bitguru blog

a guru of bits, or just a bit player?

computer trouble, part 1

Posted by bitguru on November 29, 2007

I’ve been using my Powerbook G4 for three years now. Its power supply is on its last legs. I figured it was time to replace it with one of the MacBooks Apple released earlier this month.

At first I bought one at my local Apple store on black friday. It was on sale for about $100 off, but I had second thoughts and returned it unopened later that day. At MacMall the price (after rebate) was slightly cheaper, there were more free-after-rebate goodies, and I wouldn’t have to pay sales tax. MacMall’s web site was on the fritz black friday, so after trying for a couple of hours I eventually placed my order with a guy named Nathan via telephone.

My credit card company’s fraud detectors weren’t happy about this, and left a message to that effect on my answering machine. Ah, that must be why I hadn’t yet received the email invoice. I called the credit card company and cleared that up, but I was advised to call MacMall to rerun the charge. I called MacMall many times between 9:00pm and 3:00am that evening, listening to the hold music while doing other things in the house, but never got through to an actual person.

Saturday morning I called MacMall, got through, and was transferred to someone who reran the credit card charge. I even got the email invoice. One problem: the price of the MacBook was supposed to be $1237 (not including the $75 rebate) but was listed at $1294 on the email invoice, $57 too high. I sent Nathan an email about this, but then took a harder look at the email invoice:

$1294.00 MacBook (was supposed to be $1237, not including $75 rebate)
$0039.99 Shoulder case (free after rebate)
$0069.99 Printer (free after 2 rebates)
$0079.99 Parallels software (free after 2 rebates)
$0024.99 USB keyboard (not including $15 rebate)
– – – – – – – –
$1451.96 Subtotal (MacMall can’t add. This is $57 off.)
$0037.51 Shipping (free after rebate)
– – – – – – – –
$1489.47 Grand Total

Ok, I suppose they can add. They just added the $1237 the MacBook was supposed to be instead of the $1294 the invoice lists. For sure this is a crazy way to make an invoice, but I can live with it so long as the grand total is correct. Since $1489.47 is the amount I authorized Nathan to charge, I sent him a followup email saying he should ignore the first one.

UPS delivered the packages on wednesday. I pulled out the invoice and it looked just like the email invoice except this time they added correctly:

$1508.96 Subtotal (sum is correct, but reflects a $57 overcharge on the MacBook)
$0037.51 Shipping
– – – – – – – –
$1546.47 Grand Total  ($57 more than I agreed to pay)

I checked with the credit card company this is indeed the amount they actually charged. Argh. I sent Nathan another email. He agreed that the grand total should be $1489.47 and asked me to fax him the disagreeing invoice. I did fax him a copy but I have yet to hear anything back. I guess it’s time to shoot off another email.

Meanwhile, none of the 8 rebate forms came in the box. I had to find them all on MacMall’s web site. They made it easy to find the first four, which was a good start. The next three were harder, requiring that I navigate to the individual product pages and click around a bit. The final one was nowhere to be found, as the product page for the shoulder case had vanished from the site. After another message to Nathan, he was able to send me the form as an email attachment.

It turns out that three of the eight rebate forms (for the printer, shoulder case, and keyboard) require that I send the original receipt, which is clearly impossible. I’m not sure yet how I’m going to deal with that one, but I suppose more email to Nathan is likely in the cards.

Some of these rebates have tight deadlines. I can see how customer attrition makes money for these companies that do marketing with rebates.

There’s plenty more computer trouble after I actually unbox the equipment, but that will have to wait for part 2.

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3 Responses to “computer trouble, part 1”

  1. Alan Cole said

    Any attractive rebates being offered on Minny-Mack ?

  2. Nathan said

    MAC-MINI 2.0 $769 after rebates.

  3. […] I ended up severely corrupting the old mac’s hard drive. […]

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