This article is from the Macintosh for sale FAQ, by Elliotte Rusty Harold email@example.com with numerous contributions by others.
Many mail-order dealers advertise in the back pages of MacUser
and MacWorld. One that has to date seemed reasonably honest and
reliable is MacFriends (1-800-331-1322). However their prices are
not necessarily better than what you could get from an authorized
dealer. Don't automatically assume mail-order prices are better.
In many cases they're not.
Some Performa dealers like Staples (1-800-333-3330) will sell
their Performa configurations over the phone. MacMall (1-800-222-2808)
and J&R Computer World (1-800-221-8180) are two regular dealers
that are authorized to sell non-Performa CPU's over the phone.
There are several steps you should take to protect yourself
when buying Macs through the mail. First pay by credit card even
if there's a surcharge for using a credit card. You should verify
that the card will not be charged until the computer is shipped. If
there is a problem with the shipment or if it fails to arrive, you
can contact the credit card company to dispute the charge. This is
a good idea even if you have had numerous good experiences with the
company previously. Jasmine Technologies, a primarily mail order
company, had an excellent reputation for fast, dependable service;
but when it went bankrupt in 1990, many people who had paid in
advance by check for hard drives were stranded without either a
drive or their money. Those who had paid by credit card were able
to get the charges removed by their credit card companies.
Secondly ask a few questions before purchasing a Mac by mail.
Keep a written record of who you talked to including time, dates
and what was said. Some good questions are:
* Is the equipment brand new?
* Is the box factory-sealed?
* Does it come with an Apple warranty?
* Does it come with an Apple registration card?
* Does it have a valid serial number?
* What is your return policy?
You may also want to verify with a local authorized dealer that the
offered configuration is indeed one Apple manufactures.