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Apple Undercuts Apple, Offers Refurbs for Up to $100 Less on Its eBay Store

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By , dealnews Features Director

Late last year, it was discovered that Apple was potentially selling its refurbished wares through eBay, discreetly under the seller name Refurbished-Outlet. At the time, 9to5 Mac pointed to the near identical re-certification practices as evidence that this was an Apple-run outfit; all items came with a full 1-year warranty, final inspection was completed by Apple itself, and all of the items were priced the same as the Apple Store. The eBay front still exists, but it appears as if the latter practice has changed — and in the consumer's favor.

dealnews recently discovered that several Apple items on the eBay store have dropped to prices that are lower than what the Apple Store charges, in some cases by a significant margin. Currently, the most notable price cut is on the current-generation 13.3" MacBook Air with a 128GB SSD, which comes in at an all-time low of $899 — $100 less than what Apple charges directly.

Additionally, the eBay store offers both the fourth-generation 32GB and 64GB iPod touch players for $179 and $229, respectively; that's $30 and $50 less than Apple Store prices. Even more curious is the fact that we've actually seen the Apple Store offer these exact price cuts in the past; both models fell to $179 and $229 in January.

Lamentably, the MacBook Pro and 256GB MacBook Air offerings are priced the same as the Apple Store, as are all of the third-generation iPads. Both of the refurbished iPad 2s are cheaper, but they're only available in Verizon 3G flavors: the 32GB is $429 and the 64GB is $529, which are both $50 less than their price tags at the Apple Store.

Why Are Apple's Prices Lower on eBay?

Discounts are of course great, but why is Apple selling its refurbished products at a different price? And why is it using a mysterious eBay store to begin with? AppleInsider has suggested that Apple has been experimenting with eBay in "unconventional" ways to push laptops in large volumes. The publication floats the theory that the manufacturer is approaching "eBay power sellers" and giving them MacBook Pro Retina laptops to sell at a discount. While that involves third party sellers and a computer model that isn't currently in the Refurbished-Outlet store, the idea of discreetly promoting discounts in order to increase sales could still apply.

Regardless, the news means that consumers have a new opportunity to save money. And as we've said many times before, purchasing an Apple-certified refurb is an excellent way to score an iDevice at a discount since the manufacturer does a near flawless job of refreshing its electronics. In fact, for many people an Apple-refurbished product is the only refurb they'll buy. With these recent cuts, those consumers can now get that same quality second-hand product for even less.

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Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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5 comments
jmckeithmd
OK, What did you guys do? When I go to the Refurbished-Outlet store on e-bay, there is nothing for sale. Did Apple withdraw their products now that you outed them?
Adventure Seeker
Sure, snaimpally... If that happens, think of the volume... think of the commissions for ebay.
qaz111111
IF you are shopping for an item and haven't looked on ebay then you are not shopping. The current edition of ebay charges too much for most individuals to stomach. Thus the majority of sellers are businesses of some sort. Often the business is an individual whose store front is ebay. Beware of warranty issues from buying through this channel. Frauds are not that uncommon as well so do protect yourself. IF you want a deal on an apple product then educate yourself on the item and it's generations because you may be buying an older version of what you want without realizing it until it is too late. Buyer beware. IF the deal looks too good... find out what you don't know!
Greg the Gruesome
In this context, it's "discreetly" not "discretely".
snaimpally
Ebay originally started as a consumer to consumer website. However, in the last 10-12 years, ebay management has made a concerted push to get more businesses to sell using ebay. It would not surprise me if ebay is offering Apple incentives (lower commission based on volume etc.) to sell on ebay. Ideally, ebay would like to see all Apple refurbs on ebay, with the Apple store merely offering a link to their ebay store.
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