Considering buying a MacBook Pro off Craigslist, what are some tips to avoid scams?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by andyACEcandy, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #1
    I'm considering buying a 2011 MacBook Pro 13" off Craigslist listed at $800

    I'm wondering what points/suggestions/tips I can do to avoid getting scammed. Anything I can look at in the settings of the MacBook etc...? Things I should avoid?

    Model number a1278
    upgraded to 500gb harddrive
    upgraded to 8gb ram
    i5 processor
    Lion OSX 10.7.4

    [​IMG]
     
  2. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2012
    #2
    "Things to avoid"= buying a secondhand computer.

    First of all, the AppleCare warranty is a must.
    If you believe in built-in-obsolescence, it will certainly apply to an older machine.

    Craig's list:
    Trust your instinct. Talk to the person on the phone, NOT social media.
    Intuition is a powerful thing, and you gotta trust it.

    I bought a MacMini from Craig's list. THOUGHT it was an awesome deal, until I found out it wouldn't take an install disc due to bad RAM.
    New RAM cost me $200, and in retrospect, I could have bought a brand new MINI for another $50.

    You're talking about a laptop: how do you know about things like dead pixels on the screen? What is the condition of the battery?
    My MBPro has had 3 motherboards in 6 years, and needs a new screen now.
    If it's older than a year, the money you spend SEEMS like a good deal, until a year down the road, when you find out how much you have to spend to get it fixed.
    I know the temptation is great...I found a newer machine to my own in a storefront, and I've been kept awake at night, thinking about how cheap it is, and how nice it would be to have a faster machine. UNfortunately the AppleCare runs out in December....unless my machine dies tomorrow, I jjust have to resist the temptation.
     
  3. macrumors 68030

    Spink10

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
  4. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #4
    Gotcha gotcha

    Thanks guys, I think I'll take your advice and start looking for ones with Applecare.

    Is there enough of a difference in 2009, 2010 and 2011 versions to justify a $100-$200 price increase? Trying to stay under $900 if possible...
     
  5. macrumors 68030

    Spink10

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    #5
  6. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2012
    #6
  7. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #7
  8. macrumors 68030

    Spink10

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
  9. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #9
    lol and what would you pay? $750? I didn't see many 2010s under $800 at all... and that was on Craigslist without applecare
     
  10. macrumors 68030

    Spink10

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    #10
    2010 without AppleCare warranty is worth way less than a 2011 with part of the 1 yr warranty that you then can extend.

    You can get a 2011 with part of the 1yr AppleCare warranty for 850.

    Reasons why you should pay more for the 2011

    1. Significant jump in performance.
    2. Warranty of used laptops is essential (IMHO)
     
  11. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #11
    gotcha gotcha

    I'll set my sites on a 2011 for under $900 with applecare

    Houston or Dallas if anyone wants to help ;)
    I've hit up all the craigslist ads that match it. hopefully find a good one


    Thanks for all the input
     
  12. macrumors 68030

    Spink10

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    #12
  13. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #13

    can't open that link for some reason
    Based on the given information so far, I'm looking for

    2011 MacBook Pro 13" with applecare/warranty
    $800-$900
     
  14. photographypro, Nov 16, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012

    macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2010
    Location:
    American in Pisa (Italy)
    #14
    How to buy on Craigslist

    Before I even began, frys.com frequently has brand-new 2012 13 inch MBPs on sale for $999.00. They had a sale that just ended yesterday, but they seem to put this machine on sale every other week, and of course you are getting a brand new current machine with FULL warranty, and the option to extend that. Of course you also do pay sales tax depending on where you live, so this may not be the greatest deal. For example right now they have a brand-new MacBook air for $799.00, and this is on sale through next Thursday.

    I have bought 5 or 6 MacBook Pros on Craigslist. You do need to be very careful, but if you follow these few tips you should be okay.

    First of all, you will find offers that seem too good to be true. When you respond to these, you will be told that it is an American service man or woman and they want to ship the computer to their son or daughter in Nigeria. Obviously you don't want to give your money to these people.

    Next thing to do is of course to meet the person in person at a Starbucks or other location. Starbucks or McDonald's are good, not only because they're public, but because they have free Internet, so you can check the serial number. I think it is very important before you shop to really understand your Mac. If you go to www.everymac.com, you can understand the differences between models. For example, many people don't understand that the 15 inch models have 2 graphics cards whereas the 13 inch models only have one. If you are using the machine for gaming, or Photoshop work you're probably going to want at least a 15 inch model. For example, I purchased a two-year-old MacBook Pro that was the top-of-the-line with two graphics cards and AppleCare and got it for about $300 less than a used current model that had the same processor speed but only one graphics card. The machine I got was much better than the current model and cheaper too.

    You want to turn the computer on, and go to About this Mac. Check the processor speed, the graphics cards, hard drive size, and ram. A third of the computers I have purchased actually had worse specifications then what was advertised. Often I have gone ahead and purchased the computer, but only after having them knock off another $100 or $200 because the computer was not of the specifications that they advertised. And if the computer doesn't have a serial number, stay away. These computers often have been repaired, and Apple usually won't even repair these, even out of warranty if you're willing to pay for it.

    As far as AppleCare goes, while that would be ideal, if the computer is over a year old and they didn't purchase it, you're not going to get that. However, if you run a few basic tests, you can make sure the computer works okay before you take it. Another thing you can do is copy and paste the serial number on Apple's support section here: (https://selfsolve.apple.com/agreementWarrantyDynamic.do)
    where you can find out how much warranty the computer does have. So even if the computer doesn't have AppleCare, and that is important to you, you can find out if you can purchase it yourself. Also, if you are a college student, or are buying it for someone who is a college student, you can get AppleCare for less than $250, versus $350 for a MacBook Pro.

    How to test the computer. If you reboot new or MacBook Pros, and hold down the option and D key, think "D" for diagnostics, you can run the Apple diagnostics test that will test the memory and almost everything on the computer in about 3 minutes. If someone seems irritated by your wanting to test the machine, walk away. Anybody who is serious about selling their machine and charging $800 or more, is going to understand why you would want to make sure that the machine works properly. You can also restart the machine just holding down the option key, and then running disk first aid to check just the hard drive, but the Apple diagnostics test is a much better test.

    Another test that I do is to go into desktop then change the screen color to solid black white red and blue, just to check for dead pixels. I honestly haven't found a problem with dead pixels on any machine.

    Hopefully this tips help. Best of luck!

    One last thing. If you go to the Apple store, then go down to the left corner and click on refurbished machines, Apple often has great deals on refurbished Macs that have a full one-year warranty, and you can even add AppleCare! These are often priced at the same price that people are selling them used on Craigslist, however you're getting a machine that has been completely reconditioned. Apple often replaces the screen, puts a new battery in, and I have purchased three or four of these and they look just like brand-new machines.

    Many of these refurbished machines are ones that people have only used for one week, and then return to an Apple store. Apple cannot turn around and sell these is new, so you get an incredible deal. Stock can change by the hour, or by the day. So if you don't find what you're looking for, check back in a few hours or the next day.
     
  15. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #15

    This... is AWESOME

    Thanks so much for the write-up. Seriously
     
  16. macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #16
    I don't know why everyone is so worried about being out of Applecare or buying used in general. I have owned at least twenty Apple computers since 1993. Only three were new the rest were used and out of warranty.

    I never had a problem with any of them. Also on Craigslist nearly all of my transactions have been at the persons house or my house. I think I've done a transaction at Starbucks one because the other person wanted it that way.

    Just boot the computer and see if it works. Stick a disc in the optical drive to test it (bring an DVD and CD). Test the USB ports with a thumb drive. Run Coconut battery to verify the batteries current capacity. Look over the screen for bad spots. Then check the specs in about this Mac.

    Whenever practical I buy used. I save a lot of money and get premium products. Also you generally don't have to worry about a warranty. If it has been operating reliably for a year or two. Odds are it will keep doing so for several more years. Electronics generally fail withing the first month or after the warranty expires.

    Sure every once in a while you may get a dud. But if you look at net expenditures over the years. You will have spent a lot more money on products with warranties than without warranties and repairs combined. Same goes with new products and extended warranties vs manufacturers warranties and repairs.

    One thing I recall from retail sales was companies made at least 70% profit on extended warranties. That means for every hundred dollars you spend on warranties over your lifetime. You will only receive thirty dollars worth of repairs in parts and labor. That is if you are the kind of person that would use a technician. Otherwise it is more along the ten to fifteen dollars worth of parts if you do repairs yourself, which I do.

    Heck I usually buy my Macs damaged. So I can repair it myself and save even more.
     
  17. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    #17
    One other thing: if you don't plan a total fresh start from OS installation disks (anything that old should have them), be sure to get an administrator password and confirm that it works.
     
  18. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #18
    I'm really leaning towards checking this one out and running all the tests/examinations you all have listed.
    It's out of warranty/applecare so a bit scary... but it's a 2011 MacBook Pro 13" with 8gb ram and i5 processor for $800... and he's willing to meet me at a starbucks for me to do all my tests

    http://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/sys/3405708291.html
     
  19. macrumors 68030

    Spink10

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
  20. photographypro, Nov 17, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2012

    macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2010
    Location:
    American in Pisa (Italy)
    #20
    Good luck

    Seems OK. One more thing after my extensive post. You can go into About this Mac and then More Info and also check the speed of the hard drive. Most laptops have 5400 rpm drives, but if you are doing Photoshop or gaming, you may want a 7200 rpm drive, although these use your battery up a bit faster.

    Let us know how it goes.

    If you do the serial number test I described in my lengthy post, with a 2011 machine, it may still have a bit of warranty on it, which can be reassuring. Machines that do can buy AppleCare.



    However, I do agree with velocityg4. My late 2011 MBP JUST went out of warranty last week, and I opted NOT to extend it.

    One tip on warranty: Check the Apple forums or Google for problems with the machine you are considering, for example: Google - Problems with 2011 13" MacBook Pro, and see what comes up. Certain machines, although very few lately, have known problems. For example, I discovered that the Seagate upgrade drive from Apple, 500GB at 7200, weren't very reliable, but those that had purchased Hitachi drives with the same specs had no problems.

    One last tip. If you need more than 500GB, and want speed, check out the 750GB Momentus XT drive. It is similar to Apple's new fusion drive, by combining a 7200 rpm drive with a flash drive in one enclosure, so you get 80-90% of the speed of an SSD, but with 750GB capacity, but under $150. It's what I have in my MBP, along with 16GB of ram.
     
  21. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    #21
    Unless you are getting a really great deal on CL, you should consider spending just a little extra and buying something that you would be confident in.
     
  22. andyACEcandy, Nov 17, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2012

    thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #22
    Spoke with this guy selling a brand new un-opened 2012 macbook pro for $900... wanting to buy a TV with the cash.
    Sounded legit on the phone and told me I can take it out of the box, open it, run any tests i want and check the serial number etc...

    This is what comes up when I type the serial number into https://selfsolve.apple.com/agreementWarrantyDynamic.do

    Serial: C1MJLQUKDTY3
    "Apple is unable to provide information about your service coverage. Please sign in with your Apple ID and provide your product's date of purchase so that we can display your coverage information."


    http://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/sys/3416040832.html
     
  23. Spink10, Nov 17, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2012

    macrumors 68030

    Spink10

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    #23
    Its registered now - its legit. Just had not been registered.
     
  24. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #24
    nice, thanks

    I wonder if this is retina? (says mid-2012)
     
  25. macrumors 68030

    Spink10

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    #25
    No
     

Share This Page