Apple offers up to $100 off products through "secret" eBay store

Around the end of 2012, a new outlet for Apple products appeared on eBay called the "Refurbished-Outlet". The storefront, which is believed to be run by Apple themselves, sells refurbished Apple products, but cuts up to $100 off the price of the items. The eBay outlet is believed to have sold up to, and beyond, 10,000 Apple products, many with discounts higher than those at Apple's official refurbishment store

9to5Mac have taken a deeper look into the new eBay outlet, and have come to the conclusion that it is, in fact, run by Apple. Described as a "trial", the store lets eBay users buy a variety of Apple products for large discounts, but include Apple-like features, including: 

  • Full one-year warranty
  • Returned to like-new condition
  • iPads/iPods include a new battery
  • Received complete burn-in testing
  • Original OS re-installed
  • Repackaged with manual and cable
  • Final quality inspection by Apple

The last one is particularly telling, as only Apple could issue a "final quality inspection". 

MacRumors points to various products which receive a steeper discount on eBay than on Apple's official refurbishment store, including an 11-inch MacBook Air which is listed on eBay for $949 and costs $1,049 from Apple themselves; Apple usually charges $209 for a 4th generation 32GB iPod Touch, but can be found for $179 on eBay; a 3rd generation iPad with WiFi + 3G retails for $599 at Apple, but costs $549 on eBay. Several items also share the same price as those from Apple, including the 17-inch 2.4GHz MacBook Pro, which retails for $2,079 on both. 

The inventory of the Refurbished-Outlet changes everyday, and prices are unpredictable, but there are still clear signs that Apple is behind this mystery outlet.  

Neowin reached out to eBay for clarification and will update the article if we hear back. 

Source: 9to5Mac

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20 Comments

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Love the mis-information the media spreads... It was determined a LONG time ago (days after this first appeared) that this store is actually run by Best Buy US.

Get it right!

Refurbished means it didn't work right the first time and had to get sent back to the factory. I would spend the extra 100 bucks for a new product.

Look at the note above from Sagum. Even if you buy new, there's always a chance that it was "fixed" even during manufacturing. Been there, I've worked for electronics manufacturing. If done right, refub. will be as good as new.

Open Minded said,
Refurbished means it didn't work right the first time and had to get sent back to the factory. I would spend the extra 100 bucks for a new product.
That is false. Refurbished means, I bought the item...maybe i had buyers regret, or maybe it was a gift and someone else bought me one too. I already opened it but yet I returned it for a refund.

Once the device has been sold, even if i never powered it on and it as freash as when I opened it, it cant be sold as new. it has to go back to factory to be checked.

Wow, $100, that's... actually nothing in the long considering that the only items you'd get that much off from are already pushing Apple's now rather infamous ~40% profit margin which has been in place since day 1, basically - or even higher. The iPhone 4 "bumper" thing was priced at $29.99 and according to some reports it was somewhere around $.13 to manufacture so that one was something like 27,000% profit.

Apple, are you even really trying?

southparksam said,
I like it when people quote on profit %s but clearly have no idea of the mathematics of profit
I dont think he was trying to be exact. He was making the point that teh PAple tax is incredibly high and using an outrageous number just drives the point home. You just missed it because you read it wrong.

You was to busy looking for facts vs really understanding the point.

"looks to me that they're just selling refurbished stuff " well isnt that the definition of the term refurbished? As much as i hate apple i think its a good direction for them becuase if it isnt brand new when you get it then it does need a massive discount. For example you buy a £20,000 car, as soon as you drive it out the shop it loses like £3-5,000. you wouldnt resell it for £20,000 cus no one would buy it. Needs money off tbh

looks to me that they're just selling refurbished stuff giving a little more details than usual? when you buy something that says "returned to like-new condition", battery replaced, screen burn-in testing, ... you do expect the price to be lower anyway. Whereas with "refurb" you just pray you're getting something someone else didnt want and was in perfect condition

Julius Caro said,
looks to me that they're just selling refurbished stuff giving a little more details than usual? when you buy something that says "returned to like-new condition", battery replaced, screen burn-in testing, ... you do expect the price to be lower anyway. Whereas with "refurb" you just pray you're getting something someone else didnt want and was in perfect condition

Having worked in manufacturing for quite a few years myself, I can assure you that manufacture "refurb" should go out in exactly the same quality as a reworked item off the line.
What does that mean?
Well when a product is being made at several points it has tests to ensure its working properly and there is no damage. At each point, if they fail a test they'll be sent back to the last point to be reworked. There is usually a low percentage rate of fails on each batch of electronics that'll have to be re-worked in someway to get them to pass the tests so it can be shipped. The consumer never knows unless it's a hack job on an old rev board (have you ever seen a wire connecting two places on a board?)

The same happens with items that come in for refurb. They're taken apart and tested, sent back down the line testing with any rework to be done until it comes back off the end in a new case, new packaging and manuals.

3rd party refubs are not the same quality as a manufacture. Oftern they'll say refub, but what they're actually doing is just reselling goods that 'look near new', are customer returns or have had simple repairs done to them in house.
On ebay, they can't call something 'new' even if its a manufactured refurb since it's already been sold and is a used item.


But yeah, pretty much what Apple are doing here is the same thing a lot of manufactures do in the food and clothing industry. They rebrand their own goods, and sell them on cheaper for the market that is unwilling/cannot buy the more expensive version they're trying to sell.
Even the likes of Intel have done it before with their CPUs, multiplier locked and even went as far as to provide software unlockable upgrade CPUs, both sold cheaper then the same CPU locked at a faster speed.

So, Apple can't rebrand their Apple stuff, since it's .. well it's apple branded. So it seems they're creating their own outlets to sell cheaper. I'd be interesting to know if Apple are lowering their standards in testing (I assume not since they'd have to introduce a new refurb setup), or if they're just lowering the price so more people are willing to buy it (and that seems to be the case).

Interestingly though, that lower price point for higher sales might be passed onto their retail line now that numbers are slowing and Android is taking hold.