Selling an iPad on eBay: Foolish or fine?
March 14, 2012 10:40 AM   Subscribe

Selling an iPad on eBay -- is this just asking for trouble?

As of Friday, I'll have an extra third-gen iPad on my hands. They're getting a nice premium on eBay and part of me is tempted to try selling there. I've sold on eBay before -- maybe a few dozen items over the last 10 years, never anything more than $100.

I'm extremely wary, though, because I feel like eBay swindles are legion and selling an iPad on there seems like painting a big target on my chest and screaming "Come and get me, scammers!"

I'd only sell domestically and I would check all the boxes in the "buyer requirements" box that let me narrow the field of bidders (presumably to filter out flakers and scammers). Would this be enough? Or, realistically, would there still be a decent chance I'd get played?

I'm willing to just return it to Apple (no restocking fee, minimal hassle), but I thought I owed it to myself to investigate this option.
posted by veggieboy to Computers & Internet (23 answers total)

Yeah personally I wouldn't sell high ticket items on eBay. I'd try Craigslist and exchange for cash in a public place.
posted by yellowbinder at 10:53 AM on March 14, 2012

Best answer: I used to be a big eBay fan, both as buyer and seller. And then I took a bunch of time off, just because life got in the way. Then last month I sold and item and got into a really sketchy situation with the buyer, who eventually returned it. I re-listed the item and got into a sketchy situation with the second buyer. And it just really struck me for the first time how little protection you have on eBay. Their customer service is non-existent, their policies and penalties are weak at best, and you can never count on PayPal to do the right thing if your payment goes through them.

My item wasn't worth nearly as much as an iPad, but the entire situation impressed upon me the idea of never using eBay again and strictly going via Craigslist or through my own friends & contacts, like mentioning it on Facebook.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:55 AM on March 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

Setting a high feedback score in the "Buyer Requirements" field is the best way to avoid getting cheated, as is monitoring the bidding and blocking specific buyers who have what look to you like hinky histories.

I've sold things more expensive than iPads on eBay without trouble by being a stickler about prequalifying buyers based on feedback scores.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:56 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding yellowbinder

craigslist, cash, busy public place like a starbucks
posted by Oktober at 10:56 AM on March 14, 2012

But I agree that I would sell it on Craigslist instead, because less hassle. Once you filter out all the cash-forwarding scammers, of course.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:56 AM on March 14, 2012

I sold my 1st Gen iPad on eBay right after the 2nd Gen came out and I had no problems whatsoever. Just make sure you 'wipe' it - return it to factory specs before doing so.

I'd also make sure to put in the auction that the item is being sold AS IS and that you will accept NO RETURNS and you only ship within the lower 48 states. That should weed out the majority of the folks who would give you trouble.
posted by THAT William Mize at 11:05 AM on March 14, 2012

Yeah personally I wouldn't sell high ticket items on eBay. I'd try Craigslist and exchange for cash in a public place.

See I'd consider this much riskier.
posted by tremspeed at 11:08 AM on March 14, 2012

Seconding the chorus of fuck ebay.

I'd suggest amazon, or craiglist. I have nothing but positive experiences with both.
posted by handbanana at 11:12 AM on March 14, 2012

If you have the option to return it to Apple, I'd definitely just do that. eBay/Paypal, Craigslist and Amazon all have their risks of hassle or danger. Besides, eBay and Amazon will take a cut of the sale.
posted by ziggly at 11:33 AM on March 14, 2012

If you can return it to Apple and get your money back, why even bother with the incredible hassle of reselling? I am confused.
posted by elizardbits at 11:34 AM on March 14, 2012

If you can return it to Apple and get your money back, why even bother with the incredible hassle of reselling? I am confused.

Because he's hoping to earn a small profit by selling it.

To answer the OP: I personally think that selling a big ticket on eBay is asking for trouble and selling it via Craigslist is going to be a major hassle (fielding a bunch of emails, arranging a meeting, hoping that the buyer doesn't flake out after you've already made the trip to the meeting place, etc).

Personally, I'd just return it to Apple. But, if you insist on selling it, Craigslist seems safer, if more of a hassle.
posted by asnider at 11:40 AM on March 14, 2012

Selling things in general involves calculating how much time you want to put into it (both in taking photos and answering emails and whatnot, and also in waiting around for a buyer), how much risk you're willing to deal with and how much money you want to get out of it.

Unless your only priority is making as much money as possible, I think that returning it to Apple is the best-of-all-worlds option.

(Also, I have a completely unverified feeling that eBay auctions for popular newly-released tech items are more likely to attract scammers than the average eBay auction.)
posted by box at 11:43 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Here's how I'd do the sale: List the item on ebay as pick-up only, not shipped and cash payment only, no paypal (Last I checked you still have the option to specify cash only for items picked up).

Put in the ebay listing that the exchange will occur in the lobby/front door of your local police department.

That should stop the scammers and cut down on the number of "no-shows/try to whittle you down on price at pickup" types you'd get via a craigslist posting.
posted by de void at 12:02 PM on March 14, 2012

eBay changed their policies a few years back in response to buyer feedback. Sellers now cannot give buyers feedback which should be indicative of precisely how little protection sellers get these days.

eBay/ PayPal basically has a blanket policy of coming down on the side of the buyer when a dispute arises and unless you are incredibly careful (e.g. making sure you have evidence of the serial number of the device that you sold) you run the risk of having someone else’s broken device returned to you for a refund and you’re left trying to extract a refund from the courier.

I sold a TV on eBay last month to someone who had no idea that DVI is video only and couldn’t work out how to make sound work. I had no choice but to accept him returning it to me and I had to eat the cost of shipping it to him in the first place.

If you do sell on eBay and you live in a major urban area, I’d specify pick up only and accept only cash.
posted by dmt at 12:13 PM on March 14, 2012

Jesus christ - I can't emphasise enough that everyone should read procrastination's link.

I knew that there were issues but I'm wondering if I'll ever sell anything on eBay again...
posted by dmt at 12:20 PM on March 14, 2012

I've never had a problem selling high ticket stuff on ebay. Just sold a $1k item last month that was used (i.e. had scratches, etc.). Selling tech is dicier, for sure, so I'd say do the Craigslist route first since you're sure to sell it, but for a little less profit. In your ad be sure to require a phone number in their reply. It'll help weed out scammers, puts a voice to the transaction and adds another layer of insurance.
posted by sub-culture at 12:26 PM on March 14, 2012

I'd go Craigslist for cash. Anytime PayPal is in the mix, automatically assume you are going to get royally fucked.
posted by xedrik at 1:08 PM on March 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

My wife and I sold a nice SLR camera (the Canon Rebel 2000) via Craigslist. We were already going to the science museum that day, so we asked the buyer to meet us in front of it. Quick exchange, no hassle, no real risk.
posted by tacodave at 2:56 PM on March 14, 2012

I've sold hundreds of items on eBay with PayPal and no glitches. Anytime I've tried to sell on Craigslist it's just nothing but lowballers, dumb trade offers, and people who don't show up. Just my mileage here. I'd be nervous about a multi hundred dollar transaction in cash in a public place. The police station though, real smart.
posted by tremspeed at 3:35 PM on March 14, 2012

I've heard to protect yourself as a seller you should list electronic items as-is. Though you can always demonstrate via a video and pictures that it works.

Has this ever been usurped by eBay? Even when you declare it as such?
posted by wcfields at 1:53 AM on March 15, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks very much for your help. I really appreciate it. I decided to just return it to the Apple Store. It wasn't worth the hassle and risk of selling.
posted by veggieboy at 5:10 PM on March 16, 2012

Good call. I feel like selling high ticket items (Ipad/Macbook/Iphone is just screaming it) is asking for all kinds of trouble, and not worth the extra few bucks.
posted by tremspeed at 4:33 PM on March 19, 2012

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