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You can buy refurbished items from eBay—but should you?

Exploring eBay's certified refurbished program.

red, blue, orange, and green striped background with laptop, speaker, and robot vacuum on it Credit: Apple / Bose / iRobot

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There’s a level of skepticism that comes with purchasing refurbished items, at least for the uninitiated. Refurbished items, or items that have been restored or updated to "like new" condition, can feel like a bit of a gamble, especially if it’s not a retailer you know. However, refurbished items are a great way to save money on brands you love, allowing you to shop cost-effectively and sustainably in a consumer marketplace that’s constantly inundated with expensive, new items.

One of the biggest players in the certified refurbished game is eBay, where you can get the best of both worlds—like-new products from brands you love, without high costs or concerns about quality. The eBay certified refurbished program allows consumers to shop products that have been professionally refurbished, by either the manufacturer of the actual product or vendors that have been vetted by the manufacturer. Ahead, we’ve broken down the ins and outs of eBay’s certified refurbished program so that you can decide whether or not refurbished products are right for you.

What does certified refurbished mean?

eBay certified refurbished information with laptop in blue background
Credit: eBay

eBay's certified refurbished program lets customers shop pristine, like-new condition items for less.

Refurbished items, or items that have been restored to reflect the quality and function of the original product, are available in droves online. You can find refurbished items almost everywhere, from Amazon to eBay to independent shops and sellers. Anyone can list an item that they’re reselling and label it as “refurbished”—making the pool of available options seem, at times, unswimmable.

While there are uncertified refurbished items on eBay, you can also find reputable vendors for refurbished items through the eBay certified refurbished program. The eBay certified refurbished program allows customers to purchase items that have been refurbished directly from either the product’s original manufacturer or a manufacturer-approved vendor. All vendors within the certified refurbished program must adhere to eBay’s strict certified refurbished requirements, including:

  • Selling products that are professionally refurbished to a high standard, with few or no visible blemishes
  • Selling products that are sold or sourced directly from the manufacturer, with proof of purchase or authorization
  • Including the manufacturer warranty, free shipping, and 30-day free returns with all sales
  • Shipping all products in new packaging (similar to original packaging or brown box) with all of the original or new accessories

The vendors must also have good overall metrics on eBay, as well as be based in the United States in order to qualify for the program.

What kind of items earn the ‘certified refurbished’ tag?

Only certain items are eligible to be listed under the certified refurbished classification; among them are Apple laptops, cell phones and smartphones, door and window sensors, gaming headsets, lawn mowers, streaming equipment, power tools, smart lights, smart watches, tablets, and vacuums, to name a few.

You can find an array of certified refurbished items on eBay from top-performing brands, including some that we love:

What will the quality of the certified refurbished items be like?

In order to earn the certified refurbished tag from eBay, products must be in pristine, like-new condition. Before being listed, they must be inspected, cleaned, and restored to the original manufacturer specifications. Any packaging must be new, and any accessories must be either the original accessories to the product or be new.

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Before being shipped or distributed to consumers, all certified refurbished products undergo testing by the vendor to ensure they hold up to quality standards. All that said, the quality of the product you receive should be excellent, if not like new. There are other tiers on eBay's website for refurbished products, including products that have been verified as being excellent, very good, or just good from qualified vendors, but the certified refurbished products come with the most product guarantees.

If you are unsatisfied with the quality of a product you get through the certified refurbished program, you can partake in the eBay 30-day return policy or adhere to the terms of your product’s warranty (items in the certified refurbished program all carry a 2-year warranty). If your product breaks or malfunctions, the refund/replacement process for broken products goes through a third-party in the form of Allstate’s warranty claims, meaning you’ll get the chance to file a claim online. The process of getting your broken product fixed or replaced through the warranty isn’t as linear as eBay’s 30-day return policy, so be sure to check out the warranty details.

How will I know if a product is certified refurbished?

An image of a landing page for an Acer laptop listed under the certified refurbished program. The product listing has a Certified - Refurbished stamp above the product quantity box.
Credit: eBay

The Certified - Refurbished label can be found on participating product listings just above the Quantity for each product.

You can search through the listings of certified refurbished and other refurbished products right on eBay, but you can also check if a listing has a Certified - Refurbished tag in the product information on each product page.

Always look for the refurbished labels when you’re shopping for refurbished items. With the volume of non-certified items on eBay, it's always a good idea to closely read to the product description to ensure that you’re getting a high quality item that’s vouched for by the brand.

Why go certified refurbished?

blue background with ebay certified refurbished information.
Credit: eBay

If you're a fan of certified refurbished products, eBay is a great destination to shop them all in one place.

Whether you’re looking for a cheaper price on a brand you trust, or simply looking to make more sustainable shopping choices by buying items that are pre-used, refurbished items make for a good investment. The eBay program only allows suppliers that have been vetted and certified by the product manufacturer to participate, meaning that the manufacturers themselves are standing by the quality of the product you’ll receive.

Combined with the warranty policies and return policies, utilizing the certified refurbished program through eBay is definitely low risk, high reward compared to hunting in the rest of the online refurbishment landscape.

Shop certified refurbished products on eBay

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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