What to Know When Buying Refurbished Testing Equipment
Sometimes the bargain item you buy online comes with more setbacks than you bargained for.
When ordering refurbished testing equipment, some trepidation over the model you’ll receive is understandable. But refurbished products can be especially appealing when they're available for less than the OEM price, or your only option when the item you need is no longer manufactured.
Unfortunately, not all online sellers are reputable or forthcoming with all the details about the refurbished testing equipment they provide. This makes it crucial to find and prioritize reputable sellers who have the qualifications necessary to repair and test the equipment in question.
The following is an overview of some of the risks of buying refurbished testing equipment online, what qualities make a refurbished equipment seller ideal, and what you can expect when you buy refurbished equipment from the experts at Alltest Instruments.
What Are the Risks of Buying Refurbished Testing Equipment?
Here's a scenario: you need a piece of testing equipment that is no longer manufactured. Luckily, you found an online listing for a product that features the exact specifications you were looking for. The pictures look promising, and its description insists the device was tested and is fully functional.
But alas, when your equipment shows up, it doesn't work. Then, when you revisit the listing to start the return process, you discover the website you purchased it from has an "all sales final", no returns policy. Now, you’re stuck with a useless piece of equipment, lost money, and still without the device you need.
Let's not overlook that these could be serious financial losses. Depending on your needs, certain kinds of testing equipment, even when refurbished, can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
When you're looking for quality testing equipment, your business's resources and reputation are on the line. In a worst-case scenario, a non-functional piece of testing equipment from an untrustworthy dealer could be enough to financially ruin an organization—or at least derail its processes for a time.
The following are just some of the obstacles that can get in the way of finding quality refurbished testing equipment and amplify your risk.
Product descriptions can be open to interpretation
Many websites where individuals or dealers can sell supposedly "refurbished" equipment describe its condition in ways that can be interpreted rather subjectively.
For example, "like new" and "lightly used" can paint very different images for different people. A seller could be convinced (or, rather, want to convince you) that a few dents, scratches, or missing components are justifiable for the box.
Products or their components may not work
Ordering refurbished equipment online is convenient in the sense that you can explore a wide range of options in a short amount of time.
Unfortunately, one of the drawbacks is that you can't take a look at a particular product's actual condition or test it in person, so there's always the risk that the device may not work.
The seller may not have adequate training
Sometimes online sellers don't have the qualifications to test the equipment they’re selling but claim it's been tested for quality standards anyway.
Riskiest of all are potential defects with a device that might not be immediately obvious. It’s possible your device could have an undetected problem that would render the tests you need to perform invalid—and depending on their purpose(s), that could lead to serious safety or quality risks.
As an example, purchasing faulty refurbished medical equipment would run the risk of violating FDA and other guidelines, can put patients' health in danger, and open a healthcare organization to the possibility of litigation—which would defeat the purpose of conserving costs with refurbished equipment. 
Items may not be stocked
If you can click "add to cart", you might assume that inherently implies the product you need is available, but that's not always the case.
Unfortunately, some online sellers oversell products and process orders they aren’t actually capable of fulfilling. Or, they may wait until a customer places an order before acquiring the product themselves.
This can translate to long wait times and prevent you from conducting essential research steps or providing certain services for your customers.
Photos can be misleading
Product images should always be taken with a grain of salt. Sometimes, a seller may use a generic photo of the product in its brand-new form rather than the actual product they’re trying to sell.
In many cases, it also may not be clear whether the photos used represent the device’s current condition or whether they may have been strategically taken to hide faults like physical damage or missing parts.
Return policies vary
A seller's return policies can be easy to overlook or take for granted—until the product arrives and falls short of your expectations.
That's why it's essential to read the fine print regarding returns before submitting an order—and be sure to note what exceptions may apply, as well as potential red-flag phrases like "sold as-is".
A reputable seller will offer reasonable return periods and warranties for quality refurbished equipment.
Choosing a Reputable Seller of Refurbished Testing Equipment
The safest way to find quality refurbished testing equipment and protect your organization's bottom line is to choose a reputable seller.
Before buying a refurbished product online, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are the products tested? Have they run through the necessary standards?
- Who is the seller? Does the seller have the right qualifications to test the equipment?
- Are there trained technicians on staff?
- Do the products come with warranty options?
- Is there a way to find out if the product I want is actually in stock?
- Is there a support staff to assist you with troubleshooting or answer questions after you’ve purchased the product?
- Are their testimonials or reviews available attesting to the seller’s reputation?
How Alltest Instruments Eliminates the Risks of Buying Refurbished Testing Equipment
When you buy refurbished testing equipment with Alltest Instruments, the answers to all the above questions are a resounding "yes".
Alltest takes the quality of our products seriously—which is why every item in our inventory must pass a robust testing process before it's offered for sale. And with over 150 years of cumulative, specialized experience, you can trust that our experts are refurbishing your equipment the right way.
The following is an overview of the safeguards and services that are available to you when you work with us:
- Return policy – 5-day right of return on all equipment and a 30-day resellers guarantee for all items sold on the Alltest website
- Range of warranty options – Standard warranties of 90 days, plus extended warranty options of one to three years for both new and premium-refurbished equipment
- Robust testing standards – Each unit in our inventory is tested to ensure it meets OEM specifications
- Calibration certification and configuration options – Performed by trained, in-house technicians and engineers; use NIST traceable equipment
- Paint and body-work repairs as needed
- Post-sale, expert-level support services
- Inventory information – Our product listing pages show you how many available units we have in stock. If an item does end up on backorder, we will notify you immediately with an estimated delivery date.
- Maintenance contracts – Include parts and calibration services after the equipment you purchased is out of warranty or nearing the end of its OEM support period
- Repair services – Range of options include rentals, system design, and on-site repairs
Service like this is what keeps Alltest customers coming back time and time again.
Alltest: The Refurbished Testing Equipment Dealer You Can Trust
Buying used testing equipment doesn’t have to feel like a gamble. At least, not with Alltest Instruments.
With our rigorous testing standards, generous warranties, and post-sales service options, we take the risk out of buying refurbished equipment online.
Ready to explore your options with one of the largest refurbished testing equipment inventories in the world? Contact Alltest to find premium, tested refurbished testing equipment at a reasonable price.
LinkedIn (Originally published in TechNation Magazine). Testing 1, 2, 3: The Importance of Authenticating Refurbished Ultrasound Parts and Probes. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/testing-1-2-3-importance-authenticating-refurbished-parts-nguyen
 LinkedIn (Originally published in TechNation Magazine). Testing 1, 2, 3: The Importance of Authenticating Refurbished Ultrasound Parts and Probes. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/testing-1-2-3-importance-authenticating-refurbished-parts-nguyen