A core charge (or fee) is a customer deposit, usually limited in time where the customer can return the item and get a refund. If the core item is not returned, the core charge becomes income. Some cores have no value because of their condition.
A “core” is a used and non-functioning part that can be recycled and sold as a remanufactured part. Some of the recyclable parts that manufacturers consider core parts are water pumps, motors, circuit boards, certain air conditioning compressors, and more. The return of core parts to the manufacturers lowers the cost of the parts and related repairs. A core item may also be an item that will not be manufactured but contains valuable materials such as copper and aluminum.
In some cases, the technician collects the item at the time of the repair. In that case, the customer receives their credit at the time of the service call.