eBay prices compared to retail

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by AJB1971, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. AJB1971 macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2011
    So, the time had come for me to swap out my 2011 MacBook Air for a newer model, whilst the old one still had some value. Usually, I buy from the Apple refurbished store and sell on eBay.

    Refurbished versions of the current generation models seem to become available about three months after the release date and are discounted by approximately 15%. At the moment, the refurbished machines haven’t shown up in the UK store, although they are out in the US, so I decided to see what was available on eBay.

    I was surprised at just how many people were selling new and sealed current generation machines, with some sellers having multiple items for sale.

    I decided to follow three sellers, all of whom had good feedback and had sold several current generation MacBooks. The machines were all designated as B/A models, which I believe indicates that they are UK spec, or had pictures showing that they came with UK keyboards.

    The average selling price, including postage costs, showed a discount on Apple’s retail prices of 29.5%. Out of this, the sellers would have to pay postage costs, eBay business seller’s fees and Paypal business charges, which I calculated at approximately 3.4% of the selling price.

    This would mean that the sellers would have to be purchasing the goods at 68% of retail price to break even and presumably much less than this to make a profit.

    For example, one seller sold six base model MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch’s for £720. These have a retail price of £1,099. To make a profit the seller must be buying these for less than around £696, which is actually 63% of retail price.

    Even if these were grey imports, I would’t have thought that there was sufficient margin to sell at those prices and still make a reasonable profit?

    I am of course assuming that these were all purchased legitimately in the first place, but there seems to be plenty of stock. I have no desire to purchase stolen goods, no matter how cheap.

    I do wonder where the stock is coming from? Could it be businesses selling off surplus stock? Apple’s price remain high, could they be selling stock through alternative channels, rather than reducing their retail prices?
  2. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    I got mine off Ebay

    Hi OP

    I had the same dillemma, in the end I couldn't resist 300 quid off of the price of the high spec 13 inch rMBP. I did buy from a seller with a good reputation I bought cash on collection and got an invoice to prove my buy. I have registered it all with apple as normal and now have an absolutely blistering new laptop it was well worth the risk, just need some cheap apple care now.....
  3. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    One thing to note is if the ebay seller is not an Apple Authorized reseller, the warranty started the day the Apple Authorized reseller sold the system.

    I would stick to refurbished systems directly from Apple for the warranty and the ability to add AppleCare.
  4. AJB1971 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2011
    Thanks for your response. It sounds like it worked out well for you.

    I’ve just watched a seller who has a good rating, but only previously sold one item, sell four brand new MacBook Pro’s!

    Two 15.4” Retina 2.6Ghz i7 512Gb 16Gb’s, which went for £1501 and £1,604 respectively. This works out at an average discount of 35% on the £2,399 retail price.

    A third machine was described as just a ‘brand new MacBook Pro.’ No details were provided except for a picture, which showed that it was a Retina model, but it could have easily been a bottom of the range 13” one. This sold for £1,100.

    From recollection, the final machine was a 15.4” Retina 2.3Ghz i7 512Gb 16Gb, but I’m not sure what that sold for. It was in the £1,400 bracket the last time I looked.

    I contacted the seller several days ago to enquire what the model numbers were and find out if they were UK spec machines, but they didn’t respond.

    The account doesn’t appear to have been hacked, there’s been plenty of recent activity, but it does seems strange that somebody with little selling experience should be selling three or four high-end MacBook Pro Retinas.

    As I said, it’s not just an isolated event. Yesterday I saw two other sellers each selling six brand new current spec MacBook’s. They must be buying the stock in at ridiculously low prices to allow them to make a profit.
  5. AJB1971 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2011
    This could be the case but, if the product was only released three months ago, you would still have at least nine months warranty left and have the option to purchase Applecare with the money you saved.

    My main point is that I wonder what the source is for all these cheap MacBook’s? I can understand an individual selling their own MacBook on eBay, but when they start selling several, brand new, current spec models, at big discounts, I wonder what’s happening?
  6. adam9c1 macrumors 68000


    May 2, 2012
    Do they tend to fall off of a truck?
  7. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    If you're not sure how any one individual is selling a brand new machine well below cost and well outside the typical Apple reseller's bulk discount, then chances are you don't want to know the answer to your question. Just sayin'.

    Evidently though, there is one individual who believes Apple's reseller discount is within the realm of 29%, or there about, and possibly that is why the discount is being passed on to the good people of eBay.
  8. AJB1971 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2011
    adam9c1 - That’s probably how some of them end up on eBay, but there seems to be a lot of them. As for the rest, well I’m not sure how many of them actually exist.

    GoCubsGo - Funny thread. I see that the original poster seems to have disappeared from the forums!

    I’ve been waiting to see what the feedback was from the sales which took place earlier this week.

    The person who sold six base model MacBook Pro Retinas for £720 (UK RRP £1,099) has already received negative feedback from one buyer saying ‘delboy completely fraud. selling items on ebay she does not have. waste of time.’

    This seller had a feedback rating of over 200 and, prior to this, had never received any negative feedback. There had been regular activity on their account, so no suggestion that it had been hacked. They appeared to be the ideal seller and that’s the worrying thing.

    A person with no previous feedback, who sold a new base model 15” MacBook Pro Retina for £620 (RRP £1,699) received the following positive feedback, ‘the seller is good in communication and understanding to buyers I would recommend.’ This feedback was left two hours after the auction finished. I’m assuming that this transaction never took place.

    Another seller has sold and received positive feedback for three base model 15” MacBook Pro Retinas for £1,250, £1,271 and £1,380 respectively (UK RRP £1,699). This represents an average discount of 23.5%. They are currently selling another one of these machines and have sold other, new and sealed, Apple products in the past.

    I’m still waiting to see what happens with two other sellers, who both sold multiple MacBooks on the same day. One of those sellers had very poor listings, although they both had good feedback ratings and appeared to be reliable.
  9. AJB1971 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2011
    Here’s an update about one of the other sellers I’ve been following.

    This seller had feedback of 381, a rating of over 99%, and had been registered on eBay for nearly five years. Their account showed plenty of recent activity, both buying and selling, and included the sale of a new MacBook Pro Retina, for which they received positive feedback. Additionally, they had also sold other new items of expensive electrical equipment.

    The seller appeared to be a legitimate one.

    On the 20th January 2014 they sold five MacBook Pro Retinas, two MacBook Airs, a HP Spectre and a Lenovo Ideapad, for a combined price of £9,620. The listings were detailed and the specifications of the MacBooks matched those available from Apple. All of the items were new.

    Today the seller received the following negative feedback -
    ‘Scam scam low life scum please avoid no goods !!!’ - Apple MacBook Pro Retina
    ‘Low life con man takes money no goods doesn't answer emails AVOID’ - Apple MacBook Air

    It seems strange that a seller with a previously good rating should all of a sudden receive such bad feedback. Perhaps it indicates that their account has been hacked?

    Whilst previously I had felt secure buying from eBay, once I’d researched the seller, now I’m not so sure.
  10. kelon111 macrumors 6502

    Mar 16, 2013
    Yep , sellers do lose their account sometimes.
  11. rmhop81 macrumors 68020


    Apr 4, 2005
    Dallas, TX
    Or they make it appear they are selling and then scam a few people etc. if they are selling new for so cheap, it's too good to be true
  12. AJB1971, Jan 31, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2014

    AJB1971 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2011
    An update to my earlier posts, for anybody that’s interested.

    The seller with feedback of 82, a rating of 100%, and recent activity on their account, has just received the following negative feedback -
    ‘Stay away from this person. No communication & no goods. Disgraceful seller’ - Apple MacBook Pro with Retina

    They sold four MacBook Pro Retinas and an iPad 4 on the same day, for a total of £6,225. These were all auctions with starting prices of 99p. The listings were poor. One didn’t even mention the specification and yet somebody was still prepared to pay £1,100 for it.

    The seller didn’t respond to my questions about the items, which is a warning sign.

    Another seller, with feedback of 64, a rating of 100%, and recent activity, who sold a new MacBook Pro Retina, has just received the following negative feedback for three other sales -
    'Idiot rip off merchant paid £620 pounds for a iPhone never come opened case' - iPhone 5S
    ‘Paid £625 for this, item was never dispatched and have had no communication’ - iPhone 5S
    ‘time waister! phone never received had to open a dispute!’ - Samsung Galaxy S4

    I don’t imagine the buyer will be receiving their MacBook.

    I also received an email from eBay notifying me that they thought another member’s account had been used without the owner’s permission.

    Previously, I had contacted the seller asking for information about their item. They were selling a used version of the last generation 15” MacBook Pro Retina for a buy-it-now price of £1,060, but were open to offers. In the meantime the listing ended, only to be re-listed on at least two more occasions over the next day.

    The seller had feedback of 790, a rating of 100%, and plenty of recent activity, but it looks like their account was hacked.

    Prior to their recent feedback, all three of these sellers appeared to be reputable.

    Some items look like obvious scams. A new MacBook Pro Retina being sold on a buy-it-now for £550 (RRP £1,699). The seller had a rating of 100% and recent activity, but their feedback was just 4 and they had never sold anything before.

    I let this go, but it didn’t take long for somebody else to purchase it. They left the following negative feedback -
    ‘I paid and no respond. Looks like scam! Beware!’ - Apple MacBook Pro Reina

    There are a lot of sellers trying to persuade you to contact them by phone, prior to purchase. I would imagine they would then offer you a better deal for purchasing outside of eBay, but you would have no protection if the transaction turned out to be fraudulent.

    I also came across a curious listing which, when I clicked to open the page, diverted me to eBay’s login screen, despite the fact I was already logged in. This didn’t happen when I clicked on subsequent listings. Presumably, it was an attempt to obtain my account details.

    There are certainly some legitimate sellers offering big discounts on new MacBooks and I still wonder where the stock is coming from? I found base model 15” MacBook Pro Retinas for £1,250-£1,300 (RRP £1,699) and 256Gb i5 13” MacBook Airs for £790-£840 (RRP £1,129).
  13. AJB1971, Jan 31, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2014

    AJB1971 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2011
    Regarding the listing that diverted me to what I assumed was a fake eBay login page, another MacBook Pro Retina was recently listed on a buy-it-now for £400, clicking on the item took me to the following web page -

    Perhaps this explains why so many people seem to be getting their accounts hacked?

    I've reported the website to eBay, but it's now showing up as a suspected phishing site, although it wasn't before, but at least my suspicions were right.

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