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September 15, 2010

iPhone Goes to the Dogs

Overview-multitasking-20100610 Vermont's Small Dog Electronics has inked a very sweet deal with computer giant Apple — they can sell the iPhone.

Until a few week ago, only authorized Apple and AT&T stores were allowed to sell the phone.

Small Dog has been lobbying Apple officials for years to sell the phone.

Starting in early September, Small Dog began selling the phones in their stores in Waitsfield and South Burlington. Small Dog is opening a new store in Manchester, NH in October, and hopes to have them in stock and for sale there, too.

"It has been a long time coming, nearly five years from when we first learned that the iPhone would not be made available for Apple's independent resellers," Small Dog's Founder Don Mayer told Seven Days in an email. 

Mayer said he knows of only two other independent resellers who have been given the same deal as Small Dog.

"Working with AT&T and Apple I am very proud to be one of the very few independent resellers that now has the iPhone available," added Mayer. "This means a lot to Small Dog Electronics, not because we make a lot of money on selling the iPhone because we do not, but because we are committed to offering the complete Apple solution to our customers. Our customers never understood (and neither did we) why we didn't have the iPhone and now we can offer the complete solution."

Small Dog is fine but I'd rather have an Apple store close by to take care of warranty issues. Small Dog can't (or won't) which leaves a lot of Vermonters with few options when it comes to time for warranty repairs.

ONE_VERMONTER I disagree, they have a great (better then some Apple Stores I have been to) technical repair staff and 9 out of 10 warranty items that they have to send out would of been sent out by an Apple Store as well and are back in about 3-4 days. Be glad we can have the best of both worlds with a local business giving us global products.

I beg to differ with ONE_VERMONTER. I have had warranty work performed at Small Dog on more than one occasion and without any problems whatsoever.

I would rather keep my money local but it's been my experience that Small Dog falls short and makes it too hard to justify doing it. They don't compete on price, so you'd think they'd at least offer superior service to justify the full retail prices but they don't. Everything is an extra charge and I'm talking about things that every Apple Store does for free. (e.g. Migration assistance, diagnosis, support, etc)

Even though Apple is a huge corporation their customer service is more like what you'd expect from a small independent mom & pop local retailer. They strive to make their customers happy no matter what and I've found it much more personalized and caring. Yet, in my experience Small Dog acted more like Best Buy. They just want to move more product and don't care about you at all after the initial sale.

It's gotten to the point that it's less of a hassle (and more fun as I do other things as well) to just drive to an Apple Store in Boston for warranty service than to deal with Small Dog and their attitude which almost always practically screams, "well, where else you going to go...ha ha ha." Well, I for one stopped going to them and only deal with Apple directly now.

I do feel bad about it as I'd rather support a local business. They need to act less like a big box and focus more on customer service and building relationships with customers.

Glad to have a local option. I've run down to Albany when I absolutely couldn't wait - because I knew the Apple Store would (and did) swap out the iPhone I had if they couldn't get it working. However, I don't always have 6 or 7 hours to spare and zip down to Albany. I've been in Small Dog before, worked with them at prior employers who purchased Macs from them and really don't have a bad thing to say. Yes, they are a business, but they are far more knowledgeable and more helpful than Best Buy in my experience.

That's good news for their business. Well, they must deserve to have the chance to resell it after a long wait. Congratulations Dogs!

I just hope you'll cater the same customer technical support for the product like what Apple does or the warranty issue.

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