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Dumping a Surface? eBay averages double the return of a buyback vendor

Gregg Keizer | Oct. 1, 2013
Loyal Surface owners complained last week that Microsoft doesn't take trade-ins, but online auctions put more cash in pocket than any buyback deal

Gazelle will pay an additional $37 for a Surface RT or Surface Pro that comes with a Touch- or Type Cover. Many, although not all, of the eBay listings also include a keyboard cover, but eBay didn't provide separate averages for those with and without. Comparing Gazelle's higher quotes with eBay's averages, however, still gives the latter a large edge when a cover is in the mix: 85% more for a Surface RT, 82% higher than Gazelle's quote for a Surface Pro.

Naturally, there are downsides to selling on eBay, Craigslist or another open seller-to-buyer market, as several Reddit AMA participants pointed out.

"[The advantage of a buyback or trade-in program] is [that it's] a sure price versus an unsure price," said "johnlennin" on Reddit. "Even if it's not a ton of money, the usefulness of a trade in program is it fits into a budget. Craigslist/eBay are fickle and take a lot of time (especially Craigslist)."

Another commenter agreed, and illustrated the consumer thinking that re-commerce vendors like Gazelle and NextWorth rely on. "I'd rather go right to the Microsoft Store knowing what I am getting and not going through the hassle of finding the right price for my [Surface] Pro," wrote "maiettag."

But even with the price advantages of a sell-it-yourself strategy, eBay said it hadn't seen a measurable increase in the number of Surface tablets up at auction.

"The average number of listings for the Microsoft Surface [Pro] and Microsoft Surface RT on eBay have remained consistent over the past month," said a company spokeswoman. "eBay has not seen any significant increase in the number of listings for these products during that time period."


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