Top 5 Questions to Ask About Refurbished Computers

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Refurbished computers can offer consumers, businesses, schools, hospitals, and other institutions a comparatively low-cost way to buy PCs, whether individually or in large quantities. So if the price of refurbished computers is so much better than buying new, why doesn't everyone buy refurbished? Great question. There are a lot of misunderstandings about what it means to buy refurbished computers and other technology, and not all refurbishers are created equal. To help you better understand the refurbished computer market and process, we've put together the top 5 questions you should ask any company who is offering refurbished computers for sale.

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1. How does the refurbisher source their PCs?

When it comes to refurbished computers, they all have a story and you want to know what it is. Make sure that the machine(s) you are buying have not been previously damaged, broken, or in need of major repair. A reputable refurbisher will not be offering those kind of machines for sale. For example, most of the machines sold by US Micro Corp Retail are purchased from large offices and institutions who are upgrading their computers and need to replace hundreds of machines at a time. US Micro, through a proven and proprietary process, acquires these machines, completely wipes and saniztizes the drives on-site, and then transfers the computers to our own facility for final refurbishing. The refurbishing process involves re-formatting the hard drive, installing the operating system and all included software, and testing. Depending on an individual customer's needs, we may also install additional components, such as adding more RAM.

2. Are you buying direct from the refurbisher or a re-seller?

This is a big one, because if your retailer is not the same company as the original refurbisher, neither you nor the retailer may actually know where the computers came from originally and from what condition they were refurbished. US Micro Corporation controls the entire life cycle of the refurbished product, from its original acquisition, through the refurbishing process, and finally to the retail sales market. We know exactly where the machines have come from, exactly how they have been refurbished, and we stand behind every machine we offer for retail sale. Not many refurbishers can make a claim like that.

3. What kind of software is included? Is it genuine?

Make sure that you ask your refurbisher what kind of software they are installing on their machines, and whether or not it's genuine. Without the oversight of the original manufacturers, you want to take steps to ensure that you're getting the same quality and genuine software you would expect to be pre-installed on a new machine. US Micro always pre-installs a fully-licensed copy of the Microsoft Windows operating system. We currently offer Windows XP, and the Home & Professional editions of Windows 7. The choice of operating system is usually up to the customer, though it does depend on the hardware configuration of the machine being purchased. US Micro is proud to be a member of the Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher program. As described by Microsoft, the program is for large refurbishers who meet a minimum average threshold of 1,000 PCs shipped per month. Refurbishers in the program professionally refurbish desktop computers with genuine Microsoft software. Each computer we ship includes the original fully-licensed operating system disc.

4. What are the refurbisher's environmental standards?

Apart from the cost advantages of buying a refurbished computer, many consumers and businesses are interested in refurbished options because it's generally more eco-friendly to purchase a used product than a new one. This is especially true when it comes to computers; did you know that according to the International Data Corporation, there were over 338 million desktop PCs installed in the United States alone during 2010, with an annual retirement rate of 20.5%? That's nearly 70 million desktops, not to mention the additional millions of laptops, tablets, and smart phones being discarded every year. A dangerous byproduct of this explosion of e-waste is the growth of foreign scrap markets which fail to dispose of equipment properly and threaten human health and the environment. By purchasing a refurbished computer instead of a new one, you are taking one more computer out of the e-waste system, increasing the usable lifespan of the equipment, and doing the right thing for human health and the environment. Equally important, however, are the standards held by the refurbisher and whether or not they are producing any e-waste in the refurbishing process. US Micro's closed-loop process enables us to resell or reuse all IT assets we acquire, completely eliminating any risk associated with downstream processing vendors used by many other refurbishers. And of course, we maintain a strict 100% no-landfill policy. Want to see for yourself? We welcome you to schedule a visit at our world class demanufacturing and distribution center in Las Vegas.

5. What kind of warranty (if any) is available from the refurbisher?

Even if all of the above questions have been answered to your satisfaction, you still may want a little extra peace of mind when buying a refurbished computer, so be sure to ask your refurbisher if they offer any kind of limited or extended warranty on the machines they sell. US Micro Corp Retail is pleased to offer all of our customers at 60-day limited warrany on all of the products we sell. In addition, US Micro also offers extended warranties through Square Trade, and more information on both our limited and extended warranty programs are available on the warranty page of our online store.