Disadvantages to not buying directly from Apple

12dylan34

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 3, 2009
877
3
Because a lot of retailers like Amazon and B&H Photo don't charge sales tax, and offer their own discounts on Macs, computers from them end up being appreciably cheaper, even if we factor in the student discount that Apple offers.

My problem is that I've only ever bought Macs directly from Apple before, and I have some questions regarding some things about buying it from third parties:
  • Does the warranty work like normal? I.e. I can bring it into the Apple store if it breaks within the first year? Or do I have to get tied up with the third party?
  • I'm looking specifically at Amazon. What if I decide to return it within the return window? What sort of expenses would this incur, and is there some sort of restocking fee? What about with B&H?
  • Overall, for those that have done this, would you recommend it? Did it cause any sort of additional hassle, or did Apple give you problems regarding the warranty or anything? Do you think that Apple is more lenient with replacements/repairs if you bought the machine through them?

Thanks, and I really appreciate any responses.

Edit: I found that Amazon charges a 15% restocking fee for opened boxes, so no need to go into that...pretty pricey if we're talking about a $2500 item. Also, B&H doesn't even allow returns if the packaging has been opened (for computers and some other stuff only)
 
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McGiord

macrumors 601
Oct 5, 2003
4,536
287
Dark Castle
I had bought from MacMall to get extra things like Parallels Desktop, Printer and some config, and everything was fine to service at the Apple store no issues at all.

The advantage of buying directly form Apple is to buy either from the Refurbished Store or the Education Store to get the discounts you want, sometimes even paying the taxes is a great deal. And if you can't get the setup you wanted the Apple store is the best way to build your set up.

Now buying from Amazon, get a Prime membership and you can get better service as well as 2 day free shipping in the US as access to their Prime Video and Music services.

All service can be done at any Apple store. Now returns and re-stocking fees I don't have experience with those.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,173
479
Elkton, Maryland
Because a lot of retailers like Amazon and B&H Photo don't charge sales tax, and offer their own discounts on Macs, computers from them end up being appreciably cheaper, even if we factor in the student discount that Apple offers.

My problem is that I've only ever bought Macs directly from Apple before, and I have some questions regarding some things about buying it from third parties:
  • Does the warranty work like normal? I.e. I can bring it into the Apple store if it breaks within the first year? Or do I have to get tied up with the third party?
  • I'm looking specifically at Amazon. What if I decide to return it within the return window? What sort of expenses would this incur, and is there some sort of restocking fee? What about with B&H?
  • Overall, for those that have done this, would you recommend it? Did it cause any sort of additional hassle, or did Apple give you problems regarding the warranty or anything? Do you think that Apple is more lenient with replacements/repairs if you bought the machine through them?

Thanks, and I really appreciate any responses.

Edit: I found that Amazon charges a 15% restocking fee for opened boxes, so no need to go into that...pretty pricey if we're talking about a $2500 item. Also, B&H doesn't even allow returns if the packaging has been opened (for computers and some other stuff only)
Well, your warranty is exactly the same with the 1 Year Limited Warranty. You can still add AppleCare at any point during the limited warranty. As for returns, if you go to Apple, even within 14 days, you are only eligible for repair. All returns go through the vendor.

I recommend going with Apple for the no fee return policy, the ability to buy exactly what you want (custom build), and general buying experience at an Apple Store. Online you can get the Apple student discount or the great Apple refurb store.
 

T5BRICK

macrumors G3
Aug 3, 2006
8,103
2,098
Oregon
If you can get a better price from a reputable Apple authorized reseller, then go for it. As others have said, don't forget to check out the refurb section of Apples website, you can find great deals there sometimes. Either way, you'll get a good computer with a 1 year warranty.
 

Trvlngnrs

macrumors 6502
Jun 8, 2010
339
26
Do you have an Apple store near you? The nearest one to me is 125 miles away, so that factors into the equation.
 

12dylan34

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 3, 2009
877
3
Do you have an Apple store near you? The nearest one to me is 125 miles away, so that factors into the equation.
I do, but the sales tax in my county/state/country leaves me paying about $200 in taxes. Given that, buying it online from a tax-free store is sort of appealing.
 

T5BRICK

macrumors G3
Aug 3, 2006
8,103
2,098
Oregon
Do you have an Apple store near you? The nearest one to me is 125 miles away, so that factors into the equation.
You can send your computer in to Apple for service if needed. And the standard Apple warranty also applies when you take your Mac to any Apple Authorized Service Provider.
 

bennynova

macrumors member
Jun 6, 2014
43
0
Someone try charmsell.com
And get back with us and let us know how it goes!!!


They sell stuff at 70% off
 

omvs

macrumors 6502
May 15, 2011
481
11
I buy from apple when possible, though most of the time its been through the refurb online store.

They're very lenient with returns - I had ordered a refurb then shortly after I got it decided I would be better off with a different (cheaper) model. Took the first one to a local apple store, they took it no questions asked, no extra charges. Maybe they might get annoyed if you did this multiple times, but they were very fair with me.

I would suggest buying applecare from B&H or amazon rather than from apple- considerable savings there (not counting tax).
 

saturnotaku

macrumors 68000
Mar 4, 2013
1,924
51
The only advantages to buying directly from Apple are the hassle-free return policy and online refurb store. Otherwise, you're generally better off buying from an authorized retailer.

I purchased the MBP in my signature on clearance from MicroCenter. It was brand new in the box and priced more than $1000 less than what I would have paid to buy it directly from Apple new or more than $500 less for a comparable refurb. This was in mid-2012 a few weeks after the launch of the first-gen rMBP. Apple must have been clearing stock of 2011 machines, selling them for pennies on the dollar to MicroCenter, who then passed the savings on to the consumer. IIRC, MicroCenter has a no-questions return policy, though it might only be 7 days in their case. I've not had to avail myself of it so I don't know for sure. Amazon is rather lenient as well.

A couple weeks later I purchased AppleCare from Adorama Camera for $244, free shipping and no tax. It registered correctly, and my system is covered until next July. That cheaper than even Amazon and certainly a far cry from the $349+tax it would have been from Apple.

My only piece of advice for purchasing a Mac and AppleCare from someplace other than Apple directly is to make a digital copy of your purchase receipt/invoice via either a scanner or screenshot. Then store the document in the cloud. This way you'll have all your bases covered in the unlikely even a question arises about warranty coverage/service.
 

janitor3

macrumors regular
Aug 11, 2010
217
39
Glasgow, Scotland
@Barney63

What I should have mentioned was that it was in 2011, at that time PC World were doing good deals. If they were offering the same good prices just now, then I would buy from them again, but as you say, they're the same price as Apple at the moment.

janitor3
 

macbook123

macrumors 68000
Feb 11, 2006
1,862
85
I just heard from B&H that they don't allow ANY replacements of open box laptops, not even for a restocking fee.

Apple has many times in the past put a mix of inferior and superior displays and SSD's in their computers, so if they're still doing this it's a bit of a gamble to purchase from B&H.

Just my 2 cents.
 

12dylan34

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 3, 2009
877
3
I just heard from B&H that they don't allow ANY replacements of open box laptops, not even for a restocking fee.

Apple has many times in the past put a mix of inferior and superior displays and SSD's in their computers, so if they're still doing this it's a bit of a gamble to purchase from B&H.

Just my 2 cents.
The quality mix is a point of concern for me. I'm planning on getting one with the 512GB SSD, which have been said to be consistently good, but the display is another issue. I'm going to wait until Apple begins their Back to School Promotion, then make my decision then.

My concern would just be what the third party considers a "defective unit" in terms of screen quality.

Thanks for the input!
 
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macbook123

macrumors 68000
Feb 11, 2006
1,862
85
Yeah, for me B&H's policy is a deal breaker. It's the first time I've experienced a complete no-returns policy outside of sanitary products. Just feels odd, even if Apple didn't have that issue with quality control. I'll go out on a limb and bet that the only reason B&H can afford to have such a customer-unfriendly policy is that people come back to them to evade taxes. Makes me gravitate more toward Amazon et al. (where taxes have to be included to CA customers) for future purchases of this kind. In the case of my impending RMBP purchase, I've all but decided to just pick it up from my local Apple store. I can get educational pricing which brings it $50 below the B&H price. Including sales tax that brings it to about $150 higher, but at least I'm not evading taxes and have a right to return if I don't like something about the product.
 

danny_w

macrumors 601
Mar 8, 2005
4,380
179
Austin, TX
I got my Mini from Best Buy when they were having a $100 off sale plus a 5x reward points weekend. In all I saved almost $200 over buying it from Apple who did not have a refurb at the time. Bought an SSD with the savings.
 
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