Printer deal "Bait and Switch"? Looking for advice.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jamesr242, Jun 29, 2009.

  1. jamesr242 macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2009
    I live in jersey and drove all the way to Delaware so I could purchase the new 13" MBP with the student discount, free ipod, free printer (tax free). When I got there I was shocked to find that they had NONE of the $100 printers in stock. Not only that, but they refused to ship me one (without me having to pay $100+ in tax), reserve me one to pick up later, or even tell me when or if they would ever get one in. They of course had some $200 and $300 printers in stock, but I don't want that, because the ipod and printer are both going on craigslist to help me get a better deal on the MBP.

    I am long time PC user and this really left a bad taste in my mouth because I was coming to them for the supposedly good customer service. Instead I got the typical crap excuses and policies read back to me by the 13 year old "manager" with braces. I am strongly considering an HP because of this refusal to do something so simple. I don't have a lot of money and just want the best possible deal on this mac. Any advice or help? Thanks.
  2. nhcowboy1 macrumors 6502

    Feb 5, 2008
    I'm a little confused . . . was this an Apple store you were dealing with, or an authorized 3rd party retailer? And, more importantly, did this particular store advertise the deal that you were looking for, or were you looking at an Apple promotion that you saw online or elsewhere?

    If the store itself advertised this deal, then I'd have no question that they'd have to honor it. If you were relying on an Apple promotion, then I do have to question why you'd drive all the way to Delaware without calling first to make sure the items you wanted were in stock. Not every store can have every item in stock all the time . . .

    That having been said, if you were treated as badly as you say, you should go back to the store and complain. I don't mean "go back" in person - start by using your telephone. Call and ask to speak with the store manager. Get the person's name, explain to them what happened, and see what they can do for you. You should also be clear in your own mind before you call whether or not you'd be willing to drive back if they can give you what you want.

    If you don't get satisfaction from the person who says they're the store manager, ask if there is a senior manager or store owner you can speak to, and try again.

    If you don't get anywhere with the store, I know you can contact Apple for help, but at that point I'd defer to someone else on this forum who can point you in the right direction.

    Bottom line, as a new customer for any product, there's no question that bot the store and the manufacturer should want to make you happy. It might just take a few phone calls, however, before you find the person who's both willing and able to do that.
  3. jamesr242 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2009
    It was at the Newark, DE Christiana Mall Apple store. The whole thing just seems like a scam to me. They offer this deal for $100 off a printer when you buy a mac but of course in the fine print it says "while supplies last". I'm fine with that but they claim there is some sort of massive shortage of HP printers yet I'm sure I would have no problem buying an HP printer in another store. Seems like they don't want to honor the deal.

    Thanks for the advice. I will try and work my way up the management chain on the phone. Just out of curiosity, how many levels of management are in the store, just so I know who to ask for? Also, does anyone know of an address I can write to? I have had good luck before writing a letter and addressing it to the president of the company.
  4. xlosltove777 macrumors member

    Sep 19, 2006
    Long Island, NY
    That is really odd, I've gotten the promotion on the past three Mac purchases I've made. Twice at the Apple Store in Lake Grove, NY and once in Peabody, MA. They had plenty of the $100 printers and that was during the back to school promotion time. Come to think of it though when I bought my Macbook in August they were out of the more expensive wireless printer and their solution was make the whole purchase online, not to ship it to my house.

    I used to work in Circuit City and things like this would happen all the time in my store, we were last going east from NYC so we always got the least amount of shipment. But we would always offer to purchase it out of another store and have them pick it up there or free shipment to their house. Unless it was sold out of all local stores and the warehouse we made sure the buyer had the option to receive any promo item. And considering that Circuit City is nowhere close to Apple as far as customer service I am very surprised they weren't able to work something out for you. It's simply bad salesmanship on the part of whoever was helping you. Unless Apple doesn't have a system set up to purchase it and ship it to your home, which would be surprising
  5. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    I used to work at CCity and Best Buy and unfortunately supplies run out. Lots of time those printers are some series that is going out of program. Once they're gone, theyre gone.
  6. gavin83209 macrumors regular

    May 24, 2009

    I've heard that you get best results if it is brief and has a good title. Please try all other options first.
  7. tedsmith3rd macrumors member

    Aug 30, 2006
    Where is the switch?

    They sold out of the most popular printer. You still qualify for $100 rebate for the printers they have in stock. You still qualify for the free ipod. You still qualify for the student discount. Where is the "switch"? The promo isn't called "Free Printer." Apple didn't invent the disclaimer "while supplies last."

    You imply that they offered to help you order all that stuff through the apple online store. But since you are trying to dodge you state's sales tax, that won't work for you. Apple didn't invent sales tax nor state tax law.

    Some options you have:
    1. Just wait until they have the printer in stock and then buy your stuff. Yes, you might have to call a few times.
    2. Call ahead and go to another apple store that does have that printer in stock.
    3. Just buy it online and pay the sales tax like everyone else.
    4. Don't get a printer which you said you weren't going to use. It has almost no resale value anyway.
  8. jamesr242 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2009
    LOL, funny you should mention Circuit City because I had a very similar customer service experience there a year ago and was expecting the opposite from Apple. They were terrible!

    That's what I figured too about they shipping. I thought to myself "surely if they are out of stock, that is their fault and they'll just ship it to me when it comes in". Totally wrong. The offered to ship the order to my house but then I would have to pay tax on the whole order (over $100 which is a big deal to me).
  9. commanderkeen macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2009
    Did you have the good sense to call before going?
  10. Blair230 macrumors regular

    Feb 17, 2009
    Near Philly
    Where is the issue?

    I agree with TedSmith3rd. I really dont see the bait and switch. They showed the printers that were in stock, and still offered the $100 rebate. I think it was wrong of them not to be able to tell you when the printer was going to be back in stock or offer to reserve you one.

    As far as not shipping the printer without you paying taxes, Im sure it has something having to do with their shipping setup and the fact it is not coming from Delaware.

    If the printer was that important to you, Id have called the store to verify they had them in stock before traveling all that way to make the purchase. I mean if you had gotten there and found the macbook out of stock, it would have been a larger problem.

    I live in PA and have traveled to Delaware to avoid tax on big purchases, but I always verify with the store they have what I need before I go.
  11. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    Yeah... I mean there are certain printers that are "eligible", and you are not forced to buy the printer. With that being said I'm sure they have a reason why they can't rain check you the printer. But, one would say "buy it online", but you are trying to avoid taxes...
  12. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    That's what you get for trying to avoid paying your taxes. Karma. :D
  13. AdamLikesMusic macrumors 6502

    Jun 3, 2009
    This. You won't get much of anything for it on Craigslist.

    Yeah, I'm sure you wouldn't have trouble buying it in another store - but I'm sure those stores also won't be giving it to you for free (after rebate).

    It doesn't at all sound like a scam. Sounds like they ran out. If you look online, it says "ships in 1-2 weeks" for the printer, whereas all the others ship "within 24 hrs". There's a shortage due to high demand.
  14. Eanair macrumors 6502


    Feb 27, 2009
    The only thing I think was wrong was that they couldn't tell you when and if new printers would be in, and that they couldn't reserve a printer for you to use with a rain check later. Regarding that, I would call management and explain what happened and ask them what could be done about the situation.

    Other than that, I don't think anything else was a problem, much less a scam.

    The "while supplies last" is a standard disclaimer on many/most/all promotions and sales, and there is no guarantee that you will get a free printer if you buy the product. It technically isn't a free printer - it's a rebate you get if you buy a printer. It's only free if you choose to buy a printer less than $100 and maximize your rebate. You were still offered the $100 rebate, only there weren't any suitable printers available for you. But the rebate was still offered - as was the iPod and student discount.
  15. radicalcentrist macrumors member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Portland, OR
    Out of curiosity

    How much money did you spend on gas to drive "all the way" to Delaware to avoid paying sales tax on your purchase?
  16. madmaxmedia macrumors 68030

    Dec 17, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    While I understand the OP's motive to save some money on tax, and sell the iPod and printer to recoup part of the MBP's cost, this is so clearly NOT a bait-and-switch.

    You have extenuating circumstances which they unfortunately weren't able to accomodate. They offered to ship the printer to you, you can order online anytime- it's not a bait-and-switch. It's bad luck. You can email Steve Jobs or whoever, but you weren't wronged.

    As someone else posted, the printers don't have much re-sale value anyway- maybe $50. It's too late now, but you really should've just bought the computer then sans printer and printer rebate.
  17. pjgeer macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2007
    There is a worldwide constraint on HP printers all the way up to the big huge professional units. I work as a buyer in computer retail and it has been a pain in my butt for the last two months and we have been told that it will not be getting better for at least another month.

    As for buying in another state, depends on if that retailer saw forward into the future and predicted both the Apple promo model choices and the HP issues that caused the constraint.

  18. jay1118 macrumors member


    May 28, 2009
    When i first read the title for this thread, i thought it was a scam.

    Very misleading title as this was not a scam, they simply ran out of stock.
  19. mr_matalino macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2005
    Getting an HP will solve nothing. Ditch the printer, sell the iPod.
  20. kxb177 macrumors newbie

    Apr 25, 2008
    I am having the same issue with the same store. It has been going on for several weeks at this point.

    I wouldn't necessarily define it as bait-and-switch, it is more aptly false advertising.

    The advertisement:
    You can buy a printer and a mac and get a $99 rebate.

    The FALSE part:
    You can't buy ANY printer at the apple store in order to get the rebate, because they don't have any printers in stock.

    Apple CS in the store is horrible regarding that point. Nobody delivers clear communications as to policy in terms of holding printers, etc. They won't ship them direct to you. They have no control over when they are coming in. After three weeks of waiting for them to get any printer - I am convinced it is just blatant false advertising.

    Apparently Apple is sophisticated enough to build computers, but not manage a wait list for out of stock products.

    Also, if you try and call, be prepared to wait until the phone rings about 20-40 times. Apple is unsure of what an answering machine is either.
  21. MacLovin78 macrumors regular

    Apr 10, 2008
    If you are simply reselling the printer and can only make a maximum of $100 profit why wouldn't you just by the most popular printer they offer and then put that up on Craigslist? Unless you are buying it in CT or RI you do not get an instant rebate so you must fork over the cash and get a check back in the mail from Apple. You are going to have to do the same thing with the Ipod. If you are already forking over for the laptop, ipod and a $100 printer then you surely can tack on another $100 for a better printer.

    Here's another thought. If they will send you the printer for free and only charge you the cost + tax then you are only out of pock $5-7 for the tax.

    I hope you are not going to business school or intending to become an entrepreneur of any type.
  22. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    What this boils down to is that a particular Apple store was out of stock on a particular product you wanted.

    Yup... that's a "Bait and Switch" all right. As long as you have no understanding of elementary logic or the English language, I mean. :rolleyes:
  23. BaronvdB macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2007
    i ordered online and got the $99 printer no problem....the back to school promo is very popular so i'm not surprised if a store runs out of the printers since this is the best time to buy a mac
  24. TJRiver macrumors 6502


    Jan 14, 2009
    I do not think this word means what you think it means........

    the state of being physically constrained; "dogs should be kept under restraint"
    restraint: a device that retards something's motion; "the car did not have proper restraints fitted"
    the act of constraining; the threat or use of force to control the thoughts or behavior of others

    Oh, and James, there was no "bait & switch", you just got unlucky as to what printers were in stock at the store you patronized.

    Ah, the joys of youth (no patience, quick to see conspiracies everywhere, etc.) Next time, let your fingers do the walking...........
  25. AdamLikesMusic macrumors 6502

    Jun 3, 2009
    Has Apple actually marketed this as a "free printer"? All the advertisement I've seen has specifically said "$100 off a printer". Now, you have the option of choosing the $99 printer, or a $399 printer.

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