The MacBook Pro Saga

For the impatient, Bish (a chap at work), has helpfully provided the following edited form of the saga:

“So basically: you ordered a MacBook Pro from Apple, and they’re going to deliver it.”

The rest of you can read on.
I ordered a 15″ MacBook Pro on March 3rd, as follows (screenshot of order confirmation screen):

Order confirmation picture

It seemed to me to cost enough; particularly given that price is after the Apple employee purchase discount (I’m not employed by Apple – their employee purchase program is available to employees of other companies by arrangement).

On March 9th, I received an email with the following (anonymised) content:

Dear (redacted),

I left a voice mail message earlier today on (redacted).

I wished to speak with you regarding a pricing error that arose on our store website on 3rd March 2009.
If you wish, I can call back to discuss this issue at a time suits you.

The MacBook Pro you ordered was incorrectly quoted as £1,380.00 (incl VAT). This error has now been corrected.

The actual price of this machine with the customisation you chose is £1,869.90( incl VAT)

The difference due too be paid to Apple is £489.90.

I do apologise for any inconvenience caused and would like to forward you a case for your MBP as a gesture of goodwill.

(the model I can send you is “Incase Nylon Sleeve with Handles for 15″ MacBook Pro” , please review this on our store website and let me know if you wish me to go ahead with that.)

I look forward to hearing from you,

Kind regards

(redacted)

Apple Sales International

Directors: Cathy Kearney (Irish), Gary Wipfler, Jae Allen, Peter Oppenheimer and Timothy Cook (United States of America).

I emailed the following response from my phone, hence the lack of some precision as the order details were on my laptop:

Hi (redacted),

I’ve never seen either of those prices until now: I was quoted £1707 and some change. I used the apple employee purchase programme via Reward Gateway. I am eligible because I work for IBM at their Hursley Lab.

Please call me on (redacted) if this is not sufficient clarification of the situation.

My response was acknowledged in an email which doesn’t add to the story. Yesterday, March 10th, I was called on the number I had provided and was told the correct price after applicable discounts for the MacBook Pro I had ordered was £1869.90. I was asked to pay the “missing” £162.15. I (truthfully) replied that this was not an option: I had a budget and had specced the MacBook Pro to be the best I could fit within that budget; I couldn’t pay an extra 162.15 because that’s money I don’t have.

This morning, March 11th, I got the following email:

Dear (redacted),
Thank you for taking my call yesterday.

Further to our conversation, the error in pricing on our store showed your goods valued at £1707.75 (This error has been corrected)
The correct order price of your order is £1869.90.
This is a difference in price of £162.15 and is due to be paid.

If you choose to go ahead with this order at the full price, I can organise a goodwill gesture of £82.15 (roughly half of the price difference) to be credited back to your Master card account as soon as the order reaches you.
(The transfer takes 3 to 5 banking days).

Your extra outlay will then in effect be £80.00 to free this order to production.

I am sorry this situation has been inconvenient for you.

Please have a think about this and let me know how you wish to proceed.

I commit to helping in any way I can.

Kind regards

(redacted)

Apple Sales International

Directors: Cathy Kearney (Irish), Gary Wipfler, Jae Allen, Peter Oppenheimer and Timothy Cook (United States of America).

My response to this was:

(redacted),

That is not acceptable. I expect better from Apple, which is why my partner and I already own last year’s model Mac Mini, last year’s model 17″ MacBook Pro, a time capsule, 4 iPods, 2 iPhone 3Gs, and a MobileMe Family pack between us. If you’re telling me that Apple are no longer able to keep their business commitments in a professional way I will transfer my business to someone else.

Attached is a PDF of my order confirmation screen which I printed out. I expect to receive the goods detailed on that page within the date range specified on that page and to pay the price specified on that page.

This farce has already occupied more than an hour of my valuable time; to whom can I send my bill?

If further discussion is needed I expect a phone call from someone who has the authority within Apple to make the decisions necessary to sort this out.

I’m sure you will be pleased to hear that this is the most interesting non-confidential thing to happen to me this week and will therefore feature on my blog and in my podcast at the weekend. I trust that I will know whether there is to be a happy ending or not by then.

Their response to this missive took several hours to come back:

Dear (redacted),

Thank you for your email.

I have just met with management and explained your position.
They agreed that an exception can be made here and that you should be allowed to pay the original price of £1707.95
Please confirm your agreement to this and I will set that in motion as quickly as possible.

Kind regards

(redacted)

Apple Sales International

Directors: Cathy Kearney (Irish), Gary Wipfler, Jae Allen, Peter Oppenheimer and Timothy Cook (United States of America).

I have since confirmed that I am still happy to pay the original price of £1707.75 and they have confirmed that this will happen. Since this post has got quite long, and is thus far objective, I think I shall stop here and start a new one for my thoughts on all this.

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