should I return this 2011 27" iMac from ebay?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by FlunkedFlank, Jul 25, 2013.

  1. macrumors member

    Sep 21, 2012
    I got this 2011 iMac for a really good price and everything about it seems to be working well so far, except that it appears to have the infamous "slightly darker left side" problem. See attached image (which admittedly is a little stronger than it looks in real life).

    I'm quite technical and am thinking of opening it up to see if it's due to the bad connector on the back, as shown in this video:

    The problem isn't SO bad that I couldn't live with it, some of the reports I've seen seem far worse. When not looking at an all-white or all-black screen it's not as noticeable. And the thought of having to deal with the ebay return process and paying to ship it back gives me a headache. What's worse is the idea that I might end up with the same problem on the next one I buy given how prevalent this problem is, based on various threads I've seen.

    Any advice?

    Attached Files:

  2. macrumors member

    Apr 25, 2013
    eBay isn't your local neighborhood big box retailer where you can just return things on a whim. It is expensive to ship items - you're going to probably drop at least 50+ to ship it back, and the seller is probably going to lose the 50+ that they spent shipping to you.

    It's something you're not going to usually notice (per your own admission) and that you got a great deal (because its not a brand new perfect system). If it works I'd just accept it as it's only going to be noticeable under rare and artificial conditions.

    However, if the eBay posting was MISLEADING and argued that it was absolutely perfect in all regards then I might consider contacting them and maybe requesting a partial refund. If you believe they have "normal screen problems" you should have contacted the seller prior to bidding to clarify those things. eBay as I said earlier is usually individual sellers where 'returning an item' is a significant expense and hassle for both you and the seller.

    I also wouldn't open it because you'd risk damaging it. The video you posted said that was a problem with the 2010 model not the 2011 model. Almost all 27" iMacs have a slight unevenness on the backlighting which you're seeing. In my experience its even worse in the new 2012 27" iMacs due to their laminating process.

    But to rehash - you're buying a used items. If you want a perfect one make sure to do your homework beforehand by asking questions, inspecting, asking for better photos, or buying a new one.
  3. thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 21, 2012
    You raise some good points. I'll say that I've been on ebay for 15 years so I'm very familiar with the return process. In this case the seller listed 14 days for returns, buyer pays shipping, so getting the ok for the return shouldn't be a problem. I wouldn't say that the listing was misleading, no, however it didn't address any flaws with the machine at all, which makes it fair play for me to return. ("used" on ebay means "works as intended", barring any flaws mentioned in the listing.) There was a photo of the display, but it was showing a cluttered desktop with a background image so you couldn't really tell. It's possible that the seller never noticed it, or was hoping the buyer wouldn't notice it, or perhaps it only occurred as a result of the shipping.

    From everything I've read about this flaw it affects the 2009, 2010, and 2011 models. One thing I forgot to mention is that the display occasionally flickers to "full brightness" for a few minutes before flickering back. So I *know* that it is capable of displaying without the dark area, which makes it seem like the loose connection example from that video. (And many other support and forum threads.) I wasn't aware of this issue at all before buying the machine so it never occurred to me to ask for a screenshot of an all-white screen.

    I think I'll follow your advice and discuss some kind of partial discount with the seller. Worse comes to worse I could always use it for a few months and then resell it myself, and I doubt I'd lose much more than it would cost for me to ship it as a return.
  4. macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    That one sentence makes me think that you're likely to need to get the iMac repaired at some point - probably within a year. Something that flickers like that is unstable and more likely to break than a condition that was constant..
  5. macrumors demi-god


    Jul 8, 2011
    I would contact the seller making them aware of the problem so you have a dialogue started before your return period expires. I would ask the seller if I can take it to an Apple Store and see what it would cost to do the repair. The seller may be open to the idea of paying the repair or refunding you enough to have the repair done.

    I would not accept anything less than the full cost of repair. If they are a reputable seller, then their dialogue will let you know. Otherwise it is a return and you are only out the shipping cost. Lesson learned. Ebay not the place to buy used electronics. Too risky.

    I only buy new and directly from Apple.
  6. macrumors 604

    Mar 29, 2008
    Just looking at just the picture and not being there in person, that looks absolutely appalling. I personally would be returning it, or if it's under AppleCare still, have Apple replace the display. If not, back it goes - no question.
  7. macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2013
    If it's really at a steal price I'd keep much did you pay for it??

    Otherwise I think it's better to send it back. Once you found it's there, you are deemed to notice it forever. It's only a matter of time- either you can't withstand it, or it'd be going to Apple to get repair.

    There are some i5 2011 models selling under $800, keep an eye on it once appear.
  8. macrumors member

    Mar 7, 2013
    Herts, UK
    If you can, return it - not fit for purpose.

    Though not applicable in all cases, one of my general maxims is - buy cheap pay twice.

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