Buying Apple product in non-apple stores in NYC - safe?

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by JohnMetsn, Jul 12, 2011.

  1. JohnMetsn

    JohnMetsn Mu-43 Veteran

    Walking down the main streets on Manhattan I noticed many shops with big ads selling Apple products. I would like to buy an iPhone for my wife and unlocked 3GS 8GB goes in these shops for around $300. That doesn't seem to be bad price (comparing to eBay) and Apple doesn't sell unlocked 3GS at all right now. Those shops are quite visible and not trying to hide what they're selling, still I don't know if there's something I should be looking out for. Anyone got any experience with these shops? Thank you :smile:
  2. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I don't know. There's an apple seller near us, but they're certified or otherwise authorized by Apple. They don't sell iphones though because I guess you're not supposed to sell iphones without the service and only Apple and the providers (ATT & Verizon) can activate the phone. I've bought stuff there all the time - the prices are the same as (or slightly cheaper than) Apple's and their support folks are a lot more available and seemingly just as good. I'm happy to do business with them but partly because I know they're blessed by Apple, can sell Apple warranties and other stuff, and they support their stuff well. And its very close whereas the nearest Apple store is a half hour away in a mall I hate walking into if I can help it.

    But an unauthorized place selling hacked iphones? I guess if you know exactly what you want and are OK with doing your own tech support, but I'd personally steer clear, not being all that willing to jump in under the hood on these machines anymore.

  3. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    Welcome to America.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. zettapixel

    zettapixel Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 12, 2010
    That would be my guess too. $300 is low, it may be refurbished stock (or maybe just old although I still think it's low for 3GS). As far as I know Apple doesn't sell unlocked iphones in US. The stores probably unlocked them by themselves.
    At the end of the day I would compare this purchase to ebay sans feedback with added advantage of fiddling with the item before buying. You have basically no info about the seller and when you go home you'll be far... BTW, some of those shops probably do sell through ebay too.
  5. thearne3

    thearne3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 28, 2010
    Redding, CT USA
    I can't think of a downside to buying from a shop (vs eBay).

    You will want to check:
    The FW version
    Baseband version (determines overall functionality of unlock)
    The unlock method (software vs hardware, etc)
    Physical condition (duh!)

    The Baseband/Fw versions will give you a sense for how easy/hard it will be to maintain unlock when new OIS updates come out. Check out Dev-Team Blog for a good community.
  6. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    Regarding whether Apple sells unlocked iphones. They have in the past. Just not new ones. Keep checking the refurbished section of the Apple store. iPhones will pop up in there. They will be unlocked, good as new and cheap. When they do pop up, they don't last very long. These are the same phones you get from Apple if you bring in a broken iPhone for warranty repair.
  7. thearne3

    thearne3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 28, 2010
    Redding, CT USA
    I'm not so sure...

    Are you sure? Apple only recently began selling unlocked new phones (usable on any GSM carrier). They do so at a hefty premium: iPhone 4 - Unlocked (GSM) - 16GB Black - Apple Store (U.S.). ($650 and $750 for 16gb and 32gb, resp.)

    Refurbished phones I've seen in from Apple (3G and 3GS) are often available without carrier contract, but must be activated with the (local) GSM provider.

    The OP may wish to double check with Apple directly, via their 800 number, to get the 'official' answer... :biggrin:
  8. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    There are a lot of little electronic shops in the city, windows filled with cameras and phones and gadgets of all sorts. Buy anything from them and leave the area and you'd be hard-pressed to get any sort of customer service/warranty service should you need it. Unlike the B&H and Adoramas of the world, they generate business from foot traffic, not dealing with customers around the world.

    So unless you were going to save a ton on an unlocked phone and were willing to take the risk, I'd stick with Authorized Apple Reseller like one of the following:

    Apple - Store Locator

    That way, if there's a problem, Apple can help you.
  9. ssgreenley

    ssgreenley Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 12, 2011
    Frankly, I've had nothing but poor service from Apple anyway, so I'd say go for it. They make cool stuff, most of which works great, but I wouldn't pay $300 extra just for some vague assurance that apple will help in a pinch.
  10. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Real Name: