If you are in the market for a cheap laptop, you will encounter dozens of ads and websites offering refurbished laptops at lower prices.

Before dismissing the deal as too good to be true, it’s important to understand what refurbishment means, says Gumtree GM Claire Cobbledick.

“Some refurbished items are effectively new, but were returned by the buyer within the return period in working order. Per T&Cs the item can’t be sold as new, but can be resold, so it’s marked as refurbished,” she explains.

“In other instances, the item was returned as faulty, but the defect couldn’t be found and no work was done on the device. Or perhaps a defect was found, but repaired and now the item is resold.

“A reconditioned laptop has also been repaired, but then thoroughly tested, repackaged and possibly even upgraded for resale. There are dozens of businesses that specifically buy used laptops for reconditioning.”

While most refurbished electronics go through testing and quality assurance, it’s important to proceed with caution.

“As with any expensive items that are bought, make sure that you understand the warranties and returns policy. If the item has been checked after repairs, find out which repairs were done.”

It is possible that whoever bought the laptop originally returned it for good reason and while the retailer or reseller might not have picked up the error when testing it, it’s possible that it could pop again after you’ve bought it.

“Even new laptops can have problems that aren’t detected by QA – refurbished laptops go through two QA checks. What is most important is understanding whether or not you would be able to return or exchange the product.”

The benefits of buying a refurbished item is the discount. “You will likely pay 25%-50% less for a refurbished laptop. If a new laptop doesn’t suit your budget, it’s a great option. Always do your research before committing and use a reputable refurbisher.”