My Canon refurb experiences have been good, but I've had the same questions, and I've made many presumptions.
Where do they get this stuff? I've guessed most are returns to retail sales outlets. A lot of that would be buyer's remorse, misunderstanding of technical issues (This damn thing doesn't work!), actual defects, not performing as expected, or just not liking it. Perhaps some floor models or demo stuff gets thrown into the mix. I've always presumed it just all goes back to Canon USA.
From there I've presumed all items are checked, tested and given limited remanufacture as needed and repackaged as new (except for being clearly marked refurb). Except for being marked on the box as refurb, what I've gotten looks just like new -- product, packaging, etc. And everything is included -- discs, batteries, hoods, etc.
I also had a confusing time when I bought the 100-400L lens. They wanted to add a hood and pouch, but I declined and they came with the lens. I think this is more a piece of bad computer programming than Canon trying to force more stuff on you. Probably my biggest complaint is the dinosaur-like behavior of all their Web functions.
I had to return one item for exchange. The S95 would slip into S mode from A, and the button was very hard to move overall. I called, told them I wanted an exchange and they were helpful, even cheerful. They even sent a replacement overnight before I returned the first one.
Overall, I think it's a great way to go, especially when they put what you want on sale. I got my S95 for $250 when usual street price was $400. Same good deal with the 100-400 lens.
I am interested in buying a camera body, and possibly a couple of lenses from the Canon refurbished site. Does anyone have pros/cons about doing this? I find myself upgrading camera bodies and lenses every six months, which can be costly due to always buying new.
When buying a camera body refurbished online, without first holding, how is the consumer able to find out the shutter actuations? Are the inner workings restored/replaced? Is it cosmetically comparable to a new copy? Are the EOS Utilities disks and manual included?
Do the lenses go through a great deal of testing?
And finally, what is the primary reason these refurbished items are here? Have they been floor models or someones daily walk-around kit?
I know Canon USA comes with a 90day warranty which is great, but I am just curious if anyone here has positives or negatives to say about their purchases.
Thanks in advance!