbished.

Is the refurbisher listed in the Microsoft Refurbiser Directory?

Not many of you will bother with this, however if you are that way inclined then Microsoft publish a directory of all registered refurbishers.
Search online for: Microsoft Registered Refurbisher Directory
You'll need to filter by location, however all the details are there for verification. Chances are that, if you can't link up your vendor with an entry in the directory, then they're probably not an official Refurbisher.

Do I really need a Refurbished PC?

The answer to that only you can answer.
Refurbished PCs have been fully tested, cleaned and had either a new OS installed or the original OS reinstalled. In many cases they'll have probably been upgraded from the original spec. However, the key thing is that a refurbished PC is guaranteed!
Yep, an officially refurbished PC is guaranteed, much like a new one except it's guaranteed by the refurbisher. And there is where the reason for this post lies...

If you are buying a refurbished PC, then you are probably paying MORE than the price of a used PC. If that's the case then make sure you are getting what you are paying for and not being scammed by the unscrupulous.

Side note: There is also a 'Microsoft Authorised Refurbisher Program', which is the next level up, however I've focused on the lower level as that's where businesses, including myself, start.
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