Update: Due to the massive and frequent AppleCare fraud cases on eBay, I can no longer recommend buying it there. You may save money, or you may buy something that Apple rejects as illegitimate months or years later. Since the Bing cashback offer is expired, too, this whole article isn’t worth much anymore. Sorry!
After my adventure with the green-light non-working keyboard, I decided I love my MacBook too much to risk losing it. Plus, in tight economic times, I’m not sure I’ll be able to justify the expense to replace it if it broke. So I decided to pony up for AppleCare, and I ended up getting a great deal on it.
AppleCare has got to be one of the best things Apple has going, both for the company and its customers. They benefit by tacking on an incredibly high-margin add-on, and we benefit by getting one of the best warranty programs in the business.
But is AppleCare worth it? For the MacBook Pro, AppleCare retails for $349. This is roughly 20% of what I paid for my (discounted previous-model) MacBook Pro. That’s a lot of money for something I may never use! Todd at O’Reilly did the math and showed that it’s not a bad deal in general for the high-end models like my Pro, and I’d love to have it just in case it fries its CPU like my Dell did.
So I went looking for a better deal, and boy did I find one! Although Amazon and MacMall had some discounts, I noticed that people are selling AppleCare licenses on eBay for much less, even less than $200. Plus, Microsoft’s Live Search was paying a 20% rebate for eBay purchases! Isn’t that amusing – Microsoft will pay me $40 to buy an AppleCare warranty!
Although I was a bit concerned about buying something intangible like AppleCare from an eBay seller, the one I picked had literally thousands of positive comments, so I took the plunge using PayPal, which offers fraud protection.
I bought the MacBook Pro warranty, part number MA515LL/A, for $195.99 with no shipping – he just emailed the code about 10 seconds after I clicked “buy it now” and paid. I quickly jumped over to Apple’s registration site, entered his code and my serial number, and verified that everything is kosher. In six weeks, Microsoft will pay me a $39.20 rebate, bringing the total cost down to $156.79, or 9.2% of the cost of my Mac!
I asked the seller about his cheap prices, and he claims he (and others) buy the licenses in bulk as Apple dealers and just cut the margin to the absolute minimum. Since Apple accepted the code, I assume it’s all legit.
How to get AppleCare for cheap
- Figure out the exact product number you’re looking for by clicking on the “Buy” link on Apple’s web site
- Go to live.com and create a cashback account
- Enter the part number in the live.com search box
- Click the Cashback icon for eBay in the advertisement box at the top – if it’s not there, search for some other product like a Zune or a Wii, and know that the percentage changes often
- Select a seller – I used bleedblak
- Buy it, pay with PayPal, and you should get the same deal as me