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Refurbished monitors: What to look for when buying a second-hand screen

Not fancy forking out top dollar for a monitor? Computer screens can get pricey, and it’s always a good idea to look for a deal – and that’s where refurbished monitors can help.

While opting for refurbished monitors can be a great way to save money, they also come with added risk. The risk isn’t unassailable though – if you do the right research and make sure you’re protected, it remains a viable money-saver.

Buying refurbished tech can be a confusing endeavour, so we’ve created this guide to help make things a bit clearer and snap up a great value monitor.

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What is a refurbished monitor?

So, what even are refurbished monitors? When it comes to refurbished tech, the items are often ones that have been opened but, for whatever reason, have been sent back to the manufacturer.

You may wonder why you’d want one of these monitors – surely there’s something wrong with it? In the case of refurbished monitors from reputable retailers, the answer would be no. If the monitor was returned because of an issue, it should be fully repaired and be to the manufacturer’s saleable specifications.

Refurbished Monitors UK 2020

Should you buy a refurbished monitor?

Even with guarantees or warranties from reputable sellers, some may still feel uneasy about buying something that has been opened before or, even, damaged.

However, you need not be if you take the time to make a considered purchase. Several well-known companies like Laptops Direct and Dell offer a wide range of these products and have robust systems in place for dealing with refurbished tech.

While you’d hope not to run into any issues, you are well within your rights to return refurbished monitors if they aren’t what you were promised. This can even extend beyond usual return limits with refurb-specific warranties.

There are plenty of mechanisms in place to make you more comfortable with buying a refurbished monitor. Despite this, some people just won’t feel comfortable taking the risk no matter what, and that’s completely fine – but, you could be missing out on a handy cost-saving tactic.

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What to look out for when buying a refurbished monitor

Reputable retailer. Reputable retailer. Reputable retailer. This is by far the most important thing to remember when buying any refurbished item. If it isn’t a reputable seller, then you valuing their guarantees could be a huge mistake.

You should also remember that refurbished is not the same as second-hand or used – even if there may be some crossover. Most reputable retailers set out what “refurbished” means for their products, and it rarely entails being in a typically “used” condition.

While many refurb retailers only offer one kind of refurbished product, some use a grading system – including refurbished monitor sellers. These grades can indicate the product has acquired some cosmetic marks, but it does not mean it’s a product that’s been frequently used by another consumer. 

Regardless of grade, you should still use a reliable retailer that offers warranties and provides guarantees regarding the monitor having been thoroughly tested and being in working order. 

Related: Refurbished laptops – what to look out for when buying a second-hand laptop

While choosing the right retailer is vitally important, you also want to make sure you order the correct item and get what you paid for.

When ordering a refurbished monitor, you’ll likely be getting a previous model. Make sure that the model you are buying has everything you need – things like ports, stands and other display features can differ from model to model.

Once you receive your monitor, you’ll want to check the item is as expected. Bear in mind the terms of the retailer you’ve purchased your refurbished monitor and have a good check to see it meets the specifications. This includes making sure there isn’t more wear and tear than promised and it’s in full working order.

A key thing to look out for once you turn on your monitor is any dead pixels. There will be a small dot on the screen where a pixel has stopped functioning and can be very offputting. If the retailer terms stated the monitor should be in full working order, then you should be entitled to a refund or replacement.

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Refurbished Monitors UK 2020

Is it safe to buy a refurbished monitor from Amazon?

Over at Amazon, there’s a programme it calls “Amazon Renewed”. The programme offers refurbished items – including monitors – at reduced prices. Each monitor comes with the “Amazon Renewed Guarantee”, which is a one-year warranty and purports that “Amazon-qualified” suppliers have tested the item.

According to Amazon, these devices should “work and look like new”. If they do not “work as expected” within one year of purchase, you can take advantage of the Amazon Renewed Guarantee and get a replacement or refund.

For the inspection process that makes sure the devices meet standards, here’s what Amazon says happens:

“The inspection and testing process typically includes a full diagnostic test, replacement of any defective parts, and a thorough cleaning process carried out by the qualified supplier, or by Amazon. The products have no visible cosmetic imperfections when held 12 inches away. The products may be packaged in a generic box and come with the accessories that may be generic, with exceptions, if any, mentioned on the product detail page.”

So, because of this specific guarantee that Amazon offers, it can make the website a good place to snap up a deal on a refurbished monitor. However, do remember that now all refurbished monitors come under Amazon’s guarantee. Make sure to search for Amazon Renewed and double-check this promise is on the item when you click through.

Where to buy a refurbished monitor?

The websites we’ve mentioned thus far are easily the most well-known retailers that offer refurbished monitors – these being Dell, Laptops Direct and Amazon. HP also offers a refurbished programme as will many other tech manufacturers and retailers.

The best advice we can give for buying a refurbished monitor is to do your research. Are there reviews of the refurbished monitor and/or the refurbished programme? How comprehensive and lengthy are the warranties and guarantees on offer? How much cheaper is it than buying it for full price? Ask yourself all of these questions when making a decision.

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