If you have been searching for a new washer and dryer but have been flinching at the price tags, I may have an option for you: buy refurbished. Many manufacturers from Maytag to Whirlpool will have a ‘refurbished’ section on their website where they have washers & dryers for sale for much lower than retail prices. Aside from the price being better, there are some other advantages to purchasing a refurbished machine that you may not have thought of!
What does refurbished mean?
A question that I see come up a lot is what does refurbished mean exactly? Does it mean used? The answer is: kind of. Typically a refurbished item is one that was returned to the manufacturer for some sort of defect that they have since corrected and now it’s for sale again. Usually it’s hardly been used, if at all. For example there may have been some sort of issue with the power source and it was returned because the previous customer couldn’t turn it on at all. So technically it’s never been ‘used’, but because the item had left their warehouse or the retail store they are unable to sell it as new and therefore they can not price it as if it was new.
You know a lot of times the product functioned just fine but was returned due to a cosmetic issue such as a dent. So it always worked just fine, they just wanted a non-dented washing machine. And if they shelled out $1200 for the washing machine, fair enough. But that means that you can now get the previously-dented but now perfectly smooth and functioning machine for just $1099.
What About the Quality?
So some people feel put off by the ‘refurbished’ moniker because that means that the item was previously faulty in some way. You could make the argument though that a refurbished item is more likely to be in good repair than one fresh off the line. It was previously returned for some defect, so you better believe they are going to rigorously test that machine before selling it again. It’s fairly expensive for the manufacturer to cover the cost of returning the item to their facility, having someone diagnose and repair it, and then ship it back out. They really don’t want to be doing that multiple times on the same item.
If you are buying from a reputable manufacturer with a good track record of producing quality products then you really don’t need to worry about it. It’s still going to be subject to their standard warranty and should last just as long as any ‘new’ item would.
How much can you save by purchasing refurbished?
It’s going to vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and from machine to machine, but on items as large as washing machines and dryers you can expect to save at least $100. I have seen select stores that will sell the machines for up to 50% off but I feel that is pretty rare.
A washer or dryer is a big investment, but they do make your life a lot easier. Just because it’s something that you feel is a necessity does not mean you need to spend top dollar. Shop smart, shop refurbished, and keep an eye out for sales or promotions that might get you an additional discount. A little bit of patience and research can go a long way in stretching your budget.
Bonus of purchasing refurbished: lower environmental impact
I think it’s no secret that our rampant consumer culture is having a serious effect on the planet. By purchasing an item that has been refurbished you are diverting it from ending up in the landfill. Have you ever considered what happens to old washers and dryers? There are are recycling programs that will mine them for parts and recycle whatever scrap metal they can, but a lot of it just ends up in the landfill anyways. Depending on where you live, this type of program may not even be available.
Now more than ever, I think it’s important for people to start considering purchasing items second hand. It’s not just for economic benefit, we need to do our part to keep this planet livable for future generations. Refurbished is basically brand new anyways, it’s win-win.
Be careful where you purchase from
One note of caution about purchasing refurbished items: make sure you are buying either from the manufacturer themselves or a licensed reseller. You may find items on Ebay or other online auction sites with prices that seem too good to be true, and they usually are. Sometimes you can get a good deal by shopping your local classified listings such as Craigslist, just be aware that if any issues do arise the manufacturer will not be obligated to honour the warranty since you purchased from a third-party.