Another dot in the blogosphere?

Refurbished lemon

Posted on: November 6, 2021

Photo by cottonbro on

I have lost faith in Apple-certified refurbished products. 

I wrote about how I was going to send my recently purchased Mac Mini (refurbished) in for servicing. I decided to return it based on the advice of two Apple Geniuses I met on visits I made last Wednesday and this Thursday.

Apple makes returns sound simple enough. Either return the item to an Apple store or ask Apple to arrange for a courier to pick it up [source]. 

Apple returns policy.

But they do not tell you what the exceptions are. I found out the hard way that refurbished items fall into this category. Items that you pay for over monthly instalments might also be an exception.

When I bought my item, I had to visit the refurbished item site, and then either call a number or chat online to order an item. I chose to chat because I could copy and past specific details like URLs and item specifications there.

With my latest order, I had to wait two days before someone from finance called me to confirm my credit card details for payment monthly instalments. Collectively, this felt like a throwback to the 90s when e-commerce was fledgling.

Thankfully, Apple was very quick with shipping. Right after my financial details were confirmed, I received delivery information and the Mini was mine the next morning.

But as I explained earlier, my new device could not connect via wifi after a few days and was not able to perform TimeMachine backups at all. Instead of getting an apple, I got a lemon.

My first visit to the Apple store for technical support confirmed the wifi problem and solved it with a complete reset of the Mini. The first Apple Genius still recommended I return the item. My second visit was result of the TimeMachine issue and I wanted to return it to the store directly.

It was while in store and chatting with two Apple representatives that I found out that the item was “not eligible” for return. Just that, no reasons. So I had to call 1800-MYAPPLE to get things sorted out.

According to my call log, I spent 38 minutes on the phone trying to explain to the person at the other end everything that had happened, and then asking for the item to be cleared for store return. I was, after all, already in the store with the item and its original packaging.

I probably spent at least half of the call time waiting in silence. Well, not quite. I was at the Apple Orchard store and there was a class on vanity photography on full blast in the background.

Long story made short: The phone representative could not clear my item for store return and arranged for a courier to pick it up next week. 

I have lost faith in refurbished products. The quality control does not seem to be as high because I received a faulty product. 

BTW, this is not the first poor item. My 2017 Macbook Pro was also refurbished and its battery conked out in less than a year despite my disciplined use. It is also very sluggish — it barely keeps pace with a 2018 MacBook air.

The refurbished item return process was a nightmare for me. Refurbished items also do not seem to be accepted for trade-ins. If I need to buy another Apple product, I will stick to a brand new item and try to get an educator’s discount. 

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