eBay resellers cash in on iPad shortages

Average selling price for third-gen 16GB Wi-Fi iPad is $92 above list, says auctioneer

eBay resellers are asking an average price of $591 for the base model of Apple's new iPad, or nearly $100 above list, the online auction site said today.

Although Apple charges $499 for a 16GB Wi-Fi new iPad, the wait time for new orders now stretches two to three weeks.

eBay sellers are taking advantage of the tight supply by trying to flip their pre-ordered 16GB Wi-Fi tablets at an average price of $591.

"Selling my iPad 3 pre-order," said a seller identified as "resqbobby" in an eBay Marketplace listing. "Auction is for one white iPad 16GB WiFi. Don't wait in line for hours for a sold out product, get yours here now!"

Resqubobby listed the incoming iPad for $1,250 , more than double the average cited by eBay.

Others used the same reasoning to pitch their pre-ordered iPads.

"The new iPad 3rd generation are already being back ordered, why wait to get the best? No lines, no rain, buy from us!" read the description of a 16GB Wi-Fi iPad with an asking price of $959.99 Canadian, or $966.25 U.S.

People who don't want to wait weeks before seeing their iPads wend their way to them have options, including Apple's retail stores, or other outlets, including Best Buy and Radio Shack in the U.S. The new iPads are to go on sale at retail on Friday, March 16.

U.S. mobile carriers AT&T and Verizon, which will sell the higher-priced iPads that support 3G and LTE data networks, are only taking customers' email addresses for later notification when the tablet is available.

Another alternative is the iPad 2, which Apple has retained in its sales line-up. Last week, Apple dropped the price by $100 for the two remaining models, the 16GB Wi-Fi and the 16GB 3G. The iPad 2 ships in one to three business days, according to Apple's online store.

Proving that supply and demand still works, eBay's average selling price for a 16GB Wi-Fi iPad 2 stood at $381 as of last Friday, down significantly from an average price of approximately $460 before the unveiling of the new iPad last Wednesday.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer , on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com .

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com .

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