All refurbished units sold by Adorama Camera are factory refurbished by the manufacturer, for example, Canon cameras are refurbished at their manufacturing plant in Newport News, VA.; the room that houses Canonâ€™s entire refurb process is said to be completely dust-free, and with every employee working in there being required to wear special booties!
They can have simply been pulled from the production line if something appears faulty, or if it hasn't passed the final inspection. Most of the time it is a very minor issue that needs correcting, nevertheless, once it is pulled from the normal flow of production, it gets flagged as a refurbished model, so you may get a unit straight from the factory that has never been used.
A refurb may also be an ex-store demo, possibly used in field tests or sales displays, or it may have been ordered in error and returned to the retailer (who can't then sell it as 'new' so it has to be sent back to the manufacturer for refurbishment).
All refurbished items will have been checked over by the manufacturer by hand, inspected very thoroughly, diagnosed, and calibrated by experienced technicians, and could therefore turn out to be more dependable than a new item - which will only have been checked by a process of systematic quality control protocol (ie by random sampling as it comes off the conveyor belt).
All Canon refurbished products from Adorama come with a 1 year return-to-Adorama warranty; the warranty we give covers anything the manufacturers warranty covers for a new unit, including shutter defects.
All other refurbs sold by Adorama come with a 90-day return-to-manufacturer warranty.
In addition, Refurbs come into us with the firmware updates and latest fixes which were carried out at whatever stage it was at when we took delivery.
If you need additional firmware updates you can download them, but for any hardware fixes the unit would have to be sent to Canon.
[By the way, if you send a camera (any camera) to Canon for any hardware work, they will always update the firmware].
As to the individual history of a single item, the honest answer is we have no way of knowing. Refurbished equipment is not like new inventory; the manufacturers contact us when they have a batch to sell, and the availability is unpredictable. However, if you were to ask my personal opinion on whether the equipment that Adorama offers as refurbished is typically less than a year old, based on the regularity with which we receive batches, I'd be inclined to think it is all relatively new.
I hope this helps, but please don't hesitate to email me directly if you need any other info.
Helen Oster ☺
Adorama Camera Customer Service AmbassadorHelenO@adorama.com http://twitter.com/HelenOster