When I received the MacBook, it was in a 2016 refurbished apple MacBook Pro box even though the MacBook I received is a 2017 version. Are there any options that I have, to confirm whether this is a new or refurbished Mac?

I saw online that I can ask Apple to check the serial number and see if its ever been registered with someone else other than me. Will that work? Can I go to the Apple store and ask them to verify it for me?

Other than that, I received the MacBook exactly as I bought it; exact specs. I just thought that maybe they took the MacBook out of the original boxing and put it in a older box, but why would they do that, and why would they use an older box?

Please help me out.

Edit: I checked the battery cycle, and its at 4. Is that substantial? (Do new Macs come with a battery cycle like that?)

Just for reference, I bought this from Other World Computing.

  • confused, is it 2016 or 2017 model – Buscar웃 Dec 6 at 7:05
  • @Buscar웃 the Mac I received is a 2017 model, the exact one I ordered. However, the box is a box from 2016 (It has copyright Apple 2016 on the back) – Atharva Kulkarni Dec 6 at 7:07
  • Do me a favor, click on the Apple Logo (top left) then on About this Mac, there it will tell you all you need to know – Buscar웃 Dec 6 at 7:15
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    Battery cycle tells nothing about Mac age. – Buscar웃 Dec 6 at 7:50
  • @AtharvaKulkarni Copyright and trademark law requires the maker to show the date of the design's first use. Thus, it's entirely possible that even though marked "2016" that this particular box was made and first used in a later year. Was it a refurb box (brown) or a box for a new Mac (white) ? – David Dec 6 at 15:17
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The following answer is based on my interpretation of US law relevant to this question as the reseller identified is a US based vendor and those laws would be applicable to them. Check the laws applicable to your country.

When I received the MacBook, it was in a 2016 refurbished Apple MacBook Pro box. (Even though the MacBook I received is a 2017 version).

To me, this sounds like it should be classified as either "open box" or "refurbished." The question is, how did they advertise it?

If they represented it as "new" and it showed up as you describe, that would be considered deceptive (15 USC § 45)1. If however, they stated it was "new OEM purchase" (new but not in retail packaging) or "new, open box" and clearly said so, more than likely it would pass as legit.

Companies can, in fact, take opened products and repackage them as new so long as there is a conspicuous process to validate that it is actually unused.2

On OWC's website (MacSales.com) they have a "new" listing for a Mac Pro in which they state "factory sealed."

enter image description here

Hypothetically speaking, if you purchased this computer and it showed up in a "refurbished box" as you describe, it could be considered deceptive. It boils down to how was it advertised and what you actually received.

I can ask Apple to check the serial number and see if its ever been registered with someone else other than me. Will that work?

It's a good step, but not conclusive.

In other words, it can be proof positive that it was used if there was a registration but alternatively, give you a false negative if it was used but never registered.

I checked the battery cycle, and its at 4. Is that substantial? (Do new Macs come with a battery cycle like that?)

No, that is not substantial at all.

It's not uncommon for vendors to charge their devices so that the "unboxing" experience" is a positive one which would include getting a device with a charge substantial enough for you to immediately use it. Remember, you're purchasing a 2017 model at the end of 2018 so, theoretically, it could have been sitting around for a year.


TL;DR

Caveat Emptor.

Buy from a trusted source, not the cheapest. If you are not comfortable with the deal you got and there's a lingering voice in your head questioning whether or not you were deceived, return it. The few extra dollars you're going to spend on that peace of mind will be well worth it.

To put this into perspective, I have the technical ability to tear down a Mac and actually replace components at the board level. I still wouldn't buy something advertised as "new" from a source I wasn't sure about. To me, it's not worth the time, money or hassle.

None of the above should be construed as legal advice. I am not a lawyer nor do I play one on TV.


1 15 U.S. Code § 45 - Unfair methods of competition unlawful; prevention by Commission

2 FTC Staff Advisory Opinion Offers Guidance on New Products

  • Thank you! helped a lot. I will definitely contact the company about this – Atharva Kulkarni Dec 6 at 18:19
  • Why would they sell a new product that is not in retail packaging? – Atharva Kulkarni Dec 6 at 18:27
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    The original box could be damaged is one reason. Another is a bulk purchase (though unlikely in Apple's case). I've bought many hard drives in bulk (also called OEM packaging) where I didn't receive a retail box, but still had the full warranty. – Allan Dec 6 at 20:47
  • ah, I think thats the case. I spoke to both the seller and apple, and they told me the reason was OEM packaging. Thanks! – Atharva Kulkarni Dec 7 at 3:02

If the cycle count was 4, that means the battery on the laptop has gone through the equivalent of 4 complete discharges and recharges. Certainly only very lightly used, but not brand new.

Your case is quite suspicious. The fact that it is at 4 battery cycles is to much. It should be 1 or 2.

And yes you can check the serial number but taking it to an Apple store is not necessary.

Just find the serial number and go to: https://checkcoverage.apple.com

You will be asked to enter it here:

Then you can see if it has been activated.

The box is also quite suspicious. I suggest that you do check the serial number.

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