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Think Outside the Box by Buying 'Open Box'

Our culture has a fixation with buying all things bright, shiny and new, but with occasional product defects and buyer's remorse, it shouldn't come as a surprise that millions of items are returned to retailers each year. In fact, some consumer studies suggest that 10 percent of all retail items are returned. Many of these products are in excellent condition, while some have small cosmetic flaws or parts that can be repaired or replaced. These so called "open box" items and refurbished products are sold at steep discount, equaling a hefty savings for savvy shoppers.Visit:https://premierappliancestore.com to find excellent deals on "OPEN BOX" UNITS

Typical products in the open box and refurbished category include electronics and home appliances, but the market is widening. Caroline Ernst, vice president of e-commerce for Blinq, which sells overstock, open box and returned items from a variety of major retailers, shares that computers, televisions and other consumer electronics are in highest demand on their site. She also notes a growing trend of open box purchases in the home improvement category. "Smart shoppers are realizing they can save big on tools that were returned with minimal use, while also extending the useful life of perfectly good products," she says.

Maria Tiongco Ramos, savings expert and founder of www.ASavingsWOW.com, says she has achieved big savings with open box purchases. She has purchased a variety of open box products, ranging from printers and scanners to appliances and even home decor, raking in deals averaging 60 to 90 percent off retail. Many of those items she bought were display models simply missing original packaging or instruction manuals, which Ramos says can usually be easily found online.

It is important to investigate why the product is listed as open box and the extent of its wear and tear. Typically you can find a label on the product indicating the reason it is being sold open box. It is critical to thoroughly read the label so you can determine if the item was simply a floor model or if it was returned with minimal use.

Prior to purchase, you need to closely inspect the product for missing parts or accessories, as well as slight imperfections, like nicks, dents or cracks. Once you determine the extent of any repair work needed, you can decide if the price is amicable for the work that needs to be done. If the defect is small, you can decide to use it as-is. Some small flaws can be mended at home with a sander, coat of paint or fabric marker.

If you notice imperfections or flaws, Ramos recommends leveraging any defects for additional discounts at checkout. Negotiating an even lower price at the customer service desk can often be achieved just simply by inquiring and pointing out the product condition. It doesn't hurt to ask; even shoppers, who are novice hagglers, can find success in landing a steeper markdown.

Ramos recommends looking for open box products at reputable stores. Some of her favorites include Best Buy, Office Depot, Office Max, Staples and Bed Bath & Beyond. When shopping online, she advises shoppers read the product description thoroughly, as well as the company's reviews and ratings.

When shopping open box sales online, it is important to find a retailer or reseller that has inspected and accurately listed the condition of the products. Blinq has a trained quality control team that evaluates and tests products, to ensure all parts are in working order and look for cosmetic defects. Based on their findings and the product's origins, the company determines how deeply discounted that item will be.

When dealing with an unfamiliar retailer, Ramos recommends that shoppers be wary of retailers that do not meet the following criteria, as the risk can outweigh the reward:

1. Adequate photos.

For online purchases, you should be able to see a picture of the item you are buying. If the seller does not show ample pictures of the product or up close photographs of any defects or flaws, you should ask.

2. Money-back guarantee.

Any online retailer that does not offer a money-back guarantee is a gamble. You may not be satisfied with the product or the current condition may not have been accurately disclosed, so having the option to return and get your money back is crucial.

3. Return policy.

Make sure the company has a return policy in place. Major retailers like Best Buy and Bed Bath & Beyond will allow you to return products within their normal return period if you are not satisfied. Blinq also offers a 30-day hassle-free money-back guarantee on all orders.

4. Warranties

Ramos recommends that shoppers utilize the manufacturer's warranty on open box items. She advises shoppers to find out much time is left on the original warranty, especially on big ticket items like electronics and appliances. She has purchased the extended warranty plan on occasion, which has covered the replacement of a newer model when her older open box product no longer worked.

One last tip Ramos offers is to research how much the product would cost new, in its original box. You want to make sure the open box price is a significant savings, compared to buying that product new during a sale. Using apps such as RedLaser can help you find the best sale price on new products, making it easier to determine if the open box price is a good value.

When buying your next electronic, appliance or tool, consider deviating from the new-in-box mentality. By thinking outside the box, you can scale down your expenses and maximize your savings. Open box purchases can truly open up your budget, leaving more money in your wallet.

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