Price Advice Buying a returned 2016 rMBP 13”

Adazonk

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 21, 2017
22
4
Wales, UK
Hi all,
I’ve spent a few hours at my local John Lewis story the last few days umming and ahhing about pulling the trigger on a MBP.

The guy instore kindly went to check their stock room and open box products and found a returned 2016 MBP 13” TB i5 256gb which due to a scratch on the underside and lack of box he could reduce as grade C to £700 for me.

My question is this, how good a steal is this? I’ve only really researched the 2017’s due to the current clearance event they are running (£1200 for TB i5, 256) and about 4 hours ago was even about to just say sod it and pick up a 2019. Are there any reasons to go for a 2017 instead (there was an ex-display model which would be around £840 but also some confusion over which was which), are there any known issues with the 2016’s that aren’t the keyboard. I’m going to do my own research this evening but any other input would be great.

Usage wise would be looking to use it as a daily driver and get into web development.

My only reservation is lack of knowing about how many power cycles and according to the serial number was originally purchased over 12 months ago so has just been sitting in the store room.

Thanks
 

ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
3,142
1,804
Between the coasts
Hi all,
I’ve spent a few hours at my local John Lewis story the last few days umming and ahhing about pulling the trigger on a MBP.

The guy instore kindly went to check their stock room and open box products and found a returned 2016 MBP 13” TB i5 256gb which due to a scratch on the underside and lack of box he could reduce as grade C to £700 for me.

My question is this, how good a steal is this? I’ve only really researched the 2017’s due to the current clearance event they are running (£1200 for TB i5, 256) and about 4 hours ago was even about to just say sod it and pick up a 2019. Are there any reasons to go for a 2017 instead (there was an ex-display model which would be around £840 but also some confusion over which was which), are there any known issues with the 2016’s that aren’t the keyboard. I’m going to do my own research this evening but any other input would be great.

Usage wise would be looking to use it as a daily driver and get into web development.

My only reservation is lack of knowing about how many power cycles and according to the serial number was originally purchased over 12 months ago so has just been sitting in the store room.

Thanks
The number of cycles shouldn't be large. You can get that easily by booting it up and getting a System Report (About this Mac > System Report > Hardware > Power).

here in the US, I'd be concerned about warranty coverage, as the warranty clock started ticking the moment the first owner left the store (the standard Apple warranty will have expired by now), and there's no additional consumer law protection to extend vendor responsibility beyond that first year. You know your laws far better than I, but you probably should be sure that the retailer will provide at least a full year warranty.

You may want to comparison-shop at Apple.com for refurbished goods. While you'll probably get a better price from the retailer, the Apple goods will come with as-new warranty (and consumer law) coverage and the option to buy AppleCare as well.

Open-box deals are a bigger risk, so unless the discount is substantial, I probably wouldn't take the risk. When the price is low enough to cover an extra out-of-pocket repair over the life of the machine and leave some extra pounds in your pocket, then it could be worth considering. As long as they aren't signs off deeper damage, scratches and scuffs don't change the functionality of the computer, so if I could get an additional discount in addition to discounts due to practical concerns (older technology and reduced warranty coverage), I'd probably put the savings in my pocket.
 

Adazonk

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 21, 2017
22
4
Wales, UK
The number of cycles shouldn't be large. You can get that easily by booting it up and getting a System Report (About this Mac > System Report > Hardware > Power).

here in the US, I'd be concerned about warranty coverage, as the warranty clock started ticking the moment the first owner left the store (the standard Apple warranty will have expired by now), and there's no additional consumer law protection to extend vendor responsibility beyond that first year. You know your laws far better than I, but you probably should be sure that the retailer will provide at least a full year warranty.

You may want to comparison-shop at Apple.com for refurbished goods. While you'll probably get a better price from the retailer, the Apple goods will come with as-new warranty (and consumer law) coverage and the option to buy AppleCare as well.

Open-box deals are a bigger risk, so unless the discount is substantial, I probably wouldn't take the risk. When the price is low enough to cover an extra out-of-pocket repair over the life of the machine and leave some extra pounds in your pocket, then it could be worth considering. As long as they aren't signs off deeper damage, scratches and scuffs don't change the functionality of the computer, so if I could get an additional discount in addition to discounts due to practical concerns (older technology and reduced warranty coverage), I'd probably put the savings in my pocket.
Thanks for the reply.

Can I access System Report without it going through initial set up. It was obviously wiped when it was returned so needs to go through the first time set up before I can access the desktop? Is there a way from the Mac Utilites menu?

Warranty wise, as it’s sold by a retailer, they would still provide their standard 2 year warranty as they do for all their electrical products here. Obviously it’s not Apples warranty and would mean I would have to deal with the store but it’s better than nothing. Apologies, I don’t Know the nuances and difference between US and UK consumer law.

Looking at the refurbished store they don’t have any comparable models, the only 2016 is a 15” just north of £2000, closest 13” is the 2018 base model at £1439 which is just a tad more than twice what I can pick this 2016 up for. Tempted to try my luck and get a further discount on it though.
 

ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
3,142
1,804
Between the coasts
Thanks for the reply.

Can I access System Report without it going through initial set up. It was obviously wiped when it was returned so needs to go through the first time set up before I can access the desktop? Is there a way from the Mac Utilites menu?

Warranty wise, as it’s sold by a retailer, they would still provide their standard 2 year warranty as they do for all their electrical products here. Obviously it’s not Apples warranty and would mean I would have to deal with the store but it’s better than nothing. Apologies, I don’t Know the nuances and difference between US and UK consumer law.

Looking at the refurbished store they don’t have any comparable models, the only 2016 is a 15” just north of £2000, closest 13” is the 2018 base model at £1439 which is just a tad more than twice what I can pick this 2016 up for. Tempted to try my luck and get a further discount on it though.
Sorry, no way to easily access System Report info without setting it up. Well maybe boot to Recovery and run the appropriate Terminal commands, but nothing as easy as opening a menu and clicking a couple of buttons. Afterwards, you might have to invoke another Terminal command to ensure that Setup Assistant runs upon reboot. Overall, probably not worthwhile. It's probably easier to have the retailer agree beforehand that there shouldn't be more than a certain number of cycles - more than 20 cycles would suggest relatively heavy use prior to it being returned to the store.

I have an imperfect understanding of UK law, so we're on an even footing. However, to the extent that I do understand it, it seems that a full two-year retailer warranty is a fair deal, as your first recourse is normally the retailer, not Apple (right?)
 

Adazonk

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 21, 2017
22
4
Wales, UK
I have an imperfect understanding of UK law, so we're on an even footing. However, to the extent that I do understand it, it seems that a full two-year retailer warranty is a fair deal, as your first recourse is normally the retailer, not Apple (right?)
That’s correct, any issues within the 2 years and my only recourse would be the retailer. They’re very good though and very helpful so I feel okay about that.

It’s more the pricing and if there are any issues that would lead people to strongly recommend a later model rather than snapping up the 2016. £700 works out at roughly $890, however we don’t have any separate sales/state taxes on top of that figure (sorry again, I’ve only got a basic understanding of shopping in America).
 

ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
3,142
1,804
Between the coasts
That’s correct, any issues within the 2 years and my only recourse would be the retailer. They’re very good though and very helpful so I feel okay about that.

It’s more the pricing and if there are any issues that would lead people to strongly recommend a later model rather than snapping up the 2016. £700 works out at roughly $890, however we don’t have any separate sales/state taxes on top of that figure (sorry again, I’ve only got a basic understanding of shopping in America).
I'm not sufficiently well-versed in the prices for used Macs to know if this is a good deal or better than good. Also, you haven't said whether this is the 4 TB port model with Touch Bar, or the 2 TB port model without Touch Bar. I'm going to assume it's the 2 TB port model, as otherwise the price seems much too good to be true.

The current (2018) 2 TB port, 256 GB model sells for £1449, so £700 for a barely-used, fully-warranteed unit seems quite good. While there have been performance and keyboard improvements in the past two years, they probably aren't worth double the price. You run a higher risk of keyboard issues, but as long as those appear within four years of the "first retail sale" of the unit, those will be repaired at no cost by Apple.

Now, a US sales tax-related side note. Sales taxes generally cannot be included in the advertised prices of goods, they must be shown separately. Since tax rates vary from state-to-state, and even within a state when there are county and/or city taxes, comparison-shopping may have to include separate tax-related calculations. Comparing prices across international borders adds even more difficult, to say the least. Between currency exchange rate adjustments and factors like the presence or absence of VAT... But it does seem that most Europeans who comment on US-advertised Mac prices seem to ignore the added cost of sales taxes.