Thursday, February 12, 2009

Deceptive, Confusing or Am I Just a Dork? - Buying a 17" Macbook Pro

[cross-posted from my blog at]

I received my 17" Macbook Pro yesterday from Expercom! I was like a little kid when the FedEX guy arrived. Skipping up my driveway. "It's here, it's here."

The only problem was, I "thought" I was ordering the new "monoblock" 17" and what I got was the earlier model. No super battery, no unibody, and no potential to put in 8 gigs of ram. So I contacted ExperCom and they said, I could either 1. return the MacBook Pro for my $2,400 minus a 15% restocking charge; or 2. exchange the one I had for the new ones when they were expected to be shipping in 3 - 5 weeks! WOW!

So please, take a look a the screen grab below. Or visit the actual page and see if this was a simple mistake, a bait-and-switch scheme, or just a case of bad design.

expercom's 17" macbook pro sales page


Now I guess I should've known that the NEW MacBook Pro was a 2.66 mhz chip and not a 2.6 mhz! But I was even jumping back and fourth between this page and apple's site to make sure I got everything just right. I didn't.

On Apple's site, where ExperCom grabbed the 17" spash screen, I CAN'T buy the older version. So to get a old 17" MacBook Pro I'd have to go to Apple's refurbished area. But HERE on EXPERCOM I have the advertisement and then 8 computers that I assumed to all be monoblock 17" MacBook Pros, like the one in the picture ABOVE the listings.

And I think it's kind of deceptive to list the 4 ACTUAL NEW MacBook Pros as "Out of Stock" when they have never been "In Stock." If Apple has not shipped any 17" MacBook Pros then these should say "Preorder." But when I look at the page I see 8 MacBook Pros either "In Stock" or "Out of Stock," but they are all NEW MACBOOK PROs, or so I thought.

So ExperCom has given me the option of paying them over $300 for MY mistake, or waiting and swapping the machine whenever the new ones ship. I have requested instructions to return the unit for the swap, but I have not heard back from them. I suspect it is against the law for me to send them back the computer while they keep the money I authorized on my credit card. So we'll see.

Oh and one last bit. The computer shipped about an hour after I placed the order, so I can't fault ExperCom for being efficient. But when I got the initial email about the mistake, now about 22 hours ago, the main question was "is the box opened?" [Back in the day that was how retailers hooked you. If you opened the box the answer was, "We're sorry Sir, but we cannot sell the computer as new if the seal has been broken."]

So the shiny new old MacBook Pro sits in it's box by my front door. And I wait for ExperCom to respond now to my request for an RMA. And I know that shipping the unit back and reversing the charges on my credit card would put ExperCom at the disadvantage, not me... But I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt if they respond before the end of the day, which will be over 24 hours. After all I bought my last MacBook from them and had no problems.

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