Ending soon: 32GB WiFi+Cellular iPad 3, $389.99 refurbished, $369.99 pre-owned


Cowboom -- a Best Buy company -- has the third-generation iPad (iPad 3, first iPad with a Retina display) with 32GB of internal storage and both WiFi and cellular (AT&T) on sale for only $389.99 (refurbished) or $369.99 (used); this doesn't appear on their Deal of the Day page so the length of the sale is unclear.

Cowboom is indeed a Best Buy company. This means that the company will charge sales tax in most locations. It also means that the company can be trusted. The deal is available here.

This 32GB product would have sold for $729 when new and when it was introduced by Apple back in early 2012.

Cowboom has strict definitions for used or pre-owned items and refurbished items.

Pre-owned Items
Pre-owned describes products that have been purchased, opened, and operated. Then, for a multitude of reasons, from buyer’s remorse to functionality, the product is returned to the store. When a pre-owned product is processed by Cowboom, it is tested for power and basic functionality. When buying an item that is not brand new, ask yourself these questions:

1. Factory refurbished or Refurbished items frequently come in store-like packaging. This is usually noted in the item’s description.
2. How much visible wear are you comfortable with? Pre-owned items and certain grades of refurbished items may have visible imperfections. If you are planning on putting the item in a protective case, this may not be as important to you. Or if you are particularly hard on your items, the cosmetic condition may not be as important as having a device that works. Usually, the more scratches on an item, the better the deal you can get

Pre-owned devices, therefore, are:

- Fully functional
- May show limited signs of use
- May be missing parts or accessories
- May have dents or scratches

Refurbished Items
Refurbished items are processed by one or more third-parties to test and restore their condition. The goal is to restore the product to a standard as close to its original condition as possible.

A-B-C grading scale
If a refurbished item has been graded on the typical scale, one can safely assume it’s in full working condition. The A-B-C scale simply refers to its appearance:
A: Appearance is close to new
B: Appearance may show very slight signs of wear
C: Scratched or bearing some other cosmetic imperfection

A Factory Refurbished product has been refurbished by the actual manufacturer.
Refurbished describes items that are refurbished by a 3rd party company that specializes in repair of those devices. A 3rd party uses their own standards of refurbishment and quality control. Because this process operates outside of the original manufacturer, manuals and software are typically not included. These are usually available for download from the manufacturer’s web site.

Refurbished devices from Cowboom, therefore, are:

- Fully functional
- May show limited signs of wear
- May have minor scratches

Note that there are differences between the term refurbished at different retailers. Apple, for example, provides a new shell, new battery, and a new one-year warranty when refurbishing a device.