Apple rarely ever discounts its products, but there are deals to be had, as long as you don’t mind buying refurbish and from the Cupertino company’s unofficial eBay store (widely believed to be one and the same). In fact, some items listed on eBay are now cheaper than on Apple’s own online store.
As we reported back in November, the eBay iDevice reseller Refurbished Outlet seems to have a suspiciously close relationship with Apple. While there are many sellers and stores on eBay that sell used Apple products, Refurbished Outlet is the only one where its products are Apple Certified: they come with the same full 1-year warranty that Apple products enjoy and are inspected by Apple itself before they are available for purchase.
Prices on the eBay store used to match Apple’s refurbished products listed online, but Refurbished Outlet has been undercutting Apple on some items recently. According to the deal tracking site DealNews, the best deal that the eBay store had over Apple was a refurbished current-generation 13.3-inch MacBook Air with a 128GB SSD that was going for just $900, which is $100 less than what Apple charges. It’s such a good deal that it was already sold out by the time we read about it on the shopping site.
If you’re looking for a second- or third-generation iPad, you should definitely have a look at the eBay store’s offerings. A refurbished black iPad 2 with 32GB of storage that works on Verizon is listing for $430 on eBay, while the same device is going for $480 on the Apple store – a $50 difference. Similarly, a black 64GB iPad 2 can be had for just $530 from eBay, rather than $580 direct from Apple.
There are some downsides to buying from Refurbished Outlet’s eBay store. For one thing, it doesn’t have a lot of stock so you need to move quickly when you see an item listed at an incredible price. For products like the 17-inch Macbook Pros that are available for the exact same price on both eBay and Apple, it doesn’t really matter where you buy from, unless you want to save on taxes. As 9to5Mac mentioned, Apple doesn’t charge online customers sales taxes, but eBay does for residents of Washington DC, Indiana, Nevada, New Jersey, Texas, and California.