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Old May 17, 2012, 09:47 AM   #1
ceej80
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Need help buying a used iMac on CL or eBay

I have been looking to buy a used iMac (2011 model) on craigslist or eBay. This will be my first Apple product and am making the transition from PC to Mac...in other words, have no experience with a Mac OS! After observing several listings on both these websites, I guess I can get a 2-6 month old 21.5" 2.5 ghz iMac anywhere between $900-$1000, including shipping. However, am looking for something that includes a trackpad and maybe extra RAM on it. Would prefer something that has at least a 6-month warranty left on it because am jittery about buying off eBay or CL...never done it before! If not, I am planning to buy the $999 refurb on the Apple website.

Came across an ad on CL for a 9 month old iMac with the following specs: 21.5" 8GB Apple RAM, 500 GB HDD, 64GB SSD. Warranty expires in August. Says will provide iLife 2011, iWork 2009, and a legit copy of Office 2011 for Mac. Is $1100 a fair price for this or is it a lot, given the fact that an iMac refresh is around the corner? Here are a few more questions:

1. Is it safer to buy on craigslist than on eBay? (since you can physically check the product in the former)
2. How do I "test" the machine if I were to physically inspect it before I buy? Any tips?
3. I don't know if this SSD has been installed by the owner or by an authorised Apple tech...will either or both void the warranty? Also, if the SSD was installed by the owner himself through a third-party, is it more likely for the machine to have any performance problems?? (duh...am not very familiar with the process of how an SSD can be installed,e tc)

Any other suggestions/recommendations on buying a used iMac will be more than welcome.

P.S: I know there is a refresh coming up, but am on a strict budget and know I cannot afford the latest and greatest :-(

Thank you for your time!
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Old May 17, 2012, 10:26 AM   #2
Jasmynsway
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In my opinion, the fact that you have all these questions means that the refurb is your best bet. You'll have the assurance that it's in good shape and will know that the warranty is in tact. Go for the refurb and you won't have to deal with fear or disappointment. That's what I did and I'm happy with my purchase.
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Old May 17, 2012, 12:27 PM   #3
Mr Rogers
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eBay iMac

Whilst there are many hurdles to purchasing a 'used' iMac on eBay or second hand sites, as a rule of thumb, never purchase a item that is out of warranty or does not have AppleCare applied - APP can be applied.

A real honest seller will be able to provide a screen shot of the system profiler, together with the actual serial number and respective AppleCare agreement - whilst fraud is possible, even with these checks, at least if you purchase on eBay and it has eBay Buyer Protection, you'll get your money back if there are issues - although this may take unto 3 months.

With a new revised line-up of iMac expected in June - it would pay to wait a little longer and purchase a Apple refurbished unit - used price point will drop by about US$100 once new iMacs are launched - you get a full warranty, can upgrade RAM cheaply and can apply AppleCare a few months down the road.

Hope this helps as a buy and sell iMacs and have only been caught out once on eBay and that was due to my own stupidity.
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Old May 17, 2012, 12:28 PM   #4
robgendreau
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The price for that iMac with the SSD is nice...but of course it depends on condition, etc. If the SSD was installed by the owner then the warranty is kaput. I would avoid a machine where the user did his own mods; too many potential problems unless you get a big discount.

CL is all over the place. You could get a great deal; you could get robbed. EB has some safeguards built in for purchasing, but again you could wind up with a dog.

The refurb is probably your best bet at these prices. You get a longer warranty. And it will work.

If you do buy used, make sure you get the original disks if it came with them. You'll need them if you want to restore system software. And if it came with Lion you'd need to verify it has a working recovery partition. And check to make sure you aren't locked out by a password...it's happened to people.

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Old May 17, 2012, 12:47 PM   #5
Mr Rogers
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Warranty is not void

Rob,

The iMac warranty is only void if the user himself bypasses a Apple Authorised re-seller - repair shop to enhance the machine - i.e., has undertaken the upgrade themselves.

However, I fail to see why people get excited about SSD, particularly given its price point.

This potential iMac buyer would be better advised to get the 2011 21.5in i5 2.7Ghz model with 1T HDD and upgraded GPU, or indeed the i7 model if the new iMac has a wow factor - which I seriously doubt.
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Old May 17, 2012, 01:06 PM   #6
ceej80
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Thanks everyone for your inputs...My budget cannot exceed $1000 and am looking to buy the best value that I can get in that price range. Based on all your observations, I think I will wait until the new iMac comes out to check the prices of the refurb units. Will there be a significant price drop in the refurb units when the new one comes out? A $100 drop will be great...but am wondering if it will really happen??
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Old May 17, 2012, 02:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ceej80 View Post
Thanks everyone for your inputs...My budget cannot exceed $1000 and am looking to buy the best value that I can get in that price range. Based on all your observations, I think I will wait until the new iMac comes out to check the prices of the refurb units. Will there be a significant price drop in the refurb units when the new one comes out? A $100 drop will be great...but am wondering if it will really happen??
It *does* happen for all models. The decrease in cost will be greatest if the new model is radically different making the older ones less desirable. I got a 31% oof savings on an Aluminum MacBook when it was discontinued (and became a "MacBook Pro") 3 years ago.
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Old May 17, 2012, 02:10 PM   #8
Nandifix
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Can you not get education discount to make the base model 1000 usd?
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Old May 17, 2012, 02:30 PM   #9
ceej80
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Originally Posted by Nandifix View Post
Can you not get education discount to make the base model 1000 usd?
Ah, wish I did...sadly my 'student days' are long gone and I have a baby on the way...that is why I was tempted to try eBay or CL to check if I can get *more* for the same $999 that I will have to pay for a refurbished on the Apple store.
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Old May 17, 2012, 02:35 PM   #10
leman
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Originally Posted by ceej80 View Post
Ah, wish I did...sadly my 'student days' are long gone and I have a baby on the way...that is why I was tempted to try eBay or CL to check if I can get *more* for the same $999 that I will have to pay for a refurbished on the Apple store.
But surely one of your friends is still in the university?
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Old May 17, 2012, 02:36 PM   #11
talmy
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Refurbs are always less expensive than new systems with the educational discount. Apple has drastically reduced the educational discounts over the years. The base iMac is only discounted $50, bringing it to $1149 rather than the $999 for a refurb. However Applecare is less with the educational discount. So buy a refurb computer and education store Applecare. Also, if you have a Discover Card you can get an additional 5% off. There might be other cards that give good discounts.
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Old May 17, 2012, 03:47 PM   #12
Nyy8
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Government Workers are given a 8% discount. I got my iMac for $1100. Just to let you all know, might have someone who works for the state
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Old May 17, 2012, 07:48 PM   #13
user418
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You should read this thread:


http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1372508
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Old May 18, 2012, 07:04 AM   #14
ceej80
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Originally Posted by user418 View Post
Wow, that's scary. Thanks for the heads-up!

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by leman View Post
But surely one of your friends is still in the university?
Nope :-(....and I don't know anyone who works for the state either!
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Old May 21, 2012, 12:27 AM   #15
PharmDoc
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----------

[/COLOR]

Nope :-(....and I don't know anyone who works for the state either![/QUOTE]


Register for a community college class, then buy your iMac with a student discount and then drop out of the class. J/K. I was also looking at iMacs on CL so I can buy one for my daughter and start introducing her to computers. I think I will stick with a refurbished mac from Apple when the new ones are released. I would rather pay $100 to $200 extra and have that peace of mind.
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Old May 21, 2012, 08:56 AM   #16
talmy
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Where are these great Education Store discounts coming from? Refurbs have always been less expensive, at least in the past couple of years. And they are as good as new.

Base iMac, Retail - $1199
Refurbished - $999
Education Store - $1149
State/local EPP store - $1149 (no great savings as a state employee either)
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