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Old August 4th, 2005, 08:13 PM   #1
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Apple has a Scam for a Return Policy

Sorry if this sounds like a rant (well, I guess it is), but this is just plain bad business.

I ordered a new G4 powerbook a couple weeks ago after doing some research, I thought that's what would best suit my needs. However after some further thinking and some advice from friends, I decided that the G5 desktop was a better choice (even though I'd lose portability).

So I called Apple and they said my order had just gone into the shipping phase or something like that and that I'd have to wait until it arrived and get an RMA.

So I waited a week and it just arrived today, I called to get an RMA and was immediately told that my product was customized and therefore unreturnable.

I was more than a little surprised and asked the sales agent how it had been customized. She said that the hard drive was 100GB and the memory had been upgraded.

First of all the I never changed the hard drive setting on the order page, so obviously anyone who just orders a powerbook with a default setting is ordering it customized and unreturnable. And I didn't realize that changing the memory option to one step up (the only thing I did do) would make it ineligible for return.

I complained and she said that their policy was clearly stated and that there was no way I could have not know about it (I don't think one line on their sales info page is all that great, it seems very sneaky for a large company like Apple). I asked if I could to a manager and she said no, and that she could transfer me to another sales associate, but they'd tell me the same thing, and that there was nothing more she could do.

At this point I almost lost it and, long story short, I finally got her to give my number to a sales manager who is supposedly going to call me back in 48 to 72 hours.

Maybe I'm being unreasonable, but they really need to make that a lot clearer on their website. I mean, it's not a standard policy with all manufacturers. Dell, for instance, let's you return all their products as long as they're unopened.
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Old August 4th, 2005, 08:28 PM   #2
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That is too bad, but I don't think "scam" would apply. This policy is clearly stated here: http://store.apple.com/Catalog/US/Im...spolicies.html
Quote:
Please note that Apple does not permit the return of or offer refunds for the following products:

Product that is custom configured to your specifications
I agree this is a rather restrictive policy and I wasn't aware of it myself either, and I probably wouldn't have noticed the link to the return policy. But I think there's a bigger issue here about credit cards, online sales and responsibility. When you clicked on the link to make the purchase you were promising to pay for the computer, and Apple was promising to deliver it. It's a lot easier to casually do this at home than it would be to hand over cash or write a check in a real store...

I would still try to pursue this with Apple, and DON'T OPEN THE BOX. Try working your way through customer relations on the phone - you should be able to find some numbers on their website.

If all else fails, you can probably sell it unopened without too great a loss. Maybe someone at a (bricks and mortar) Apple Store would be more helpful?
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Old August 4th, 2005, 09:11 PM   #3
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Of course you're right, and I certainly bear some responsibility here. It's funny, but I'd never buy from a smaller online store without carefully going over their policies, yet with Apple I just assume that they have the policies most over well-known online sellers do.

Calling it a scam was really only for the hard drive configuration. Now, the sales person could have just said that the hard drive used made it a customized product and not really known what she was talking about (I hope that's the case). But if it is true, people just ordering what they think is the default configuration will really be getting a customized configuration. And in that case I don't think scam is too strong a word.

In any case, I deffinitely won't open it until this gets settled.
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Old August 4th, 2005, 09:40 PM   #4
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Every time I've read one of those "How to buy a computer" articles the author stresses that you should be aware of the store's return policy before purchasing....

I think the only reason they're saying you can't return is because you chose the "build to order" option. I suspect they have upgraded the hard drives across the line in the standard configuration as well.

Hopefully someone will cut you a break, but legally I suppose they're within their rights to hold you to the letter of the law. But you will probably have to be persistent and work your way up the phone chain until you reach someone in authority who can give you credit towards another purchase at their store.

Let us know how it works out.
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Old August 4th, 2005, 11:14 PM   #5
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Try seeing what smalldog.com will do for you. They sell new macs, refirb macs, and macs that other people customized. They might get you a good deal...but not your full amount. You might take a small hit.
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Old August 4th, 2005, 11:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
\I think the only reason they're saying you can't return is because you chose the "build to order" option. I suspect they have upgraded the hard drives across the line in the standard configuration as well.
They have it setup so you have to go through a customization page no matter what you do with all their computers.

Honestly, on most sites online that sell computers (at least with the larger companys) you always go through a customization page. It's pretty much the standard. They should state, even if it's in the fine print, that they don't accept returns if you choose to change any of the options on this page, but they don't, because if they did, people might think twice before buying or more people would probably go with the cheaper standard configuration.
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Old August 5th, 2005, 07:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Travis
First of all the I never changed the hard drive setting on the order page, so obviously anyone who just orders a powerbook with a default setting is ordering it customized and unreturnable.
Just thinking about this again.... I looked at the Apple Store and the default is still an 80GB hard drive, but the drop down menu lets you select the 100GB model. Are you sure you didn't inadventently select the larger drive? Did you print out your order? Did Apple send you a confirmation e-mail showing what you ordered? The 100GB drive is supposed to cost $100 more - did they charge you that?

If you can document that you didn't order the 100GB drive then that might be something to hang your hat on since they didn't provide the model you specified. Just a thought...

(EDIT)
Assuming that you ordered a 15" powerbook but actually I don't think you said. The 17" model comes standard with a 100GB drive.
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