When it comes to throwing down your hard earned money on a new laptop, you want to shop around to make sure you are getting a great deal. And there’s been a lot of buzz about the deals that people are getting on Open Box items at Best Buy (You can find Open Box items online here.). Essentially, an Open Box items is an item that a customer has returned for whatever reason within Best Buy’s 30-day return policy window. Since Best Buy can’t sell the product as new anymore, they close the box back up and sell the product at a discount.
Unlike refurbished items that have been tested rigorously and repaired to a “like-new state,” Open Box items are only inspected by the retailer. Chances are the item is going to work fine. Even so, you should shop as an educated consumer and know that there are potential downsides to buying an Open Box item. Here are 6 things to be aware of before making your next Open Box purchase at Best Buy.
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After being tested and reviewed by the store, the Open Box item receives a condition score: Excellent-Certified, Excellent, Satisfactory, or Fair. This means the product has not been inspected or repaired by skilled factory personnel. Thus, an Open Box item that was returned due to a defect might not have been properly inspected and repaired. And there is no way of knowing if the model you are interested was actually defected.
If you are still considering that iPad because the savings are so good, check to see if it has been Geek Squad Certified. According to the program, the product has received a rigorous multipoint inspection to ensure highest performance and standards and has been tested to verify that it works like new, has been restored to original factory settings, and all parts have been cleaned.
Most items are returned for reasons like it was the wrong color or too big or given as a gift, but the recipient wanted something else. But according to Best Buy’s outlet center buying guide, a store display model can also be sold as an Open Box item. This means that the item could have been consistently used for a certain amount of time. We’ve all seen the beating iPhones, tablets, and video game consoles take in an electronics store.
You absolutely want to avoid buying a display model. Try to find out as much as possible about the Open Box item. Some boxes have a label that indicates why the item is being sold as Open Box.
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Research the Open Box item you are interested in buying before going into the store. Have a list on hand of all the parts and accessories that should come with it. If major components are missing, take it as a sign to not buy the product. You’ll also want to check for dents and other damages that could affect how the product works.
Best Buy states that Open Box items are “covered under warranty, exceptions may apply.” So be sure to ask about how the guarantee and warranty are being applied to the particular product you are interested in buying. You’ll want to pass on an item if the store is not backing it up 100%.
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An investigation discovered that Best Buy sold Open box products without erasing the original buyer’s data. This means the product is still associated with the original buyer’s information and may even require the original password to log in. The retailer has publically addressed the issue, assuring that procedures are in place that guarantee this information is completely erased. Still, you want to check the security settings of an Open Box item before making a purchase.
Don’t assume that you are getting a great deal on an item just because it is Open Box. Compare the original price with the discount price to make sure the money you will save from buying an Open Box item is worthwhile. Consumer experts say that you should be looking to save at least 20%.
To do a cost analysis for items at your local store, visit the Best Buy website, then go to Store Locator at the top of the home page. Then type in your city and zip code, select a store and click “Open Box Items.” There you can choose a category, find the items you are interested in and see the savings.
You shouldn’t walk blindly into any major electronic purchase, especially if the product has been returned. Sure, the deals sound great. But there are risks involved with buying discounted goods like Open Box items. Be an educated consumer – know what to look for and which questions to ask. Only then will you be able to make an informed decision as whether or not that open box LED TV is worth it.