Miserable Support/Repair Experience

in General Discussion edited January 2014
My iMac bit the dust yesterday. No worries, I purchased the extended AppleCare support so my repair should be free of charge (only 1 year into the 3 years).

I waited at the local Apple Store for 2.5 hours, despite the automated 'check-in' kiosk claiming that I would only have to wait 15 minutes.

The 'Genius' tried to power on my iMac and discovered what I already knew, it wouldn't boot or power on normally. He promptly said that it was likely a low-voltage issue related to the fact that the power in Florida (due to the recent hurricane) can fluctuate. The Logic Board was likely going to need replacement. He also noted that this would not be covered by AppleCare if it were determined to be caused by low voltage, and that it would likely cost me $750 to repair.

Apparently, a Monster (brand) computer surge protector does nothing for "low-voltage" (at least according to the genius). I should've had another device to prevent this problem, and since I did not...TOUGH COOKIES.

Nowhere during purchase, nor in Apple's product manuals etc. does it require or even recommend such a device.

Conveniently there is really no way that I know to conclusively determine the cause of the issue. So, Apple can say it's may fault and I have to eat the cost of repairs...

I own:

Dual 1.8 Ghz G5 PowerMac

17" G4 1Ghz iMac

12" G4 1Ghz PowerBook

14" G3 600Mhz iBook

An old 400Mhz G3 Powerbook

2 40GB iPods

Airport Express

2 iSight Cameras etc.

I have been responsible for the 'switch' of 4 households, each of which purchased iMacs, iPods, Airport base stations, etc. at my urging.

I've also turned about 5 co-workers on to the iPod.

In my direct purchases and indirect 'marketing' of Apple products, I've calculated well over $100,000 in hardware and software sales for them in just over a year.

If they try to charge me for this repair, that will be the end of my advocacy.

What's the point of extended warranty if they can easily claim that the problem is a result of "poor power" or some other magical problem that they can't be responsible for? Nevermind that the 4 other computers in my house didn't have a problem, nor any of my MANY other electronic devices.

Sorry, I'm just a little PO'd right now. Needed to vent.


  • Reply 1 of 10
    ...which is why i always buy from frys.

    i find the apple stores to be really arrogant & tend to treat

    their customers really shabbily

    you paid for a machine & you are well within your rights

    for it to be covered under support

    ..unfortunately as long as the macheads bend over apple will

    steamroll them

    however their 15% restock & constant skirting of issues is really

    begining to piss people off & at some point i would expect a few

    class action lawsuits to be filed against apple

    ....which would be a shame as they have nice products & being

    nice to their userbase would only iincrease their sales.

    heres hoping they get their heads out of their asses &

    do the right thing.
  • Reply 2 of 10
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Funny, I and my wife have had nothing but great support from the local Apple Store.

    Her iBook had the funky mobo problem (that Apple finally just did a recall on, plain and simple, but long after hers was fixed). The repair center screwed up fifteen ways from Sunday, but the local Genius kept fighting for her, and in the end her laptop was repaired correctly, *AND* she got $200 towards an iPod.

    Get another Genius, and complain about that one, formally and officially. If that fails, call Apple directly and register your complaint, *AND* do the repair through them. AppleCare is AppleCare.

    In any case, keep bein' squeaky.
  • Reply 3 of 10

    Originally posted by Sport73

    Apparently, a Monster (brand) computer surge protector does nothing for "low-voltage" (at least according to the genius). I should've had another device to prevent this problem, and since I did not...TOUGH COOKIES.

    to be fair, the applecare fine print DOES mention that power-related damage is not covered by the warranty.
  • Reply 4 of 10
    I don't think your local Genius makes the decision whether or not you pay for a repair, so ignore his comments. Here's my suggestion:

    1. Don't do anything until Apple gets back to you with their diagnosis and cost estimate. If they say they'll cover it, you don't have a problem and they'll still be nice to you next time you're in their store.

    2. If Apple says they don't want to cover the repair, call AppleCare from your home (don't get ticked off in the store). Be very polite, even if it kills you. Tell them you have four other Macs, etc. (i.e., you're a great, loyal customer); you bought AppleCare because you know Apple has the best service; you don't abuse your equipment and none of your other Macs has any problem.

    3. If the rep you speak with still won't see things your way, ask to speak to a supervisor. Again, be polite even if you have to bite through the phone receiver to do so. The customer relationship management software used by Apple (and everyone else) lets the customer service reps add comments. If you're a jerk or hostile, that will be entered and nobody will make an effort to help you.

    4. Keep escalating and keep being polite. If, ultimately, Apple refuses to satisfy you (even though I suspect you'll end up being covered at no charge), check with your homeowner's or renter's insurance to see if they'll cover it. Mention that you have insurance with Apple and your own insurance company may go to bat for you since they'd rather that Apple paid for this problem.

    5. If that doesn't work, try your local major newspaper or TV station's consumer reporters. They can often handle problems like this with a single phone call since large companies don't like their service issues publicized.

    6. Buy an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), not a surge protector. You can get a reasonable one from APS or Belkin for under US $50 on sale, and they're well worth the investment.
  • Reply 5 of 10
    ebbyebby Posts: 3,110member
    I know exactly what you mean. I have had problems with the last 3 apple products (all under warrantee) where Apple did not want to repair the broken part without charging me.

    One time (my Pismo) the headphone port broke 11 months after I bought it and they wanted $250 to replace it because they thought it was mistreated and not covered under warrantee. I fought it and it turns out that the port was just dirty. They replaced it and it has been working fine for the past 3 years.

    My iPod was the next culprit. It started misbehaving in January but got worse month after month. My warrantee was running out so I shipped it to apple. I packed a nice description of what was happening and what I tried to do to fix it. A week later it came back reformatted but all the problems were still there with a note saying nothing was wrong. I demonstrated the problem to an Apple store employee and had to send it in again. But I didn't have to pay shipping the second time.

    My third was a problem with my G5 where some wires shorted out with the hard drive. This was not covered under warrantee because, it turns out, adding cards/hard drives/ram voids some of what is covered in the warrantee. Even though I removed my second hard drive and didn't touch the primary drive. The wire is cheap to replace, but the way apple sells parts is that you have to buy an entire gutted G5 case ($200+) in order to get the tiny wire. Oh yea, plus labour.

    Although I am still a mac advocate, I have a harder and harder time recommending Apple products. Dells may use windows, but at least they have great Tech support. I know, because we have Dells in the family too.

    EDIT: Oh yea, surge protectors protect from an increase in power. A drop in power can be just as bad for refrigerators but I didn't think for computers. I think my G5 will go into a semi-sleep state at low voltage to conserve power. I think there is some nifty technology somewhere in there.
  • Reply 6 of 10
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    They have no way of knowing if you have low voltage or not. So they will pay. It's that simple.
  • Reply 7 of 10
    definitely, if the store won't do it, calling apple support will They don't know what they can't see
  • Reply 8 of 10
    Thanks for the comments and support everyone!

    I'm waiting to hear back from Apple on Monday regarding the repair and culpability for the problem.

    I'll fight and win because I can be a polite, but relentless SOB.

    I'm most disappointed by the 2 hour wait, followed immediately by an "it's your fault, we won't cover it" attitude from the genius. A little more respect for my time, and a few minutes of sympathy: "let's see what we can do to help you out" would've gone a long way.

    Obviously, I'm a Mac-fan of substantial proportions, I don't want this experience to taint my feelings toward the company. While I am a self-admitted lemming to the whims of Steve Jobs, I believe that Apple's biggest single asset (and reason for survival) is its rabid base of fans. They should take care not to squander the loyalty, passion, and enthusiasm of their most avid supporters or risk losing the one thing that REALLY separates them from Dell etc.
  • Reply 9 of 10
    Just to fill everyone in...

    Either the Genius reads these boards, Apple customer support (whom I e-mailed from the store just regarding the 2 hour wait, and who responded in kind with a request to call me for more feedback) sent a message to the store, OR someone just decided to be really nice to me as a frequent customer...

    I got a call at 5:00PM yesterday, only ONE day after I brought it in saying that it was fixed and ready to pick up. The Genius had told me not to expect a diagnosis until Monday, let alone a fix, so I was blown away and assumed that maybe the problem was more minor.

    I got to the store, and a Sales person got my computer from the back and took it over to the Genius bar, where the very same genius from the night before was assisting other customers. She asked him if they needed to do anything with my Mac, and he responded "just turn it on and show him it works".

    I'm not overly sensitive, but he didn't look at me and seemed generally annoyed. I commented to him that I was surprised not only by the fix but that there was no discussion about my Applecare coverage...Again, he more or less ignored me before finally saying "Well, now you'll shop here all the time, right?". "I replaced the Logic Board and Power Supply; it was an under-volt problem, but I fixed it at no charge".

    He also said: "It's good to make friends with your local service person". I agreed. I left the store (after purchasing the ADC Power backup to protect from another problem like this) happy to be back up and running.

    The whole experience was odd; good, but odd. I fear that my feedback through Apple's support website trickled back to the store and lit a fire, but maybe I'm imagining things. It also dawned on me that it may be that they pull up your 'profile' and can see the products you have registered (which as I mentioned, for me, includes just about everything) and perhaps determine your service level based upon that...???

    Glad to be back up and running, and just want to say that Apple MORE THAN DID THE RIGHT THING for this customer. A terrible initial experience turned out to be VERY positive.
  • Reply 10 of 10
    bergzbergz Posts: 1,045member
    I received my 300 mHz tangerine ibook in '99 here in Spain in one of the 1st shipments. Within a month and a half the screen went black. I called all the Apple Support numbers I could find, in Europe and stateside, and was told by everyone that it would cost me ?600 and I'd have to send it to the Netherlands, the only authorized site in all of Europe for the new model.


    But after calling relentlessly and looking around on the internet I found an alternate apple support phone number, called it, and was told that there was an Apple Authorized graphic design company that could do the job WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE of my apartment in a pueblo on the outskirts of Seville.

    They replaced the screen over the weekend. No charge. Five years later, same screen.

    It's all about perseverance.

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