Apple Trade-In Weirdness

My current MacBook Pro is about 19 months old. Seeing the new models released this week, I thought it might be time to upgrade to a faster model. I don’t use the MacBook Pro a lot – it’s my second Mac for testing, and for emergencies when there’s a problem with my iMac – but I have found myself using it more lately because it allows me to work in a location other than my desk. I’ve started moving around more in my home office, finding it a nice change of scenery to work in a different room.

Apple has been offering trade-ins on their website for some time now. I used this twice last year, trading in an iPhone 8+ and an iPad Pro. The process was smooth and seamless, and the amount that Apple paid was acceptable, compared to what I might have received by selling the devices on eBay. I used the following formula to determine this:

if Apple price ≥ eBay net price - (hassle factor selling on eBay)
then accept

Today, I went to the Apple website to see how much I could get to trade in my current MacBook Pro. I entered my serial number, and the device was not found. I then went through a process answering a few questions about the device. In the menu where I was to select the exact model, it was not available; the most recent device shown was a 2016 MacBook Pro.

So I called the Apple online store, and a helpful salesperson checked on her end. She didn’t find the same model either. She found a 2018 model, or a 2016 model, but not mine. For the 2018 model, the price would be around £700, she said, which, according to the formula above, would be acceptable. But for the 2016 model, she quoted £245, which would be ridiculously low. She said that I could send it in for trade-in, and the amount would be somewhere between the two, and I would have the choice to not accept what was offered.

But Apple’s hassle factor now exceeded the potential eBay hassle factor, and I decided to not only not trade it in, but to not buy the new MacBook Pro. I don’t need a new laptop that badly, and I certainly don’t need this kind of hassle. I’m surprised that this specific model doesn’t show up in Apple’s trade-in database, but what has been a smooth process for other devices in the past has too many hurdles for me to bother.

5 thoughts on “Apple Trade-In Weirdness

  1. I don’t know where you live, but after trying to sell a Mac on eBay a couple years ago and getting a “winning” bid from a clear scammer in Nigeria, I cancelled the whole thing with eBay (and had to wait for them to refund me their “cut”) and decided to sell on Craigslist. I got the same price, the buyer got to see the Mac in person and make sure it worked, I got paid on the spot, and didn’t have to deal with shipping or paying eBay their “cut” of the price. It was a win-win.

    • No CraigsList here in the UK. I’ve tried some of the local Facebook groups, but not had any luck. I live near a medium-sized town (about 30,000 people) and there isn’t much demand for this type of hardware, unless it’s cheap. And it takes a lot of time to deal with people asking questions, bargaining, meeting people, etc.

  2. I tried to contact Apple Support a few times regarding the fact, that is impossible to trade in an iMac 2017 in Germany. The system only accepts iMacs until 2015 – if I check for the same serial # on Apples US site it works.

    They don’t care much for localization all over their offerings, that’s nothing new for me. But meanwhile they even don’t care if you tell them that something’s wrong. I called them and tweeted to them and the just ignore it.

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