I'll try to tackle these questions without rambling on for too long. Factory refurbished, factory recertified, factory renewed basically mean the same thing. When you buy a refurb, it doesn't necessarily mean the product was previously used or broken. Depending on the manufacturer, it could mean that it was a new, never before used product and is now listed as refurb because:
- It is an overstocked, discontinued or End of life (EOL) product. The manufacturer does not want to disturb the market pricing for new product and requires us to list it as refurbished when it is brand new
- There was a packaging change and the product was removed from the original retail pack and brown boxed
- There was a software or firmware issue and product had to be recalled from store shelves and corrected.
- The product was made for a specific customer and per a contract can't be sold in other channels as new or in a retail package, or by using the manufacturer or OEM name
- The packaging was damaged/destroyed in transit and was reboxed
There's other reasons here but those are the main ones. And in many cases, the reasons listed above will only result in the product being labeled new brown box, new white box, new OEM, etc. This totally depends on the manufacturer and how they want to protect their channels.
Then there are products that were actually opened and or used by customers before being returned. These would include:
- Buyers remorse returns from big chains like Best Buy, Circuit City, Wal-Mart, with very liberal return policies
- Defective product returned to retailers or the manufacturer, and repaired at the factory or at a factory-authorized repair center.
The buyers remorse returns are sometimes sold as "open box" if they are missing accessories or manuals and get minimal testing before they are resold by the retailer. Buyers remorse and defective products are typically returned to the manufacturer and are tested, cleaned, contact parts are replaced, then made complete (all accessories/manuals, remotes) before being sold as refurbished.
The answer to your 2nd question is sometimes the item is tested - specifically if it has been opened or used, had a firmware/hardware/software upgrade, or was returned as defective. And sometimes the product isn't tested - like when it is a packaging change, or if its a retail package that just got a refurb sticker slapped on it.
Warranty coverage differs for many reasons. If the product is EOL, the manufacturer just wants to be done with it, so they shorten the warranty from a 1 year (or whatever their standard warranty period was) to a 90 day or 30 day warranty. Sometimes as a condition of the sale, they only give a DOA warranty. Again, this depends on the manufacturer. If the product is repaired by a factory authorized center, the manufacturer is typically paying them to handle the warranty so they don't have to hassle with it.
I think that covers everything you asked, let me know if you have more questions.
What does refurbished or recertified mean? Click here to find out.