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The “refurbished” label can make buying a new gadget seem stressful. That’s especially true with something like headphones. Have those shiny new earbuds already been jammed into someone’s ear canals? Do they come with any kind of warranty? Can you return a refurbished product? These are all valid questions. But, right now, Best Buy is offering some serious deals on refurbished headphones—sometimes more than half-off the retail price. Those kinds of savings are worth a little research to find out what you’re getting. 

What does ‘Refurbished’ actually mean?

When you’re on a site selling refurbished products, you can typically dig into the fine print and find out exactly what the seller’s terms are. Since we’re specifically talking about Best Buy in this case, I did some of the digging for you. 

Best Buy calls its refurbished program Geek Squad Certified. The qualifying products vary. Almost all of them started their lives as returns. Some didn’t work right out of the box, while others came back with busted pieces. Best Buy has its own in-house refurbishing program as well as relationships with third-party shops that take those damaged gadgets, repair them, check them over for flaws, then repackage them for sale. 

While refurbished items have almost certainly been sold before when they were new, they weren’t necessarily used. But, even if they were, the company cleans, calibrates, and repairs everything before turning them around. 

You may notice some scratches or marks on the products, but the fact that each item gets an individual check before going out the door means it’s very unlikely to arrive dead on arrival.

Can you return a refurbished items?

In Best Buy’s case, you get the same return policy that you would with a new product. For typical customers, that means you’ll get two weeks from your purchase to return them for a refund. If you’re part of the company’s Rewards program and you’ve achieved Elite status, you have up to 45 days to return them.

Do refurbished items come with a warranty?

Here’s where things differ a little. Best Buy offers a 90-day warranty on most refurbished items. It appears that’s the case with most of the headphones in this sale. That’s roughly a quarter of the year-long manufacturer warranty you get with a new item. This is part of the trade-off that comes with those low prices. 

Because the warranty is limited, I recommend giving your refurbished product a thorough once-over as soon as you get it. And pay close attention during early usage to make sure everything is working right. That way, if there is a flaw in the device, you can catch it with sufficient time to return it. 

If you’re shopping at another retailer, be sure to check how long the warranty lasts. I’ve bought a ton of refurbished camera gear directly from Canon before and it comes with a limited one-year warranty, just like the new stuff. 

It’s also worth noting that refurbished gear and refurbished headphones typically don’t qualify for extended warranty programs. That’s true in Best Buy’s case and many others. So, don’t count on the ability to purchase extra protection. 

Best Buy’s deals on refurbished headphones

Now that you have some idea what “refurbished” actually means, here are some of the deals that Best Buy has at the moment.


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A final note about refurbished headphones

While these are great deals, here’s one more reminder test out your refurbished gear as soon as you get it. While most of them will likely work great, unpredictable things can happen and you want to have that return or warranty window at your disposal when they do.