Ill-informed YouTuber bemoans Apple repair policies after breaking iMac Pro

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited April 18
A YouTube video is generating over a million views and myriad social media complaints about Apple "refusing" to fix an iMac Pro destroyed after taken apart for a video -- but the creators are short on specifics, and profoundly lacking an understanding of how the system works.

Taken from Linus Tech Tips video
Taken from Linus Tech Tips video "Apple refused to fix our iMac Pro"


The video starts by showing one employee of the YouTube channel appearing to mount the display while the iMac Pro is vertical, instead of being laid down flat, dropping the screen onto a screwdriver handle. It is claimed by the venue that Apple's support was contacted on January 30, with the Apple representative identified as Andrea offering to help, but advising up-front "typically if a Mac is taken apart by someone other than an authorized technician, we can typically no longer service the Mac."

At around the same time, the damaged iMac Pro was dropped off for repairs at "the local Apple store," the store staff apparently said they would order the parts and get everything running "in a jiffy." A few days later, the Apple Store sent an email to LTT, noting the repair was declined.

A conversation with Jesse, another Apple support staff member mentions "If they are unable to obtain the parts, they wouldn't be able to repair the iMac." The Apple Store later confirmed they couldn't fix it because "HQ wouldn't send the parts they ordered" according to the video presenter, and the only option was to collect it from the store untouched.

They were advised the only option was to try a third-party Apple Authorized Service Provider.

An update from the repair center advised they could order parts, but to approve the sale, they needed someone with Apple Pro certification, "and unfortunately, that doesn't exist yet." Furthermore, if they somehow got someone with the certification and were able to order the parts required, the third-party repair center could not risk losing their new certification by simply handing the parts over.

Yeah, the YouTubers had an "accident" as they said. But, it appears that they were more interested in generating revenue and having a laugh, rather than portraying any part of the repair process accurately.

iMac Pro without screen iFixit
iMac Pro without screen (iFixit)

Apple's terms of service

Apple reserves the right to refuse service on gear that has been modified by the user, or if there are signs of tampering with the equipment. This is an accountability issue, and sometimes a safety matter for the repair crew.

Speaking with Apple service staff, though, they reserve this clause for only the worst cases of obvious damage done to a machine by the user when attempting to do something. In this case, Linus Tech Tips destroyed their monitor, and possibly the motherboard as well, necessitating a repair of the two costliest hardware components of the machine.

The Apple store likely punted based on Linus Tech Tips bringing in what was essentially a box of parts, plus the clear damage caused by the disassembly and failure of reassembly.

This probably should have ended the process right here, but, it didn't. AppleInsider has contacted Apple for comment, and we haven't had an official statement regarding policies and the contentions made by the video yet -- but there are plenty of people who wanted to talk to us about it.

Service Providers have training available now

At one point in the video, after Apple itself suggested that the venue talk to a third-party shop, the group was told that training for the repair for the iMac Pro wasn't available. This is false, and likely used by the shop to dodge the repair. Training materials have been available since before the iMac Pro launched, with some components able to be ordered in January, with the rest ready in early March.

iMac Pro macOS

Bigger issue, is iMac Pro parts are in short supply

When Apple execs teased new professional level hardware, they said that previous Mac Pro purchases were in the "low single digits" by percentage of Mac units sold -- and AppleInsider has since learned that that percentage of the buyers has applied back to the genesis of the Intel tower line. There is no reason to believe that a machine starting at $4999 has any better adoption than the Mac Pro tower ever had.

This also means that proportionately, a lower spare part reserve is kept in reserve for the Pro-level gear.

Additionally, for authorized service centers, few if any parts are kept in stock. The remainder are ordered after the diagnostic process is complete, and shipped FedEx to the repair shop. The shop performs the repair, and must return the "core" failed part to Apple for examination, refurbishment and return to service stock, or both.

In the case of a warranty repair, Apple picks up the tab for the difference between the core price and the non-return price. Otherwise, the shop pays the bill, which is then passed to the customer. Core prices are often up to 75 percent the cost of the whole part, ordered new. So, part accountability is important, and apple has put prohibitions in place to prevent shops from selling directly to customers as a result of abuse in years gone by.

Shops selling parts to users is grounds for a loss in Apple authorized status -- which can be financially deadly.

It's just business...

It's great that the channel with over a million subscribers is offering to pay for the repairs -- because claiming any kind of manufacturer defect for the repair on it would be straight fraud. But, complaining that Apple wouldn't pave the way for the repair even at the channel's cost makes no sense, and demonstrates a clear lack of knowledge about not just Apple's repair terms and conditions, but how the service system works.

Given that a power supply didn't fix the issue, if just the screen and motherboard were shot, not including the processor, AppleInsider has been told that without labor, and with a core part exchange this is a $5200 repair out of warranty on the $4999 base model. There are about three hours of labor involved assuming absolute precision and the fastest technician ever, and at the conservative price of repair labor at $100 per hour for third parties, this turns into a $5500 repair, assuming the shop doesn't mark up any parts, and that there are no other parts or interconnects required beyond the bare minimum.

This is in no way a cost-effective repair -- which the video creators were likely fully aware of before they made their video about the process.

The video compares the incident to crashing a car into a street light, with the dealer and insurance company denying the repair because there aren't parts or repair manuals. The analogy is inappropriate, because an iMac Pro isn't a car, and this wasn't an incident generated by normal use.

Driving into a lamp post isn't the same as cracking open the engine block and breaking something, while explaining how internal combustion works to a rapt YouTube audience.
baconstangh2p
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 289
    No link to the video in question?
    pulseimagesjbdragonDCRMSpamSandwichThe_UltimateXkbreed1234[Deleted User]ClarityToSeeClarityToSeeaylk
  • Reply 2 of 289
    davendaven Posts: 472member
    I can see Apple's point of view. A customer takes apart their computer and wrecks it in the process. Other than the obvious breakage, you don't know what else is broken or compromised. If you fix the obvious and something else is broken or compromised and the problem doesn't show up until after it has been back in service for a while, the customer will blame Apple for not fixing it completely.
    jbdragonSpamSandwichtmayivanhbonobobRobPalmer9The_UltimateXpscooter63spaceraysflashfan207
  • Reply 3 of 289
    This can be a frustrating issue but it's not just an Apple issue.  These guys aren't asking for it to be repaired for free.  They admitted they broke it and they say they are offering to pay for the repair.  Several years ago I bought an LED television and mounted it on the wall.  The wall mount failed an the TV fell and broke.  Luckily I was able to use the insurance provided with my credit card that I used to purchase the television to replace it.  The crazy problem that I had was the insurance requirement for a repair estimate.  Nobody would give me an estimate.  They would say it's obviously been dropped.  I would agree and just ask for an estimate, which they would continue to refuse. 
    StrangeDaysbloggerblogelijahg[Deleted User]ClarityToSeerandominternetpersonaylkwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 289
    I see a cracked screen...

    How is it possible all the parts listed are actually damaged?

    Did it get hit by lightning?  It sounds like Apple didn’t have the parts or experience to make the repairs.

    Is the damage Apple’s fault?  Obviously not.  But the Apple Store should be able to send it somewhere to get fixed, and not for $5000+.

    This story is embarrassing for Apple...
    elijahg[Deleted User]williamlondonClarityToSeeaylkMorganEarp
  • Reply 5 of 289
    Mac Pro sales were in the "low single digits"? So they literally sold 3 or 4 of those devices? Channel wide? I find that hard to believe.
  • Reply 6 of 289
    jSnivelyjSnively Posts: 324administrator
    I see a cracked screen...

    How is it possible all the parts listed are actually damaged?

    Did it get hit by lightning?  It sounds like Apple didn’t have the parts or experience to make the repairs.

    Is the damage Apple’s fault?  Obviously not.  But the Apple Store should be able to send it somewhere to get fixed, and not for $5000+.

    This story is embarrassing for Apple...
    They present it as a simple cracked screen in the video, which is very misleading. If you watch the whole thing they very clearly state they need a new screen, motherboard, and PSU.

    strells said:
    No link to the video in question?
    We needed to acknowledge due to how popular the video has become, we do not, however, need to drive traffic.
    macseekerSpamSandwichfruitstandninjabaconstangpscooter63omar moralesgordyflashfan207jony0ronn
  • Reply 7 of 289
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 191member, editor
    I see a cracked screen...

    How is it possible all the parts listed are actually damaged?

    Did it get hit by lightning?  It sounds like Apple didn’t have the parts or experience to make the repairs.

    Is the damage Apple’s fault?  Obviously not.  But the Apple Store should be able to send it somewhere to get fixed, and not for $5000+.

    This story is embarrassing for Apple...
    They say in the video that it required a power supply, a motherboard, and the display. They really damaged it when putting it back together. They aren't at all disagreeing with what needs repaired, and are in fact the ones who confirm what parts were damaged.

    So two things. The third-party repair shop lied to get out of doing the repair because the repair certification has been available since before they asked, and the parts that were needed were available about a month or two after they went in to inquire about it. It sometimes takes a bit after launch for parts to make their way through the system and made available to stores and third-party repair shops.

    If they went in with the Pro today, chances are it would be able to be repaired. But remember, at this point, the only thing that is left without needing repair is basically a shell, some ram, and the SSD. The rest is shot and needing to be replaced. It would have been cheaper to buy a new one.

    The video is really just clickbait and hammed up for the camera.
    jbdragonbaconstangpscooter63aylkronnshamino
  • Reply 8 of 289
    mygigmygig Posts: 24member
    They wanted a screen replacement and in my opinion, they should be able to get that done by Apple, no matter how much they charge. I know they don't have do to it, because it's in their terms of service, but it shouldn't be, it's not the right thing to do. This Apple defense you wrote up, is pointless in my opinion. Always had Appleinsider in high regards, but how you tried to discredit them was not OK, lost quite a bit of points by me.
    edited April 18 [Deleted User]aylk
  • Reply 9 of 289
    DCRMDCRM Posts: 1member
    strells said:
    No link to the video in question?
    We needed to acknowledge due to how popular the video has become, we do not, however, need to drive traffic.
    Well that's a bizarre double-standard you've just implemented. After all, you're driving traffic to yourself over it, but not even acknowledging the source or linking to it? C'mon, that's not how a real media site operates - especially since you acknowledge it's popular.

    I'll be honest, I really enjoy your posts the vast majority of the time, it's great stuff, but this feels like it was written by an Apple employee. Lots of statements in here without any actual backing. Perhaps no more backing than Linus Tech Tips, but at least they provided e-mails.  For example you've made warranty claim numbers above - from where though?  Like it or not, you're a media site, not just a generic forum.  You need to at least specify if that source is Apple, a repair shop, or just your finger in the wind.

    But ultimately - none of it matters. It doesn't matter if they did the video purely for show: Apple should be able to give them a price to repair.  End of story.  The entire justification you tried to piece together doesn't hold water. It's a typical corporate sidestepping of the issue: A consumer just wants it fixed. It doesn't matter if it's a popular YouTuber or not.

    (Side note: Long time reader, first time poster. Happy to support you guys via BH Photo links and all.)
    spacerays[Deleted User]mazda 3swilliamlondontechnorandominternetpersonaylk
  • Reply 10 of 289
    "no matter how much they charge" - Fine. Then the charge is the price of a new computer. Now we have a price for "repair" can we all please move on?
    jbdragonjSnivelychasmbaconstangRayz2016ronnwlym
  • Reply 11 of 289
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 6,032member
    I see a cracked screen...

    How is it possible all the parts listed are actually damaged?

    Did it get hit by lightning?  It sounds like Apple didn’t have the parts or experience to make the repairs.

    Is the damage Apple’s fault?  Obviously not.  But the Apple Store should be able to send it somewhere to get fixed, and not for $5000+.

    This story is embarrassing for Apple...
    Did you read the article? Did you read the part about the cost of the damaged parts plus the labor being more than a replacement machine? If so, which parts of what you read do you not understand?

    if (repairCost > replacementCost)
    {
          ExplainToCustomer()
          DeclineRepair()
          StopWastingEveryonesTime()
    }
    edited April 18 radarthekatbaconstangpscooter63omar moraleswilliamlondonronnwatto_cobramacgui
  • Reply 12 of 289
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,719administrator
    Mac Pro sales were in the "low single digits"? So they literally sold 3 or 4 of those devices? Channel wide? I find that hard to believe.
    Unit percentage-wise. I'll clean it up a bit.
  • Reply 13 of 289
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 6,032member
    mygig said:
    They wanted a screen replacement and in my opinion, they should be able to get that done by Apple, no matter how much they charge. I know they don't have do to it, because it's in their terms of service, but it shouldn't be, it's not the right thing to do. This Apple defense you wrote up, is pointless in my opinion. Always had Appleinsider in high regards, but how you tried to discredit them was not OK, lost quite a bit of points by me.
    Why is explaining how the service model works and the facts that make this repair not worth it to “not OK”?
    baconstang
  • Reply 14 of 289
    "[P]revious Mac Pro purchases were in the 'low single digits'" — as a percentage of all Mac sales (which is more than believable; I'm amazed it ever exceeded 1%), or in millions of sales, or.... what?
  • Reply 15 of 289
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,719administrator
    mygig said:
    They wanted a screen replacement and in my opinion, they should be able to get that done by Apple, no matter how much they charge. I know they don't have do to it, because it's in their terms of service, but it shouldn't be, it's not the right thing to do. This Apple defense you wrote up, is pointless in my opinion. Always had Appleinsider in high regards, but how you tried to discredit them was not OK, lost quite a bit of points by me.
    Read the whole article. At the least, it's a motherboard and screen replacement. At the most, it needed a new power supply too in addition to the motherboard and screen.
    edited April 18 omar moraleswilliamlondonronn
  • Reply 16 of 289
    I see a cracked screen...

    How is it possible all the parts listed are actually damaged?

    Did it get hit by lightning?  It sounds like Apple didn’t have the parts or experience to make the repairs.

    Is the damage Apple’s fault?  Obviously not.  But the Apple Store should be able to send it somewhere to get fixed, and not for $5000+.

    This story is embarrassing for Apple...
    They say in the video that it required a power supply, a motherboard, and the display. They really damaged it when putting it back together. They aren't at all disagreeing with what needs repaired, and are in fact the ones who confirm what parts were damaged.

    So two things. The third-party repair shop lied to get out of doing the repair because the repair certification has been available since before they asked, and the parts that were needed were available about a month or two after they went in to inquire about it. It sometimes takes a bit after launch for parts to make their way through the system and made available to stores and third-party repair shops.

    If they went in with the Pro today, chances are it would be able to be repaired. But remember, at this point, the only thing that is left without needing repair is basically a shell, some ram, and the SSD. The rest is shot and needing to be replaced. It would have been cheaper to buy a new one.

    The video is really just clickbait and hammed up for the camera.
    I think the moral of the story is don’t buy an “all in one” iMac Pro from Apple.  Those parts shouldn’t have been more than $1500, unless they did something stupid and soldered the processor to the motherboard.

    If you buy a Pro machine, everything should be able to be swapped out: the CPU, GPU, drive, ram, etc. (no the CPU probably isn’t upgradable for a reasonable amount).

    The “can’t be upgraded” bit them in the ass.  This is a poor design for a Pro machine.
    spacerayswilliamlondongeekdad
  • Reply 17 of 289
    I see a cracked screen...

    How is it possible all the parts listed are actually damaged?

    Did it get hit by lightning?  It sounds like Apple didn’t have the parts or experience to make the repairs.

    Is the damage Apple’s fault?  Obviously not.  But the Apple Store should be able to send it somewhere to get fixed, and not for $5000+.

    This story is embarrassing for Apple...
    Oh, puh-lease. They only people who should be embarrassed are the yutzes who didn't know how to take proper care in reassembling the machine, and went ahead and tried anyway. The recent court ruling voiding "Don't you dare remove this label or your warranty will be voided" labels did not cover bozos breaking their own hardware.
    baconstangomar moralesronn
  • Reply 18 of 289
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,719administrator

    DCRM said:
    strells said:
    No link to the video in question?
    We needed to acknowledge due to how popular the video has become, we do not, however, need to drive traffic.
    Well that's a bizarre double-standard you've just implemented. After all, you're driving traffic to yourself over it, but not even acknowledging the source or linking to it? C'mon, that's not how a real media site operates - especially since you acknowledge it's popular.

    I'll be honest, I really enjoy your posts the vast majority of the time, it's great stuff, but this feels like it was written by an Apple employee. Lots of statements in here without any actual backing. Perhaps no more backing than Linus Tech Tips, but at least they provided e-mails.  For example you've made warranty claim numbers above - from where though?  Like it or not, you're a media site, not just a generic forum.  You need to at least specify if that source is Apple, a repair shop, or just your finger in the wind.

    But ultimately - none of it matters. It doesn't matter if they did the video purely for show: Apple should be able to give them a price to repair.  End of story.  The entire justification you tried to piece together doesn't hold water. It's a typical corporate sidestepping of the issue: A consumer just wants it fixed. It doesn't matter if it's a popular YouTuber or not.

    (Side note: Long time reader, first time poster. Happy to support you guys via BH Photo links and all.)
    I've worked in multiple repair shops. I know how the procedure works and verified it over the course of the day -- which is why we didn't publish this last night.

    The repair price estimated was the same at the three shops we called and have worked with in the past for many pieces -- none of which wanted to be named. Thus, the "AppleInsider has been told" part.

    I appreciate your point of view, and your readership. I've been on both sides of this counter. But, if a consumer brought me a box of parts and ask for a repair, I'd have told him to forget it back in the days of the Mac SE, the iMac DV, and in the tail-end of the 5,1 Mac Pro days.

    The customer is not always right.
    edited April 18 StrangeDaysthtjSnivelypscooter63spaceraysomar moralesClarityToSeeronnmacgui
  • Reply 19 of 289
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,903member
    You break what is a pretty new, costly computer to show it off to the world. Something Apple sure as hell doesn't recommend. This is the results. There just may not be a whole lot of spare parts in the supply chain at this point in time. After all, these things shouldn't be failing at all at this point. If something did, and you didn't take it apart, if it can't be fixed, Apple would replace the whole computer. That's all out the window when you pull it apart yourself and break the screen, Motherboard, and power supply. Down the line, spare parts will be available, but the only real option is just buying a whole new computer and this time don't take it apart.
    baconstangRayz2016ronn
  • Reply 20 of 289
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 6,032member
    I see a cracked screen...

    How is it possible all the parts listed are actually damaged?

    Did it get hit by lightning?  It sounds like Apple didn’t have the parts or experience to make the repairs.

    Is the damage Apple’s fault?  Obviously not.  But the Apple Store should be able to send it somewhere to get fixed, and not for $5000+.

    This story is embarrassing for Apple...
    They say in the video that it required a power supply, a motherboard, and the display. They really damaged it when putting it back together. They aren't at all disagreeing with what needs repaired, and are in fact the ones who confirm what parts were damaged.

    So two things. The third-party repair shop lied to get out of doing the repair because the repair certification has been available since before they asked, and the parts that were needed were available about a month or two after they went in to inquire about it. It sometimes takes a bit after launch for parts to make their way through the system and made available to stores and third-party repair shops.

    If they went in with the Pro today, chances are it would be able to be repaired. But remember, at this point, the only thing that is left without needing repair is basically a shell, some ram, and the SSD. The rest is shot and needing to be replaced. It would have been cheaper to buy a new one.

    The video is really just clickbait and hammed up for the camera.
    I think the moral of the story is don’t buy an “all in one” iMac Pro from Apple.  Those parts shouldn’t have been more than $1500, unless they did something stupid and soldered the processor to the motherboard.

    If you buy a Pro machine, everything should be able to be swapped out: the CPU, GPU, drive, ram, etc. (no the CPU probably isn’t upgradable for a reasonable amount).

    The “can’t be upgraded” bit them in the ass.  This is a poor design for a Pro machine.
    Ah look, he’s an armchair electrical engineer and armchair logistics expert too. Impressive. 
    baconstangomar moraleswilliamlondonjcs2305ronnmacgui
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