What does Refurbished Mean?

(Part 2 of 2)

When it comes to considering purchasing refurbished products, a common question we get asked at Metro3 is…

“What is refurbished?”

Well there are two sorts of refurbished product types.

The first type is “Factory refurbished’ we have covered off already. See Part 1.

The second type or subcategory of refurbished products is…

Third Party Refurbished

Third-party refurbished products are usually customer returns that include such things as:

  • Products are returned to the retailer
    • Change of mind whereby the goods are still “As New”
  • Alternatively the product might be faulty
  • Or in some cases the customer is upgrading the product
    • This is common in phones for example.

Unlike factory refurbished products, which is when a product is returned to the brand owner, third-party refurbished products, are handled by a company such as Metro3, who specialise in the buying and selling of these returned products.

When considering purchasing a third party refurbished product, the key things to note are:

  • They will usually have a wider range of cosmetic marks versus factory refurbished.
  • In some cases it will be supplied with non-genuine brand accessories, third party or after market accessories such as cables and plugs for example.
  • Product may be supplied in plain packaging.
  • Product may or may not have a manual supplied with it.

The key to understanding third-party refurbish product is to really understand the grading system for refurbished goods, which classifies the cosmetic condition of the product.

Quality is easily broken down in someway and good sellers will use this grading system to tell you what to expect: –

  • A
  • B
  • C
  • D

The more cosmetic marks, the lower the grading and the lower the price. Therefore an “A Grade” refurbished product will have less cosmetic marks than a “D Grade” refurbished product and therefore, you would expect to pay more for the Grade A product than the D Grade product.

The salient point here is cosmetic.

The D Grade product will still operate and function as it should, compared to an A Grade product. There might however be marks on the screen body or casing that are noticeable for example.

Here are some examples of iPhones that are Third Party refurbished:

  • “As New” third party product will be 100% fully functional and will have no marks anywhere on the unit either back or front.


  • “A grade” third party refurbished product will have a light wear and tear and they might also be light/ fine marks on the screen or body.


  • B grade third party refurbish product will have scuffs/ scratches on the front and back and might have very small chips in the glass and bezel.


  • C grade third party refurbished product will have scratches on the front and the back and have heavier scuffs or scratches, chips, dents or gouges on the back cover and possibly on the bezel.



There are some great deals to be had in buying third-party refurbished products.

It always pays to find out more about the gradings, as one third-party refurbished product could be very different to another.

A Grade A product will have a higher re-sell value than the same item having a D Grade. However the same product having a lower grading, you can expect to save more money.

So hopefully now, you can make a confident and informed decision about buying refurbished products.

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