Scalpers try to cash in on MacBook Pro shortage

eBay sellers list new Touch Bar-equipped notebook for up to 62% above list

MacBook Pro late 2016 pair
Credit: Adam Patrick Murray

Profiteers are trying to cash in on shortages of Apple's new MacBook Pro notebook with prices on the eBay auction website as high as 62% over list.

Because the new laptops quickly went into backorder -- Apple's online store today said new orders would ship in three to four weeks -- some of those who were near the front of the line were attempting to flip their purchases for a profit.

One eBay seller posted a 15-in. MacBook Pro for $5,500, 62% above the list price of the same model when identically configured. Others jacked up prices between 35% and 50%, although the final prices were eye-poppers as high as $6,543.

Neither the product shortages or the profiteering are out of the ordinary: Apple often takes weeks, sometimes months to reach a balance between supply and demand for new hardware. That gives sellers on eBay and other secondary markets the opportunity to capitalize on buyers who simply won't wait. A year ago, for instance, many sellers priced their new iPhone 6S Plus smartphones at up to 100% above Apple's unsubsidized list when that phone went into backorder almost immediately after launch.

While the 15-in. MacBook Pro with Touch Bar was more prevalent than its 13-in. sibling on eBay, the latter were represented. One seller, for example, asked for 21% above list price for a customized 13-in. MacBook Pro.

Ironically, some sellers had not yet received their systems from Apple, weakening their argument for higher prices.

This story, "Scalpers try to cash in on MacBook Pro shortage" was originally published by Computerworld.

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