Apple direct vs. B&H


Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
30,329
30,569
Exceptional service with B&H Photo. 30 Day return. They ship almost immediately and are highly rated. My go to besides Apple.
 
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campyguy

macrumors 68040
Mar 21, 2014
3,415
932
I've done business with B&H, often seeing packages delivered the next day by 8 a.m. the following morning. I will buy from them again.

A note, it's that they don't collect state sales tax - you are still obligated to pay that state sales tax directly to the state you reside in. Many people do not pay that tax, but it's incorrect to claim that "there's no sales tax." Read their fine print.

Some businesses, Fry's is one of them, offer to "pay the sales tax" on certain items.
 

fathergll

macrumors 65816
Sep 3, 2014
1,384
779
I've done business with B&H, often seeing packages delivered the next day by 8 a.m. the following morning. I will buy from them again.

A note, it's that they don't collect state sales tax - you are still obligated to pay that state sales tax directly to the state you reside in. Many people do not pay that tax, but it's incorrect to claim that "there's no sales tax." Read their fine print.

Some businesses, Fry's is one of them, offer to "pay the sales tax" on certain items.

Has anyone ever been prosecuted on use tax violation from ordering online? I read some study it was 2% of people that do.
 

thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
6,667
1,738
Has anyone ever been prosecuted on use tax violation from ordering online? I read some study it was 2% of people that do.
It can be prosecuted as sales tax evasion. It is more likely to happen on a very large purchase or one in which someone has a purchase made in state shipped out of state to avoid the tax.
 

campyguy

macrumors 68040
Mar 21, 2014
3,415
932
Has anyone ever been prosecuted on use tax violation from ordering online? I read some study it was 2% of people that do.
Washington State does, and has. I have offices in OR (income tax, no state tax) and WA (no income tax, state tax) and do business in ID and MT (both have state tax). WA has a financial crimes unit, viewed as tax fraud in WA. So, if I'm a consumer, "blah, blah, blah…". Uh, not just yet.

I get audited regularly in my small businesses (engineering consulting and construction services. Two of my friends resell computer hardware. We've been audited recently, nothing unexpected. What has been unexpected is that we're getting calls from our clients, who are getting audited for unpaid sales tax in WA/ID - not my problem, I itemize.

IMO some states are cracking down. My auditor is going back 3 fiscal years, my books are open. If my business is getting back 3 FYs, I feel that WA is not the only state going after product/service buyers. Regardless, if you owe taxes, pay them. Extolling or advising others to not pay taxes, well, is IMHO tantamount to stealing. I'm being audited and so are my clients - roll the dice and take your chance…
 

fathergll

macrumors 65816
Sep 3, 2014
1,384
779
Washington State does, and has. I have offices in OR (income tax, no state tax) and WA (no income tax, state tax) and do business in ID and MT (both have state tax). WA has a financial crimes unit, viewed as tax fraud in WA. So, if I'm a consumer, "blah, blah, blah…". Uh, not just yet.

I get audited regularly in my small businesses (engineering consulting and construction services. Two of my friends resell computer hardware. We've been audited recently, nothing unexpected. What has been unexpected is that we're getting calls from our clients, who are getting audited for unpaid sales tax in WA/ID - not my problem, I itemize.

IMO some states are cracking down. My auditor is going back 3 fiscal years, my books are open. If my business is getting back 3 FYs, I feel that WA is not the only state going after product/service buyers. Regardless, if you owe taxes, pay them. Extolling or advising others to not pay taxes, well, is IMHO tantamount to stealing. I'm being audited and so are my clients - roll the dice and take your chance…

I still don't understand the audit process in the case of B&H purchase from out of state to some average Joe who works a corporate 9-5. If I purchase a $3000 iMac from B&H and I live in WA who are they going to audit - the purchaser, B&H located in NYC, the credit card on which the purchase was made..etc? It just sounds like a total honor system. I'm trying to wrap my head around how to audit out of state retail sales to the general public.

I could picture B&H's sales plummet if they actively warned people to fill out use tax forms and the state Govs universally cracked down for any purchases(Who wants to fill that out? People would rather purchase from a vendor like Apple who takes sales tax out). Which is why it's probably in fine the print. Most people don't realize the use tax situation.
 
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cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,303
1,695
I've only bought a DSLR camera from B&H years ago but even back then I was pleased with what they offered when it came to warranty.

As far as sales tax. Its the wild west with that, depends on your state and the retailer.

The rules used to be you only paid tax if the retailer had physical presence in the state of the purchaser. Pretty easy to see the problem local gov had with that, you aren't shopping at their stores so they aren't getting as much money.

You can research "Amazon Tax" or Marketplace Fairness Act to learn more.

In regards to this purchase, if they don't charge you tax you won't have anything to worry about. Any states close enough to you that you can drive to that don't have sales tax?
 

campyguy

macrumors 68040
Mar 21, 2014
3,415
932
I still don't understand the audit process in the case of B&H purchase from out of state to some average Joe who works a corporate 9-5. If I purchase a $3000 iMac from B&H and I live in WA who are they going to audit - the purchaser, B&H located in NYC, the credit card on which the purchase was made..etc? It just sounds like a total honor system. I'm trying to wrap my head around how to audit out of state retail sales to the general public.

I could picture B&H's sales plummet if they actively warned people to fill out use tax forms and the state Govs universally cracked down for any purchases(Who wants to fill that out? People would rather purchase from a vendor like Apple who takes sales tax out). Which is why it's probably in fine the print. Most people don't realize the use tax situation.
The agency audits the company. The company submits its customer list to the agency; the customer list includes date/items purchased/physical location. Internally, the agency compares each customer's submissions to its own tax registers. QED.

About the "Most people don't realize the use tax situation", it's irrelevant to the agency(ies). They notify people that a tax is owed, and why. I worked on a small project in Portland a few years ago, personally, as a favor for a friend and was paid to cover my expenses - I got a demand to pay their arts tax, $24, for "work" I performed in their jurisdiction. I was unaware of the tax at the time, and I checked all typical requests for taxes to be paid - city/county/transportation/regional/state. The arts tax was uncovered by an audit of the person who asked me to help out, and I was sent a bill.

The collection of state taxes is a point of contention for some. Some companies collect, others don't. My accountants have told me pretty much the same line that an officer will tell you when you don't comply with a traffic law, "ignorance of the law isn't an excuse". In WA, where I'm a resident, it's the Department of Revenue, and they list a series of exemptions: http://dor.wa.gov/content/FindTaxesAndRates/RetailSalesTax

There's counties and cities that I do business in that are getting more assertive as well, and that's why I have an accountant that ensures that my business activities are covered. I'm starting a new business venture soon, and she's a bookkeeper and accountant - I'll be double-checking her as she'll be looking over my shoulder.

About B&H, a great business. I'm from NYC, I'm used to the whole state/county/city tax structure - they charge taxes if you walk into and buy from their NYC store. It's just a matter of time before they're collecting our state taxes - because a lot of us don't do what we're obligated to pay. Cheers!
 

ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
3,138
1,795
Between the coasts
Washington State does, and has. I have offices in OR (income tax, no state tax) and WA (no income tax, state tax) and do business in ID and MT (both have state tax). WA has a financial crimes unit, viewed as tax fraud in WA. So, if I'm a consumer, "blah, blah, blah…". Uh, not just yet.

I get audited regularly in my small businesses (engineering consulting and construction services. Two of my friends resell computer hardware. We've been audited recently, nothing unexpected. What has been unexpected is that we're getting calls from our clients, who are getting audited for unpaid sales tax in WA/ID - not my problem, I itemize.

IMO some states are cracking down. My auditor is going back 3 fiscal years, my books are open. If my business is getting back 3 FYs, I feel that WA is not the only state going after product/service buyers. Regardless, if you owe taxes, pay them. Extolling or advising others to not pay taxes, well, is IMHO tantamount to stealing. I'm being audited and so are my clients - roll the dice and take your chance…
If you look deeper into this, you'll find that the neighboring states have tax treaties that allow for this kind of cross-border audit/information sharing. For that matter, they may also allow for cross-border sales tax collection. If the delivery is to a neighboring state, the retailer may be obligated under their home state's law to collect the neighboring state's tax and pay it to their home state along with local sales taxes - the states then settle up.

The "free" sales tax situation is aided and abetted by the fact that non-neighboring states (say, Oregon and New York) are less likely to have such tax treaties. Attempts to create a 50-states tax treaty have been made, but they've been hard to hammer out, as states without sales taxes have no motive to collect sales tax on behalf of the states that have them.

Without a treaty, a state's power ends at its borders. A key reason the US no longer operates under the Articles of Confederation is that states were levying duties on interstate commerce, as if each was a sovereign nation. It turned out to be very bad for business.
 

chscag

macrumors 68040
Feb 17, 2008
3,193
986
Fort Worth, Texas
Exceptional service with B&H Photo. 30 Day return. They ship almost immediately and are highly rated. My go to besides Apple.
30 Day return on most items. Computers are the exception, read their return policy. If you buy a new iMac and decide to return it, you can't according to their non-returnable items policy. I would rather buy from Apple and pay the sales tax knowing that I can return an item within 14 days.
 

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
30,329
30,569
30 Day return on most items. Computers are the exception, read their return policy. If you buy a new iMac and decide to return it, you can't according to their non-returnable items policy. I would rather buy from Apple and pay the sales tax knowing that I can return an item within 14 days.
Like Apple, B&H Photo has made exceptions for me(Nor am I speaking for anyone else) in the past concerning Hardware defects against their 30 day policy to make the situation right. The reason I say this, is that I can't guarantee the same results for everybody, but that speaks milestones about a company that will rectify issues with something that is out of the users control to make the situation whole. Sales tax or not, I still recommend B&H Photo regardless.
 
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randian

macrumors 6502a
Jan 15, 2014
635
188
If you have hardware defects can't you go to a local Apple Store (if available) for warranty repair, even if you bought it from B&H? B&H is an authorized reseller after all.
 

ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
3,138
1,795
Between the coasts
If you have hardware defects can't you go to a local Apple Store (if available) for warranty repair, even if you bought it from B&H? B&H is an authorized reseller after all.
Yes, that's true. They'll repair the machine you have. If, however, you want to return the unit and get a replacement or refund, that must be done within the terms of sale (14-day return privilege, 30-day return privilege, etc.).
 

Glideslope

macrumors 603
Dec 7, 2007
6,125
3,144
A quiet place in NY.
I've done business with B&H for 30 years. I've never had a single negative. Mostly high end Camera gear. That being said, I've never purchased a new Mac anywhere but Apple. So, it's a personal thing I guess. :apple:
 

MMcCraryNJ

macrumors 6502
Oct 18, 2012
265
42
B&H is probably fine, but I would avoid doing business with Adorama. I had a very bad experience with them buying my 2013 Mac Pro. The website listed the model I purchased as "In-Stock". I even paid the additional $150 to expedite shipping to the quickest possible. It was a Mac Pro and AppleCare bundle.

Well, I got shipping notification, but for the AppleCare packet only. The Mac Pro was actually NOT in-stock, and they had to delay shipping. They set the shipment as "Drop Ship", meaning they ordered it direct from Apple, but put the shipment address as my home address. It took 35 business days to get here.

Normally, with the correct communication, I would be okay with that. However, getting any information was like pulling teeth. It was "drop shipped", so the next business day they marked my order as "shipped" and "completed". Never gave me a tracking number, as it wasn't shipped, technically. Every call to customer service resulted in a different answer every time. And of course, because they marked it as "complete", they took my money ($3500+shipping cost) immediately. Even though it hadn't been technically shipped yet.

Throughout the process, they gave me no tracking information, and the numerous reps that promised to call me back or escalate my case, never did. The only reason I had a tracking number at all was through a UPS My Choice notification 2 days prior to receiving it. Not only that, but the shipment itself wasn't marked as me needing to sign for it. They just left it without a signature required. $3500 machine. Of course, had it been stolen from my doorstep, it would have been on me.

Seeing as they sent me the AppleCare packet overnight, and marked the machine as shipped, I had no financial recourse with my credit card company. And after I received the machine, they refused to refund me the $150 shipping charge, because they did "overnight" my order, meaning the AppleCare packet.

At no point was I able to speak to someone in customer service who spoke fluent English. They also did not take any notes for the account the numerous times I called...every time calling was like starting over from scratch.

The day I received the shipping notification, I was honestly about to file a BBB compliant and make an appointment at my bank to escalate a charge-back. I had recorded several of the customer service calls, and was going to use it as proof that they took my money and never delivered the product.

All in all, I did get my machine, but the other thing that happened was that the AppleCare registration number was not able to be used for the Mac Pro. I had to speak to an AppleCare rep, and escalate it to a manager, who informed me that out of courtesy, they would register a new AppleCare agreement for me, however the retailer at fault and should have never given me an AppleCare agreement for a machine that I did not purchase (the agreement they sold me was for a 2009 Mac Pro, not a 2013 Mac Pro. The registration number in the packet wasn't even a valid number anymore).
 

JD Shaw

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 4, 2017
15
4
North Carolina
B&H is probably fine, but I would avoid doing business with Adorama. I had a very bad experience with them buying my 2013 Mac Pro. The website listed the model I purchased as "In-Stock". I even paid the additional $150 to expedite shipping to the quickest possible. It was a Mac Pro and AppleCare bundle.

Well, I got shipping notification, but for the AppleCare packet only. The Mac Pro was actually NOT in-stock, and they had to delay shipping. They set the shipment as "Drop Ship", meaning they ordered it direct from Apple, but put the shipment address as my home address. It took 35 business days to get here.

Normally, with the correct communication, I would be okay with that. However, getting any information was like pulling teeth. It was "drop shipped", so the next business day they marked my order as "shipped" and "completed". Never gave me a tracking number, as it wasn't shipped, technically. Every call to customer service resulted in a different answer every time. And of course, because they marked it as "complete", they took my money ($3500+shipping cost) immediately. Even though it hadn't been technically shipped yet.

Throughout the process, they gave me no tracking information, and the numerous reps that promised to call me back or escalate my case, never did. The only reason I had a tracking number at all was through a UPS My Choice notification 2 days prior to receiving it. Not only that, but the shipment itself wasn't marked as me needing to sign for it. They just left it without a signature required. $3500 machine. Of course, had it been stolen from my doorstep, it would have been on me.

Seeing as they sent me the AppleCare packet overnight, and marked the machine as shipped, I had no financial recourse with my credit card company. And after I received the machine, they refused to refund me the $150 shipping charge, because they did "overnight" my order, meaning the AppleCare packet.

At no point was I able to speak to someone in customer service who spoke fluent English. They also did not take any notes for the account the numerous times I called...every time calling was like starting over from scratch.

The day I received the shipping notification, I was honestly about to file a BBB compliant and make an appointment at my bank to escalate a charge-back. I had recorded several of the customer service calls, and was going to use it as proof that they took my money and never delivered the product.

All in all, I did get my machine, but the other thing that happened was that the AppleCare registration number was not able to be used for the Mac Pro. I had to speak to an AppleCare rep, and escalate it to a manager, who informed me that out of courtesy, they would register a new AppleCare agreement for me, however the retailer at fault and should have never given me an AppleCare agreement for a machine that I did not purchase (the agreement they sold me was for a 2009 Mac Pro, not a 2013 Mac Pro. The registration number in the packet wasn't even a valid number anymore).
[doublepost=1499271449][/doublepost]I gave up on Adorama three years ago. Clueless company.
 
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willmtaylor

macrumors G4
Oct 31, 2009
10,189
7,719
Here(-ish)
Any reason not to order from B&H vs. Apple direct? No sales tax if ordered through B&H.
I just ordered my 10.5" iPad Pro from them, and the process was awesome. Would recommend.

You can get the Educational discount if you order from Apple.
And B&H will price match that price. I bought my 10.5" iPad Pro from B&H for $629 shipped to my door in only a couple of days.
 
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mollyc

macrumors 68020
Aug 18, 2016
2,109
9,757
There are requirements and validation for education pricing. Since my kids are still in elementary school and I am not a teacher, I could not qualify for their pricing.
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/find/eduAbout.jsp

I have bought lots of camera gear from B&H before, and the only reason I wouldn't buy an iMac from them is because I want to specify the new keyboard. But if they have one in stock that fits your needs, I don't see any issues with ordering from them.
 

randian

macrumors 6502a
Jan 15, 2014
635
188
B&H's education program looks a lot more restrictive than Apple's: "educator or student in an accredited photography, film, video, animation, graphic design, audio, new media". Looks like a friend of mine, who's working on his finance doctorate, wouldn't qualify.l
 

JD Shaw

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 4, 2017
15
4
North Carolina
There are requirements and validation for education pricing. Since my kids are still in elementary school and I am not a teacher, I could not qualify for their pricing.
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/find/eduAbout.jsp

I have bought lots of camera gear from B&H before, and the only reason I wouldn't buy an iMac from them is because I want to specify the new keyboard. But if they have one in stock that fits your needs, I don't see any issues with ordering from them.
Note: B&H offers extended keyboard (referred to as "keypad"), available in numerous configuration options. All are special order with a 10 - 20 day delivery window. That's what I plan on doing in the next few weeks to save sales tax. (Yes, I know we're supposed to pay it anyway. So arrest me.)
 
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willmtaylor

macrumors G4
Oct 31, 2009
10,189
7,719
Here(-ish)
There are requirements and validation for education pricing. Since my kids are still in elementary school and I am not a teacher, I could not qualify for their pricing.
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/find/eduAbout.jsp
B&H's education program looks a lot more restrictive than Apple's: "educator or student in an accredited photography, film, video, animation, graphic design, audio, new media". Looks like a friend of mine, who's working on his finance doctorate, wouldn't qualify.l
While I realize what it states, I’m merely a university instructor and only had to provide my school information and email address to become a member.