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Technology is a beautiful thing. It helps you do more, and do it faster, better, cheaper, and while sitting poolside halfway across the globe. With a few grand and the right combination of hardware and software, a lawyer can be as well oiled of a machine as the six million dollar man.
However, since we lawyers aren't Lee Majors, when we consider buying new tech for our practices, getting a good deal actually matters. But when buying tech at a discount for your firm, beware of a few common pitfalls and traps.
What Are You Waiting For?
If you're patiently waiting for a big sale to purchase a new computer, monitor, camera, tablet, or phone, then just keep on waiting for your deal to happen. But, if you need the tech ASAP, then buying used, open-box, or refurbished, items could save you hundreds of dollars or more.
However, once you find the item you want to buy, either online or in store, delaying your purchase could result in the missing your chance. That's because deals on refurbished or open box items can often be one-off deals. But don't be hasty as you need to consider a few things before any used tech purchase.
Who Used it?
When buying used or refurbished tech, it's important to be aware of items being refurbished by a third party that doesn't provide the same level of quality assurance as a manufacturer. Typically, when a manufacturer, like Apple or Dell, refurbishes one of their own products, they will stand behind it as if it is a new product. When third parties claim to "refurbish" products, it can be a real buyer beware situation, and a potential security risk if that third party has malicious designs.
Basically, it's like buying a used car. An authorized car dealer's certified and warrantied used cars will cost more than the same car without the dealer's certification and warranty. And the more reputable the dealer or car brand, the more the certification will be worth.
In short, don't buy used, refurbished, or open box tech from a retailer or manufacturer that doesn't have a good reputation for customer service.
Expressly Lacking Warranties and Returns
Discounted tech can often come with a shorter warranty, or without a warranty at all. Also, sometimes discounted items can be sold as-is or as nonreturnable. It's awful, but you need to read the fine print.
Where Are You Looking?
Checking manufacturers' websites for refurbished or discount sections is the best place to find trustworthy used tech. While manufacturer refurbished products are usually a bit more expensive than third-party refurbs, you're getting what you pay for. Some techies even prefer to buy manufacturer refurbished because they know the product will have been thoroughly tested. To find out if a manufacturer sells their own refurbished products, just google search their name plus the word "refurb."
Other popular places to look for refurbished tech are Amazon's "Warehouse Deals" and on eBay. Though, these sites can truly be buyer beware situations, read the fine print and stay within the sites' policies, and for the most part, the sites will have your back if something goes wrong. On Amazon, look for Amazon's own "Warehouse deals," and on eBay, read a seller's reviews and review the eBay buyer protection policies.