Apple's US dealer channels are suing the company, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

US dealers are upset by Apple's attempts to attract customers to its retail and online Mac outlets. The report indicates dealers are also upset by Apple's service and billing systems.

Macadam is one of the largest Mac outlets in the country. Owner Tom Santos has filed a multi-million dollar suit against Apple, accusing it of fraud, breach of contract, unfair competition, false advertising and even violation of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

Other dealers are also mounting suits, these include Mach Tech Systems and Computer International. Elite Computers will file its suit later this month.

Apple has refused to comment on the legal actions.

The company has been moving to a new distribution system for Macs, and this depends less on independent dealers. The company has been pushing its online Apple Store, its retail chain, and direct sales forces - and dealers feel left out in the cold, observers claim.

Apple says the moves are to attract Windows switchers and increase the visibility of the platform, and not to take business from its dealers. But Santos claims Apple's own outlets enjoy preferential shipments of new models, as well as special discounts and promotions which are not available elsewhere.

The report contains further details of the evidence fielded by the litigating parties in the case, including taped telephone calls with Apple's sales team. In this conversation, a female operative purportedly said: "You gotta beware when you go to a reseller."

Santos also cites quality-control and accounting problems faced from Apple over service parts and invoices for after sales work conducted by dealers. "I have documents proving that they mis-billed us in more than 1,000 cases, " he said.