I’m a big fan of buying Apple Certified Refurbished Macs and other Apple devices rather than new. My last two Macs—as well as two iPods purchased for family members—have been Certified Refurbished. All four units have been completely satisfactory and problem-free, and friends I’ve turned on to the ACR alternative report similar positive experiences.
Apple, of course, still offers “Special Deals” on Certified Refurbished Macs, iPads, and iPods, on the online Apple Store, but they’re also apparently running their own “unofficial” Apple ebay store for Apple Certified Refurbished products. This is great news for cost-conscious Apple hardware fans.
Motley Fool’s Evan Niu says good luck getting Apple to admit it, but they’re having a secret affair with ebay, noting that last October a mysterious new shop got set up on eBay’s auction site. Under the username “refurbished_outlet,” the Apple ebay store is selling Apple Certified Refurbished (ACR) products at discount prices, and the outlet has conducted nearly 11,000 transactions in less than six months.
All ACR items carry the same terms as refurbished products sold directly by Apple. Niu notes it’s highly doubtful anyone other than Apple could get their hands on this sheer quantity of gear to shift, and that the ebay outlet provides Apple with a backend route to clear out refurbished inventory.
If you’re not familiar with Apple’s Certified Refurbished products, here are the broad strokes. Apple Certified Refurbished Products are pre-owned Apple products that undergo Apple’s stringent refurbishment process prior to being offered for sale. Their provenance is that they’ve been returned under Apple’s Return and Refund Policies. While only some units are returned due to technical issues, all ACR products undergo the same full-quality refurbishment process. Refurbishment procedures follow the same basic technical guidelines as Apple’s Finished Goods testing procedures, and ACR Products are covered by the same 12-month Apple warranty that applies to new Apple products, and are also eligible for extended AppleCare coverage up to two years from purchase (three years for Mac products).
For more information, visit store.apple.com.
I’ve been informed (haven’t been able to confirm, but it’s highly plausible) that when you buy a refurbished Apple product, while you’re getting a recycled logic board, the latter has been tested three times more intensively than a new board off the assembly line, so it can be reasonably assumed that any latent defects are more likely to have been detected than would be the case with a brand new logic board. In other words, you’re arguably getting something better than a new product (or at least it’s been tested more), and is just as shiny, as well as a whole lot cheaper. You also get the very same basic one-year warranty and full AppleCare eligibility you would with a new unit.
All Apple Certified Refurbished products feature:
- Full one-year warranty (upgradable to three years of AppleCare coverage)
- 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
One caveat, DigitalTrends’ Gloria Sin notes that the Apple Store doesn’t charge online customers sales taxes, but ebay does for residents of Washington DC, Indiana, Nevada, New Jersey, Texas, and California.