If you are thinking of selling that old iPhone on eBay, you soon will have some competition: the company that makes them. Or at least, so it seems. Apple reportedly has opened an eBay storefront called Factory Certified
that is selling refurbished Apple products. Despite the lack of any official Apple branding, the store seems to be a partnership between Apple and eBay.
The Factory Certified store is selling Apple-certified refurbished iPhones for a fraction of what they cost new. As of Tuesday, the store had about a half-dozen factory-restored, unlocked iPhone 5s priced between $450 and $500, nearly half off the original price -- and probably considerably less than the soon-to-be-released iPhone 6. Apple's 32 GB iPhone 5 was selling for $479 and the 64 GB iPhone 5 for $499 on the site, but those sold out quickly.
The store had 21 positive feedback comments as of Wednesday, showing sales dating back to June 27.
Not the First Time
The eBay storefront was first discovered by Apple-centric Web site Apple Insider. Apple has offered no official indication that it is behind the storefront, but observers say the full Apple warranty that comes with each phone offered for sale is similar to that included with phones that were sold on a separate Apple/eBay storefront two years ago.
In fall 2012, an eBay store mysteriously appeared, selling only Apple products at prices that undercut those on Apple's own online refurbished store. That store was widely thought to have been run by Apple, but the company never confirmed its involvement. eBay was reported to have confirmed its involvement with Apple at the time, but later said those reports were untrue.
Is this for Real?
As in 2012, talk of the new eBay store is being met with a mix of enthusiasm and skepticism. One news outlet said it reached the supposed seller of the phones, who claimed to be a private reseller only.
Sales of the refurbished phones come with a one-year warranty, like-new condition, manual and charger included, and "final quality inspection by Apple." Product descriptions also say the phones have been "manufacturer refurbished," which according to eBay terms of service, means each has to have been "inspected, cleaned, and repaired to meet manufacturer specifications and is in excellent condition."
Dumping Old Phones?
Also interpreted by some as a hint that the store is officially sanctioned by Apple is the fact that the selection is limited to iPhone 5 handsets. This could suggest that the company has a backlog of unsold refurbished older models that it wants to get rid of before launch of the iPhone 6.
All the phones are unlocked GSM models, meaning buyers can take them to AT&T, T-Mobile, or a smaller provider -- such as H2O Wireless or Straight Talk -- that runs on the larger network.