Amazon has started to remove unofficial sales of refurbished Apple products from the e-commerce website, forcing independent dealers of recycled MacBooks to offer their devices elsewhere.
The company began delisting the product pages on Saturday, according to John Bumstead, a MacBook refurbisher who sold his recycled products over Amazon.
“This morning my list of ‘active items’ had been whittled down to only a few, so it seems they are gradually trimming us out of the Amazon ecosystem, and it will probably be done by tonight,” he told PCMag in an email.
A seperate reseller contacted PCMag and said Amazon had pulled listings of his refurbished iPods. “Since 2011, I have sold over a million dollars of iPods on Amazon and this is going to severely impact me and my family,” the seller said in an email.
Amazon is making the change after striking a deal with Apple to sell more of the company’s devices directly over the e-commerce site. Going forward, only authorized resellers will be able to offer official Apple gear over Amazon.
Smaller, independent Apple resellers, meanwhile, have been effectively banned, according to Bumstead, who has been selling repaired older MacBooks for as little as $200 to $500 in price. To offer the refurbished gear on Amazon, you have to prove you can spend millions on buying up Apple inventory — a requirement that no small business can afford, he said.
The email Amazon sent to the resellers in November.
Friday marked the last day the resellers could sell their products over Amazon, according to a notice the e-commerce company sent to the sellers back in November. Now dozens of Bumstead’s product listings for Macbooks and replacement parts have been taken down, he said. A few other resellers in a Facebook group also reported Amazon pulling the plug on most of their product sales on Saturday.
The resellers must now shift their inventory to e-commerce platforms such as eBay. But Bumstead is worried that other online retailers will strike similar deals with Apple and stop the sales of refurbished gear from independent sellers. (One reseller also told PCMag that Walmart had refused to sell his refurbished iPods when trying to transfer his business to the company’s e-commerce site.)
“Once the small business community is cut out, older products won’t be represented, and millions of Apple devices will be scrapped,” Bumstead wrote in a letter to Amazon’s CEO on Saturday criticizing the change.
“Apple and Amazon will certainly drown out these concerns with the same old tired marketing spin and fear rhetoric, telling us it’s about customer experience and safety, but what it comes down to is that small businesses will die and perfectly usable electronics will go to waste,” he added.
So far, Amazon hasn’t commented on the product delistings. As of Saturday evening, some third-party product sales for refurbished Apple products including MacBooks and iPhones were still up on the site. But it isn’t clear how long they’ll remain online.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional comment from another reseller.