ApplePurchaseProgram.com – For Real?

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Date: Friday, February 7th, 2003, 00:00
Category: Archive

Yesterday, I saw an “auction” on eBay listing all news Macs, laptops and towers alike, for HUGE savings. I checked out the “auction,” and thought it looked too good to be true.

Following the link, from eBay to http://www.applepurchaseprogram.com site provides you with not an “auction”, but a way to opt in on a group purchase of Apple hardware, by providing a US$250 “down payment” to reserve your machine. All the newest powerbooks and G4 towers were there, as well as displays, ipods, etc. The site looks very similar to the Apple Store.

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Yesterday, I saw an “auction” on eBay listing all news Macs, laptops and towers alike, for HUGE savings. I checked out the “auction,” and thought it looked too good to be true.

Following the link, from eBay to http://www.applepurchaseprogram.com site provides you with not an “auction”, but a way to opt in on a group purchase of Apple hardware, by providing a US$250 “down payment” to reserve your machine. All the newest powerbooks and G4 towers were there, as well as displays, ipods, etc. The site looks very similar to the Apple Store.

I must have lost consciousness, because the next think I knew, I had used my American Express card, through paypal, to drop $250 on a “reservation” for a new dual G4 1.42 tower, for $1598. Upon regaining full consciousness, I emailed Jason O’Grady and the powerpage staff to ask what they thought about this “deal”. While I was waiting for a response, I called the Apple Corporate, Sales, and Customer Relations divisions, and asked if they had heard of applepurchaseprogram.com, or the parent company, Marbella Technologies, Inc. / Marbella Software, Inc., in Orlando Florida. Apple had not, nor had received any previous purchase orders from any of these names mentioned.

After two instant message sessions with a “sales rep” from this “broker”, I was able to collect “information” from the IM sessions (provided by a link on their site) such as that Marbella has been around since 1992, and that this was the 2nd order they were doing for macs. I also searched google, yahoo and MSN for any of the holding company names. All I turned up was a single post on yahoo groups from someone who had ORDERED a machine from this outfit; there was nothing about receiving it. I did a whois lookup for Marbella and Applepurchaseprogram URLs. The “10-year-old” company has only had a domain registered since this past August, and applepurchaseprogram has only been reserved since 27 Jan.

I thought I was out $250.

I called applepurchaseprogram and Marbella, and was put directly into their respective voice mail. I left messages, of course.

Another call to Apple this morning, and I was told that Apple will not let its hardware be sold for those prices; they are even less than the developer prices, etc.

I received a response from Jason saying “This thing reeks of scam.”

After calling American Express, and finding out that since my payment through PayPal was accepted and processed, I would have to wait until the end of my current billing cycle to start an investigation. I called PayPal, explained to them that I was unsure about the validity of this seller, even though the individual, whose name appears on the whois listing, is PayPal (and ebay) ”certified”, that I wanted a refund. I was directed to fill out a claim through the PayPal Buyer Dispute form. I did so.

I then received email and a phone call from the owner of record of the above sites. After a brief and terse phone exchange, he agreed to refund my entire $250.

I was surprised.I was even more surprised when I saw my refund appear in my PayPal account, credited to my credit card, 20 minutes after the phone call.

Just a heads up: if it looks to good to be true, it MIGHT BE. I was lucky, and did not find out if it was too good, or if it was real, the “hard way”.

CAVEAT EMPTOR.

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