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Apple to reportedly launch paid chat support for out-of-warranty products

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
A report on Friday claims Apple will soon roll out a for-pay chat service to support those users who need help with products no longer covered by AppleCare protection plans.

Chat


Citing sources familiar with the project, 9to5Mac reports Apple will implement a new online chat payment system that would charge customers for live support in much the same way as the company's phone service operates.

Rumored to be coming as soon as next week, the system would would deviate from Apple's existing online chat service. Currently, users can be connected to a representative via Apple.com's Support webpage for no additional fee, even if the product in question is no longer covered by AppleCare.

As reported, the new system would essentially roll online chats into the same category as phone-based support, with customers able to pay a one-time fee for help regarding an out-of-warranty product. Users will be able to select a $19.99 "pay per incident" fee or purchase extended AppleCare protections. The change is said to affect chat support services worldwide.

In order to get the system up and running, Apple reportedly had to develop a new secure Web-based payments system that allows service representatives to charge customers within chats. With the payments method in place, customers will reportedly be able to expedite hardware repairs and replacements that usually require a credit card.

Apple first introduced live online chat support in August of 2013 as part of an AppleCare Support webpage redesign. Since then, the feature has been available for free.
post #2 of 26

I always use the old, my (out of support) device won't connect to my (not out of support) device approach.

 

(In the voice of Maxwell Smart.)

Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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post #3 of 26

Haven't they always done this for $19.99 per incident (plus S&H as required)? At least, in my case, they have for many years now.

post #4 of 26

will be interesting to see if this ends up being positive or negative.  I like the approach of having the customer say "no", instead of having the vendor saying "no".    I do this all the time at work.

 

scenario A: 

customer: Can you help me, I want you to do something for me which is not covered.

vendor: sorry, we can not.

customer: you guys are hanging me out to dry. will never buy another product from you ever again. Goodbye.

 

scenario B: 

customer: Can you help me, I want you to do something for me which is not covered.

vendor: yes, we would love to do that for you. It will be $19.

customer: ah.. on second thought. never mind. Goodbye.

"Building for the future?! They should be running around reacting to the present!" -John Moltz
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"Building for the future?! They should be running around reacting to the present!" -John Moltz
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post #5 of 26

So... an issue for a recently out of warranty device or computer will cost a person $20 per incident to talk to someone from Apple? As a shareholder, I'm a little concerned about this rather customer unfriendly policy.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post
 

So... an issue for a recently out of warranty device or computer will cost a person $20 per incident to talk to someone from Apple? As a shareholder, I'm a little concerned about this rather customer unfriendly policy.

Unfriendly?! I think it's fabulous, considering that the typical Apple product for which I pay many multiples in AppleCare charges upfront barely merits one or two calls in the first three years.

 

I think customers are going to love it. (Unless, of course, you were being sarcastic and I missed that). My worry, if anything, is that it might make people hang on to their Apple products for longer, thereby delaying revenue.

post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post
 

So... an issue for a recently out of warranty device or computer will cost a person $20 per incident to talk to someone from Apple? As a shareholder, I'm a little concerned about this rather customer unfriendly policy.

 

You're delusional. A single incident question was $195/hr for any Enterprise NeXT product. There was silver, gold and platinum options where $25k gave you a specific systems engineer to resolve major issues.

 

Best Buy's support is $195/incident.

 

$19.99 is dirt cheap.

post #8 of 26
What Would Steve Jobs Do???? (WWSJD)
post #9 of 26

As a shareholder you should realize that support costs money without a corresponding revenue stream which means that you can't continue to give free support indefinitely unless you want your share price to drop. This is actually good news for the consumer since it says, yes we will help you for $19 per incident which is very low.  Some customer support calls are around $100 per incident.  This amount would hardly cover the cost of me driving an Apple store and back for support which I may or may not receive.

 

As a shareholder, you should also enjoy the fact that this is another, albeit minor revenue stream.  Do you expect your car to be services forever with no cost to you if something goes wrong? No. You expect that after the warranty you will need to pay for labor and parts.  What Apple is saying is if you need to talk to someone after the warranty is up, you can still do it but it will cost money instead of not getting any support. Besides, by the time the warranty is up on your device, there are about 5 million web articles written about the problem you are having that you can read for free.

 

As a shareholder, you should recognize that Apple makes it's revenue from hardware and not software. This means that there is no residual income from a never-ending treadmill of software upgrade fees. This means that Apple would like to sell more hardware instead of supporting old hardware for free. From a purely business standpoint, you can see what they would prefer.

 

Again, $19 is peanuts and something I would very readily pay if it meant my problem would be solved.

post #10 of 26
Originally Posted by Kernal View Post
What Would Steve Jobs Do???? (WWSJD)

 

Not ask that question at all.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

You're delusional. A single incident question was $195/hr for any Enterprise NeXT product. There was silver, gold and platinum options where $25k gave you a specific systems engineer to resolve major issues.

Best Buy's support is $195/incident.

$19.99 is dirt cheap.

It's not delusional to see what the optics are on a decision that affects 100% of Apple product owners. On the face of it, it looks like fighting over nickels to make a penny. The idea behind the Genius Bar in Apple Stores is to assist customers, but the long game is to create customer love for the product and company, which has absolutely worked. I'm hoping this $20 per incident policy is a bit more flexible than it seems at first glance and that it is only implemented to dissuade "problem" customers who monopolize customer service personnel.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

It's not delusional to see what the optics are on a decision that affects 100% of Apple product owners. On the face of it, it looks like fighting over nickels to make a penny. The idea behind the Genius Bar in Apple Stores is to assist customers, but the long game is to create customer love for the product and company, which has absolutely worked. I'm hoping this $20 per incident policy is a bit more flexible than it seems at first glance and that it is only implemented to dissuade "problem" customers who monopolize customer service personnel.

I agree with SS here. Apple has a reputation for delighting customers with products that 'just work'. If for some reason it doesn't just work, then charging them $20 to get help to fix it themselves (which often ends up being the case) just pisses them off.
There is already enough resentment building because the huge stack of cash Apple has as ordinary people haven't had wage increases for years.

Apple have $150 billion and more every day under the current policy of not charging people for this support. I believe they should continue that policy.

I couldn't care less that another company charges $199 for support. I wouldn't buy from that company. Well, perhaps I would once, but that would be it.
..... the greatest fame comes from adding to human knowledge, not winning battles.
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..... the greatest fame comes from adding to human knowledge, not winning battles.
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post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by lostkiwi View Post

I agree with SS here. Apple has a reputation for delighting customers with products that 'just work'. If for some reason it doesn't just work (after three frickin' years), then charging them $20 to get help to fix it themselves (which often ends up being the case) just pisses them off.
There is already enough resentment building because the huge stack of cash Apple has as ordinary people haven't had wage increases for years.

Apple have $150 billion and more every day under the current policy of not charging people for this support. I believe they should continue that policy.

The amount of cash assets Apple has is of no factor in charging for customer support for out of warranty products. You seemed to have skimmed over that fact. Apple is NOT charging for customer support for products that are still under warranty, so I had to fix your little rant.

Customer support has a way of "delighting the customer," and I suspect they will continue to do so. Once when I called customer service with a small problem, they apologized for not being able to help me since the Airport was out of warranty, and then gave me $10 worth of iTunes credit. Apple is not dumb.
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"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post


The amount of cash assets Apple has is of no factor in charging for customer support for out of warranty products. You seemed to have skimmed over that fact. Apple is NOT charging for customer support for products that are still under warranty, so I had to fix your little rant.

Customer support has a way of "delighting the customer," and I suspect they will continue to do so. Once when I called customer service with a small problem, they apologized for not being able to help me since the Airport was out of warranty, and then gave me $10 worth of iTunes credit. Apple is not dumb.

Thank you for fixing my little rant.  Oh wait, actually thanks for being condescending.  My opinion is as valid as yours.

Many people feel that that this would be a nickel and dime move from one of the worlds most influential companies.  I, as an Apple fan don't want new or prospective Apple customers to feel this way.

 

Why on earth would Apple charge for customer support for products that are still under warranty.  In a lot of countries, one of the whole reasons to have a warranty is to get customer support.  If you are being charged for this, then it defeats the whole purpose.

 

I have had similar experiences with Apple Support and I have found them to be excellent to deal with as well.  I won't bore you with anecdotes.

But I stand by my assertion that it smarts a bit coughing up extra cash for support when Apple is rolling in cash.  You may feel that the two issues are separate, but I can assure you that other people do not.  We are talking about hearts and minds here.

..... the greatest fame comes from adding to human knowledge, not winning battles.
Paraphrased from Napolean Bonaparte, 1798
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..... the greatest fame comes from adding to human knowledge, not winning battles.
Paraphrased from Napolean Bonaparte, 1798
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post #15 of 26
This might encourage support being offered by others. Not a bad thing. It's likely that many users search the web with questions before talking to Apple, so Apple for many is a last resort.

That said, Apple has received much praise for being a customer friendly company. One thing might have been this free chat for support. If so, one should expect Apple to take a hit on its customer friendly rating.
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by lostkiwi View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post


The amount of cash assets Apple has is of no factor in charging for customer support for out of warranty products. You seemed to have skimmed over that fact. Apple is NOT charging for customer support for products that are still under warranty, so I had to fix your little rant.

Customer support has a way of "delighting the customer," and I suspect they will continue to do so. Once when I called customer service with a small problem, they apologized for not being able to help me since the Airport was out of warranty, and then gave me $10 worth of iTunes credit. Apple is not dumb.

Thank you for fixing my little rant.  Oh wait, actually thanks for being condescending.  My opinion is as valid as yours.

Many people feel that that this would be a nickel and dime move from one of the worlds most influential companies.  I, as an Apple fan don't want new or prospective Apple customers to feel this way.

 

Why on earth would Apple charge for customer support for products that are still under warranty.  In a lot of countries, one of the whole reasons to have a warranty is to get customer support.  If you are being charged for this, then it defeats the whole purpose.

 

I have had similar experiences with Apple Support and I have found them to be excellent to deal with as well.  I won't bore you with anecdotes.

But I stand by my assertion that it smarts a bit coughing up extra cash for support when Apple is rolling in cash.  You may feel that the two issues are separate, but I can assure you that other people do not.  We are talking about hearts and minds here.

 

Absolutely. I'll go further and say that while they are sitting on that enormous pile of cash they clearly should not alienate loyal customers by charging for any Apple products.

post #17 of 26
Toyota doesn't give me free advice or service for my out of warranty vehicle. Why should Apple?

Apple didn't promise lifetime product support.

And let's face it. A problem apple has is that their well designed products keep working or years. They have to hold back on services and security upgrades and such to encourage old customers to buy their new stuff.
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by lostkiwi View Post


There is already enough resentment building because the huge stack of cash Apple has as ordinary people haven't had wage increases for years.

What resentment? So now we are blaming Apple for not raising everyone's salary? Did Apple stop raises for its employees? I don't think so. The average Joes doesn't know or care how much Apple has in its horde.
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kernal View Post

What Would Steve Jobs Do???? (WWSJD)

We'll never know; he died in 2011.

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"If the young are not initiated into the village, they will burn it down just to feel its warmth."
- African proverb
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post #20 of 26

Apple really shouldn't nickle and dime people like this, they do enough of that in other ways already.

 

I recently had cause to contact Apple support about my MBPR freezing on several occasions - needing a hard reboot.  They initially tried to fob me off by saying my product was out of warranty, which is ridiculous, because the 'fault' was caused recently by that buggy Mavericks - which is more like OSs that Microsoft used to make.  In other words, Apple broke my product and there is no way I or anyone else should be expected to pay them to talk about it.

 

I reminded them of the EU mandated 2 year warranty and they relented and I was able to talk to someone, not that that lead to an satisfactory resolution of the problem.

 

I bought one of the first 13" Macbook uni-bodies.  All was fine until one day I went to install some software that came on dual-layer DVDs and it wouldn't read them.  It turned out Apple had installed optical drives that did not meet the stated spec as this was a widespread issue.  The nature of the fault was such that a user might not discover the problem within the warranty period.  This is a fault category that should be outside of any concept of time limited warranty and Apple should fix a problem like this at any time a user discovers it.

 

If Apple introduce a regime of charging people even to talk to them about a problem, customers will be forced into paying for service calls that should be free, as Apple is entirely to blame for these types of issues.

 

Contrast Apple's attitude to that of a Chinese company I had dealings with a couple days ago.  A fancy LED flashlight I bought 3 years ago failed.  The manufacturer generously offers a two year warranty on parts and labour - after that the customer only pays for parts!  When I contacted the manufacturer, I knew my flashlight was out of warranty and gave the correct date of purchase and serial number when they requested them and I enquired as to what the likely repair charge would be.  They replied that they usually didn't really charge for parts that failed and to just send them the light.

post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by 512ke View Post

Toyota doesn't give me free advice or service for my out of warranty vehicle. Why should Apple?

Apple didn't promise lifetime product support.

And let's face it. A problem apple has is that their well designed products keep working or years. They have to hold back on services and security upgrades and such to encourage old customers to buy their new stuff.

 

I don't know if you have noticed this but that 'problem' you mention is actually a feature well and truly paid for by the consumer and they have every right to expect longevity.  You make it sound like it's a generous Apple freebie.

 

I don't think there should be any time limit on security upgrades - well 10 years maybe.  If the door locks on your Toyota were under software control and an exploit was developed to render them ineffective at some point via say a phone app, do you think Toyota should not be morally obliged to provide a fix? 

post #22 of 26

Most companies that offer a fee to talk about the problem will refund that amount if it's found that the problem is their issue. I had this happen a few times when contacting Microsoft support on a development project.  However, I don't believe that a company should be expected to support a product indefinitely. 1 year, yes. Two years, yes. But at some point it's the responsibility of the consumer to agree that the product works to their specification.

 

I agree with you that a problem created by an operating system upgrade should be covered by a separate warranty, not under the warrantee of the hardware it's installed on. So in this case, they *should* offer help on Mavericks, but they shouldn't send you a new DVD drive since the hardware is out of warranty.

 

There's a BIG different between the cost of components of a Chinese-made flashlight and a Macbook Pro. I don't think that's something you can expect on all products.

post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by lostkiwi View Post
Apple have $150 billion and more every day under the current policy of not charging people for this support. I believe they should continue that policy.
Apple is not charging people for support. They've always provided support under warranty but if you're not under warranty, you were basically out of luck. What they're doing is extending support beyond the normal warranty period. You honestly can't expect a company to continue support indefinitely on a product.
post #24 of 26
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post
Apple really shouldn't nickle and dime people like this, they do enough of that in other ways already.

 

Come off it.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post
 

We'll never know; he died in 2011.

 

You could ask Judge Cote, she presumes to know.

Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post


What resentment? So now we are blaming Apple for not raising everyone's salary? Did Apple stop raises for its employees? I don't think so. The average Joes doesn't know or care how much Apple has in its horde.

Please don't reframe my argument like that.  I never blamed Apple for not raising everyone's salary or even mention the salaries that Apple pays it's employees.  I was speaking more broadly - certainly in my country the average person's wage has not kept up with increases in inflation for quite some time.  I have been told the same applies in America and that the middle class has been hit the hardest there, however I can't speak from Stateside experience.

 

The average Joe/Joanne (did you like that? :)) may or may not be aware of the size of Apples cash pile, but they are aware of the Apple cachet and that is what they are buying into in ever greater numbers.  It is also the reason for the maddening double standard we see when comparing Apple with lesser (Android) phones - they expect Apple to be better.  I certainly wouldn't expect any great support from a crappy BOGO free phone sporting Gingerbread.  But I (and many others) would expect Apple to go above and beyond the rest.  Thus, I believe my original post still stands - charging people $20 for support calls just seems cheap.  Of course a balance has to be made - I am not suggesting that someone should expect much help for an antique iPhone 3G for instance, but a least a 4S or perhaps even 4 could be reasonable.

..... the greatest fame comes from adding to human knowledge, not winning battles.
Paraphrased from Napolean Bonaparte, 1798
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..... the greatest fame comes from adding to human knowledge, not winning battles.
Paraphrased from Napolean Bonaparte, 1798
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