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Ask Max: What exactly does the term 'refurbished' mean?

Asked on 02/27/2007:

What exactly does the term 'refurbished' mean? I am trying to buy a refurbished iMac and the seller tells me that it is 'completely refurbished'. Does that mean that there is necessarily a new power supply installed or does it just mean that it has been tested, works and could fail like my old one?


When PowerMax uses the term refurbished we are indicating that a computer or device was bought from Apple through their refurbished program. Apple tests and restores returned units to their original configuration. Then they release the computer again with the same warranty as a new Mac.When PowerMax takes back a new Mac from a customer or removes one from display, we restore and repair that computer as needed and mark that system as an Open Box unit. Trade-in computers from customers are tested and restored, and then they are marked as Pre-Owned Macs.Some resellers will call Open Box and Pre-Owned computers "Refurbished," but they lack the warranty that "Apple Refurbished" equipment has. In all instances above you should only assume that non-new equipment has been tested only. Certainly parts could have been replaced, but that's only if something failed a test. The warranty is what you need to look at: is it a year or 90 days, or simply what's left from Apple's original warranty? Can you buy AppleCare with it?In our opinion, using the word refurbished on what is either an open box or a used computer is somewhat deceptive because of Apple's own refurbished program. The result is the confusion you experienced!Apple Refurbished equipment will have a one-year warranty that can be extended to three years with AppleCare. If the seller offers no warranty, then it is just a tested used computer. Also if this is a private sale you are working on, please get the serial number from the seller and check it against our stolen equipment database (Stolen Serial Number Database).Hope that explains it.

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