Purchases: Amazon Vs Apple (both online and retail)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by sinstoic, Apr 16, 2007.

  1. sinstoic macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2007
    Apple Macbook Pro 17" (default configuration) (no customization required)
    with AppleCare Protection Plan
    if purchased in California:

    Apple charges: $3391.97 (includes tax) (same at both online and retail)
    Amazon charges: $3099.98 (NO TAX, further mail-in-rebate of $150)
    (Note: Shipping is free from both when delivery is 3-5 business days)

    Savings if bought from Amazon: $441.99 (after mail-in-rebate)

    Amazon Questions: (Amazon has not answered my questions)
    1. Do you recommend buying Macs from Amazon?
    2. What are the chances of getting a used/refurbished/defective Mac? If I get one, can I go and exchange/repair the same at Apple Retail Store or should I get it exchanged through Amazon? How easy is this? Will I have to bear the shipping cost?
    3. Does Amazon really give $150 back as mail-in-rebate?
    4. Since Amazon doesn't charge taxes, do I have to pay the same to IRS when I do my taxes? If I don't pay declare the same to IRS, is there any way they can know about it?
    5. Which Shipping method to use to ensure that my Mac isn't stolen and is handed over only to me? Is one-day delivery really one business day?
    (I know I'll end up paying more but when I am saving $441.99, I think I can spend a little towards fast delivery and safety)
    6. If you don't recommend buying Macs from Amazon, can I just go ahead and buy just AppleCare Protection (saves me $49.01) from Amazon? Is this any different from what Apple directly sells? Will I be able to use it with my Macbook Pro bought elsewhere?

    Apple Questions:
    1. What are the cons of buying from Apple Online Store? (apart from cost)
    2. What are the cons of buying from Apple Retail Store? (apart from cost)
    3. If I buy from Apple Retail Store, will they thoroughly check my new Macbook pro for any defects for free? (What should I check for?)
    4. If I have encounter a problem with my Macbook Pro at a later date, should I transfer all my personal data and delete the same on the Macbook Pro before taking it to the Apple Store? What about softwares that are not licensed, should I delete the same before handing over to them?

    I know I sound paranoid and am asking way too many questions but just want to be safe as my hard earned $3400+ is at stake.

    Thanks in advance for all of your replies, answers and solutions!
  2. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    If you buy from Amazon, you can get warranty work through any Apple authorized service location, but any EXCHANGES or DOAs must go through Amazon.

    Check California law -- in many jurisdictions you are expected by law to voluntarily report out of state purchases and remit the tax. The fact that nobody bothers to do it doesn't make the law invalid...
  3. scttwtkns macrumors newbie

    Mar 6, 2007
    Amazon rebate & taxes

    3. I purchased an imac from amazon last year. I filled out the rebate form online, and the rebate came as promised. The machine was perfect & the whole transaction was smooth.

    1. The con is the Apple store charges tax, Amazon does not.
  4. Antares macrumors 68000


    I never bought a computer from Amazon. So, I can't give you any opinion there. However, taxwise, this has nothing to do with the IRS. Sales tax is a state and local thing. Many states now have laws that require a business to deduct sales tax from purchases made through online sales to customers living within the same state in which the the company operates. Many states also have a laws that require you to pay the tax directly if it wasn't deducted by the business. Check your local/state laws for specifics on your area.

    And if you don't pay, expect a SWAT team busting down your door for state tax evasion. ;)
  5. sinstoic thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2007
    :eek: I wanted to say State & Local Tax Authorities but instead ended up saying IRS.

    :mad: Hmm!

    :) By the way I don't evade any kind of taxes.

    If I have to pay taxes anyways, buying from Amazon doesn't really end up in a huge savings! :(

    What is it in California? Should you pay taxes for stuff bought on Amazon?
  6. dex22 macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2003
    Round Rock, TX
    You're *supposed* to pay it, but nobody does. Nobody. If you paid it, it would be so exceptional, the state peeps would think you were mocking them, and audit you or worse.

    It makes no sense to buy from Apple, when you buy the exact same product from Amazon with a substantial savings, and get the same warranty.
  7. sinstoic thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2007
    Any Amazon buyers here? Care to share some information? Thanks!
  8. jng macrumors 65816


    Apr 6, 2007
    Virtually all of your concerns are unfounded.

    OF COURSE you get your money through a mail in rebate. If they say so, then they have to by law. I've bought electronics through amazon (but not a computer) and have never had a problem before with rebates. Be smart and make photocopies and you're fine. You just have to wait.

    Re Shipping. It WON'T get lost. Chances are very slim and amazon is probably smart, will ship it with insurance or something. As long as you don't SIGN for it, you're not responsible if something happens en route. Having purchased computers online, all of mine have come in their boxes with just fedex or UPS stickers on them. So the box shouts HP! Apple! No idiot UPS driver is going to leave it on your porch even. And more likely than not, you'll need to sign for it - not your neighbor. YOU.
  9. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    I purchased a MacBook Pro from Amazon last summer. The lack of tax + the rebate made Amazon the least expensive option.

    I chose "1-day delivery", but because the credit card I used had never been used on Amazon.com before (and the MBP is a major purchase), they didn't ship it for 2 days until they had manually verified the charge with American Express.

    The MBP arrived, signature required, and was brand new. I ended up returning it a week later (wasn't happy with how hot it ran). Amazon paid for the return shipping and gave me a full refund. You should read their entire return policy before you order and understand their terms, though. Not all returns are penalty free.

    A month or so later, I bought a MacBook from Amazon. It arrived the next day (signature required -- they won't leave these on your doorstep) and was brand new. I had no problems getting the $150 rebate. Actually, the rebate was kind of cool because I didn't have to mail anything in -- just filled out a form on a website.

    I use Amazon almost weekly to pick something or another up. The very few times I've had problems, their customer service agents have bent over backwards to make it right.

    Also remember that if you pay with your credit card (not debit) and for some reason run into a problem with Amazon that Amazon doesn't want to work out, you can have your credit card company help you out with the issue.
  10. flyfish29 macrumors 68020


    Feb 4, 2003
    New HAMpshire
    Yes and No.

    There 1 reason companies offer rebates...to increase sales (they often mark it up as marketing expenses)

    there are two ways companies can afford to offer rebates
    1- most people never end up sending in for the rebate
    2- many people don't fill out the rebate information correctly, send it too late, don't copy, underline, circle the forms and UPC and receipts correctly

    Because of #1 companies can offer such great rebates...like when Staples says buy these pens for $7.99 and we will give you a rebate for $7.99. Obviously if everyone sent them in they would lose lots of money.

    Becuase of #2 above, many rebates never get sent. These are probably the same people that never realize they didn't receive the rebate anyway.

    I have always received my rebates from every company I use, but I am meticulous in my filling out of rebate forms, but I also don't bother with the ones that are only a few bucks. It has to be 10 bucks or more for me to bother.

    I say go for Amazon. I don't pay sales tax in NH (there is none) so I can't advise on CA taxes...

    I also think you should skip Apple Care. Wast of money in my opinion. But that discussion is for a different thread. Search the forums for hudreds of threads on Apple Care...both positive and negative. But my reasons are the same as for rebates...if it was such a great deal for the consumer then they wouldn't offer it. They make huge cash off warranty programs...huge cash...that is why they are pushed so much at retail!
  11. sinstoic thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2007
    Hmm! :) I am relieved now! Looking forward to order one through Amazon soon! Thanks for your help, it really helped!:apple:
  12. Eric5h5 macrumors 68020

    Dec 9, 2004
    When I bought my Power Mac, I sent in my rebate form to Amazon too late. However, there wasn't much I could do about that, because Apple had delays in shipping the machines, so it was physically impossible for me to make the deadline (since you also needed to mail the UPC). I contacted Amazon about that, and they still honored the rebate. No complaints here. The shipping wasn't as fast as it was supposed to be, but again that was the fault of UPS. The truck actually came more or less on time, but the driver was confused...he went past my house, and then turned around and went back up the street. By the time I realized what had happened, it was too late to go running after it. So I had to wait over the weekend...that was annoying.... ;)

  13. flyfish29 macrumors 68020


    Feb 4, 2003
    New HAMpshire
    Glad to hear they corrected it as it wasn't your fault the rebate was late. But I am speaking to the people who don't get it postmarked by the plan time.

    There is a reason so many rebates have very specific instructions to follow...more chances they can refuse it.
  14. theBB macrumors 68020


    Jan 3, 2006
    Your item no. 1 could be valid, but 2 was not a concern for me with Amazon, as I only had to fill in an online form to claim my rebate. No need for cutting a box or mailing.

    I was happy with my iMac purchase with Amazon and I used the free 7-10 days shipping option. You are supposed to pay an equivalent amount of sales tax as "use tax" when you are filing your taxes next year, but for some reason I don't know anybody who does. It seems like the state does not put much effort into enforcing it, but that does not mean they will not hit you with a fine a few years down the road.
  15. flyfish29 macrumors 68020


    Feb 4, 2003
    New HAMpshire
    I forgot to mention the other reason companies use rebates is to be able to put products on sale that they can't due to manufacturer guidelines. It is usually these instances that rebates are easy to do vs. the old fill out an original form, sign, circle products, original upc, fingerprints, dna sample, etc.:D
  16. Lord Flashheart macrumors regular

    Lord Flashheart

    Apr 10, 2007
    Cardiff by the Sea, CA
    I have purchased a lot of "small" items from Amazon. I have never had a problem. I have never bought a computer from them though. I would not hesitate to buy through them since I have never had any problems.
  17. jng macrumors 65816


    Apr 6, 2007
    And whose fault is it when someone can't fill out a rebate correctly? So Yes.

    Most rebates aren't misleading and like I said: make photocopies. If there is a problem (and there won't if one can follow directions) you can work it out with the company.

    Staples has an easy rebate system. They got all my info from my credit card once and all I had to was mail in a UPC with a pre-filled out form from the register.

  18. Squonk macrumors 65816


    Mar 15, 2005
    I just did a quick comparison with Amazon pricing and refurbished macs. When looking at the MB's, the net price for buying a refurb from :apple: and adding state sales tax (6% for me) is almost identical to purchasing a new one from Amazon - rebate and paying no tax.

    Hmmm, I think I'd probably still go the refurb route so that in the event there is a problem with the system, I'm dealing with Apple as opposed to Amazon. By problem I mean if the original product is not perfect.

  19. Benjamin Black macrumors member

    Mar 28, 2006
    Dalls, TX
    i've purchased two macs from amazon in the past year and would highly recommend them.

    a few tidbits.... there is no chance you'll receive a used or refurbished mbp through amazon. apple gives their refurbs a new serial # and generic packaging. the package you receive from amazon will be new, unsealed and in the retail box.

    the rebates are very easy to deal with at amazon. unlike many other vendors they offer the ability to process your rebate online. once you receive your mac, you will enter the invoice number from the packing slip at the rebate center on amazon and that's it. i received both checks around 30 days after filing online.
  20. jaw04005 macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    Just to add, Amazon now does the bulk of their rebate submissions online connected directly to their ordering system. This really cuts down on the hassle.
  21. naturallight macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2007
    Since Amazon is based in WA, and I live in WA, when I buy stuff from Amazon I have to pay sales tax. However, when people who are not in WA buy stuff from Amazon, Amazon doesn't make them pay sales tax.

    However, Apple is based in CA, and when I buy from their online store, it automatically calculates my state's sales tax and adds it to the total.

    Anyone know why this is?
  22. flyfish29 macrumors 68020


    Feb 4, 2003
    New HAMpshire
    It is because they have a retail store in WA. The unfortunate result of owning stores in many US states.
  23. mwp98223 macrumors 6502


    Apr 24, 2007
    Conway Washington
    Of course, if you live in WA state (as I do) Amazon charges tax and saves you nothing, except the rebate (which is less then the EDU discount from Apple)
  24. volntitan macrumors 6502

    May 4, 2005
  25. flyfish29 macrumors 68020


    Feb 4, 2003
    New HAMpshire
    nope...they often have rebates but no ed discounts

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