In a past job, I was the Canon USA Service Manager in charge of setting up and running their Refurbishing Center in New York. For 5 years, I worked with other Service Departments to establish procedures and standards related to refurbished equipment.
Where does the equipment come from?
The majority of the equipment comes from retail returns. These returns are usually because the buyer or gift recipient could not get the equipment to work for them! (Seriously) The other source is from retired in-store demo units. In both cases, the equipment is usually in perfect running order, possibly with slight cosmetic damage. No matter how good their condition though, they are no longer “New”, and can’t be sold as such.
The Manufacturer puts the equipment into a saleable state so they recover their production and shipping costs. In the process, the buyer benefits with a significant discount in price.
How is the equipment serviced?
Camera Service standards are used more which are more rigorous than Manufacturing Standards of new product coming off the assembly line. Each piece of equipment is tested and adjustments are made when required by a Service Technician. Depending on the cost involved, more extensive repairs are undertaken to permit the equipment to pass Quality Control checks. In rare cases, equipment that has cosmetic damage will have external parts replaced. At the end of the repair process the piece of equipment is ready for packaging and sale. In a majority of cases, all original accessories are included with refurbished equipment.
There is usually a different Warranty with Refurbished equipment. Be sure to read the details because there can be a couple different versions for the same model. The difference is usually the duration, which significantly impacts the retail price too.
Where can I purchase Refurbished products?
I know that Canon sells refurbished equipment at their eStore which can be found on their website. Adorama always has an excellent selection of refurbished equipment. B&H also has a used Department . Finally, RefubDepot specializes in all types of refurbished equipment.
How to Get Involved with your New Equipment! Join a Local Camera Club such as http://www.PhotoAdvClub.com to meet other passionate members and learn how to use your new toys!
Guest Author: Art Skopac