Saving Money with Refurbished Computers & Accessories

It may be easier than buyers think to find "new" computers-with full warranties and protection-for less money.

Factory refurbished computers are machines that have been returned and brought back to "as new" condition.

These computer store items cannot be sold as new machines so they are returned to the manufacturer or an authorized reseller to be brought back to "as-new" condition, tested and repackaged. Refurbished computers are typically less than a year old, so buyers get the same processing power and memory speed as brand new models.

While many companies refurbish used systems, they don't all carry the manufacturer's warranty. Be sure to choose an authorized reseller that provides the same protection for refurbs as they do for new products.

"Our computers go through a rigorous testing and repair program before being repackaged and sold," said Don Mayer, CEO of Small Dog Electronics, New England's largest authorized reseller of Apple computers. "Our refurbished computers come with the same good stuff that new computers come with, such as software bundles, warranty and free technical support."

When buying a refurbished computer, be sure to ask:

o What classes of products are available? Open box or demo equipment, factory-refurbished and used (possibly refurbished) provide greater savings than brand new, never opened, and may still include some warranty protection.

o What is the source of the product? Some companies will supply this information, others won't.

o Are refurbished bundles available? Bundled items can include software, peripherals, printers or accessories that create a complete system.

o Is the equipment eligible for an extended care package? Purchasing a refurbished computer instead of a new one will save money, but the real value comes with the purchase of an extended care package.

For more money-saving tips and advice on buying refurbished equipment, visit www.smalldog. com/wag401.

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