You may have come across advice in the IT industry, stoking fear that not buying through traditional Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) would somehow endanger your business. That used or refurbished equipment may be counterfeit, that used equipment is more expensive or comes without warranties or even that it’s illegal to buy used or refurbished equipment.

However, as with most advice, it’s best not to take it at its word. While there are things you should be aware of when considering buying used or refurbished equipment, as long as you are using common sense, there is nothing to be afraid of.

Known as the “grey market,” purveyors of used networking equipment sell legal, non-counterfeit goods sold outside normal distribution channels, such as OEMs. These sellers may be certified resellers or may have no relationship with the manufacturer of the equipment.

Myths Around Buying Used Equipment

First, let’s address some of the most common myths around buying used equipment and how you can make sure you’re getting what you paid for.

Myth: Buying Used is Illegal

Buying used equipment is perfectly legal! As long as you’re buying used or refurbished equipment from a reputable dealer, no laws are being broken and no copyright or patents are being violated.

Myth: Used Equipment is Counterfeit

Used equipment is the exact same equipment you could buy from an OEM — it’s just been used before your bought it. If you’re buying from a certified or reputable reseller, the equipment should be verified, refurbished, returned to factory settings and ready for you to use.

Myth: Used Equipment is Expensive

Used equipment costs less than off the shelf equipment from an OEM, and there are fewer hidden costs as well. From most resellers, there is no need to also purchase a support contract or software license. And the equipment should work with your current gear, with no need to do a full upgrade so all the pieces of the network can operate together.

Myth: Used Equipment Has No Warranty

Many resellers provide a warranty with their used or refurbished equipment. Depending on the company, the equipment may come with a limited warranty, branded maintenance or a lifetime warranty (such as Summit’s Peak Select Lifetime Warranty). Often, the warranties offered by resellers are better than you’d get from an OEM if you bought the equipment new!

Myth: Used Equipment Has a Short Lifespan

Despite what you may be hearing from OEMs, there is absolutely no need to upgrade your equipment every five years. The lifespan of most networking equipment on the market today is seven to 10 years. That’s up to double the useful life! And replacing gear that has failed with affordable used equipment means you’re getting even more of a return on your investment.

Navigating the Grey Market

The key to navigating the grey market and successfully buying used or refurbished equipment is to purchase from a reputable reseller. This may require some due diligence on your part, and there are a few questions you should ask before doing business with any new vendor.

What is your guarantee on used or refurbished equipment?

What is your refurbishment process?

What is your maintenance and repair policy?

What is your customer service availability?

Where do you get your equipment?

Can you track down a specific piece of equipment?

It also never hurts to ask around. You may be surprised at how many businesses in your industry buy used equipment to keep their networks running and avoid the costs of a full upgrade.

The Benefits of Buying Used

Once you’ve overcome the fear of the grey market and buying used equipment, you can see that there are more benefits than risks. By breaking the five-year refresh cycle, you can save your company money, potentially have a more reliable network as you use the same equipment and configuration and save money on replacement parts by buying refurbished rather than shoehorning new gear into your network.

A reputable reseller will also provide you with the peace of mind that comes with an extended warranty and repair policy, so if something goes wrong, they’re there to help.If you have questions about our refurbishment process or buying used equipment, contact our experienced staff. We can help you find replacement equipment or plan for a cost-effective network upgrade powered by used gear.