Educational Consumer Tips

Used Goods-Terms You Should Know

Author: Better Business Bureau

The following comments provide general information for consumers, and do not necessarily reflect the practices or record of any particular company.

According to the BBB "Code of Advertising", any used product should be clearly and conspicuously described as such, or in similar terms-for example, "secondhand", "preowned", or "repossessed". "Rebuilt" should only be used to describe a product that has been completely disassembled, reconstructed, repaired and refinished, including the replacement of parts. "Reconditioned" should be used only to describe products that have received such repairs, adjustments or finishing as were necessary to put the product in satisfactory condition without rebuilding.

As "rebuilt" and "reconditioned" often are used to describe auto parts, "as is" is used to describe the condition of an entireautomobile. "As is" means the buyer receives the product in the condition in which it is displayed at the place of sale. If that product is a car, the seller will not be legally responsible for any repairs needed after you drive it off the lot.

The "Code of Advertising" states merchandise placed on sale because it is defective or rejected by the manufacturer should be advertised by such terms as "second", "irregular", or "imperfect". Some linens or clothing are sold this way. Items marked "discontinued" or "discontinued model" pertains only to new merchadise no longer produced or the advertiser will discontinue offering after clearance of existing inventories.