Shopping for Scratch & Dent: What You Need to Know

Shopping for Scratch & Dent: What You Need to Know

Most retailers mean something slightly different when they talk about "Scratch n' Dent" products, and it largely depends on the process of the seller regarding the quality control and acquisition of the unit in question.

Let's start off with a basic definition:

Scratch & Dent is a retail term used to describe any product that is 

considered functional but was rejected by the manufacturer or purchaser

due to cosmetic reasons. 

This is the generally understood definition of Scratch & Dent. It gives a general idea as to what we're talking about, but also clearly lacks detail regarding the source or condition of a product.

This short article is to help our present and future customers, or just anyone with a piqued interest, in understanding what we mean when we use this term.

Don't make assumptions. Scratch n' Dent doesn't 

have to mean bad... and it doesn't always mean good.

Ultimately, it's important to ask and understand what a seller means by their use of the term before jumping to the conclusion that all Scratch & Dent appliances are severely damaged and not worth the time... or worse, being mislead into believing you are getting a brand-spanking-new item at an amazing discount that ends up being severely damaged!

Without further ado, here are two main terms we use at Synergy Appliances to deal with the type of Scratch & Dent products we sell:

  • "New Scratch & Dent" describes a brand new, unused machine that came straight from the manufacturer. While it is new and believed to be working, because of damage to the item or even just damage to the packaging the manufacturer rejects it. This cosmetic damage can include any level of the following: scratches, dents, nicks, warping metal, scraped paint and the like. However, instead of wastefully throwing away a good, working product that just didn't meet cosmetic condition requirements, they ship those items to large warehouses in truckloads where the loads become available to third-party retailers who can sell them at a discount (that's where we come in). The item may no longer be in the original box. The manufacturer will still sometimes cover the warranty of "New Scratch & Dent" products as long as the model and serial numbers have not yet been registered.
  • "Scratch & Dent Return" describes an item that was sent to a customer's house and returned for a number of reasons such as:

a) The item didn't fit in the space 

b) The item was not the desired color

c) The item shows any signs of cosmetic damage, ranging from minor scratches to large dents, etc.

d) The customer just didn't like it and figured out a way to send it back

Returned items usually can't be registered for the manufacturer warranty since the previous owner, for however short a time remained with that status, may have already registered it. When we receive these items, our technicians test and restore them to manufacturer specifications, removing, if possible, any dents, and finish them up with a thorough cleaning.

  • "Scratch & Dent - Clean Front"

The same definitions as above, but in this case the appliance has no visible blemishes on the front. It may still have cosmetic damage on the back and/or sides. This type of damage is not always pointed out unless it is extremely severe or potentially affects the functionality of the unit.

Now for the main question most people have:

                             "Is it worth investing my valuable time and money? "

Shopping for Scratch & Dent appliances isn't a waste of time if you know what the extent is of the damage you're willing to put up with. Plus, you can save a lot of money and get essentially the same value as buying new since not all Scratch & Dent items are dented or scratched on the front, such as in the case of "Clean Front" items.

At Synergy, we gauge our prices mainly depending on condition. So generally speaking, the more flexible you're willing to be with cosmetics, the more you can end up saving. 


Here are answers to some questions we hear often:

"Are these items new?"

They are still "new" for all intents and purposes, but may have been hooked up for a period of time or used lightly. Some may still have the paperwork and in some cases still be eligible for warranty through the manufacturer if the previous owner did not already begin the registration process- a quick phone call to the manufacturer providing the model & serial numbers can clear this up.

"Where do these items come from/why were they returned?"

As mentioned above, the majority of our acquired products come from wholesalers who work directly with the manufacturer. It is near impossible to know what the precise reasons were by the customer for returning any specific item since we are not in possession of the contact information of previous owners.

"Where are the dents/scratches?" 

It always depends. Cosmetic imperfections can range from severe to minuscule to even unnoticeable and can show up in various places on the item in question. For example, a Scratch & Dent Clean Front refrigerator may have severe dents on the back or sides that remain virtually unnoticeable once installed. On other items, it will be rather obvious where the damage is located.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us via the contact form

We hope this article cleared up the meaning of Scratch & Dent for you! 

Until next time.


Synergy Appliances is dedicated to providing the most informative, efficient and cost-effective way to shop for appliances. 

May 7th 2019 Synergy Appliances

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