Scratch And Dent Refrigerators:

Get a brand new fridge for the price of a used one.

So long as you don't mind a few cosmetic blemishes, shopping for scratch and dent refrigerators is an excellent way to buy a brand new refrigerator for the cost of a used unit. And not only are the prices lower, but in almost every instance each of these appliances will come with a full factory warranty. That means you won't have to settle for questionable used appliances that have unknown histories and no warranties just because you can't afford a new fridge.

Buying a scratch and dent refrigerator is relatively painless; in fact, it's not really any different from buying a brand new one. Since these appliances are still new-in-the-box, you won't have to ask where they've been or how old they are, which should give most shoppers some pretty good piece of mind.

Where To Buy Scratch And Dent Refrigerators

Finding these is actually easier than most people realize; in fact, they are almost always right under your nose! What I mean by that is most appliance stores and department stores have them in stock, but they probably aren't out on the sales floor. There's a reason for that: Scratch and dent appliances don't sell for as much money, which means less profit for the company. And if the store you're at pays its salesmen in commission, the sales force isn't going to enjoy selling lower-priced products, because they stand to make less money.

You probably will have to directly ask to see the scratch and dent fridges, as they won't be volunteered by the sales staff. Even then, they'll probably try to steer you away from them and into a more expensive one. That is their job, after all. And be prepared to learn all about why scratch and dent refrigerators are inferior to the other ones in the store. Resist this charm and insist on seeing them. Once a salesman realizes you won't budge, he or she will gladly move you in the right direction, as they'll see a sale slipping through their fingers.

Here are a few places that likely have scratch and dent refrigerators on site:

  • Sears
  • Home Depot
  • Lowe's
  • RC Willey's
  • Best Buy

Keep in mind that not all stores will keep their scratch and dent appliances in the store. Some will send them off to a huge scratch-and-dent clearing house that sells such products on consignment. These types of stores are typically only located in larger cities, as smaller cities and towns don't have enough demand to warrant one. That said, it's worth your time to find out if there's one near your home. Try searching the Internet or the phone book. If that doesn't work, ask your local appliance center where they send their scratch and dent refrigerators.

What To Look For When Buying A Scratch And Dent Fridge

Stores seem to have different policies regarding their scratch and dent appliances, so it's best to ask as many questions as you can before handing over your money. Here are some of the most important ones, in my opinion:

Does It Come With A Warranty? If so, what is included in that warranty. Don't assume that the original warranty will be honored (though this is almost always the case). The last thing you want is to find out any mechanical problems are not covered the hard way. Find out what is covered, and get it in writing.

Does It Come With A User's Manual? Reading through a user's manual is a great way to familiarize yourself with a refrigerator before actually buying it. It's also invaluable as a resource once you get it home and start using it. If the refrigerator you're looking to buy doesn't come with a manual, is one available either through the manufacturer or online?

Does It Function "Like New?" Buying a scratch and dent refrigerator is a great way to save money, but it's not really worth the savings if it doesn't work like it's supposed to. While most cosmetic blemishes won't affect functionality, it's always a good idea to ask. This is especially true if the fridge you're looking at has significant damage, as it might have been dropped and otherwise mishandled.

What Is The Return Policy? Can you take it back if it doesn't work?

Is Delivery Service Available? Refrigerators are large appliances, and unless you've got a pickup  truck or large van, you probably won't fit it in your vehicle. Most stores will deliver refrigerators to their new homes - and in many instances, they'll do it for free. But don't assume this. While you're at it, ask if they'll take away your old refrigerator - otherwise, you're stuck with it.

Trade Offs Of Scratch And Dent Refrigerators

The biggest consideration is the physical appearance. While some of cheap refrigerators will only have minor cosmetic damage, others might have significant problems. Depending on your threshold of aesthetic quality, you might find that certain ones won't meet your minimum specifications.

Most of the time the problems are minor: A scratch here, a ding there, a label that was printed upside down, a dial that didn't come with proper markings; but nothing that looks "trashed." In fact, in some instances the blemishes are actually on the sides, back or top of the fridge, so when you park it in your kitchen, you'll never see it. Still, other times the damage is very apparent and highly visible. It's your call, if you can live with it, you can buy a scratch and dent refrigerator and save money; but if it will make you cringe every time you walk past it, perhaps it's best to keep looking.

If you're fortunate enough to not need a new fridge this very second, you can spend a little more time shopping. So even if a store doesn't have a one-off refrigerator that meets your specifications, there's a good chance they'll get one soon. Swing by the store every week or so and see what they have.

The most important thing is to not feel pressured into buying anything you don't want. High-pressure salesmen are notorious for up selling customers into upgraded (and more expensive) products, because that puts more money in their pocket at the end of the day. Stand firm, know what you want and insist on it. Make sure you go home with a fridge that you want, not what a sales guy convinced you that you wanted.

Hopefully these tips will help you buy a scratch and dent refrigerator at a price you can afford.