What are open box items?

Category: Shopping


Electronics and other types of merchandise are often resold as open box items when they’re returned, so long as they aren’t defective. If you’re shopping for something and notice that it is being sold as an open box item, it will usually be discounted since someone else previously owned it. Open box items are generally gently used, or in some cases, were never used at all. As such, buying an open box item can be a good way to get a better deal on a particular product. But before you decide to purchase an open box item, be sure to investigate the following:

Condition of the item

Whenever you notice a product with an open box pricing option, there’s a good chance you’re just looking at the display item, and not the actual product you’ll receive if you were to purchase the open box item. Before asking to purchase the open box item, ask about its condition. Although open box items should be in workable condition, they may not always be in perfect condition. For instance, there may some minor cosmetic wear and tear. This may not bother you, but you should always find out upfront about the item’s condition before committing to buy it. Unless it’s practically brand new, it’s up to you determine whether any flaws are a deal breaker.

Return policy

The item has already been returned once, so can it be returned again? Every retailer will vary, and it’s important to find this out before you commit to the purchase. Even if you’re getting a good deal, you don’t want to be stuck with an expensive purchase if you change your mind and decide you no longer want it. Some stores don’t accept returns on open box items, whereas others may allow returns, but for a very limited time. On the other hand, some stores may offer the same return policy on all items, including open box products. Ask a sales associate before you buy, or check the store’s return policy online.

Warranty information

A product’s warranty may no longer be valid once it becomes an open box item. This could be a potential deal breaker, especially if you aren’t receiving much of a discount. Depending on what you’re buying, you may need that warranty for some extra peace of mind. If the open box item doesn’t include a warranty, you may be better off spending the extra money and receiving that item brand new, and with the warranty.

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Nothing above is meant to provide financial, legal, or tax advice. You should meet with appropriate professionals for such services.

Tags: bargain shopping, electronics, warranties

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