Should You Buy A Refurbished Computer?


How do you know if a refurbished computer is right for you? That’s what KOMO News’ Connie Thompson came to find out from InterConnection this week.

What to Look for

When shopping for refurbished technology there are some key things to pay attention to according to the consumer advocate group WashPIRG:

1. Review the vendor’s refurbishing process:
Terms such as “Like-New,” “Open-Box,” “Refurbished,” or “Certified Pre-Owned” can mean very different things. If the seller doesn’t know the process to make sure the item has been thoroughly checked, then you should have a lot less confidence that the item will last.

2. Check the accessories:
Items that, when new, come with earphones, connecting cables and charging stations, don’t always come with those important accessories when used. You should check to see what you are getting, and whether you will need to purchase other accessories.

3. Get a good price:
Generally speaking, the cost for a reliable, certified pre-owned piece of equipment is usually about 15-20% less than buying new, plus 10% per year since the original sale.

4. Protect yourself:
Get a sense of the return policy. In addition to a good return policy, you want at least a 90-day warranty in case the item needs service

Our Process

As the first non-profit in the United States to gain R2 and ISO14001 certification status, we strive to reduce electronic waste through our commitment to reuse, refurbishment, and the highest-standards of green recycling.

InterConnection Process


• The hard drive data is erased using DoD-compliant methods.
• The computer is examined for any major cosmetic or internal damage.
• Dust is blown out using high pressure air from the power supply, processor, and fans and throughout the case.
• All stickers are removed and the case is cleaned.
• The motherboard is inspected for any faulty capacitors.

Refurbished and Tested to R2 Standards

• Any missing parts are replaced, such as: hard drive, RAM sticks, and video cards.
• The system BIOS is reset to default and the computer’s boot order is set to start with CD-ROM.
• Laptops tested for key functions: LCD Screen, hard Drive, keyboard, battery, CMOS Battery, Ethernet, power supply, and drivers to all external ports and drives.
• Desktops tested for key functions: Hard drive, CMOS Battery, Ethernet, primary video port, power and drivers to all external ports and drives.
• If requested: the computer is refurbished to specific client specifications.

Quality Control

• Software is used to test determine if all key components, such as the Motherboard, Processor, RAM, optical drive and hard drive, are in working condition.
• All computers are logged into our database and specs are printed and attached to all PCs and laptops.

Cosmetic Grade

• Cosmetic Grade A:
Grade A products will have overall excellent to very good cosmetic condition. Some Grade A units will be cosmetically pristine while others may have light scratches or other minor blemishes. Some laptops may exhibit some shiny areas around the keyboard (space bar, touchpad and/or touchpad buttons), but the keyboard keys will be in excellent condition. Cosmetic blemishes will have no impact to the system’s overall functionality or performance.
• Cosmetic Grade B:
These units will have some cosmetic blemishes that include scratches and/or other surface imperfections. Some laptops may exhibit shiny keys on the keyboard and/or shiny surfaces around the keyboard. All key characters will be legible. Grade B products are functionally equivalent to Grade A, and will include the same warranty and customer support as Grade A products. Pricing on Grade B products will typically be lower than Grade A products.

Software Install and Licensing

• All updates applied.
• Installation verified (verification that all drivers are present and up to date).
• Post-install software activation.


• The computer is either taken to our Retail Store, boxed for domestic shipping, or palletized for an international shipment.
• A sticker with the computer’s specifications is attached. If listed on one of our online stores, the spec list is displayed there.


Our Warranty


Harry Egler, president of InterConnection, assures Connie Thompson of KOMO News that consumers are protected by our one-year warranty, “we guarantee [our computers] for a year, and that’s going to give you some peace of mind, and it’s not going to break the bank.”

Elise Orlick from WashPIRG recommends that you “focus on brands that have a track record of producing durable products.”

WashPIRG also cautions you to only deal with reputable electronic refurbishing pros who explain and stand behind their work. And keep in mind that some refurbished electronics are risky- including printers- which  can have undetected ink jams and television monitors- which are often made with fragile materials and have a track record of problems.

InterConnection’s processing standards allow us to offer high-quality computers at low-cost, and our one-year warranty protects consumers. Purchasing a refurbished computer from InterConnection will save your wallet, and the environment!

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