Do all companies refurbish to the same standard?

The short answer is no. Ikonic have seen when examining the industry that not only are there different grades across the market, but companies are not held to any standard or governing body when grading their product.

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The short answer is no. Ikonic have seen when examining the industry that not only are there different grades across the market, but companies are not held to any  standard or governing body when grading their product. This creates problems with trust in the market and comparisons between companies but as we examine in this blog, this situation may be changing.

What’s the difference between refurbished and second-hand IT?

According to Which the difference between a refurbished and second-hand laptop is:

“A refurbished, or reconditioned, laptop has usually been professionally restored by a manufacturer or retailer to the closest it can get to ‘as new’ condition. Refurbished laptops often come with warranties.

The laptops we more commonly think of as ‘second-hand’ are typically used laptops sold ‘as-is’ by their previous owners, and their condition will be far more variable.”

From this definition we can conclude that when buying from a refurbished, a certain level of restoration has taken place. This includes a potentially greater security when compared to second-hand. The two are certainly not to be seen in the same light.

How do you measure the quality of the refurb?

Traditionally, refurb products have been measured using a grading system spanning from A to C. However, the issue that purchasers face is that the grading system does not offer uniformity from supplier to supplier, making it hard for a consumer, or a reseller, to know the standard of what they are buying. The grading works better when you are measuring the quality of models sold by one specific retailer.

Times, however, are changing.


Keys being checked

The BSI Kitemark™

Research from the British Standard’s Institute (BSI) show the recommerce (second-hand) market is already worth $9 billion annually and expected to reach $10.6bn by end of 2025. It has therefore become important that there is oversight of the industry and that there is a way of certifying the level of work that is going into refurbishing a product. This is where the new BSI Kitemark comes in. To obtain the Kitemark the company refurbishing needs to represent that they consistently work to a standard that is better than what most refurbishers are calling grade A. As a symbol of trust, the kitemark is going to allow consumers and resellers to understand who are producing quality and who aren’t.

Ikonic are proud that we are one of the first companies in the refurbished sector to receive the BSI Kitemark.

Do all companies refurbish to the same standard?

As per the evidence above, the answer is an obvious no. Each supplier decides where they want to position themselves within the market, for examples some companies want to focus on Grade B and C and sell on providing a cheap price, whereas there are companies like Ikonic who wish to sell on quality, as well as deliver a competitive price.

What does this mean to consumers?

Because of the variety in quality of refurbishing and the lack of consistency of a grading system it makes it very difficult to compare products purely on specification and price. It becomes important for a vendor to understand who they are buying their refurbished products from and the quality that they provide. They then need to make sure that the consumer understands this and understands the relative quality differences when looking at price.

Is being sustainable important to you and your customers?

There are normally two main reasons for buying refurbished products. The first is price and the second is to help hit company sustainability targets. If the reason is to hit sustainability targets then choosing the right supplier becomes increasingly important. As highlighted by the below statistics.

The total life cycle carbon footprint of the ICT sector is approximately 730 million tonnes CO2 equivalent (Mt CO2-eq) or 1.4 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions (Ericsson) and is used by 70% of the global population.

If you purchase from someone who is refurbishing to a lower standard then the products are less likely to last as long which means that they will be going back into waste sooner which in turn requires a new replacement. However, using a good quality refurbishment supplier then the laptops will not only look better, but they will also last longer and will extend the products life longer. This means that they are a greater benefit to the Circular Economy.

Working in a forest

What about remanufactured?

Ikonic have already examined and compared refurbished with remanufactured in the past and you can read our full blog here. However, to summarise it is Ikonic’s  opinion that remanufacturing is less sustainable due to it’s use of new components to restore a product to a new-like quality. And when we look at the argument of a remanufactured product lasting longer than a refurbished product, well if you are buying from a high quality refurbisher, like Ikonic, who have the BSI Kitemark for quality then you will find very little difference between remanufactured and refurbished.

To Conclude

Through this blog we have highlighted that there is a lot of evidence regarding a lack of uniformity in standards across the refurbished sector. However, thanks to the consumer-focused impartial third-party BSI standard, this will start to change. It is becoming increasingly important to look for the BSI Kitemark, especially if you need to rely on the quality of the refurbished products supplied.

Talk with us today and we will represent to you the significant differences in our quality without the additional cost.