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macbook pro amazon

I’ve had conversations with my non-photographer, Mac-loving friends like this:

Them: “You should get a Mac.”
Me: “Why?”
Them: “Because you’re a photographer, and all photographers use Macs.”
Me: “But Lightroom works fine on Windows.”
Them: “Yes, but it’s better on a Mac, because Mac.”
Me: *launches into engineer mode to explain software vs OS*

I’ve always been a staunch supporter of Windows systems. Why not Windows, really.
Windows gets the job done.
All I’ve needed have always been Adobe Creative Suite, Google Chrome and Microsoft Office, and they run smoothly either on either OS.
(There’s Linux, but all I’ve ever used it for was Wireshark. I do like the penguin, though.)

All of that changed when I’ve seen firsthand how sluggish Windows 8 and 10 are, and since the image sizes of my full-frame camera is double compared to the one from my old D90, there is no way I can get any job done on Windows.
Mac is now a serious contender.
The hardware on my current Windows laptop was starting to fail, and with clients’ jobs on the line, I needed a new laptop ASAP.

After spending weeks of inundating friends with a million questions research and budgeting, I’ve decided on the 15″ Macbook Pro with Retina.

A brand new model costs an eye-watering RM8,499, which is almost three times the average salary here.
I’ve set myself onto a mission to search for a refurbished-but-looks-brand-new for half the price.
Ridiculous challenges are fun, you guys!

I’ve finally found THE ONE on Amazon for $939.99 (~RM4,100), and the deal was just too good to pass up on.
No noticeable scratches, dents nor cracks.
Battery cycle count under 100.
16GB RAM with 256GB flash storage!
Did I mention the 10% cashback?
Confidently, I used ShopBack during checkout, and on 23 May, the seller FedEx-ed it to ShopBack’s forwarding address in New York which arrived within the week.
All Amazon orders via ShopBack requires you to use ShopBack’s forwarding address, which is a shame because I have my own personal account with the same forwarding company.
I forwarded my delivery address to ShopBack as per their instructions, and waited.
And waited.
And waited.

Long story short, this was the process of importing my Macbook Pro from Amazon:

  • Amended my delivery address in Amazon to the New York address listed in ShopBack’s Amazon page. The seller FedEx-ed my laptop the next day.
  • ShopBack uses Aramex’s Shop and Ship mail forwarding service, of which I have my own personal forwarding account. Like all mail forwarding services, Shop and Ship will save the seller’s tracking number (FedEx, in my case) and weigh my parcel before confirming my final courier fee from NYC to KL.
  • As my laptop is sent to ShopBack’s Shop and Ship address, I have no way of logging into their account to track my parcel from NYC to KL.
  • Calling Aramex everyday to track my parcel, and receiving a different answer each time: they are Aramex, not FedEx, so please call FedEx to track FedEx tracking numbers; they can’t trace my laptop; it’s still in New York; it’s already in Malaysian Customs; please obtain SIRIM approval; my laptop will be delivered to me tomorrow; oh no wait, it’s actually still stuck in Customs; they don’t know how much my courier fee is; Aramex does not deliver ShopBack orders, so please collect it at the former’s office.
  • Contacting ShopBack to confirm that they indeed have received my shipping address and phone number. Aramex still does not have my delivery address and contact number, and have been contacting ShopBack instead (screenshot below). No messages were relayed to me.

After ShopBack’s escalated my case to Aramex, the latter’s Customs Clearance team (finally) called to inform me that they have been trying to contact the buyer of this laptop for the past week.
“Hello? Did you buy a laptop that is arriving from JFK?”
“Omg yes!”
They have been calling a 017 number (I assume that this is the one registered with ShopBack’s Shop and Ship account) that went unanswered, while my number is actually a 014.

My Macbook is subject to 6% GST and will require a SIRIM approval as I was importing a wireless device. The Customs Clearance forwarded me the necessary and pre-filled (thank goodness!) airway bill, SIRIM K1 form, and the email address of the SIRIM officer to forward them to.

SIRIM was top-notch here. Everything was done via email (even more forms, copy of IC, Amazon invoice, my Macbook’s technical specs), and although they did overlook my application (yes, I called to check), I received my SIRIM approval in 2 days instead of the usual 24 hours. Isn’t that impressive?
The approval was immediately sent to the Customs Clearance team, who immediately proceeded to claim my laptop from Customs.
My SIRIM approval cost me an additional RM106 (including GST).

After two long weeks in Customs, my laptop was finally cleared on 14 June.
I’m just glad that Customs didn’t auction off my unclaimed Macbook Pro.

Here’s a breakdown of the final cost:

  • Macbook Pro: ~RM4100
  • NYC-KL courier fee: RM135 (Super cheap! Paid to Aramex)
  • GST: ~RM240 (Paid to Aramex, who had paid Customs on my behalf)
  • Total: ~RM4500

I do have to note that my Amazon purchase did not qualify for ShopBack’s 10% cashback for some reason (they did advertise that I could receive 10% cashback for ANY product from Amazon), which I hoped could help pay off the GST and SIRIM fee.
They did, however, credit RM75 as a token.

Will I continue to use ShopBack and Aramex’s Shop and Ship again?
Absolutely! I’ve used them again to purchase new heavily-discounted laptop sleeves for my Macbook Pro from eBay, but using my own Shop and Ship account this time.

Did I get a good deal on my Macbook Pro from Amazon even after all the delays, hassle and extra charges?
Yes, and I would recommend getting refurbished Macs over brand new ones. E-Waste is a serious concern, you guys.
My mid-2012 Retina Macbook Pro came with documentation from IBM, and looks exactly like the ones currently on display in stores.
Refurbished trumps drumpfs brand new!

In fact, my friends who have seen my Macbook were amazed that it is actually a refurbished model at almost half the price of a brand new one. The battery still runs for 7 hours on a full charge!

I’ve been using my Macbook for a month, and I’m happy to report that it works perfectly just like a brand new model.
Update: I’m still using the same MacBook as of January 2021, although I did get its battery replaced in December 2020.

If you have any questions on purchasing items online, feel free to ask away in the comments below, and I’ll try my best to answer them!

* This post was written by invitation from ShopBack. All opinions and user experience are entirely my own.