It’s easy to get caught up in the after-Christmas glow of clearance sales and limited-time offers, but buying discount electronics and computer equipment comes with risks as well as financial benefits.
Always check the specs of any item you decide to purchase on clearance, but pay special attention to the warranty and status of that ‘new’ iPad or netbook as well.
Clearance Sales After Christmas: New vs. New To You
After-Christmas clearance sales aren’t as simple as they once were. If that new computer is on a store shelf, it should be brand new, right?
Many of us are used to seeing only new items in stores, and are not always prepared to evaluate new vs. reconditioned or refurbished electronics, but times have changed, so be prepared.
Refurbished or reconditioned simply means that someone brought the item back and the manufacturer or store checked it out to make sure it was OK, fixed anything that was immediately obvious as a problem, and put it back on the shelf – kind of like purchasing a lease return vehicle, you might end up with the car that never spent much time out of the garage, or the one that spent every Saturday night drag-racing on the strip.
Potential performance problems aside, always check the specs of any computer you’re planning to purchase against a current model, to make sure you’re not just getting a new-looking computer that won’t provide the processing power you need to carry out basic tasks.
Christmas Sale Warranty: Always Ask For Return Policy
Every item will have a different warranty, depending on whether it’s new, an unopened return, a refurbished return, or a limited-offer clearance item – a general rule is, the more expensive the item, the longer and more comprehensive the warranty should be. In addition, always check the store return policy on purchases of clearance electronics before buying a big-ticket item during the post-Christmas return season, so you don’t end up taking home a lemon. The ability to return an open and defective item for a full refund will turn any bad deal from lemons into lemonade, so make sure you have that option.