The Aeron chair has been the most popular high-end office chair since the 1990s. It has a great build quality, so these chairs really last a long time. It is becoming more and more common for people to look to the used furniture market to find higher end chairs for a discount. It can be a much better investment to get a used high-end chair than a new chair that may not be the same level of quality. You are also helping to save the environment by keeping chairs out of landfills and giving them another life.
While the used chair route can be a nice choice, there are some things that you will want to be aware of to ensure that you get the best possible product for your money. The used furniture market has some shady players and you are not always guaranteed to get a good product. This list of things to consider when shopping for a used Aeron should help you to avoid a possible lemon.
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Buying Used Herman Miller Aeron Classic Links
- Brief Aeron History
- Aeron Chair Condition
- Private Sale vs. Furniture Dealer
- Return Policy/Satisfaction Guarantee
- Cancellation Fees
- Business Reviews
- Aftermarket Parts
- Final Thoughts
Brief Aeron History
It is not important to understand the full history of the Aeron to shop for a used chair, but I do think it is important to understand that there was a new version of the Aeron released. In 2016, Herman Miller released the Aeron Remastered edition. This featured an updated design and some new options. Because a new version of the Aeron came out, Herman Miller began referring to the original Aeron as the Aeron Classic.
Because it has been less than five years since the release of the Aeron Remastered, there are very few of them available that are used, and they will typically be priced at around $800 to $1,000. Almost all used Aerons being sold right now are Aeron Classics, and most of them will be around ten years old or older.
7 Things to Consider Video
1. Aeron Chair Condition
It is important to understand the condition of the used Aeron you are considering buying. There are many conditions that a used chair can be sold in, and there are also some labels that some sellers give to used Aerons that need to be covered.
Used As Is
The first condition we are going to look at is “Used As Is.” This is going to be exactly as the name states. You are buying a used Aeron in the condition it is in with no guarantee or returns allowed. Another way to term this would be “all sales final.”
These sales will typically be from private sellers and local used furniture dealers. It is much easier to sell something as is when you can give the buyer an opportunity to see the chair in person. This fits perfectly with private sellers and local furniture dealers.
Refurbishing an office chair can mean a lot of different things. The general definition is to freshen or brighten something up. So, it doesn’t take much to be able to consider a chair refurbished. If the chair you are looking at is refurbished, then make sure to find out from the seller what exactly they are doing to their chair.
Are they cleaning and inspecting the chair for defects and potential flaws? Are they replacing any components? Do they offer you any type of guarantee or opportunity to try the chair? Some companies will do as little as clean the chair up and inspect it for any potential functional issues. Others will go much further in depth.
I feel that the chair we sell on BTOD.com would be the latter. We do a full inspection, tune-up, and cleaning of the chair. We also replace components that are prone to breaking down with aftermarket parts built to OEM specs. These would include the casters, cylinder, foam arm pads, lumbar pad, and foam seat pad. We also include a two–year warranty and a thirty-day trial period.
One label that you will commonly see from used Aeron Classic sellers is “Open Box.” The term open box implies that the chair has been lightly used, if at all. It is meant to signal that you are getting a like-new chair for a deal because it was a return or maybe a showroom model.
It is important to understand that there is no such thing as an open box Aeron Classic in the true meaning of open box. The Aeron Classic has not been produced by Herman Miller for years. The only way that you could theoretically be buying a true open box Aeron Classic is if an authorized dealer was selling one that they have held onto for years. This is highly unlikely.
If an online seller is selling you an Aeron Classic as an “open box” and they are not even an authorized Herman Miller dealer, then this should be a huge red flag. Sellers will label a chair open box, even though it is close to twenty years old and has parts that are not original to the chair. This happened to us recently when we purchased an open box Aeron Classic. We were curious what would arrive, and we got a chair from 2004 with aftermarket arms and a spray painted chair frame. It didn’t even come in the original Herman Miller box.
The most surprising condition I have seen on an Aeron Classic is “Brand New.” I did a double take when I first saw it because it is the most blatant form of false advertising I have seen in our industry. Like I explained above, there are no new Aeron Classics being produced by Herman Miller. They have not been made since 2016. These chairs are also made-to-order by Herman Miller’s factory, so there is really no way for anyone to be selling a brand new Aeron Classic. This is especially the case when the seller is not an authorized Herman Miller dealer.
If you see an Aeron Classic being sold as brand new, then you need to be very wary of what you are going to get. We recently placed an order for one of these Aeron Classics that was labeled as “brand new,” and when it arrives, we plan to make a video documenting what we actually receive. If you are curious what exactly you should expect from an Aeron Classic marked as brand new, then check out our YouTube channel at youtube.com/btodTV.
2. Private Sale vs. Furniture Dealer
When buying a used Aeron, it will either come from a private seller or a furniture dealer. There are going to be advantages and disadvantages to both.
The biggest advantage with a private sale is that it is the biggest opportunity for you to find that diamond in the rough that you can brag about to your friends. We often hear stories of people finding chairs in good condition for less than $100 but this is a rare scenario and is not something we have been able to find in our local area.
Buying from a private seller often means that you are buying from the original owner. This is nice because you can then understand the full history of the chair. The downside is that it will not come with any type of guarantee.
The warranty provided by Herman Miller only applies to the original owner. Once you buy it second hand, the warranty is void. It is also rare to find a private seller that is willing to accept returns if you don’t like the chair. Not all furniture dealers offer returns and warranties on used chairs but many of them do.
3. Return Policy/Satisfaction Guaranteed
It is important that you understand the return policies from the places you are considering buying from. These will vary greatly in the used office furniture category. Almost every private seller will be selling items with no returns available.
When buying from used furniture businesses,you really need to look at the details and fine print of the return policy. The reason is that the used furniture world is filled with companies that make big claims and then don’t really back it up. An example would be companies advertising thirty-day money back satisfaction guarantees that don’t actually provide that.
Some of these companies will charge you shipping and restocking fees to return a chair while telling you that they have a money back guarantee. Others advertise a guarantee but then their fine print says you can only return a chair if it arrives defective and the seller is unable to fix it. Neither of these are very good guarantees.
There are three main ways that companies will try to recoup money from you when making a return. They are: original outbound shipping, return shipping, and restocking fees. Other companies will have rules in place that make a return almost impossible to qualify for. It is really important that you get the full details of the return policy before you buy.
The reason this is so important is because you are buying a chair sight unseen and it is highly unlikely that you are buying the chair that is being pictured. The seller may say it is like new, but what if it doesn’t meet your standards? You don’t want to be left paying upwards of 50 percent of the purchase price just to return a chair.
The original twelve-year manufacturer’s warranty is only valid to the original purchaser. So, the only warranty you can have on a used Aeron Classic is from the seller you bought it from. Not having a warranty on a high-end chair is a dice roll. You are definitely gambling that nothing will go wrong on your used chair.
Most used Aerons sold will be without a warranty. This is the nature of buying used office chairs. Most will be sold as is, with no warranty or returns allowed. There are some companies that do offer warranties on a used Aeron Classic.
If you are buying from a used furniture company and they are advertising a warranty, make sure to find the fine print and go through it carefully. This is the same thing as the return policy. Companies will often advertise really great warranties, but then, after reading the fine print, you realize it is not that good after all.
What you want to look for is the coverage period, any excluded parts of the chair, and any costs associated with filing a claim. Looking at all of these factors together is very important because having one but not the others may make it useless. An example would be advertising a ten-year warranty but then requiring the customer to ship the chair back to the vendor while excluding a big chunk of components on the chair. The warranty sounds great on paper, but in reality, it costs you a bunch to file a claim and the majority of the chair isn’t even covered.
When looking at warranties, the details of the policy are important but the company providing the warranty may be even more important. Is this a reputable company that will both: be in business for many years and honor the warranty claim if you need to file one? These are important questions to ask because a company can say they have the best warranty in the world, but if they go out of business, or have a bad track record of helping customers, it may not mean anything.
A great example would be Office Designs. They only offer a one-year warranty on their used Aeron Classic. But they are the only Certified Pre-Owned Aeron seller, which means that they get to use genuine Herman Miller parts and have Herman Miller technician’s perform the labor for any warranty issues.
This is not a long coverage period, but you get top notch service while you have it, and it comes from one of Herman Miller’s reputable dealers. Compare that to a seller that claims to have a ten-plus year warranty but they have been in and out of business with terrible reviews and the one-year warranty sounds pretty good.
5. Cancellation Fees
Cancellation fees are another thing to think about when shopping for a used Aeron. This is only going to apply to furniture dealers selling online, but it is something that we have seen on quite a few different websites. Basically, a cancellation fee means that you are charged a fee just for cancelling your order. We have seen these fees range from 3 to 10 percent depending on the website and depending on when the order was cancelled.
Some websites charge a fee for cancelling your order before it even ships. This means that by giving them your credit card number, you are paying them some type of fee, no matter what. Other companies will charge a fee if you cancel after the item ships. This can be as high as you having to pay shipping charges and a 30-percent restocking fee.
We would highly recommend looking for reviews on the companies you are considering buying your used Aeron from. There are several companies that have very poor reviews, and these are oftentimes great indicators of how a potential bad situation will be handled. Look for negative reviews that talk about product quality, damaged products, and returns. Do they take care of customers with damaged products? Are they making returns easy? Are they allowing returns at all?
Also look for reviews on how they handle things down the road. Are the chairs holding up? Is the company honoring warranty claims? How do they handle the process? Also look to see how they respond to customer complaints. Are they cordial and helpful, or are they rude and accusatory? These are all indicators of how you will be treated and how a situation with you may be handled if something were to ever arise.`
Some third party sites that you can use for reviews are the Better Business Bureau, Yelp, and Trust Pilot.
7. Aftermarket Parts or Original
One thing that you will want to know is whether the chair has all original parts or if it has some aftermarket components. When buying from a private seller, the chair will almost always be original. If the chair is all original, then you should be prepared to replace some of the parts during the time that you own the chair.
Parts like the casters, cylinder, and arm pads are the most susceptible to breaking down. If your chair is fifteen years old, then you are three years past the time Herman Miller was willing to warrant the chair for. It is not unreasonable to assume that some of these parts may break down within a relatively short time period of you owning the chair.
To combat this problem, some furniture dealers will replace some components with aftermarket parts. By replacing the parts that are most common to break, you are giving the chair the best chance to have another long life.
There are going to be differences in part quality though. Some vendors will be using parts that were built to OEM specifications and build quality standards. Others will use more generic components because they are cheaper, but they may not necessarily be helping with the longevity problem that could exist with the original parts.
This article focused on a lot of the downsides with buying a used Aeron chair, so it may seem like I am trying to dissuade you from doing so. That is not my intention. We are fans of the Aeron Classic, and we believe that finding the right used Aeron can provide a ton of value. This is why we began selling refurbished Aeron Classics on BTOD.com. I just want to make you aware of some of the potential pitfalls when buying used office chairs online.
There are a lot of sketchy players in the used office furniture market and there are a lot of subpar products being sold. Sellers often make bold claims with little to back them up. This list of things to consider when buying used Aeron chairs online should give you a great foundation to help ensure you get the best bang for your buck.
Additional Office Chair Resources
- Herman Miller Aeron Remastered (Review / Ratings / Pricing)
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- Herman Miller Aeron Vs. Eurotech Ergohuman Chair
- 6 Best Herman Miller Aeron Chair Alternatives For 2020
- 5 Best Ergonomic Office Chairs For Back Support For 2020
- Steelcase Leap V2: New Vs. Remanufactured (Used)