Writing for the San Francisco Chronicle , Henry Norr says that Apple is being sued by some independent dealers who claim that the company is showing its own retail stores preferential treatment.
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Chief among the litigants is San Francisco-area reseller Macadam and its owner Tom Santos. Santos’ complaints include, among other things, allegations that Apple has violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) act. Bend, Ore.-based Mac reseller Mac Tech Systems and Los Angeles-based Computer International have apparently filed similar lawsuits as well. What’s more, Cupertino’s own Elite Computers & Software isn’t far behind, according to Norr.
Macadam’s Santos claims that Apple has been “cheating” his company and “screwing” its customers for years. Santos told the Chronicle that Apple provides its own stores with access to new Mac models, discounts and promotions that aren’t available to independent resellers. He also claims to have evidence of more than 1,000 examples of Apple misbilling his dealership for various parts and services. Santos said the problems that have plagued Macadam have been going on for at least seven years.
Santos also claims to have a recording of a telephone conversation in which an Apple direct-sales representative made disparaging comments about Apple Specialists — a tier of Apple resellers to which his own company belongs. Mac Tech Systems’ owner, Jack Kohler, said he’s heard similar stories from his own clients.
Apple declined to comment for the Chronicle story.