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A Guide to Make Used Electronic Gifts Like New

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Monday, December 14, 2020   

PORTLAND, Ore. -- For holiday gift-seekers this season, one consumer group contends what's old can be new again.

The Oregon State Public Interest Research Group released a guide for finding used electronics.

Charlie Fisher, state director of the group, said the marketplace for refurbished electronics has grown significantly.

"You can get something that's functionally new at 20% or more discount," Fisher observed. "So oftentimes, that's better than Black Friday deals; and while doing so, help the environment by buying used."

The report, "Fixed for the Holidays," stated higher-quality items tend to make better refurbished gifts, and it's important to buy from manufacturers with track records for durability.

The guide also suggested people get protection for their purchases. Fisher added paying by credit card means you usually can get a refund in case an item is defective or must be returned.

Fixed for the Holidays pointed folks toward retailers that specialize in refurbished items, like TheStore.com.

Fisher said the environmental component of buying used is important, too, because electronic waste is the fastest-growing waste stream in the world. And a lot of greenhouse gases are produced to manufacture items like cell phones.

"If every Oregonian were able to keep their phone for one year longer, it would be the equivalent of removing about 8,100 cars off the road, in terms of carbon emissions," Fisher explained.

But Fisher noted manufacturers often make it hard to repair items. Some of their strategies include not selling the tools needed, either to consumers or independent repair shops, or using software locks.

He added a bipartisan group of Oregon lawmakers will look at this issue in the upcoming session.

"We're working to pass legislation in Oregon that would give Oregonians the 'right to repair,' which would require electronics manufacturers to provide, at fair and reasonable terms, parts, tools and the repair schematics required to extend the life of what people own," Fisher concluded.

Lawmakers head back to Salem Jan. 11.


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