I believe that it generally refers cosmetically, ie, there may be a minor scratch or blemish on the product.
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As far as i know B-stock is anything that does not cut it when it comes to quality control. Say a reciever comes out and it has a bubble on the clear plastic cover on the display, they will replace that plastic face and sell it as B-stock because that actual unit had a defect, even though the defect might have been replaced.
I dont think they can legally sell any unit with an individual serial number that has any type of repair done or any type of blemish or malfunctioning parts as "A" stock, regardless to weather or not the problem was repaired, it has to be categorized differently in order to protect the consumer from buying a piece of gear that was faulty when constructed and then repaired. A company labels this as B-stock which notifys that the unit failed its initial quality control inspection and may or may not have been fixed. They are not legally allowed to sell repaired equipment as "A" stock
With the example of the reciever with the bubble in the plastic, if it is to be repaired, and afterwards does not have the origional plastic part, it then can not be sold as "A" stock because an actual process of repair had been done on that particular unit.
weather or not the repair is to be done largely depends on the amount of work to correct it.
If the unit had a bad volume control, it might be a quick low cost replacement, however, if the chassis is scratched they might opt to sell it as is without replacing the chassis.
Most b-stock items are perfectly good units. You may find some with a blemish that the manufacturer opted not to take care of due to cost of replacement.
Most b-stock items have had the minor problems fixed and are just as good as the A-stock
If you can get ti with a warranty, and find there are no cosmetic issues, there should be no fear in purchasing b-stock
Thanks to all of you for your response. Although the question still begs to be answered, should it be disclosed to a buyer that the unit was originally a B stock item? In my case, the original box says "B Stock" on all four sides, but one wouldn't know other than that. And yes, mine did come with a factory warranty for everything except "cosmetic items", although that isn't an issue, as it is flawless.
Thanks again for your info.
It took me about 2-3 months to get my Sony SCD-777ES SACD player refunded from Sony. You have two options with Sony, if the item is a current item, they will replace it with a new one free of charge, option 2 is if the item is no longer in production, they will give you the replacement value or better yet, ask for another model that is current and then sell it on Agon for more then the replacement value of the old unit. That is what I did anyway.
You have to keep on the Sony service center at least every week and ask what your options and how long it will take. Keep up the faith, Sony will do the right thing even if it takes some effort on your part.
I once remembered "B" stock = cosmetically blemished unit,and 'Refurbished' was a seperate designation for a factory repaired item with a reduced warranty. "B" stock could have reduced warranty as well. Now "B" stock can mean many things;refurb,blemished,returned rechecked functional item,or even a maker clearing excess inventory by classifying as "B".This method can keep maker from upsetting established dealers.It can also give a dealer good stock to sell at reduced pricing with less chance of lowering product lines value.If it really works I do not know.It can be a way around signed dealer/seller agreements.
Sid42 I believe that if you are selling an item that was originally B-stock, the fact should be disclosed. I have an old HK cassette deck that I purchased as a B-stock item (some 18 years ago) and, like you, I could not find a mark on it. If I were to sell it today I would disclose the B-stock designation even though it would hardly matter at this point. I wouldnt want to be accused of attempting any sort of deception.
I can imagine how I would feel if I arranged an A-gon purchase and then unexpectedly received an item with a B stock label on the original box I would be a little irritated at the very least. Naturally, anyone advertising a used B-stock item will probably not get a blue-book price, but the unit didnt start out at full retail anyway.