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What does "factory second" mean?

Updated April 17, 2017

In today's ever changing economy, shoppers are constantly on the lookout for ways to save money. In order to meet these needs, manufacturers offer many options, including refurbished and factory second products that can be obtained at a significantly reduced price.

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When an item is listed as a factory second, it typically means that it failed the quality inspection at the end of production for a cosmetic reason. There is nothing intrinsically or structurally wrong with the item, but there is a blemish on the outside that prevents it from being released to the market as brand new. It likely has undergone testing to verify it is still in sound working order, and many times the blemish is hardly visible.


Often, consumers are able to get significant price savings on items listed as factory seconds. If you don't mind a small scratch or mar, you can find great deals on many electronics, clothes, games and even appliances.


Make sure you read each company's disclaimer regarding its factory seconds. The fine print can vary from company to company and occasionally the warranty may be affected; it may be nonreturnable and there may be other strict policies that need to be adhered to.

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About the Author

Bridgette Ashmore

Based in CT, Bridgette Ashmore has been writing on a variety of topics since 1996. Her articles have been published in trade publications such as "LibraryScope" and "24/7" as well as topic-specific magazines like "ATV Rider" and "Side by Side." Ashmore has received numerous academic awards and possesses several college degrees—most recently a Master of Business Administration from the New York Institute of Technology.

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