What Does Scratch & Dent Mean? Everything You Need to Know

As a restaurateur, it is important to save money whenever impossible. In fact, to most restaurant owners and managers, spotting a bargain probably comes second nature. And, when it comes to bargains, there is rarely anything better than scratch & dent equipment and furniture.

Despite the significant cost savings, some may be reluctant about considering scratch and dent items for their establishment. There are some common misconceptions about scratch and dent equipment, first and foremost that such items aren’t completely functional or are more prone to breaking down. Some buyers won’t consider scratch and dent simply because they want everything in their kitchen to be in perfect condition. 

However, smart buyers know that scratch and dent equipment is almost always just as good as an unblemished model as far as functionality goes—and for a fraction of the price!

If you are unfamiliar with purchasing scratch and dent items, here is everything you need to know:

What is Scratch and Dent?

“Scratch and dent” is a phrase used by the retail industry to describe items that have experienced some cosmetic damage during shipping or warehouse storage. Cosmetic damage is generally limited to scratches and dents, hence the name. As a general rule, scratch and dent items are still considered “new” and will function just as originally intended. 

How Much Does Scratch and Dent Cost?

Because scratch and dent items have visible cosmetic flaws that other new equipment does not, sellers offer them to buyers at steep discounts. The extent of the discount may vary depending on the severity of the damage, but generally, you can get scratch and dent items for between 40 and 60 percent less than the retail price.

Can You Return Scratch and Dent Appliances?

Most of the time, sales of scratch and dent items are final sale. That means they cannot be returned. If you think you might change your mind about it later, buying a piece of scratch and dent equipment probably isn’t your best bet unless you don’t mind trying to sell it someone else.

Are Scratch and Dent Appliances Under Warranty? 

Scratch and dent items are still consider new and must still be cover by a manufacturer’s warranty. However, you should ask the seller to make sure. For example, sometimes floor models might get sell as scratch and dent and may not be eligible for full warranty coverage. 

Are Scratch and Dent Appliances More Likely to Breakdown?

Some buyers shy away from scratch and dent equipment because they are concerned that it might turn out to be a lemon, or that they are more likely to suffer mechanical errors over time. The truth is that the majority of scratch and dent items have no issues at all and work just as well as similar new models sold at full price. 

Of course, there is a slight chance that whatever incident caused the cosmetic damage to the outside of the machine could have jostled about internal mechanisms in a way that could hinder its functionality. This actually happens far less often than you think, and since scratch and dent items are usually cover by a warranty, it isn’t something you must worry about any more than a full-price model having unforeseen mechanical issues. 

Tips for Buying Scratch and Dent Appliances

Now that you know everything you need to know about scratch and dent appliances, here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your purchase.

  • Look at pictures first. If you are ordering scratch and dent furniture or equipment online, ask the seller to send you photographs of all of the cosmetic damage so you can have a full understanding of all the nicks and dings to expect to see when you receive the item. Every buyer has a different level of damage. That they are willing to accept. So it is best to see what you are getting lest you regret your purchase.
  • Get a written description, as well. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in this case, you should get details in writing, as well. Having a written record of the damage can be extremely helpful. When it comes to assessing the pictures. And being sure you don’t overlook anything that you may find unacceptable.
  • Ask about the warranty. Don’t assume a warranty is included and be sure to ask for it in writing. If there is no warranty, understand that you are buying the equipment as-is.
  • Research repair costs. If the warranty is questionable, do a little research to find out what repairs and replacement parts would cost. If it doesn’t seem like repairs would exceed the discount, then chances are taking the deal is worth the risk. You may also look into the cost of repairing or concealing cosmetic damage if you are concerned about the appearance.


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