MBP & Apple purchasing issue (ethical issue?)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Chiefo, Dec 1, 2011.

  1. Chiefo macrumors newbie

    Mar 27, 2008
    Hey everyone,
    I posted here a few weeks ago about some strange, intermittent problems I'd been having with my early '07 MBP. Everyone was helpful...and the problem went away. Yay!
    However, it started acting up again...more often. I have 3 finals next week (Tues/Wed/Thurs) that must be taken with ExamSoft software on my computer. If the computer malfunctions and I am forced to restart, I will be in a world of trouble with the program. I spoke with the registrar about it today - they were less helpful than I had hoped.

    So tonight I walked into the Apple Store. I was hoping to pull the trigger on a 15" MBP. However, I want the "low-end" MBP with the antiglare/high-res screen. They didn't stock it on any model but the absolutely highest-end MBP. Frustrating - because I need a guaranteed working computer by Tuesday for the back to back exams (Tues/Wed/Thurs)

    I called up Apple and asked if I had it Next Day Air'ed if it would make it by Monday. They said...absolutely not. More likely Thursday or Friday. So I had a thought:

    (1) If I ordered the 15" MBP w/ Antiglare/high res display online tonight and had it priority shipped; and

    (2) Then walked into the Apple Store and purchased a low-end MBP on Sunday...used it until Wednesday afternoon, and returned it;

    What result?

    By late next week, I would ideally have my "preferred" MBP in the mail. I could return the other computer...and I believe Apple no longer has a restocking fee. This also serves the purpose of allowing me to "check out" the glossy display. I do some photoshop work on the side, and I'd greatly prefer Matte (I have a matte display now)...and I am having a hard time justifying a new computer with the same display (1440x900) as the one I'm currently typing on (aside from its unreliability these days)

    Thoughts? Ethical Concerns? Can anyone share their experiences?

  2. IllIllIll macrumors 6502a

    Oct 2, 2011
    What you are suggesting is that you want to 'borrow' (not 'rent', since you'd be getting 100% of your money back) a MBP for a few days while you wait for the model you want to arrive, right?

    It's not the nicest thing to do, but there's nothing illegal about it - so you're not going to have police kicking down your door in the middle of the night. You just need to decide for yourself if it's worth all the hassle and ethical sacrifices, and whether you can live with the decision.

    As an aside, Costco used to have a fantastic return/exchange policy for everything they sell. Basically you could return whatever you bought for any reason, any time. They had to change that policy to 90 days for big screen TVs and other electronics because people were buying them, using them for a weekend (like Super Bowl weekend), and then returning them, or "upgrading" their TVs and laptops to the latest/greatest model after 5+ years at no cost.

    So while doing this may not hurt you, in the long run it may hurt everyone if Apple decides their policy is being abused. Are you sure you have no other alternatives like borrowing a computer from a friend?
  3. Chiefo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 27, 2008
    Ha! Yes. Well put. My concern isn't for being prosecuted criminally. I suppose I was just testing the waters to see if:

    (1) anyone had done it before;
    (2) any problems people could foresee;
    (3) whether there was a huge ethical outrage about it.

    I've purchased many things from the Apple store, but never returned something. I am not familiar with how they operate and am deadly afraid of being "stuck" with 2 new laptops....
  4. IllIllIll macrumors 6502a

    Oct 2, 2011
    You won't get stuck with 2 laptops. Apple's 14 day return policy is actually quite generous so as long as you return the unit in the same condition it was purchased you can get a full refund for pretty much any reason at all.

    As for the questions of ethics, nobody can answer that but yourself. Some people can live with doing this, and some can't.
  5. Chiefo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 27, 2008
    I agree with you. If this wasn't a unique, emergency situation I wouldn't have a problem "waiting" for my new laptop to arrive.

    Apparently, the ExamSoft software is "keyed" to the specific computer. The registrar wasn't clear on this - but today when I mentioned I was planning to go out and buy a new computer, they made a big deal about me "making sure I come to them" so that they could "switch the software over" because it was "already installed on your other computer." So I don't know if that was just general ignorance about installing software, or if it meant it is associated with the laptop itself.

    That said, No. I currently have no one I could borrow a computer from. Most of my peers will be taking the same exams, the others will be using their computers for other exams/studying. My roommate's laptop is non-functioning and he gets by using our television as a replacement screen.
  6. IllIllIll macrumors 6502a

    Oct 2, 2011
    Well, if you've exhausted all your other options, you need to do what you need to do. After all you ARE buying a new laptop from them, you're just waiting for it to arrive. There are worse reasons to buy and return a product.
  7. Adamantoise macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
    Well do what you will, but soon and very soon companies are going to get less lenient on their return policies, and we will all suffer for it.
  8. teknikal90 macrumors 68030


    Jan 28, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    1. Your are a customer
    2. They made such policy for customers. Hence you fulfill their intentions for introducing such a plan.
    3. They have $70billion in the bank, mostly due to them being different and servicing their customers well, with policies like this. Utilize that service. They can afford it.
  9. IllIllIll, Dec 1, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2011

    IllIllIll macrumors 6502a

    Oct 2, 2011
    Now, this I don't agree with. It shouldn't matter how much a company has in the bank and whether they can afford the losses. Customers have just as much obligation to act ethically as retailers do.

    Buying something knowing that you're going to return it after using it completely goes against what a return policy like this was established for. On the other hand, I'm not saying anyone should or shouldn't do this. The OP appears to be in a bind and he IS purchasing a laptop from Apple; he just needs a loaner for a few days while his purchase is in transit.
  10. Chiefo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 27, 2008
    Exactly. I understand the arguments from both directions. I tried to find one in stock in the configuration I desired (Apple called the other brick & mortar in the area; I called a few local 3rd party suppliers) - no luck. I was hoping that if I chose next day shipping it would arrive, but the Apple phone support indicated that would be impossible with the "custom" status.
    I'd much rather not execute a convoluted plan...but I'd rather take these exams on a computing platform I'm comfortable with. They are very, very important in the arc of my professional career.
    Anyways, I appreciate everyone's input. I think what I'm going to do is purchase a 15" glossy and use it for the 3 exams. I may find I like it better. If I don't, I'll return it at that point and order the custom configuration.
  11. hotgrease macrumors regular

    Feb 14, 2010
    Have you tried Amazon? They have one-day shipping and it might come out to be lower than buying in the Apple store because of the no tax (collecting). They should be able to get it to you by Saturday. I would generally not want to buy and return, but I can understand how stressful it can be around test time. Does your library offer laptop rentals by chance (just so you don't have to deal with the returning)?

    Also, I don't believe the whole, "if you abuse the system they will drastically change the return policies." The ability to return merchandise is one of the reasons people buy things. Sales would plummet if return policies became so restrictive that people would worry about buying anything. We all keep most of what we buy, but I would buy a whole lot less if I couldn't "try it out." The small amount of money retailers lose out on from people returning things, legitimately or not, is minuscule to the amount of profit they make.
  12. IllIllIll macrumors 6502a

    Oct 2, 2011
    What's not to believe? Costco has already changed their policy from really liberal to a more restrictive one due to abusers. So has Micro Center. The real-world evidence is not on your side.
  13. hotgrease macrumors regular

    Feb 14, 2010
    "More restrictive" and "drastically change" are not the same. You really do like to argue, don't you?
  14. IllIllIll macrumors 6502a

    Oct 2, 2011
    I'd say going from a no-questions-asked unlimited return policy to 90 days limited is not only more restrictive, but also a drastic change. You really don't understand, do you?
  15. hotgrease, Dec 2, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2011

    hotgrease macrumors regular

    Feb 14, 2010
    Bed Bath and Beyond still has a no questions asked, unlimited return policy. Apple, Best Buy, Circuit City, Ultimate Electronics, Target, Walmart, Sears, etc. never had an unlimited return policy. I'm not sure when those became more restrictive, let alone drastically changed. But you're entitled to your opinion of course! I'd be very surprised to see return policies become more restrictive than they currently are.
  16. trikky macrumors regular

    Nov 10, 2011
    Here's a thought...

    I went into an Apple Store in order to buy a 17" 2.2 Anti-glare MBP before I went away on a business trip. I phoned one location three times to ask if they had one, then to confirm, and finally to say I was on my way.

    I get to the store only to find that they did not have the model I wanted, the only anti-glare was the 2.3 and I didn't feel like paying the extra $200 for a .1 bump in processor speed.

    I spoke to the manager, who not only extended the return period, but also told me to go ahead and use it for the business trip, and then buy the one I want online.

    Why not explain your situation to the manager of the Apple Store? Maybe they'll do the same or something similar.

    What you are planning otherwise, is dishonest and uncool. You wouldn't like it if someone did the same with something you were selling, and abuses of return policies lead to making those return policies less friendly for the next buyer.

    Be honest, and if you can't get your computer in time, then that's the way it is. You're not entitled to a new computer for your exam, and it's not Apple's obligation to give...or loan...you one.
  17. HellDiverUK macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2009
    Belfast, UK
    So, you have to do your final exams on software on a computer YOU provide? Wow, that's one strange system.

    Over here, any computerised exams are done on computers provided by the exam authority.

    Running exams on the student's computer is a world of hurt (as demonstrated by this thread).
  18. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    It's perfectly legal, but you're abusing the system. If you're fine with it, go ahead, but don't expect people to congratulate you on your smart move.
    You're taking it out on apple that a) your university has a weird exam system and doesn't provide students with machines on which they can take the exam and b) you didn't buy a new macbook early enough, although you knew that the exam was coming up and that your old machine was acting weird.

    And it's not that there are no other solutions for the "emergency." You can buy a crappy $300 PC to take the exam, or you can go and buy the high-end antiglare (the education discount is $200 on the high end models btw, compared to just $100 on the low end model), or just take the stock 15'' model and live with it.

    Anyways, your plan should work, I don't see a problem with returning it, unless you manage to damage the machine, and you won't get stuck with 2 laptops.

    Also, get an SSD in your built to order laptop ;)
  19. IllIllIll macrumors 6502a

    Oct 2, 2011
    I'm still trying to figure out what you mean when you say there's a difference between "more restrictive" and "drastically change". When a company changes its return policy to a more restrictive one, that's a pretty drastic change, wouldn't you say? And I mentioned that Costco and Micro Center drastically changed their return policies in the last several years precisely because enough people were abusing those policies to affect their bottom line. So your contention that abusers will not lead to drastic changes in return polices is patently false.

    If and when Bed, Bath and Beyond, Apple, Best Buy, Target, etc. start experiencing the same level of consumer abuse of their store policies, you can be sure changes will be instituted, to the detriment of the consumer. Why is that so hard to understand?
  20. sno1man macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2011
    flip the ethics of this around...

    How would you feel if Apple took a return form a customer that used the system for a week or so and then turned around and sold it to you as new at full price?

    When a customer returns a computer, even if only the seal on the box is broken, they end up making it in to refurb and selling it for significantly less than a new one.
  21. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    Buy it, and give it a chance. You might end up being fine with the lower-res/glossy model, who knows? If not, you're well within your rights to return it citing that you want a high-res anti-glare version.

    Is it the most ethical thing in the world? Not really. But Apple offers a decent return policy to give people a chance to try their machines worry free. And you will be trying it and giving it a fair chance, won't you?

    There are plenty of threads from people trying to decide between two models who are told "just buy both, and return the one you don't like". This isn't much different.

    Plus, those exams sound important. You gotta do what you gotta do. *shrug*
  22. miniConvert macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2006
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    In my opinion, you've got to buy the glossy with a view to keeping it, as you've suggested you will. Buying it knowing you're going to return it is just wrong, no matter how you try to justify it.

    If the glossy really doesn't work out then, well, I guess that's what the return policy is for :)

    I also considered the anti-glare but the glossy has been fantastic, so hopefully you'll like it.
  23. Steve's Barber macrumors 6502a

    Jul 5, 2011
    You know what? If *I* were Apple *and* you were to plonk down some serious coinage on a MBP15...

    ...I'd say, go ahead. Borrow it and return it. Thanks for buying the 15" and remember what you got away with "no questions asked". Keep us in mind over the next 40 years of your life when you keep buying and buying and buying...
  24. hotgrease macrumors regular

    Feb 14, 2010
    Lol, have a good life dude...
  25. Frozzie macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2011
    Difficult to say really... It is partially their fault for not having what you want to get, partly your fault for not preparing early enough (even though ur mac was running fine before I would personally have changed just in case)

    At the end of the day, what is the difference? Customers return for many reasons, and what separates a right reason from a wrong reason as far as you are following with the law? I just don't think there is a solution ethically for reasons I mentioned above, but if you are following the law, even if it is abuse, the company and individual has to respect the rights of one and other in their best interests.

    To be honest with consumer laws in North America and Europe, I personally believe you should not be allowed a refund unless there is a fault with the product. But just convince yourself - It is their failure to provide you with what you need that you are in this situation, and they are paying the price for it.

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