By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman

Reader Question

TV Answer Man, Amazon has some nice prices on renewed TVs which have been fixed up after who knows what. My question is should you get a TV that’s been used so to speak? — Neal, New Bern, North Carolina.

What Is a Renewed TV?

Neal, Amazon calls its repaired televisions, ‘renewed’ TVs. Formerly, the etailer called them, ‘certified refurbished,’ and I have to acknowledge that ‘renewed’ is a better marketing term for describing a once-defective set that purportedly now works just fine. ‘Certified refurbished’ always sounded like a piece of furniture to me. But regardless of the term, should you buy a television that’s been repaired?

Retail stores and online sellers will often slash prices on TVs (and other electronics) that have been returned for a variety of reasons including missing parts, faulty components or simply sub-par performance. The TV merchants will then try to fix the set (if a repair is truly needed) and re-sell them with lower prices. (For instance, Amazon is now selling this ‘renewed’ Samsung 65-inch QLED 4K TV for roughly $600 cheaper than a new model.)

Retailers usually call these TVs ‘demos’ or ‘floor models’ while Amazon now calls them ‘renewed.’ But it’s all the same. In most cases, the televisions will operate perfectly after being repaired, and they will continue to perform well for years to come.

Why You Shouldn’t Buy a Renewed TV

However, I would caution against buying a floor model or ‘renewed’ TV. While the set is likely to experience few or no problems after repair, the odds that it could rise once it needed to be fixed in the first place. Think of it like the brand new car that comes out of the showroom needing repairs within a few weeks of purchase. In many cases, the initial problem signals that the car was poorly manufactured. Consequently, the car often requires more repairs during its lifetime than the average vehicle. In the auto world, it’s known as a lemon.

Now you may say that the renewed TV often comes with a 90-day warranty so you can return it if it falters soon after you bring it home. That is true, but who wants the hassle of returning a large TV to the local TV store or via postal online. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a chore worth avoiding at all costs, even at the risk of losing a great bargain. And if a set required repairs soon after being manufactured, it’s more likely to need them again at some point during its life.

Should You Ever Buy a Renewed Product?

So, I would recommend not buying a repaired TV. However, I don’t feel the same way about smaller, less expensive products that are floor models or renewed, such as Roku players or even laptops. The investment, and therefore the risk, is smaller, and it’s significantly easier to return a small device.

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Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at swann@tvanswerman.com Please include your first name and hometown in your message.

The TV Answer Man is veteran journalist Phillip Swann who has covered the TV technology scene for more than three decades. He will report on the latest news and answer your questions regarding new devices and services that are changing the way you watch television. See the bio for Phillip Swann here.