Profiteers hoping to turn a quick buck on the shortage of Apple's new 5.5-in. iPhone 6 Plus have listed their pre-ordered phones on eBay for as much as $6,000.
While that was the highest asking price for a new iPhone 6 Plus as of Friday afternoon, there were almost 30 listed on the auction site with "Buy It Now" prices between $2,000 and $2,999; over 280 between $1,000 and $1,999; and even 5 under $1,000.
The $1,500 price seemed especially popular.
Buy It Now is eBay's non-auction price that sidesteps bidding. Not all eBay entries for the iPhone 6 Plus included a Buy It Now price.
An "unlocked" iPhone 6 Plus — one not tied to a two-year contract with a carrier — starts at $749 for the 16GB model and climbs to $949 for one with 128GB of storage.
That meant an unlocked 16GB iPhone 6 Plus sold for $1,500 was marked up by 100%; a 64GB model, the most common at the $1,500 price point, gave the seller a profit margin of 77%.
Sellers were motivated to push up prices because Apple quickly ran out of inventory Friday when it started taking pre-orders for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Within hours, the delay between a new order and a shipping date for the 6 Plus had stretched to three to four weeks, or well into October.
It wasn't surprising to see sellers leverage the shortage: When a new technology product is in tight supply, especially right after its launch, scalpers emerge. Shortages of Apple's iPad 2 in 2011 and the first Retina-equipped iPad in early 2012 drove eBay prices sky-high as sellers listed the tablets for hundreds above retail.
More recently, in July 2013, sellers gouged customers who were desperate to get their hands on Google's then-new Chromecast stream-to-TV device, pricing the $35 dongle as high as $300, a whopping seven-fold markup. And in December 2013, a few lucky buyers of Apple's just-released Mac Pro, the cylindrical, Vader-esque desktop computer, tried to sell their systems for almost double retail value.
Sellers of the iPhone 6 Plus acknowledged that they did not have the device, but promised buyers that they would re-ship the purchase as soon as they received it from Apple. Friday, Sept. 19, is the on-sale date for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in Apple's brick-and-mortar stores, and in the first-come-first-served scramble online early Friday, those who quickly made it through the ordering process were promised a Sept. 19 delivery.
Some of the sellers included images of their receipts to prove that they had successfully ordered an iPhone 6 Plus and were to get it next week.
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