Be Careful: I got a refurb/repack at MB at Apple Store as new

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by liquidsense, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. liquidsense macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
    #1
    I wanted to post my story, not to alarm people, or instigate paranoia. I just wanted to tell my short story to promote informed purchasing.

    Anyway, I purchased an MBP from a big Apple store near me 1 week ago. Worked great - everything went smooth. Today, I went to the same Apple store to buy an MB for my girlfriend. Purchased a white, 2.4 and went on my way.

    First thing we noticed: there were two pieces of tape sealing the box -- strange. Opened her up, and immediately noticed that the power cable (attached to the square power supply) was messily wrapped up. Normally, with high end electronics, all of the power cords are pristinely wrapped, as if by machine. Not this cable. It looked like someone wrapped it around their hand and jammed it in the box.

    At this stage, I still did not think that the computer was a refurb or repack. The thought crossed my mind only momentarily.

    Next, we open up the computer.

    I immediately noticed that the trackpad button had numerous scratches on it. Not scratches with a sharp object, but scratches as if with fingernails. Booted the computer up, and immediately saw three dead pixels. This fact alone meant nothing, but it certainly corroborated the notion in our minds that someone had previously used this computer.

    Luckily, the end result was good. I called up the Apple store, recounted the story above, and was told an exchange would be no problem. The manager was even willing to keep the store open for us for an additional 30 minutes past close. The staff was extremely helpful, kind, and non-confrontational.

    When the exchange was nearing completion, I started chit chatting with the manager, and was very surprised at what he said. I had stated, "I can't believe there were two pieces of tape! My refurb phone came like that..." And he responded: "Oh, no. We opened up all the boxes when Leopard came out, and plopped in the new discs." Whaaa? Seriously? I wanted to inquire further, but everybody had been so nice that we decided to just leave it at that.

    We opened up the computer in-store to verify that everything was good; it was.

    This new box had only 1 piece of tape (I thought all the boxes were opened!?) Everything looked pristine - no scratches. No dead pixels. However, and oddly, the power cord again was wrapped up like it had been wrapped around someones hand.

    And on a final note, I got this overall feeling that the reps there seemed familiar with the overall issue. They never put up a fight. Nor did they seem to ask many questions. When they looked at the trackpad button, they were like "Oh yea. This is definitely scratched." Of course, this is not an admission that it had been used, but the reps' demeanor seemed to imply that they knew.

    Anyway, all is well. The computer is excellent. And my girlfriend really likes it. Hope this story was interesting/helpful in some way. (I hope I don't find that this is a recognized issue when I search the forums now...)
     
  2. overanalyzer macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Location:
    Boston, MA USA
    #2
    They did open all the computers that were in stock to install Leopard, so probably they just hand-wrapped the power cords when they were done and put them back in the boxes. And yes, similar stories and the fact that the computers were all opened to install Leopard has been discussed in the forums many times.
     
  3. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #3
    To me this isn't "refurb" but honestly, what's up with that BS? I'd expect in this instance a "drop in" copy of leopard would be better than some dude opening a brand new machine up and installing leopard.
     
  4. liquidsense thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
    #4
    So, how do you know if you have a refurb or not, if every box has been opened? Is there any way of knowing? Are they required to indicate on the box that it is refurb?
     
  5. Batt macrumors 65816

    Batt

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2007
    Location:
    Syracuse, NY
    #5
    Refurbs get a new serial #. Check it with Apple, they can tell you.
     
  6. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2007
    #6
    Bingo. As others have said, you didn't get a refurbished machine; you got a drop in machine. For one thing, the Apple store doesn't sell refurbished machines (as a rule). If you had gotten a refurbished machine, and not a drop in, you'd have a new SN.
     
  7. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    #7
    I am pretty sure refurbished machines are shipped back to apple given a new serial number looked over then they are repackaged, i always thought in brown boxes not the nice colored ones. However i could be wrong.
     
  8. pjarvi macrumors 65816

    pjarvi

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    Location:
    Round Lake, IL
    #8
    It could have been a customer returned system. Did it prompt for the initial configuration of the OS when it was turned on? If it didn't, then someone else had definitely used it before. It's most likely that the first buyer saw 3 dead pixels, was pissed, and returned it to the store. A sales associate may have grabbed it from the back not realizing it was a return, or it could be a manager was trying to dump it off on an unsuspecting customer. Happy to read that they didn't give you any grief when you brought it back.
     
  9. liquidsense thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
    #9
    Please do correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that the Apple store does sell refurbished machines.

    "I checked the Apple site first thing this morning and saw they had a refurbished 2.4 GHz MBP with 256 vRAM for $1650. I couldn't pass this deal up so I snagged it." http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=447648&highlight=refurb

    "Ok I got a black macbook refurb from the Apple store." http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=446655&highlight=refurb

    I've seen about 5 other threads indicated much the same.

    Also, I'm confused as to what people mean by "you would get a new serial number." I guess my question was, how could I know if Apple (or one of its managers) was trying to underhandedly sell me a refurb as a new product. I mean, even if it wasn't underhanded, what good would a "new" serial number mean to me. "New" relative to what? Or, are you saying that ALL serial numbers for refurbs have certain numbers. Whereas, ALL serial numbers for new products have different standard numbers.

    And finally, the initial configuration screen did come up when I first turned it on.
     
  10. lugesm macrumors 6502a

    lugesm

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    #10
    Related, if not relevant, story:

    When I bought my 24" iMac last September I was aware that such a large screen with such a vast number of pixels could easily contain one or more dead pixels. So, before the purchase, I asked the salesperson at the Apple store if we could open the computer and check out the display before I left the store. (I live 90 miles from that Apple store!)

    He agreed, and he cheerfully opened the box and fired the 24" iMac up. What a beautiful sight! I didn't see any dead pixels, but he found just one. Sure enough, when he pointed it out, I could see it also. He re-boxed that iMac and brought out another one. This time, I very carefully went over the entire screen and found no dead pixels. I was happy.

    The point in this is twofold:

    1. The computer I refused could have been accidentally (or deliberately, I suppose) sold to another customer at a later date, although I doubt it.

    2. The Apple policy is to accept such a refusal without question, even though the paperwork had already been completed when we opened the box. Good policy.
     
  11. overanalyzer macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Location:
    Boston, MA USA
    #11
    The Apple.com store always has refurbs (as available), but I don't think I've personally ever seen them on display in a retail Apple store. I do know if you ask they sometimes have refurb or returns in stock that you can buy in-store at the discount price, but I've always had to specifically ask. My impression is that they send those back regularly in to central warehouses for sale through the website.
     
  12. Batt macrumors 65816

    Batt

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2007
    Location:
    Syracuse, NY
    #12
    Any time you see "refurb" and "Apple Store" in the same sentence, it means the online store. New serial number means just that: Refurbs get a serial number that identifies them as being refurbished.
     
  13. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Location:
    Sunny Florida, on the Gulf Coast in Homosassa Fl
    #13
    My Mb is mint, in perfect shape, nary a scratch,blemish, or dead pixel. Best $1049 for a Black MB I ever spent, BTW, Leopard ROCKS!:D:p:apple:
     
  14. Batt macrumors 65816

    Batt

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2007
    Location:
    Syracuse, NY
    #14
    Refurbs are an excellent buy, especially since the recent (and dramatic) price drop. Your MB a month ago was $1299. My daughter has the same - refurbed - MB and it is also perfect. Good choice!
     
  15. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    #15
    The part that troubles me is the fact that they were dropping Leopard DVDs in at this stage of the game.

    Leopard's been out for months, and the macbooks can't run Tiger (SR and after that is).

    They were not dropping in Leopard DVDs; by now, all new computers are coming with Leopard preinstalled.

    And, to add to the problem, why would they need to mess with the power cord to drop in a DVD?

    I don't have any answers, but I do have plenty of questions.
     
  16. Batt macrumors 65816

    Batt

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2007
    Location:
    Syracuse, NY
    #16
    Yeah, that part bothered me, too. It definitely wasn't a refurb, but it wasn't "brand new", either. It was returned, for whatever reason, and then sold to the OP, either by mistake or in an attempt to unload it without having to do whatever paperwork is necessary for a returned unit.
     
  17. Hankster macrumors 68020

    Hankster

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #17
    My brother purchased his MB from Amazon and got the EXACT same thing, two slabs of tape on the MB box. At first I told him it was probably because of the OS X install or something else. But, he saw several scratches and other minor items that showed it wasn't new and in fact was used. He called Amazon and they sent him a new one that came with only ONE slab of tape :)
     
  18. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    #18
    Indeed. I believe the term "fishy" is appropriate.
    How odd.

    I'm not saying this happened to your brother, but a few years ago there was a case of disappearing iPods. If they were bought from a non-Apple retailer (Walmart, Amazon, Best Buy, etc) a certain amount of the boxes opened up to reveal nothing inside. UPS was the courier at the time, and after an investigation, it was found that a ring of thieves at one of the Western processing centers was stealing every x number iPod.

    Perhaps there's a similar thing going on here and we don't know what the gain is yet.
     

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