As a Best Buy company, it's obvious that Cowboom can be trusted. However, it also means that Cowboom -- like Best Buy -- will charge sales tax when selling online to most locations.
This 16GB product would have sold for $499 when new and when it was introduced by Apple back in late 2012.
Cowboom has strict definitions for used or pre-owned items and refurbished items.
Pre-owned describes products that have been purchased, opened, and operated. In other words, these are used items. These are not refurbished, though, and are sold as-is. Cowboom does test them to be sure they are functional, however, but these should be considered of lower quality than a refurbished item.
When buying a pre-owned device, Cowboom has a button that says "Choose from the best available." When an item comes up, it comes with detailed information. For example, one of the used iPad 4s was described with the following issues:
DENT/DING ON BOTTOM RIGHT CORNER THAT LIFTS SCREEN UP SCRATCHES AND SIGNS OF USE ON BACK AND FEW ON SCREEN
Pre-owned devices, therefore, are:
- Fully functional
- May show limited signs of use
- May be missing parts or accessories
- May have dents or scratches
Cowboom says that 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.