Refurbished Equipment Redux - InformationWeek

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Commentary
8/28/2007
09:28 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
Commentary
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Refurbished Equipment Redux

We raised some questions about the quality of refurbished devices in the Over the Air blog recently. True to form, a tidy little survey shows up after we publish saying that refurbed units just aren't that good.

We raised some questions about the quality of refurbished devices in the Over the Air blog recently. True to form, a tidy little survey shows up after we publish saying that refurbed units just aren't that good.Refurbished phones don't annoy just customers, but retailers as well, according to an AirLink Mobile survey. Based on AirLink's survey results, fully 30% of all refurbished phones become defective and are returned to the spot where they're are purchased, creating headaches for both customer and retailer alike. If the retailer doesn't have an exact replacement available, it can lead to a poor experience for the customer, who blames the retailer for selling them bad equipment, and providing poor follow up services.

"New cell phone handsets provide increased revenue and a longer-term relationship with their subscribers than refurbished ones," said David Stanek, CEO of AirLink Mobile. "Customers keep new handsets longer, and come back to the same store to buy more minutes and to get recommendations on new products."

The survey talks up the benefits of selling new equipment rather than used equipment, and touts the strong prepaid market in general, which is more prevalent in Europe. Almost 80% of European and Asian cell phone users are picking prepaid services over postpaid, which is the dominant model in the United States.

This all goes to reiterate my earlier beliefs that buying refurbished electronics is a bit like playing Russian roulette. The chamber is often empty. But every once it a while, you're just out of luck.

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