How I did with those iPhone 6S preorders



So about 2 weeks ago, I had preordered a lot of iPhone 6S’s since you know, I wanted to retire early with my profits.  Anyway, here’s what happened and we’ll go through the lessons learned.

Quick recap:

Let’s recap real quick what I bought.

  • A Tmobile iPhone 6S 64GB Rose Gold on the Jump on Demand program [for wife to use]
  • A Tmobile iPhone 6S PLUS 64GB Rose Gold on the Jump on Demand program [for me to use]
  • An ATT iPhone 6S 64GB Rose Gold using my Citi ATT More card [to get the $650 credit]
  • 4 x Apple iPhone 6S PLUS 64GB Rose Gold phones [for resell]

Phones arrived!

All 7 phones arrived on Friday 9/25 at around 10:30AM.  The ATT one was delivered by Fedex and literally by the time I opened the box, UPS came by with the other 6 phones.  But you don’t care about that.

Craigslist ad

So I had actually listed the 4 Apple phones when I made the preorder for $1200.  Remember it cost me $850 + 9.5% WA tax = $930.  I got NO bites whatsoever.

I then reposted it Frdaiy morning of but with a picture of screenshot of order instead of actual phones since they hadn’t arrived yet for a price of $1,000.  I got 2 bites.  I told both of them I’d contact them when the phones arrived.

In my ad, I told the potential buyer that I’d meet them up inside a bank to protect us both.  Protect the buyer since theoretically there are lots of cameras in the bank for me to rob him.  Protect me from counterfeit bills as well as security cameras in case he robbed me.  Now I realize there are bank robberies almost every day/week that go unsolved even though they all have cameras.  Whatever.  My thought was – well it’s safer than Starbucks but more importantly, I could deposit the cash right away and have the cashier check for counterfeit bills.

First buyer

So the first buyer was going to meet at noon at a bank.  However, it was 11:45 at the time, and there was no way we could meet in time, and so I told him 12:15.  I showed up at 12:15 and the guy tells me he’ll be 30 min late.  WTF right?  C’mon, I had pushed it back 15 min already.  I think he had issues with the ATM withdrawal limits.  Anyway, he showed up at Wells Fargo and asked them if he could pull out money from Bank of America.  Of course he couldn’t so we went to a nearby Bank of America.

At the BoA, he took out the cash and paid me from the ATM’s cash, so I knew it was legit.  He wanted to test his ATT sim card in it.  I told him, “NO WAY.  If I open it and you change your mind, I can’t sell as NEW anymore.”  I had actually brought the outter box from Apple and opened it in front of him to prove to him that it was from Apple and that all phones from Apple are unlocked.  He was okay with that after I explained it to him.

He actually told me he was buying it for his uncle to take back to India.  Apparenlty he had actually reserved an ATT one from the Apple store and picked it up already.  However, the Apple store he went to were only doing pre-orders, so you could not camp out for the phone.  And since his uncle needed an unlocked phone, he couldn’t go to ATT and buy one.  Although now that I type this, he could have easily gone to ATT and bought HIMSELF  a phone and gave his uncle his Apple phone.  Whatever.  Works for me.  So at least now I knew who my target buyer would be – essentially people who want the unlocked version who didn’t pre-order.

Second buyer

The second buyer was later in the evening.  After I headed out, sure enough, I got a message saying he’d be 30 minutes late (do people on CL not factor in traffic?)  So I went back home and waited for him a bit more.  Eventually, we met up at a Starbucks because the banks were closed and I figured, if he’s going to rob me, so be it.

He turned out to be a fellow Vietnamese gentleman who was older and didn’t look like a scammer.  He also wanted to test the phone and I told him NO WAY.  However, he said he’ll give me $30 if he tests it and it doesn’t work no questions asked!  Plus, he had reminded me of a good point – Apple would take it back for a full refund opened or unopened within 14 days.

He was planning on sending the phone to Vietnam and wanted to make sure it was indeed unlocked.  However, it turns out we both had Tmobile sim cards, so couldn’t test anyway.  He did want to keep my Apple invoice; I’m not sure if to return the phone to Apple or show proof that he bought the phone from Apple for the recipient.  I did scratch off my address info, and while I’m sure he could find it by the order number, I felt he was trustworthy enough with the invoice.  He then agreed to buy it for $1K and told me he’d lmk if it worked or not on ATT later that night.  Eventually it did work out.  I realize he could have given me counterfeit bills, but I want to trust my gut and believe this is an unwritten rule of no Viet-on-Viet scamming on CL.  In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have given him the invoice, but I wanted to close the deal, and I probably did it due to desperation.

3rd and 4th Apple phones

As I type this on Monday afternoon, I have relisted them for $950 at this point, which is basically a $20 profit and the 1K SPG points I used to buy the phone.  This probably isn’t even worth my time anymore, so will probably just return in store.

ATT phone

The ATT 64GB Rose Gold had an initial bite on Friday morning at $900 (remember this retailed for $750 + tax = $820.  The buyer never followed up.  Eventually I dropped the price to $850 and still no leads.  And as of this writing, it’s down to $800 (so save them $20 on taxes).  So far, I’ve only gotten requests from people to trade me stuff; one guy wanted to trade me an iPhone 6 Plus 128GB sealed for it.  I told him no thanks.  At this point, I’m going to list it on Ebay to make sure I net $800 after fees, so probably around $880 or so (assuming 10% Ebay/PP fees).  This phone isn’t sought after because a) it’s not natively unlocked and b) ATT has lots of stock.

Lessons Learned

Since these sales were so poor, I don’t plan on pre-ordering the 7’s.  I think Apple has ramped up production on their phones, and since they are launching them in China at the same time, the potential buyers who ship these to China for a profit no longer need to buy here first.  This deal did meet my minimum MS goal of $80/hr, so it wasn’t a total failure.

  • Anthony

    I have to agree with you here. I bought 4 phones to resell and I’m getting very few bites and a lot of lowball offers. I think a lot of people are starting to buy their phones with their contract discount then sell them at the normal retail price, so that is driving the average selling price and the demand down. I did get the ebay $5 promo, which helped me sell the 128gb Rose Gold but I still lost a lot in Paypal fees. I still have 3 other phones to sell with little interest on eBay and CL.

    Maybe the 7 will have more interest, so I might try reselling again. These best kinds of things to resell are novel products such as the iWatch when they first are released, in my opinion.

    • Miles per Day

      We are on same page Anthony.

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  • jason

    yea…reselling iphones become not worth it since last yr
    with the 6 model.


    The best arbitrage would have been maybe max out lines on your
    Tmobile family plan (jump on demand) and resell those since those are $120
    discounted from MSRP.

    • beaglehug

      Works well with AT&T too…last year I bought iPhone 6 Plus on AT&T’s subsidy for $500 and resold it for $950. Buyer was with AT&T so he didn’t care that it was locked to AT&T for 2 years.

    • Miles per Day

      Ah yeah, I should have done more Tmo JUMP ON DEMAND lines.

  • patty

    Isn’t eBay running a promotion right now where they cap the fees for selling a phone at a max of $5? Thought I saw that.

  • beaglehug

    I have a friend who used to work at a bank…she told me that the cameras are usually off and only get turned on in the case of an event. And even the employees pocket money sometimes. >_<

    As for the 7, we should probably still look into it when it rolls around. The S generation may have been a bad choice for reselling due to minimal hardware upgrades, but the new number generations are usually more significant and tend to have a new look. Well, I'm just glad we can return these without a fee!

  • Carl Pietrantonio

    Why not list them on eBay? You might be able to get enough more to cover costs (Ebay and paypal fees) or even more.