Monday, May 30, 2005

No Support From "Mac Support Store" (Updated 2X)



Have any readers received junk email from MacSupportStore?

I can't make up a good filter to filter their email directly to junk because of the keywords involved.

Each email is illegally solicited without an unsubscribe link at the bottom.

Today's email involved buying AppleCare without a box at a discount. I am not aware of such a reseller program.

Here is the page from the Mac Support Store website:

http://www.macsupportstore.com/showpages.asp?pid=1025

Usually a place that has to include a disclaimer like this on a page is scam:

"Apple products may only be purchased at an Authorized Apple Reseller Location. The Mac Support Store enables up to date anti-fraud safeguards, and will prosceute all fraudulent orders to the fullest extent of both national and international law. Additionally, we report any fraudulent activity to the FBI Internet Fraud Complaint Center at www.ifccfbi.gov."

Notices like these are usually given so as to give an appearance of integrity and a false security that the site is on the up and up. After all, why would a site be interested in fraud complaints that is a fraud themselves?

Also Apple products can be sold anywhere by anyone ... warranties are still valid if within warranty no matter who buys, sells, or posseses the unit.

And just a question, what the heck does this mean?

"The Mac Support Store enables up to date anti-fraud safeguards..."

Then there are MANY product descriptions that have grammar problems like this:



A couple other notes about Mac Support Store:

1) When I called, I was placed on hold, and never responded to - not once - but twice

2) As you can see in the first graphic - Mac Support store claims to be Apple Authorized - yet, I couldn't find them here

3) You can also see in the first graphic that pages do not render properly in Safari (they do render fine in Internet Explorer & Firefox) - but what Mac Store doesn't cater asthetically to Mac users?

4) The entire website is obviously created with an editor, yet the editor information has been removed (I looked at the source of some pages) - I would imagine the web site designer would be very displeased and the editting program always leaves a credit to the software used to create it.

Update:

In most comments sections to a Jeff Graber article, one sees this kind of conversation:


Mac Ghost

wow man you are on a roll. Once again pilfered info. Seems like you don’t mind taking credit for someone elses hard work.

http://www.applelinks.com/articles/2002/06/200206261301 47.shtml

Jul 26, 2004

jon

I think Mac Ghost has a good point here and by all appearances there seems to be a pattern developing. Please quote and/or recognize your sources. Even better, please write some orginal material.


If there's one thing I can't stand, it's copy cats! Only if a story is reported on every available news source do I think it's even remotely fair to use some wording - it's almost impossible to avoid. That's why I choose to editorialize most content here on Jackwhispers.

Update: It appears Jackwhispers has been somewhat successful with the expose of this site. NOT UNTIL this BLOG entry and story was posted did the site correct the typos pointed out and fix the Safari rendering issues. Note that MacSupportStore had been as it was for 3 months.

Now, that said, the following issues remain:

1) After speaking with Apple - it is NOT sanctioned to unbundle the TechTool CD OR to not send the buyer of AppleCare actual paperwork from the seller!

2) Any AppleCare purchased from an unauthorized reseller is invalid IF the reseller did not not send in the enrollment fees.

3) Mac Support Store sends unsolicited (and therefore illegal) emails without a way to unsubscribe to the service. This is against the Can SPAM Act.

4) Mac Support Store advertises free iChat support 24/7 with anyone - they have not been on iChat in the 3 months I have been monitoring them.

5) The site is run by Jeff Graber - google searches (as indicated above) paint a very shady past with this guy.

6) Macsimum News made a "press release" for the AppleCare Direct service as if it were revolutionary - Jeff Graber, owner of The Mac Support Store - is a writer for Macsimum News.

7) Not sure if the name The Mac Support Store is allowed under Apple rules:

The Mac Trademark

1. You may not use the Mac trademark standing alone except to denote or refer to the Apple Macintosh product line.

2. You may use "Mac" in your product name, company name, trade name, or service name provided your name satisfies the following criteria:

a. Your product is not a computer, computer system, or operating system software.

b. Your product is Mac compatible or the third party business is associated with Mac based computers.

c. "Mac" is used in combination with another non-generic word.

Acceptable: MacVenus MacCharlie

Not acceptable: MacCharleston MacSales

d. "Mac" does not appear more prominently than the rest of the name in size, color, or typeface.

e. Your name does not suggest a false association with Apple.

f. Your name is not confusingly similar to any trademark owned or used by Apple.

g. You acknowledge that Apple is the sole owner of the "Mac" trademark and that you will not interfere with Apple's use or registration of "Mac" alone or in combination with other words.


Very similar rules for naming with the term Apple also exist - so Mac Support Store couldn't name a product AppleCare Direct as they have.

...

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

They have a link on their web site pointing to their Apple Authorized Reseller entry at apple.com--but it's under their old name of "J.U.M.P.". Also there is a press release about their Apple Care Direct at Macsimum News. Since it's something they came up with themselves, you wouldn't expect to see it anywhere else, so you can't hold that against them. It would be interesting to know exactly how it works, and if Apple has anything to say about it.

At any rate, while they definitely seem to have some issues with professionalism, it seems a little premature to accuse them of fraudulence.

fixyourthinking said...

Thanks for the link to the Macsimum page, but read this:

The Mac Support Store, a Mac consulting-support company, has launched AppleCare Direct, an alternative to the AppleCare in a box program from Apple. It’s designed to be less expensive and faster than traditional AppleCare, according to Mac Support Store CEO Jeff Graber (who is also a contributing editor for Macsimum News).

A little bias and not really a press release is it?

Also, they are pitching this as AppleCare - this is NOT an Apple sponsored service!

If they are J.U.M.P. - then they should have changed that - The Mac Support Store has been as it is today and as pictured here in this BLOG for 3 months that I know of

Besides, none of this explains how they got my email address and why they have an illegally solicited advertisement because there is no unsubscribe.

I did sign up at Macsimum News to make comments though, so if I find my email was sold or used for marketing purposes I will take action.

Anonymous said...

Here's a post to one of Jeff Graber's articles at Macsimum News:


OK First you have to understand Jeff Graber to understand why he thinks this way and why he would write this. Only people who think about money think this way.

First Jeff owns a small 2 or 3 man Mac consultation company, He also runs a website on his own that resells Macs and Mac related equipment. He, like most other resellers are steadily loosing sales because it is getting harder to be able to stay competitive in the computer market as a whole. So he compares loss of sales to his store or how much harder he actually has to work in general as loss in sales for Apple as a whole. Changes to Apple’s Strategy has made it harder over the years to stay on as a authorized reseller and make a profit like in the past. Bad move for resellers, good move for Apple

While his consultant business probably has to also stay competitive and the shift in support based companies and the trend in the steady decline for the need of these companies probably has him in this doom and gloom mood. Seems like Jeff only thinks about money and nothing else. So when he does not make the millions he expects to make, he thinks it is the market and not maybe just himself. Hard to convince someone of the beauty of the Mac when all they are looking for is how to make money from it.
While I do see changes in the way Apple needs to market and change their business I do not see any less or any more changes in overall market share as a whole.

Those of us that have stayed loyal to the Mac over the years will still be here when people like Jeff have finished their raping and pillage. Hey maybe Jeff will decide to change his company structure and model and find another new market to exploit. Till then I will rename Jeff Graber to Chicken Little……. Watch out the MACS are falling… the MACS are falling

from Dec 2004

fixyourthinking said...

Wasn't J.U.M.P. that scam that gave you a discount if you joined a club?

Anonymous said...

There was a program at one time that allowed Apple Authorized Service Providers to sell you a 'non-boxed' AppleCare where they'd fill out a contract sheet for you, mail it to Apple / register it online for you, and then you'd receive a confirmation and the TechTool Deluxe CD in your mail. I believe, however, that Apple discontinued doing this and started making AASPs order the same retail AppleCare boxes that the Apple Store themselves are selling.

Anonymous said...

I'm interested in hearing Mac Support Store's response to these issues, if you're ever able to get through to them. Please let us know.

fixyourthinking said...

There was a program at one time that allowed Apple Authorized Service Providers to sell you a 'non-boxed' AppleCare where they'd fill out a contract sheet for you, mail it to Apple / register it online for you, and then you'd receive a confirmation and the TechTool Deluxe CD in your mail.

I am aware of this - however - one of the caveats of this program is that you do NOT receive the TechTool CD - sometimes - this is used by Apple Service Techs to fix a problem with a customer over the phone. 7 out of every 10 repairs are just software issues - and 6 out of those 7 are either user error related or third party hardware or software related. This is one reason why you have to go through the maddening Zap your PRAM, repair with disk utility, steps every time you call in to Apple for a repair request. For some time now, if they suspect a software error, they have been getting customers who purchased AppleCare to use the Techtool CD to try to fix the problem.

Besides, the discount off this service, even if legit is not equivalent to a missing Techtool CD - which program retails for >$100.00.

My guess, is, if this is LEGIT then they are selling the TechTool CDs either in bulk to a third party OR selling them on eBay themselves!

None of this answers the unsolicited email issue though.

I'm not calling them as a reporter but as a potential customer and they refuse to talk to me.

blogdog said...

They're never on iChat either as the website claims.

handymac said...

1) The TechTool CD ("TechTool Deluxe") that comes with AppleCare is not the full version of TechTool Pro, but a basic subset of that utility's features; it is not otherwise for sale, and is certainly not worth ~$100 (nor, I believe, is TechTool Pro; too many serious problem reports with OS X for me to trust it). It hasn't been updated in a long time, and is mostly useless, though I guess it'd be a problem if an AppleCare tech wanted you to use it and you didn't have it. If Apple were serious about including a utility with AppleCare, it'd be DiskWarrior. If Apple were really serious about maintenance/repair, they'd buy DiskWarrior and fold it into Disk Utility.

2) In any case, you can get the real AppleCare package for much less; for instance, a PriceGrabber search for "applecare ibook" finds a low price of $185 (and even an "open box" copy for $170). AppleCare is a kit in a box; doesn't matter where you buy it from, once you have it and register it you have coverage from Apple. I've bought a couple of AppleCare kits for clients from PriceGrabber low-price listings without any problem.

fixyourthinking said...

Regardless - TechTool does sell for >$100 and Apple Care CDs sell on eBay for upwards of $25.00

I know you can buy AppleCare from anyone while still under warranty, but Mac Support Store seems to be doing something shady here ... besides this still doesn't answer the question ... why won't THEY answer to this - why do the send ILLEGAL SOLICITATIONS - how did THEY get MY email address, why won't their site render properly in Safari - why don't they fix the numerous typos - do they REALLY think they have competitive prices - and last ... why aren't they a registered business with Apple - if they sell it to you as Mac Support Store and are NOT authorized by that name - the AppleCare is INVALID?

fixyourthinking said...

I have left Jeff Graber a personal voicemail message and asked that he comment here or send me an email with an explanation - I'm going to go with the " no comment = to guilt " defense here.