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.