buying a mac on ebay

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by miltontong, Apr 3, 2004.

  1. miltontong macrumors newbie

    Feb 29, 2004
    toronto, canada
    hi everyone i'm a newbie who's interested in buying a mac on ebay. however it's the first time i'm using it and i'm not sure about whether it is completely safe. can anyone tell me if there's anything i should be careful with when buying on ebay?
  2. krisjon macrumors regular

    Feb 29, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    Rule #1: If it's too good to be true, it is.
    Rule #2: If they're outside the US and only accept payment by wire transfer, it's a scam.
    Rule #3: Read the feedback and see if the comments are all the same or similar. Lots of scammers build up their scores with bogus feedback.
    Rule #4: Only pay with a credit card, paypal or through an escrow type of service that will give you a leg to stand on if the deal goes bad.

    That's a start. I wouldn't be dissuaded from using eBay to find a used Mac, but just be weary that there has been a ton of recent scams on the newer powerbooks, etc. If in doubt, follow Rule #1.
  3. tsk macrumors 6502a


    Jan 14, 2004
    Um, I'd add the following. Be very careful with escrow. They're are so many fake escrow you're probably better just avoiding it (especially if the seller is outside the US).

    Also, be careful with Paypal. They're pretty bad as it is. And they're rules basically state as long as the seller ships you something, they aren't going to give you your money back because then it's basically a quality issue. You can call your credit card company, but it can still be a huge mess.

    I do agree though that short of calling up with your CC info, paypal is the best way. Just don't assume you're completely covered with them.
  4. Flowbee macrumors 68030


    Dec 27, 2002
    Alameda, CA
    Since you live in a large city, you might also want to try an 'advanced search' on for Macs listed by sellers in your area. It cuts down on the number of choices you'll have, but the advantage is that you should be able to make arrangements to pick it up in person (ask the seller before you bid). I bought my Powerbook on Ebay that way, and though it cost about $75 more than if I had bid on *all* of the available powerbooks, I didn't have to pay shipping or insurance, and I picked it up the same day the auction ended.
  5. Bhennies macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2004
    NYC & Baltimore
    I use eBay frequently and would NEVER buy a computer through it. In fact, I don't buy anything electronic through eBay. I have too many friends who got broken stuff.
  6. klyau6 macrumors member

    Jan 19, 2004
    while there are plenty of people out there who have had great experiences using ebay, i've always been somewhat wary when it comes to making a big purchase like this. my doubts were confirmed today when i randomly browsed for a powerbook and came across this auction:

    they have positive feedback, and the auction sounded quasi legit, but $1000 obo seemed too good to be true. i decided to email , ask a few questions, and get a shipping quote. they replied immediately, but they didn't answer any of my questions-instead they just gave me instructions on how to pay (through western union). actually, i'll post the response they gave me:

    We can have the sale, $1040 is the total including shipping cost. I
    will leave for NYC this afternoon for two weeks, I have some business
    there, but my wife will take care of shipping. We can have this sale
    safe for both of us. Western Union ( has a
    system which allows the sender to enter a secret question and password.
    If you make the transfer with secret question and answer, there is no
    way for the receiver(me) to collect. So here's my offer: you send your
    payment through western union, as mentioned I will be in New York, so
    you just put New York, NY 10005 as receiver location. You can use
    another name, any name you would like to make sure I won't be
    the payment, and I will ship the Apple 12inch Powerbook as soon as I
    have confirmation the funds are in the western union system, I can
    online. As soon as the laptop is delivered, you change the receiver
    and give me the secret question and answer. Western Union charges a
    please subtract the fee from total amount $1,040. To verify the funds
    are in the system, I will need the money transfer control number,
    receiver name and sender name. The western union has a section with
    secret question and secret answer, fill in and double check with the
    western union agent that there is no way for me to receive payment
    without the secret information. Thank you

    i replied stating i thought it was a scam, and then sent them the Ebay/Western Union warning link ( They still have not responded. My advice to you is DO NOT PAY THROUGH WESTERN UNION. Usually, that is the scammers method of payment, and their only method of payment. also, if they don't address any of the questions you ask them (which was the case w/ me), then most likely they're just looking to get your $$. Notice this person lives in the States (as do I) scammers don't always live outside of the US (assuming my intuition is right and this IS, in fact, a scam). hope that helps.

    oh yes, PS--i should also add that this seller decided to keep the bidder's ID's private.....i wonder why. i could understand keeping his bidders private, but i also thought this would prevent people warning the highest bidders that it's most likely a scam...dunno though!
  7. krisjon macrumors regular

    Feb 29, 2004
    San Diego, CA
  8. miltontong thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 29, 2004
    toronto, canada
    hmm...sounds like i'll have to be extra careful...i think i'll probably just buy a new powerbook or ibook instead as soon as they're updated...but thanks for all the tips i really appreciate it :)
  9. maxterpiece macrumors 6502a


    Mar 5, 2003
    I've bought and sold an macs through ebay. All sales have gone fine, however, because macs have such a high resale value, a relatively new used mac tends to go for about the price of the same refurbed mac from a real reseller. You will be fine if buy through ebay (don't bother even replying to people who harrass you to make deals outside of ebay) you just pay with paypal almost everyone accepts it and paypal covers you completely if you have a problem.

    One place I might check out is - if you haven't heard of it, it's kind of a community messageboard for all sorts of things. I have heard great things about it and enjoy using it. If you are near any of the places where they have listings you may find someone who is selling what you are looking for locally. This, obviously, is the safest way to buy a used computer because then you can go and check out the computer before you buy it. Craiglist doesn't charge any fees so people don't have to worry about making that money up, the people are almost always real people (not scammers), and if you buy locally you don't have to pay to ship it (a way that ebayers tend to overcharge to make a little extra $). It's a nonprofit organization so it's goal is to help you, unlike ebay which is all about $.
  10. klyau6 macrumors member

    Jan 19, 2004

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