Apple’s Trade In Program Good In Theory But Falls Short Where It Matters

Savvy selling.

Image: Travel + Leisure

It’s part and parcel of modern society that as soon as you take a product out of its box, or as soon as you drive a car out the showroom, its resale value will plummet. The occasional exceptions to this rule are luxury watches, such as Rolexes, or Nike sneakers that are rare as hen’s teeth.

On the whole, however, we can expect to be shafted when we come to sell our prized possessions.

What we didn’t expect, however, was just how much of a difference there would be in resale value for something such as an Apple MacBook Pro when comparing the trade-in value Apple themselves place upon it, and what you could get by selling it on Gumtree or eBay.

We noticed the startling difference when we decided to upgrade our mid-2018 MacBook Pro with 15-inch display, Intel i7 processor and 256GB SSD. It’s unmarked and comes complete with charger. Two major boxes ticked for any purveyor of pre-owned goods.

However, Apple is only inclined to offer us AU$320 trade-in value, which can be put towards a new machine. While loyal Apple Fanbois may fall for this ruse, accept the store credit, and walk away, we turned to Gumtree and eBay.

An indecent proposal… Image: DMARGE.

A quick search for similar MacBook Pros on the world’s most famous online auction site returned listings asking for between $1,000 and $2,000. Naturally, the price will reflect the specifications, which in this case correlates with the amount of storage and/or RAM, but regardless of the exact model, it’s evident we could fairly put an asking price of $1,500 on our machine.

It’s not just eBay that proves we could realistically get more than Apple offers for our machine either. Gumtree also has several listings for similar models all well over $1,000. Gumtree’s search function doesn’t appear to be as accurate as eBay’s, with our search for ‘Apple MacBook Pro 2018’ returning some results for 2013 MacBook Air models, but some results are still close enough to warrant a comparison.

Gumtree screenshot. Image: DMARGE.

Of course: just listing your MacBook Pro on websites such as eBay and Gumtree, doesn’t guarantee it will result in a sale, and that of course is the risk people take with online marketplace platforms. Apple’s offer, on the other hand, is guaranteed credit and a more convenient way to get rid of old devices.

Yet, that credit that can only be pumped back into Apple’s ever expanding wallet, and is still susceptible to an inspection when you take it into store, and so isn’t a guaranteed figure either.

Image: eBay screenshot by DMARGE.

For the potential to make five times as much as Apple’s offer in cold hard cash that can be spent anywhere – and would pay for a large chunk of 2021 MacBook Pro – we’d feel comfortable playing the waiting game.

In a time when many people have lost jobs due to The Spicy Cough, it’s understandable that consumers are going to want to get as much as possible for their money.

The used car market (admittedly an entirely different kettle of fish to technology trade-in schemes) is quite literally booming right now, and prices for used vehicles on Gumtree experienced a 16% increase in 2020 compared to 2019. Yes, that means you’re going to have to pay more for a used car right now, but if you’re looking to load off your old wagon, there’s never been a better time.

The lesson? It pays not only to shop around when looking for a bargain when buying, but also if you’re looking to sell your stuff. Choosing the right platform can get you a considerably larger return.

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