That Time I Got an iPad Air 2 for $18

Did I ever tell you about the time I got an iPad Air 2 for $18? That’s right – eighteen dollars and zero cents. It doesn’t happen often, but when you trade for a while it will happen.

How does it happen? It takes an unbreakable set of rules that I use to mitigate risk. Every trade carries with it the risk of losing money. Rule number 1 is never lose money. When you trade without ever breaking your own rules, you stand a chance at making money out there.

Anyway back to the iPad. I was on holiday in Taiwan. I lose my mind on holiday, and always end up picking some wild project to complete. This time though, all I wanted was to get deals. I had just come off my best trading month ever – the lead up to Christmas. It was $1000 profit per week. Real nice stuff.

And then, all of the sudden, boom. Nothing. International holidays meant that I can’t make deals, meet buyers, or do anything.

…or did it…?

Internet is everywhere these days, so I logged back into my favourite online classifieds looking for deals. And you know what? The deals were still there, even though I was on holidays 9000km from home.

I messaged my brother and asked if I could use his house as a mailing address while I was out. And then I was back in business. Long story short, among other things I picked up an iPad Air 2 for $180 inc. postage while I was on holiday.

The seller listed no defects. At that price, I expected to be able to resell it for closer to $300, aiming for about $100 profit in the end.

I got home a few weeks later and picked it up from my brother’s house. All good, except. EXCEPT!! The iPad had been shipped in a single layer bubble wrap bag. I’m like come on. When in the hell would a single layer of bubble wrap ever protect an iPad from the cruelty of postal physics. When??

Never, that’s when. Of course, when I turned it on and started browsing on it, the iPad had a weird display issue. The shadows of any image were filled with negative rainbows. I lodged a PayPal claim for it, and PayPal refunded me after a couple of weeks with the instruction to return the iPad to the seller.

(note that you must always pay your seller by PayPal, for this very reason)

When I returned the iPad, as an extremely passive aggressive FU to my seller, I bundled it up very nicely with bubble wrap, in a proper box, and sent it using signature on delivery. The total cost to return it via post was…you guessed it: $18.

I posted the iPad back to its owner, and that was that. A full refund, minus the return postage. My fingers were slightly burned. I’m not accustomed to losing. In fact, my model keeps me from losses so well that I have only recorded losses in less than .05% of my trades. That’s fewer than 1/200 trades closed unprofitably.

Anyway, I THOUGHT that was that. But you know what happened? Three weeks later, I’m sitting at my desk and the mailman drops me an unexpected parcel.

I keep a spreadsheet for tracking my business. Buys, sales, dates, margins, the lot. I wasn’t expecting any parcels though, so to find the iPad inside was quite a surprise. It turns out the seller had not communicated at all with PayPal.

PayPal had told me to return the item to a dead address, and because I’d sent it with signature on delivery, the parcel had sat unsigned-for at the local post office. The post office got sick of looking at it, and returned it to the sender – me.

Funny thing is, after the iPad came back to me, the display issue vanished. I played for a while, imagining the iPad would join the ranks of other great productivity tools I have. My computer, my phone, and there in between would be my iPad. It didn’t work out that way though, and after my iPad had sat for a month I’d had enough.

I listed it for sale and dumped it for $280. That’s $262 of profit for anyone who’s counting.

To learn my full system from buying to reselling, including my best negotiation and risk management strategies, pick up Garbitrage: The Flipper’s Textbook.

I’ll take you from zero to deal making in 90 something pages. By the time we’re done, you’ll be ready to hunt in the second hand markets like a wolf. I’ll show you how to start earning a steady non-wage income. You’ll love it.

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