When searching for industrial cameras people might run across products for sale listed as either “A” or “B” stock. What does each “grade” mean?
“A” stock – refers to brand new, unopened/factory-sealed products from the manufacturer. Prices are typically higher because it is a brand new item. Pretty straight-forward, right?
“B” stock – refers to
(1) items where the factory seal has been broken for one reason or another or
(2) unopened/factory-sealed products that might have been returned due to a manufacturer distributor’s yearly stock rotation of unsold products.
Products might be classified as B-stock because they were:
- Used at a trade show booth by the manufacturer;
- Used for product photography by the manufacturer,
- Used as some other kind of display requiring it to be removed from the box.
- Products with cosmetic blemishes (scratches, sloppy paint jobs, dents, gouges in rubber pieces, etc.)
- In a box that has been damaged (not the item).
IMPORTANT: B-stock items are usually not customer returns or items that have been repaired but it has been known to happen which is why you should ask! In most cases, returns normally go back to the store or the manufacturer’s distributor the product was purchased from…it is not returned to the manufacturer, so those typically do not qualify as “manufacturer’s B-stock”. Items that have been to a service center, even if they were working fine when they got there, usually go into the “refurbished” or “reconditioned” categories, not B-stock.
To sum up WHY B-stock products should be considered – a small portion of them might have had operational problems but in MOST cases, the product has nothing wrong with it and can be purchased at a substantially lower price then it’s “A” stock counter-part.
Most manufacturers and their distributors carry a limited amount of B-stock, it doesn’t hurt to ask if you are looking to save money without giving up quality!