Warranty http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/5569/all en-US Can cheap AppleCare on eBay be trusted? http://www.wisebread.com/can-cheap-applecare-on-ebay-be-trusted <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-cheap-applecare-on-ebay-be-trusted" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/applecare.jpg" alt="AppleCare" title="AppleCare" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>After my previous article about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/inside-the-shady-world-of-cheap-itunes-gift-cards" target="_blank">too-good-to-be-true iTunes gift cards</a>, I turned my attention to another discounted Apple item: <a href="http://www.apple.com/support/applecare/" target="_blank"><strong>AppleCare</strong></a><strong>, essentially an extended warranty for your Apple products</strong>, including Mac computers and those omnipresent iPods. Like so much insurance, it promises &quot;peace of mind&quot;. There's just one problem for many: <em>the price</em>.</p> <p>Especially in today's recessed times, having to pony up to $350 (for the MacBook Pro) for 3 total years of tech support and phone coverage can be hard. That's why a lot of sellers are selling cheap AppleCare.</p> <h2>My AppleCare adventure</h2> <p>In my ongoing tradition to <strong>not recommend something unless I've done it first</strong> &mdash; helping you mitigate risks by diving through that unexplored portal beforehand! &mdash; I landed on <a href="http://ebay.com/" target="_blank">eBay</a>, and easily found numerous listings for discount AppleCare. I have a Mac Pro, and AppleCare normally costs $250, but I spotted it for $92 &mdash; that's <strong>$158 saved!</strong></p> <p>After some scanning, I paid <a href="http://shop.ebay.com/merchant/480sherry_W0QQ_nkwZQQ_armrsZ1QQ_fromZQQ_mdoZ" target="_blank">480sherry</a>, who has a 99.9% feedback rating, and as of this writing is continuing to sell AppleCare. Surely those 2,200 buyers can't be wrong, right? In my own experience, I was pleased to receive a code less than a day afterwards.</p> <p>That's right, <strong>just a code you <a href="http://www.apple.com/support/applecare/overview/" target="_blank">enter at Apple's site along</a> with your product serial number</strong>. I did so, then received an email &quot;certificate&quot; confirming its validity from Apple. No actual box, as is often the case &mdash; but I encourage you to scrutinize each seller, for some offer this option at a higher cost.</p> <p>Does this mean you miss out on anything? Not really, since the TechTool Deluxe diagnostic suite, which would normally be bundled in the physical package, is a free download at Apple's site. You still need to burn it to DVD, which might be a problem if you're really not tech-savvy, but the software itself is included.</p> <h2>What's the real story here?</h2> <p>Unlike the distinctly more dubious world of iTunes gift cards, AppleCare is morally relaxed. I asked over a dozen discount AppleCare sellers how they managed to do it, the answers were consistent in most cases: they bought it in bulk and are passing the savings on. One fellow said:</p> <blockquote><p>We buy from dealers and other sources, some going out of business, some trying to reduce excessive inventories. Everything is 100% Apple, so no risk to you. We sell hundreds of these each month</p> </blockquote> <p>Another reinforced:</p> <blockquote><p>I buy in bulk so I recieve a better price that the average person. There are no limitations. Thanks for looking.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=8573481" target="_blank">Further research</a> also substantiates this, altho as is par for the course, there's the usual skepticism. There've also been <a href="http://forums.mactalk.com.au/21/34657-cheap-applecare.html" target="_blank">academic situations</a> where teacher/student discounts are used. Outside of eBay, there are some strange sights, such as <a href="http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/showthread.php?t=1933301" target="_blank">this guy hawking bulk AppleCare from Singapore</a>, with the most thread self-bumps I've ever seen.</p> <h2>Conclusion</h2> <p>I've had <strong>no problems with my cheap AppleCare coverage so far</strong>: I haven't had a troublesome incident to put it to the test, but I haven't received a notification from Apple nullifying my cert either.</p> <p>Provided that the eBay seller is backed by an excellent reputation as in my example, <strong>you could easily get AppleCare at a much lower price than face value</strong>. I only wish the same could be applied to the cost of Macs themselves. ;)</p> <p><em>Have you had an adventure in cheap AppleCare? Do share!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/torley-wong">Torley Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-cheap-applecare-on-ebay-be-trusted">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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