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31 December 2007 @ 04:45 pm
I've been using Macs all my life, and have been interacting with Apple support to get repairs for just as long. And it's mostly been positive experiences. However, my latest experience with them has been pretty terrible.

Last Thursday (Dec 27), while I was at work, my Macbook stopped working. Dead. Doesn't power on, no signs of life. So, I called AppleCare, around 8:10PM EST (5:10PM PST). The recorded message nicely told me that they closed at 6PM Pacific, and that I should call back another time. Great start.

So I call back Friday, and of course they're extremely busy, it being right after Christmas. I'm told there will be around a 60minute hold time. And of course I'd have to wait for a box before sending it in anyways. So I hung up and made a reservation at the Apple Store Genius Bar nearby, instead, to expedite matters.

So I take my laptop to the Genius Bar. They examine it briefly, determine that it's dead, are want to send it off for repairs. I ask if I can take the hard drive out first. After all, I reason, the machine doesn't boot at all, and the hard drive is trivial to remove on a MacBook, wouldn't it make sense for me to just keep it so I don't have to worry about the data? The Genius hems and haws a bit, and then goes into the back to ask someone else. When he comes back, he says "okay, if you know how to remove it." I do, so I did. And they take away my laptop.

Today, when I proactively check the repair status webpage, I see:

Step 1 - Request Product received by repair center (31-Dec-2007)
Step 2 - Service On hold - Need information (31-Dec-2007)

"Need Information", what kind of information could they possibly need? And why don't they just call me: they took down my phone number!

So I call AppleCare. And wait on hold. Fortunately, this time it's only 15 minutes. The Product Specialist says "it says it requires a re-quote, I don't know what that means." So he calls the repair center. After being on hold for another few minutes, the repair center answers.

"Your machine has an unauthorized hard drive in it." Wow, news to me, because I sent it without a hard drive at all! Did the Apple Store put in an unauthorized hard drive for me? "Oh, no, it has no hard drive. We can't repair it like this." I go on to repeat that I was informed it should be okay. I wonder aloud why they need a hard drive in the machine to fix it so that it can power on. We go back and forth a bit before I get transferred to a "Liaison" (after another 10 minutes on hold). She also informs me that they couldn't *possibly* touch the machine unless it has an apple authorized hard drive present, no way, no how. So I reluctantly agree to have my laptop shipped back to me, unrepaired.

Knowing something about the way these things work, I think to inquire if I can use the same box to ship it back to them again, or if she can also send me an empty box. The Liason answers that of course I'll need a new empty box box, but that she can't do that: I need to talk to a Product Specialist again, to set up a new Dispatch to get a return-shipping box. And Product Specialists have a 15-20 minute hold time. And I've been on the phone with them for 60 minutes already. Sigh.

So, anyhow, I'm now sans-laptop for an extra week or two. Wonderful.
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
(Anonymous) on March 11th, 2008 07:30 pm (UTC)
I found your article by googling "AppleDoesntCare" while trying to find a catchy domain name for a possible anti-applecare podcast.

Just about every single problem I've ever had with AppleCare, I've been treated like crap and am usually just told I should go into an Apple Store for help. True I live in New York City and live six subway stops from a 24 hour AppleCare store -- but I know that is rare in this country and that many states only have about one store if any! I always argue "What if I lived in Northern Wisconsin", as my family does! Would that be their advice? That I gear up the car for a 200 mile, 4 hour road trip so I can get to an AppleCare store, make an appointment in the store for help at the Genius Bar, and then wait around for help?

The AppleCare store here in NY is frequently overbooked and often one must make an appointment for the following day (or wait until midnight when the calendar resets and i could make one right away again at the 24 hour store.)

Keep in mind, I was never told "Make an appointment online FIRST and THEN go to the Apple Store". You see, I'm a pretty smart guy. It's why every time I deal with Apple, I still have to find my own solution when I get off the phone, after being told by Apple something can't be fixed. And yet I always fix it! Apparently I should work for AppleCare as I do in fact care ENOUGH to find solutions to problems!!! So if I just hung up and as they said, went right to the "nearest" Apple Store, would I have to get a hotel and stay in the city overnight if I could not get in to see a "Genius" that day???

I have told Apple on more than one occasion that "I wish I could just be STUPID!!! Then I could go through life as a stupid person and call up AppleCare and just let them LEAD me to a solution..." You see, I always imagine my mom, who is not a computer minded person and would have to be walked through everything step by step. It scares me that for her, an answer would not be possible even with Apple helping her out. They'd turn her away, and turn her further off to the idea of computers!

At any rate -- seriously thinking of making a blog or a podcast to chronicle every single interaction I have with Apple from this day forward so that EVERYONE can share in this little exchanges that otherwise get lost and buried, and never MANAGE to touch Apple's overall appearance or reputation in public opinion.