Is it safe to buy refurbished electronics?


Every year we see the latest release in consumable tech. From iPhones with three cameras to ultra-thin Laptops, it can be hard to pay for (let alone keep up!) with the latest in tech and costs aren’t exactly going down either.

That’s where refurbished electronics come in. They’re a fantastic investment that can save you £100s if not £1000s compared the same product in a new condition. Whether it’s Laptops, Phones or Smartwatches, it’s perfectly safe to buy refurbished electronics from trusted resellers.

Before googling “Refurbished electronics” and clicking on the first link you find, it’s good to know what refurbished electronics actually are, how they differ from brand new tech and how you can ensure you’re buying refurbished items safely and securely.


What are refurbished electronics?

Refurbished electronics (or refurbished technology) are electrical items (think phones, laptops, PCs) that have been sold to a company that fixes, debugs and resells the item on to new customers. It is a reseller’s duty to describe the condition of the item as accurately as possible.

The reseller will then send you the device with the basic peripherals required for it to function, such as the accompanying charger to a phone or laptop.

In some cases, the customer has simply sent in their electronic devices because they changed their mind but cannot return it to their main seller. This makes it virtually new, meaning you’re receiving a piece of tech that’s fully functional for far less money. What a steal!

What’s the difference between refurbished and used?

“Refurbished” and “used” both mean the same thing. You might even hear “preowned” or “second-hand” thrown around. All of these terms mean the goods you’re buying have been bought and previously used by someone before you. The main difference is that refurbished means the device has undergone a process of repair so that it can work as good as new.
There are several reasons why a customer might sell their items on:

  • No longer wanting the item (changed their mind and/or cannot return to the original retailer).
  • Identified a fault.
  • Want extra cash for themselves, for an upgrade or need the cash as a payday loan alternative.

For an item to be classed as refurbished, they must undergo a process that checks and fixes all faults to a satisfactory and working level.

Why buy refurbished over new electronics?

The main advantage of buying refurbished over a brand new product is the price difference. You can save on Phones, Laptops, PCs, Smartwatches and so much more. Expect to pay anywhere up to half price than what you’d pay if it was brand new.

If you want the best value for your money then refurbished electronics are the way to go. The only downside is you can’t always find the latest model of your desired tech, although most people find the previous model suits their needs just as well.

Where can you buy refurbished electronics?

You can buy refurbished electronics in various high street stores, however there’s more choice available on an online refurbished electronics store.

What are the pros and cons of buying refurbished electronics?

Most people like the idea of being the first person to own what they’ve bought. However with prices for handsets and laptops rising dramatically, this is becoming a distant dream. Buying refurbished electronics doesn’t mean it will arrive covered in marks and scuffs. There are actually many pros and few cons to buying refurbished tech:


  • It’s cheaper than buying brand new
  • It’s been checked over and fixed by expert technicians
  • You receive a warranty period (retailers vary in length of warranty)
  • An affordable option if you want to buy a phone outright
  • All data is wiped from the phone
  • If you’re with a mobile network already, you can find a locked phone at a significantly lower price than an unlocked phone
  • It's a sustainable solution for recycling your tech


  • The latest model of your preferred line of product may not enter the refurbished market for a couple of months
  • Some insurance providers don’t cover refurbished products (although we offer insurance for refurbished phones from a specially selected partner!)
  • A handset may have scratches if it’s rated with a low-grade


What to look for when buying refurbished electronics:

When you buy refurbished electronics, it’s worth keeping an eye out on the following to ensure you’re buying from a legitimate retailer with a good reputation: 

Warranty Length

At musicMagpie we offer a FREE 12 month warranty with each item you purchase. This covers technical defects or any faults caused by materials or workmanship.


Most stores will have a certification of refurbishment and details of their refurbishment process. If they don’t, then you’ll have no concept on what they check their tech against or how they test it’s properly functioning.

Returns policy

You need to decide if your item is right for you. Look for a retailer that offers at least 7-14 days for you to think it over and return your product if you’re unhappy (with no questions asked!)

Cables and accessories

Ensure that all the right chargers, cables and other accessories listed with your item actually arrive and are in the same, acceptable condition as advertised.

Competitive prices

It’s always good to find out how much the product you want would cost in its new condition, and compare it to a list of refurbished resellers. When you have a list of sellers and prices, you can determine the best place to buy from.

Customer support

A good reseller of refurbished electronics will offer customer support if electronics aren’t working as they should or parts are missing. 

Check what’s included in the box

Does the seller disclose everything you’ll receive with your order? Make sure it lines up with what gets delivered!


Interested in buying refurbished tech? Then check out the musicMagpie Store today!