While I was at MacWorld I got the opportunity to talk with the Mohammed Elalj, CEO of RefurbMe. RefurbMe is a service that I never really thought about needing until I talked with Mohammed. Now that I know it exists and I am using it I can't believe people haven't been screaming for something like this sooner. RefurbMe is a free service that you can access either through the the RefurbMe website or you can download the free iOS app. RefurbMe does one thing and one thing only, it notifies you when something you are interested in purchasing from the Apple Refurbished Store become available for purchase. I've talked about the benefits of buying Macs, iPads...just about any Apple device as refurbished from the Apple Refurbished Store. When you buy an Apple refurbished product you get the same 1-year warranty (in the U.S., sometimes longer in other countries) as you would for a new Apple product. Additionally, you get the benefit of a cheaper price AND the peace of mind knowing that the product you just purchased has been thoroughly tested (something that doesn't happen with new Apple products you buy...Apple can't possibly test every new device it makes). The other "secret" about Apple refurbished is that the outer shell of a refurbished device is brand new, only the internal components are used (and slightly used at that).
So how does RefurbMe work? It's actually quite simple. If you download the free iOS app all you have to do is open the app and browse for the refurbished device you would like to purchase. If the device is not available you can sign up for an iOS push notification for when the device IS available. What I absolutely love about the RefurbMe iOS app is that you don't have to sign up for an account. Because the app only uses iOS push notifications to alert you that your item is available, the app doesn't need any more information about you. There is nothing worse than having to fill out a "create new account form"...love this simplicity! The other option for using the service is the website. The website has a very simple "iOS-like" look and feel to it, very clean and easy to navigate. The 1st thing you see when you scroll down is the option to choose the category of device you are looking for and right below that they list all the benefits of buying refurbished (just like I talked about earlier). Once you find a device you want and if it is not currently available you can sign up to be notified when it does become available. Unlike the iOS app you have the option of either email or SMS text message as the notification method. The website does require you to either sign in with an existing Facebook, Twitter or Google account or create a new account with RefurbMe. Just like on the iOS app you can customize your notification preference with either a device type, storage capacity and even a price range.
One question I had for Mohammed was about the profit model for the company. Right now, since the service is free, the only source of revenue is the referral fee they get from Apple when you make a purchase from the Apple Refurbished Store after navigating there through the RefurbMe site or app.
This is a great and very needed service so check it out if you are in the market for a refurbished Apple product!