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Apple now charging for some online chat support, rates cheaper than phone support

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
Apple has begun rolling out changes to its online chat support service that will require some customers to pay a per-incident fee, though the new policies could result in lower costs for those who might otherwise dial the company's telephone support line.

AppleCare Chat


After entering their device's serial number in Apple's support portal, customers whose AppleCare coverage has lapsed are now notified that they may be asked to pay a new $19 fee during the chat session. Support staff have been given flexibility in deciding when to levy the tariff, however, and consumers with quick queries -- such as "how can I change the time display format" -- are not likely to incur any charges.

Users can also ask that the fee be waived in advance if their issue falls into one of a few predefined categories, including "I recently purchased Mac OS X" and "I recently purchased Apple branded software, and I'm having issues using it with this computer."

One Apple support representative told AppleInsider that incidents which do require payment will be covered for 30 days, both online and via phone. That means customers can begin a case online and then continue to receive support for the same problem over the phone without paying any additional fees, saving as much as $30 compared to AppleCare's current per-incident telephone charges.

Apple introduced the live chat service as part of a larger online support overhaul last August, and reports that it would soon transition to a fee-based option began to surface in late February. The company is said to have developed a new, proprietary payment method specifically for the live chat that will also allow customers to fast-track hardware repairs and replacements that usually require a credit card.
post #2 of 30

Apple should consider going to free support, this is just petty.

post #3 of 30
Sounds pretty good! We've been Apple customers for three decades, and our new Macs and iDevices have been running flawlessly for a long time. But it's good to know about this new type of support.

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Daniel Swanson

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post #4 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomhayes View Post

Apple should consider going to free support, this is just petty.

With more than half-billion* customers giving away technical support for all products for all customers regardless of how old the product is would probably not end well. However, I do think it could be in Apple's best interest to extend technical support to 1 year from their current 90 days without AppleCare.

* assumption

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post #5 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomhayes View Post

Apple should consider going to free support, this is just petty.

Why should they support out of warranty products for free? Good customer serivice cost a lot of money. You do understand we are not just talking about people calling in months after their warranty expired, but rather years? Like folks with iPhone 3GS, iPad 1, pre-unibody Macs or anything older than three years old.

If anything, Apple should extend their warranty to three years on everything for free, which include this support for free. After that, you should pay up.
post #6 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


With more than half-billion* customers giving away technical support for all products for all customers regardless of how old the product is would probably not end well. However, I do think it could be in Apple's best interest to extend technical support to 1 year from their current 90 days without AppleCare.

* assumption

Yes, I always thought this was BS. If Apple really wants to stand behind its products, it should be a complete 1yr warranty. 

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post #7 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


With more than half-billion* customers giving away technical support for all products for all customers regardless of how old the product is would probably not end well. However, I do think it could be in Apple's best interest to extend technical support to 1 year from their current 90 days without AppleCare.

* assumption

Yes, often it takes 90 days to get properly up an running. Specially for someone new to Apple. It is stingy at best for a company that prides itself above all on the customer experience.

 

On a different note - I just had some dealings with iTunes support due to some iTunes Match / Apple ID issues. What a terrible experience! Like so often happens with online support I got several longwinded emails pointing out the importance for the support staff to see my problem resolved (all auto generated bullshit) and no matter how many times I explained the issue which really was not all that complicated it was very obvious that my emails were not read, and definitely not understood. Very un-Apple like and very disappointing. 

post #8 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomhayes View Post
 

Apple should consider going to free support, this is just petty.

 

Nope. It’s a good source of income. The ones who need to be spoon fed everything should pay through the nose. You see it big time on the Apple discussion boards. One of these types asks a question and gets pissed when shown the Apple support document explaining what to do. Nope, they want to be told, step-by-step, what to do and even then they can’t follow instructions. Knowledge is power… and money in the bank.

post #9 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

Nope. It’s a good source of income. The ones who need to be spoon fed everything should pay through the nose. You see it big time on the Apple discussion boards. One of these types asks a question and gets pissed when shown the Apple support document explaining what to do. Nope, they want to be told, step-by-step, what to do and even then they can’t follow instructions. Knowledge is power… and money in the bank.

This is why it wouldn't be good to be free forever. Too much abuse by lazy people. Some people want you to do everything until you mention there is a cost and then all of a sudden they seem to be able to figure it out themselves. I assume most of us here have experienced this phenomenon.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #10 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


This is why it wouldn't be good to be free forever. Too much abuse by lazy people. Some people want you to do everything until you mention there is a cost and then all of a sudden they seem to be able to figure it out themselves. I assume most of us here have experienced this phenomenon.

Yes, both ways. I have been frustrated by tedious crappy intransigent support and on the other hand I have been trapped in a seemingly endless cycle of trying to help someone who as time goes on I have grown to intensely dislike due to their frustrating lack of ability and technical ineptitude. Support is hugely time consuming and must be one of the most frustrating jobs on earth. When you consider phone support people usually cannot see the screen they are trying to support and have to deal with click happy incompetent and often semi incoherent pissed off clients it is probably a wonder they are as good as they usually are.  

post #11 of 30

If somebody needs support and they aren't covered by any warranty, then they should pay up.

 

With hundreds of millions of customers, there is bound to be a certain percentage of knuckleheads out there, and if these knuckleheads aren't covered by any warranty, then they must pay.

 

In the decades that I've owned Apple devices, I've never once called them for any support. Anything that you need and more can be found online.

 

And if somebody is totally clueless about computers, then they should simply get Applecare.

 

I approve of this move by Apple. 

post #12 of 30

You may be asked. Keep a close eye on that language, guys.

Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #13 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post
 

Yes, both ways. I have been frustrated by tedious crappy intransigent support and on the other hand I have been trapped in a seemingly endless cycle of trying to help someone who as time goes on I have grown to intensely dislike due to their frustrating lack of ability and technical ineptitude. Support is hugely time consuming and must be one of the most frustrating jobs on earth. When you consider phone support people usually cannot see the screen they are trying to support and have to deal with click happy incompetent and often semi incoherent pissed off clients it is probably a wonder they are as good as they usually are.  

 

I get what you're saying but you're probably not in the right line of work if that's frustrating to you. I do this all day long and am very happy about it. Gives me a chance to practice speaking many dialects ranging from English to tech-ese. Those who need a little more help I just repeat what I need them to do and then simply give them a few seconds of silence. Give them a moment to get on the same page as you. I mean, they're all productive adults who want to see the resolution quickly, correctly.

 

That said, I don't see the harm in charging beyond the free support period. It's stated right up front. Free support can be abused and when you pay for something you might be more inclined to value it.

post #14 of 30
The cost for out of warranty support is not really because of profit, but for deterrence. Just think of the number of the non-warrantied Apple devices out there that Apple would have to support for "free". The cost of maintaining a call center to handle that volume of users would be huge. Charging a small out-of-warranty fee to use the chat or phone support forces end users with the older equipment to make sure they exhaust all options (discussion boards, Google) before turning to Apple for help. This is one of the reasons that AppleCare is a great value. And the fee to chat or talk isn't horrible.
post #15 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddawson100 View Post
 

 

I get what you're saying but you're probably not in the right line of work if that's frustrating to you. I do this all day long and am very happy about it. Gives me a chance to practice speaking many dialects ranging from English to tech-ese. Those who need a little more help I just repeat what I need them to do and then simply give them a few seconds of silence. Give them a moment to get on the same page as you. I mean, they're all productive adults who want to see the resolution quickly, correctly.

 

That said, I don't see the harm in charging beyond the free support period. It's stated right up front. Free support can be abused and when you pay for something you might be more inclined to value it.

Yeah, you are right, of course. I am not in that line of work and I take my hat off to you. I  imagine the trick is to slow things down, and make sure people don't get ahead of themselves and start clicking frantically. :) 

post #16 of 30

Asking for support is asking to be lazy, and stupid?? (Well, after 91 days, before 91 days it's okay, I guess.)

 

Good source of income? Apple gets PLENTY of income, and I know some of it is because they offer support. This will test that, because 91 days into buying your $199 iPod i'll cost you 10% of the device cost to ask a question about it.

 

If Apple upped the 90 day phone support limit to 1 year, then after 1 year charged it'd be a more reasonable (but not optimal) strategy in my opinion.

 

In the past I honestly thought the slight higher cost for some Apple products was because of both added margin AND cost towards future support - like a built-in extended warranty. 

 

Time will tell if this is good business or not , but it seems like a step in the wrong direction.

post #17 of 30
The cost for the tech support through chat for a pay per incident, is the exact same as the phone support ($19 in the US). 1smile.gif
post #18 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


With more than half-billion* customers giving away technical support for all products for all customers regardless of how old the product is would probably not end well. However, I do think it could be in Apple's best interest to extend technical support to 1 year from their current 90 days without AppleCare.

* assumption

 

Agreed.

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post #19 of 30
I came from the time apple gave lifetime customer service. Ok, so that ended.

I have thought it was horrible that I don't need support for many things, it would be nice that I would get phone support for AT LEAST 90 days. Meaning I buy on January 1st, since I have had apples for a long time I don't need too much support, and then I run into an issue 6 months down the line let me call in.

90 days of phone support form the first moment you actually call in for support.

How many issue are you going to have. This way you still offer the 90 days, but also actually offer support. What you have now does not accomplish this.
post #20 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

If somebody needs support and they aren't covered by any warranty, then they should pay up.

With hundreds of millions of customers, there is bound to be a certain percentage of knuckleheads out there, and if these knuckleheads aren't covered by any warranty, then they must pay.

In the decades that I've owned Apple devices, I've never once called them for any support. Anything that you need and more can be found online.

And if somebody is totally clueless about computers, then they should simply get Applecare.

I approve of this move by Apple. 

But I thought all Apple owners are of higher intelligence, and Apple devices are über easy to use.
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post #21 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

With more than half-billion* customers giving away technical support for all products for all customers regardless of how old the product is would probably not end well. However, I do think it could be in Apple's best interest to extend technical support to 1 year from their current 90 days without AppleCare.

* assumption

I quite like that idea. And offer a three year AppleCare for the iPad, five year for the Mac. Keep the iPhone at two years.
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post #22 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

Yes, often it takes 90 days to get properly up an running. Specially for someone new to Apple. It is stingy at best for a company that prides itself above all on the customer experience.

On a different note - I just had some dealings with iTunes support due to some iTunes Match / Apple ID issues. What a terrible experience! Like so often happens with online support I got several longwinded emails pointing out the importance for the support staff to see my problem resolved (all auto generated bullshit) and no matter how many times I explained the issue which really was not all that complicated it was very obvious that my emails were not read, and definitely not understood. Very un-Apple like and very disappointing. 

Can I help? I know a thing or two about iTunes Match.
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post #23 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


But I thought all Apple owners are of higher intelligence, and Apple devices are über easy to use.

While it's true that Apple users in general are more likely to be smarter, better educated and more talented than others, like Android users for example,  there will of course always be a few bad Apples to be found. That is to be expected when there are hundreds of millions of users.

 

And Apple devices are easy to use, are you claiming otherwise?

post #24 of 30
Good point, it should be a lot easier to set up screen sharing than it currently is. Especially if the person at the other end has a router blocking incoming connections, hasn't turned on screen sharing, etc...
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

Yes, both ways. I have been frustrated by tedious crappy intransigent support and on the other hand I have been trapped in a seemingly endless cycle of trying to help someone who as time goes on I have grown to intensely dislike due to their frustrating lack of ability and technical ineptitude. Support is hugely time consuming and must be one of the most frustrating jobs on earth. When you consider phone support people usually cannot see the screen they are trying to support and have to deal with click happy incompetent and often semi incoherent pissed off clients it is probably a wonder they are as good as they usually are.  
post #25 of 30
This is a bad idea. If your product is in warranty, then support should be free. It really is as simple as that...
post #26 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by aussiepaul View Post

This is a bad idea. If your product is in warranty, then support should be free. It really is as simple as that...

I believe this only applies to out of warranty.

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post #27 of 30
Hmmm , I don't know what to make of this.

As a Mac user for more than 2 decades, I can only think of once where I called Apple. It was issues with an HP 5500 printer I bought with a Mac in 2003 at the local Apple Store, OSX 10.2 or 10.3

Apple tech support was useless, and they directed me to HP, who couldn't solve the problem after an hour on the phone. At least HP called me back the next day and said they couldn't solve the problem after several hours of testing.

What was this big problem? 10.2 or 10.3 and the HP 5500 drivers couldn't even print a photo centered vertically and horizontally on a 8.5x11 paper. WOW.



Another issue is the Genius Bar and some of the floor sales people.

I found (via Macintouch) a KB article where Apple told retail to replace white and black MacBook palm rests and lower casing for cracks within 3 years, even without extended AppleCare. The genius could not find anything related, so I gave Hine the KB article #, then they promptly fixed 2 MacBooks within 2 hours.. Why couldn't they find that KB article?

Even worse, one of the floor or one to one guys told my 70 year old mother to use a blank admin password. How stupid!

To top off stupidity:
The senior (age, skill, and the boss) law partner at my friends firm took a dead MBP to the local Apple store. Apple claimed it was dead, they couldn't fix it, and convinced him to buy a new MBP retina. My friend brought me the dead MBP, we swapped the drive for an SSD, put the old drive in a USB Dock. We could access the old data and the SSD works fine in the same MBP. Apple pissed of a loyal customer by not spending the 10 minutes that I spent to figure out everything still worked.

Sorry for the rant, but since I biased with computer knowledge,, I think most Apple support sucks.
post #28 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

While it's true that Apple users in general are more likely to be smarter, better educated and more talented than others, like Android users for example,  there will of course always be a few bad Apples to be found. That is to be expected when there are hundreds of millions of users.

And Apple devices are easy to use, are you claiming otherwise?

Whilst I liked your honest and accurate portrayal of Apple users, I enjoyed your reference to those who upset the applecart especially.
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post #29 of 30
This is great! Have been suggesting paid, quick chat support to Apple for years - over a decade, in fact - and it seems I was (of course) not the only one on both sides on the Apple-Customers border to think that's a good idea.

What's some 20 bucks compared to searching the web for hours, browsing forums, trying to resolve an irritating issue yourself... when in a hurry.

Being able to just log in with an Apple ID, paying $20 (or even more in order to get past queues), would be faster, but sure, one can look up some serial numbers, too.

Now, let's test if it really works (or if one just gets young adults who quote manuals like parrots).
post #30 of 30
Originally Posted by aussiepaul View Post
This is a bad idea. If your product is in warranty, then support should be free. It really is as simple as that...
After entering their device’s serial number in Apple’s support portal, customers whose AppleCare coverage has lapsed are now notified that they may be asked to pay a new $19 fee during the chat session

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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