With so many options available for buying on eBay, you may be tempted to purchase your next item there – especially if you’re getting a MacBook. But before suggesting the obvious (like paying our store a visit), let’s pose a question.
Is it safe to buy a MacBook secondhand these days? There are obviously questionable sellers on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist that may leave you doubting, but eBay seems like a safe bet, especially with its established list of sellers and Buyer Protection Plan.
While there are other retailers that specialize in selling refurbished electronics (including Amazon Marketplace, Mac of All Trades and, of course, us here at GadgetGone), some may actually prefer eBay. After all, that’s where you might have bought things before, such as that still-working Game Boy or that autographed Godzilla movie poster. (Yes, we’re fans!)
The process for buying an item is fairly easy, especially with auctions that use Buy It Now for a one-click purchase. But before you jump in to a purchase, check out this guide to get the most out of the process – and your newly purchased MacBook!
Your first stop on eBay should be the dedicated MacBook page. Here, you’ll see the three main sections up top: Apple MacBook Air Laptops, Apple MacBook Pro Laptops and MacBook. Depending on what model you’re in the mood for, you’re free to choose what suits your fancy. (Note: although used models usually go for a lower price, you can buy new ones as well!)
However, before you proceed into those sub-sections, take a look at the lower half of the screen. Here, you’ll find some highlighted Limited Time Deals, with free shipping included. As you can see, the price can vary depending on models, but you can get a suitable model for a steal.
For example, in the picture above the 2020 Apple MacBook Pro Touch Bar model with 13” screen goes for $1049.99, a savings of nearly $800! Likewise, you can get a MacBook Pro 13” model with an i5 core for under a grand, which is much easier on the budget. And there’s a package deal with an older MacBook Pro going for $500, with free shipping to boot.
Searching For Parts
Now, let’s say you’re a tech savvy MacBook buyer that simply wants to replace a part on your computer, instead of buying an all new one. Luckily, eBay is convenient in that regard, too. You can either look through the subsections for “parts only” auctions, or do a search in the bar located at the top of the screen (check for the “Search for anything” text and type it in there). You’ll get to what you need fairly quickly.
That’s it! Remember, there is zero pressure when it comes to looking around, but don’t be surprised if a deal gets swiped from right under your nose. This is eBay, after all, and millions of consumers shop for items on a daily basis. (Yes, even that autographed Godzilla poster we mentioned above. And, no, we are not selling ours.)
Before you proceed, however, it’s time to check a few things.
Have you ever heard the phrase “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is”? That could be the case with some eBay auctions. You may see MacBooks selling for as low as $300, or even less than that. Before you go jumping in and yelling, “I have to have it!”, there are a few things to consider.
The first thing you’ll want to check is the seller rating. Most of these eBay sellers are pretty well established, with scores over 500 and some even going into the thousands, depending how long they’ve done business there. Usually, the rule of thumb is the higher the score, the more dependable the seller. Granted, some might just be getting started, but experience goes a long way.
You can also click on the seller’s feedback score to see how it stands. Most of the time, if a number is into the hundreds or thousands, you can expect them to have an overwhelming amount of positive feedback. However, it doesn’t hurt to check how much negative feedback they have, and in what areas. If you don’t see much of it, you should be safe.
When it comes to buying a MacBook, you’ll want to get a good look of what you’re buying before you plunk down the cash. That means going over its item description like a fine-toothed comb (not physically with one, mind you – you’ll scratch your screen) and knowing what you’re in for.
For example, let’s say that Vistar76 has a few hundred positive reviews on their profile and are selling a MacBook Pro for like $500. That sounds like a steal, but the item description could note that it needs a new battery and could be having trouble charging. If you don’t know about this beforehand, you may be stuck buying additional parts or trying to return the item.
Furthermore, returns could be a hassle depending on the seller. Sure, there is a Buyer Protection Guarantee in place for consumers (we’ll get to that in a second), but that doesn’t mean the seller will make things easier for you. They may be emailing you back to try and fix it manually, or offering a replacement. That’ll take extra time.
So, it helps to read the item description and make sure it’s the model you want. While you’re at it, check under the About This Product tab and make sure the specs are to your liking in terms of storage space, condition, model number and more. It could save you a world of difference between keeping the item and taking about three weeks or so to return it and get another.
As we mentioned above, eBay does have a Buyer Protection Guarantee in place for items sold on its site. That means if something isn’t to your liking or doesn’t work as initially described, you’re entitled to a replacement or, if you prefer to buy elsewhere, a full refund.
However, there are a couple of things to note with this policy. eBay isn’t quite as expedient as others when it comes to returns. Considering it sells thousands of items a day across a number of categories, it can take a while to address an open case.
Also, we cannot reiterate enough how important it is to check the description before you buy. If you miss something, and then you see it on the item and try to get your money back, eBay might side with the seller. As a result, you’ll need to keep the item and try to repair it yourself. So read things over before you plunk down your money – this is one time where you don’t want to impulse buy.
Another thing to check is the customer’s own return policy. Usually, one isn’t offered since eBay provides its own protection plan. However, some do offer a 14-day no-hassle return for a full refund or a replacement – usually those with a higher user rating. You’ll want to purchase from them, as they’ll make it easier to return something if it isn’t what you expected.
One other minor thing – make sure your payment source is properly set up on your account. This is pretty rare, but if something doesn’t go through with the payment, the seller may cancel the sale (depending on their policy) and you may need to miss out on an unbeatable deal. Just check your profile and make sure your account is set before you make the purchase.
Let’s say you’ve completed your purchase. Congratulations! Now you can set up your MacBook on your desk right next to your autographed picture of The Mandalorian. (This is the way.) But before you say “it’s all good”, it’s time to check the computer you purchased and make sure everything is up to speed.
Now, before we get started, if it’s a new computer, it should be good to go already. Granted, you’ll want to check if the seal is actually from Apple itself (and not, say, someone’s duct tape) and that everything is operational.
If you bought the item used or refurbished, proceed with the following steps.
First off, power up your MacBook. If it was shipped without working power, charge it with the included power cable, or provide one of your own if it wasn’t included with the auction. Once it’s done charging, turn it on and make sure everything’s working. Check the screen for cracks or dents, check the frame of the MacBook, and make sure the TouchPad and keyboard work.
Next, make sure any accessories you received with the device are working. As you can see above, there’s a package deal that includes a mouse and keyboard for around $500. Not bad, but what if they’re lower-end devices that don’t operate as smoothly as, say, Apple’s Magic accessories? Test them thoroughly and make sure they perform as expected.
Finally, you’ll want to check that the MacBook can hold a charge. You’ve checked the devices for defects and any coordinating accessories, but without power, it’s practically a paperweight. Plug in your power cable and the device should start charging. (Look for an orange indicator light. It’ll turn to green once it’s at 100 percent, but you can use it well before that point.)
If everything’s working to your expectations, you should be good. That said, make sure you don’t have any problems that come back, like the screen shutting off after 15 minutes or so. If that’s the case, reach out to the seller and see what they have to say on the matter. (And don’t blame The Mandalorian, it’s not his fault.)
With these steps in mind, you should be able to buy a MacBook with minimal hassle and guaranteed protection, in one regard or another. But what if you prefer something that’s a little simpler, and comes with a hassle-free return policy without the need to file a claim? We have a suggestion!
Is eBay not feeling like the best choice to you? Do you prefer a place where you can buy a MacBook with peace of mind? We’re here to help at GadgetGone!
Over on our shop page, we offer a number of refurbished MacBook models, including Air, Pro, and the original, for great prices. And we ship them out free of charge, offering a money-back guarantee if they’re not up to your standard. Not to mention that we’re also on eBay, with a number of items shipped hassle-free right to your doorstep!
What’s more, our prices are competitive, and you can always reach out to us if you have any questions about what we offer. Can’t find one you want in our store? Don’t worry, we add new items to our shop regularly, as well as our eBay store.
Feel free to have a look around and let us know how we can find you the MacBook that you’re looking for. However, as for that John Cena Peacemaker replica helmet, you’ll have to stick to eBay for that. (Don’t mind us, we already ordered two.)
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