“Fixed for the Holidays” report shows holiday shoppers tips to save money on refurbished tech

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Rishi Shah

Maryland PIRG releases holiday guide to buying repaired or refurbished electronics with confidence

Maryland PIRG

BALTIMORE — With families maybe looking for extra savings this holiday season, Maryland PIRG is releasing “Fixed for the Holidays,” a guide to buying refurbished electronic gifts. Part of our Right to Repair campaign, this guide helps consumers identify quality items, learn where to get them, and ensure they are getting the best deals. 

“New electronics are resource-intensive to make and expensive to buy. You can get great discounts on electronics, which is especially important during a tight economy,” said Rishi Shah, Associate with Maryland PIRG. “This guide will help consumers make educated decisions about how to find a durable, like-new device that will help them stay connected.”

Not only is the pandemic stretching holiday budgets, but also it’s led to manufacturing delays that can make purchasing new electronics a difficult endeavor. Luckily, the market for used and refurbished electronics can help consumers buy like-new products for prices lower than Black Friday deals.

“Back Market’s goal is to eliminate the risk that comes with buying refurbished tech. People know they can find incredible prices on refurbished, but the fact is that a deal is only as good as the reliability of the products,” said Serge Verdoux, Back Market US Managing Director. “That’s why we put a lot of effort into quality and we stand behind it with a 30-day money-back guarantee and 1-year warranty.”

Not only are these used products good for the pocketbook, they are better for the planet. The rapid pace at which we make, use and toss electronics puts a lot of pressure on the environment, but buying used and using products for longer can make a positive impact. It’s all part of Maryland PIRG’s Right to Repair program, which strives to keep products in use, push manufacturers to lower barriers to repair and give consumers and third parties access to the materials necessary to fix our electronics. 

“When our customers want to repair and reuse their technology, they send a clear message to us that manufacturers must stop restricting access to the tools, manuals, and parts that help me do my job,” said Alex Turski, owner of Down the Street I.T., a local Maryland repair shop. 

“The market for refurbished products is growing — and it’s clear that there’s strong consumer demand for quality items that last and that are more affordable,” said David Malka, Chief Sales Officer for goTRG, whose outlet TheStore.com is featured in the guide. “A recent study that we conducted showed that 68% of respondents have already purchased a refurbished product, and that 52% of millennials would favor a refurbished product over a brand new product for the affordability and the positive impact to the environment. This data suggests that the Right to Repair movement is continuing to gain momentum and support from all sides, and is growing in relevance for consumers and for companies like ours.”

Most of the environmental damage from our electronics comes from the manufacturing process. Our research found that if Americans each used smartphones for one year longer, we would reduce manufacturing material demand by 42.5 million pounds per day — which would be like cutting a jumbo-jet’s weight in raw material use every 17 minutes.

“Shopping refurbished is the greener option that saves you green,” concluded Shah. “Much of the damage done to the environment is a result of the manufacturing process, so this guide serves the dual purpose of helping consumers and their communities.”


Maryland PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) is an independent, non-partisan group that works for consumers and the public interest. Through research, public education and outreach, we serve as counterweights to the influence of powerful interests that threaten our health, safety, and wellbeing.