Another Lousy Apple Service/Retail Experience

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Not over the phone this time, in person. The first experience was mine, the second happened to a lady next to me as I was in line.



1. I decided to exchange my Airport Express station, purchased at the Apple Store KOP in August. It has been failing, needing restarts, and generally being a POS. I've tried all the diagnostics and trouble shooting. It just drops out a lot and needs constant restarts. The other night I couldn't get it back up at all...I had to let it sit overnight.



So I pack it up with the manuals and take it to the store. I was told that I couldn't exhchange it without a technician looking at it, and the next appointment was three hours later. I asked for a manager. They simply would not exchange it out for me. I was told I could mail it in for service. Bullshit. It's less than 6 months old for christ's sake. Any other product I buy...anywhere...would be exchangable. Keep in mind, I didn't want a refund. I talked to the manager and she (who was about 14) told me there was nothing she could do. I told her the policy sucked and she told me "Well, you can certianly complain to Apple about it."



2. As I was waiting for the manager to come out, this lady came up next to me. She had an unopened iPod HiFi with a reciept taped to the box. She told them it ws a gift, unopened, and she wanted to return it.



They told her their return policy stated she had to return it by January 7th. They would not refund her, even with the original receipt. She was furious, as I think she should have been. What was ore amusing is watching the Apple Chick with the flat top and the nose ring tell her she couldn't do it. This was on sophisiticaed customer too....she was none too pleased.



Both of these policies are totally unreasonable and bad company policy. In my case, I can return a defective product anywhere else, especially somethat that cheap. You can't tell a customer he has to wait three hours to exchange something that's failed within six months ( except maybe a computer). As for the other lady, how the hell can you refuse to take a return on an unopened item with a receipt? If I was her I'd place the charge in dispute on my credit card.



I plan to write Apple and complain about both of these policies. In the meantime, Im gettin' the word out!
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,548moderator
    The return policy for the 7th of January was well publicised so if someone bought it knowing this for a relative then that was their fault. Sure, the policy isn't the best and most stores allow 30 day returns but the policy was stated clearly. Plus, the fact that she is returning a gift is disgusting. I would never dream of returning a present. I would sell it on maybe but I certainly wouldn't have the audacity to take the receipt and take it back to the store. I got loads of gifts I didn't like but I kept them.



    As for your problem, it is quite normal for a store to check if an item is broken before giving you a refund. How long would they last if people just brought stuff in no matter the condition and gave them a refund? Imagine me taking in a tattered macbook and saying I want a replacament. Is it fair to expect that they don't test it but give me a nice shiny new one? You had to wait because the engineer wasn't in the store.



    You 'gettin' the word out' on a couple of minor issues isn't really going to tarnish a company who has one of the best customer service records in the industry.
  • Reply 2 of 28
    flounderflounder Posts: 2,674member
    I agree with SDW, Apple has pretty draconian return policies.
  • Reply 3 of 28
    Apple should have bent on this one. They don't need more pissed off customers, the rest of the world has MS to thank for that.
  • Reply 4 of 28
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,664member
    As far as the lady with the iPod, yeah, that's just stupid. No harm in bending the rules a little for good customer relations.



    But regarding your Airport base station, it doesn't strike me as that surprising that they wouldn't just replace it outright, no questions asked. Apple must get a ton of walk-in "this is broken" stuff that prove to me nothing more than user error (not that I'm saying that this is true in your case, of course, Airport problems of this sort are notorious).



    Having a tech vet replacement requests, while surely irritating when you know for a fact you've got a broken item, seems like the prudent thing for Apple to do.



    I dunno, do other manufacturers do "no questions asked" swap outs during the warranty period?
  • Reply 5 of 28
    mrmistermrmister Posts: 1,095member
    Yes, but THREE HOURS? That's ridiculous service. Period.
  • Reply 6 of 28
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,664member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mrmister View Post


    Yes, but THREE HOURS? That's ridiculous service. Period.



    Well, it's not like he came in and had to sit around for three hours until they got to him-- it was the next available Genius Bar appointment.



    Having said that, making everything go through the Genius Bar is, in fact, a pain in the ass. But I'm not sure, given the crowds at the Apple stores, if "first come first serve" would work any better. In that case you might really have to sit there for three hours or lose your place in line.



    The larger problem is that so much of the Apple purchasing action and even more of Mac troubleshooting action get siphoned through the relatively thin on the ground Apple Stores.
  • Reply 7 of 28
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,672member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    The return policy for the 7th of January was well publicised so if someone bought it knowing this for a relative then that was their fault. Sure, the policy isn't the best and most stores allow 30 day returns but the policy was stated clearly. Plus, the fact that she is returning a gift is disgusting. I would never dream of returning a present. I would sell it on maybe but I certainly wouldn't have the audacity to take the receipt and take it back to the store. I got loads of gifts I didn't like but I kept them.



    As for your problem, it is quite normal for a store to check if an item is broken before giving you a refund. How long would they last if people just brought stuff in no matter the condition and gave them a refund? Imagine me taking in a tattered macbook and saying I want a replacament. Is it fair to expect that they don't test it but give me a nice shiny new one? You had to wait because the engineer wasn't in the store.



    You 'gettin' the word out' on a couple of minor issues isn't really going to tarnish a company who has one of the best customer service records in the industry.



    1. It couldn't have been that well publicized. Even if it was, it's a ridiculous policy. It's unopened.



    2. I didn't ask for a moral judgment from you on gift returning. It happens all the time. You don't know why she was returning it. Maybe she got two...who the hell knows.



    3. It's not normal. Obviously you've never returned anything in your life. Also, let me ask you...is it reasonable to tell a customer there is a three hour wait? No. I've exchanged things before at many stores, and never had this kind of an issue. And if you read my post, whihc you didn't, I made the obvious exception for a computer. I realize it's not the same thing.
  • Reply 8 of 28
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,672member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    As far as the lady with the iPod, yeah, that's just stupid. No harm in bending the rules a little for good customer relations.



    But regarding your Airport base station, it doesn't strike me as that surprising that they wouldn't just replace it outright, no questions asked. Apple must get a ton of walk-in "this is broken" stuff that prove to me nothing more than user error (not that I'm saying that this is true in your case, of course, Airport problems of this sort are notorious).



    Having a tech vet replacement requests, while surely irritating when you know for a fact you've got a broken item, seems like the prudent thing for Apple to do.



    I dunno, do other manufacturers do "no questions asked" swap outs during the warranty period?



    In my experience, yes, other retail outlets do have a no questions asked policy, espeically when the customer tells them what's wrong with it and they just want an even exchange. Hell, I even did it with a $1500 TV one time after 6 months (though that was an exception to a rule). That's been my experience. I certainly was not asked to wait for 3 hours so they could check it out and then try to tell me it's "fine." How much do you want to bet that's what would have happened?
  • Reply 9 of 28
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,672member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    Well, it's not like he came in and had to sit around for three hours until they got to him-- it was the next available Genius Bar appointment.



    Having said that, making everything go through the Genius Bar is, in fact, a pain in the ass. But I'm not sure, given the crowds at the Apple stores, if "first come first serve" would work any better. In that case you might really have to sit there for three hours or lose your place in line.



    The larger problem is that so much of the Apple purchasing action and even more of Mac troubleshooting action get siphoned through the relatively thin on the ground Apple Stores.



    Well, it's the system that's the problem. On the same visit I tried to walk up to the genius bar and have someone look at my broken latch on my MB. They quoted me a three hour wait or gave me the option of coming back some other time, which I thought was fine.



    However, it shouldn't be the same process for a return, even if they need to check it out for functionality...don't you agree?
  • Reply 10 of 28
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,664member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post


    Well, it's the system that's the problem. On the same visit I tried to walk up to the genius bar and have someone look at my broken latch on my MB. They quoted me a three hour wait or gave me the option of coming back some other time, which I thought was fine.



    However, it shouldn't be the same process for a return, even if they need to check it out for functionality...don't you agree?



    I absolutely do agree with that.



    I think Apple has gotten carried away with using the Genius Bar as a kind of buffer/filter for everything. To add insult to injury, you have to make your appointment for the day at hand; if they're all full up today you have to try and get online early tomorrow to get a slot (unless, of course, you pay them more money for whatever that special club thing is). Here in the Bay Area the Genius Bars can easily be all booked up by 11am, which leaves you with nothing.



    Now: let's all take our hats off and give a respectful moment of silence to this momentous occasion, wherein Addabox wholeheartedly agrees with SDW2001. It's a day that may never come again, but we must keep it in our hearts forever.
  • Reply 11 of 28
    Well, don't forget, Apple retail stores aren't the only places where authorized service can be done. Case in point:



    About 18 months ago, the neck on my iMac G4 crapped out and wouldn't stand up. It was out of warranty and I didn't have Apple Care, it took 5 days and almost 600 bucks to get that fixed at an Apple store. I get back to school, about four hours away, turn the computer on, and after about 3 hours my screen turns into a green hue. I called Apple and they told me to take it to a certain authorized rapir agent about 5 minutes from me and let them repair it under the repair warranty. It was in and out in less than 24 hours. I've also tried to take my iPod in to an Apple store, and I agree that the waits can be exceedingly long, but just realize, they're not the only show in town. Chances are an authorized repair agent might also carry the product you want to swap out for.



    But I dunno why you're SO upset about them not doing a blind exchange for you. Under any kind of warranty for any electronics product I've ever owned and had problems with, the company wanted it to be checked in and checked by their tech people before they'd issue me a replacement.
  • Reply 12 of 28
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,672member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    I absolutely do agree with that.



    I think Apple has gotten carried away with using the Genius Bar as a kind of buffer/filter for everything. To add insult to injury, you have to make your appointment for the day at hand; if they're all full up today you have to try and get online early tomorrow to get a slot (unless, of course, you pay them more money for whatever that special club thing is). Here in the Bay Area the Genius Bars can easily be all booked up by 11am, which leaves you with nothing.



    Now: let's all take our hats off and give a respectful moment of silence to this momentous occasion, wherein Addabox wholeheartedly agrees with SDW2001. It's a day that may never come again, but we must keep it in our hearts forever.



    I've submitted our moment of agreement for consideration as a National Holiday.



    The thing where the genius bar fills up just happened to me a few minutes ago. It's a Tuesday for pete's sake. People like me are supposed to be at work. (whoops).
  • Reply 13 of 28
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,672member
    The update:



    I took the AE and my Macbook in yesterday with a genius bar appointment of 5 p.m. They ordered an entire new bottom case so they could fix my MB latch. They tested the AE and surprise...it's fucntioning fine. We'll see...it has been better the last few days. The "genius" said it could be the modem changing channels or dropping out, which can fvck up the router. I kind of doubt that, but hey...could be. If it continues to be a pain in the ass I will likely boot it and get a third party solution.



    One problem though...they need 48 hours to fix my MB once the part comes in. He told me replacing the bottom case will take 3-4 hours of labor. Good thing the little bastard is under warranty too...it would have cost alomost $200 otherwise!
  • Reply 14 of 28
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,664member
    Which reminds me, as long as we're going there:



    I had a client whose two month old MacBook suffered unrecoverable disc failure. Bummer, but not that much on the machine, at that point. Still.... gee, a little disconcerting.



    Apple genius did some fairly comprehensive diagnostics with the drive out of the case, once we declared it dead he said they would order a replacement drive (none in stock). A swap out wasn't in the cards. Really? Brand new laptop has its disc die in two months and I have to wait for a replacement drive? Hmmm...... still, I figured a couple of days to get the drive and I would be on my way.



    I hung on to the laptop and awaited the call. 10 days later I called to see what the hell was going on, seeing as I could have gone to the local CompUSA and bought said drive the very day they ordered it. Almost impossible to get them to check, since their system is apparently full-proof and it would just be a waste of their time to make sure everything was on track, since it inevitably was. Finally claimed to take a look at the order logs, all is well, except for the ridiculously long delay in getting a freaking laptop drive to an Apple Store. These things in short supply, are they?



    Three weeks after the initial order, the drive came in, 5 minutes for a genius to install and an hour to reinstall system software.



    So a real mix of good diagnostics and eventual service with completely ridiculous delays and slim to no communication.
  • Reply 15 of 28
    Not to beat a dead horse here, but on all Apple receipts it is clearly stated there is a 14 day return policy, otherwise their limited warranty kicks in for pieces that need service... bringing an AirPort Express 6 months after you have purchased it and just expecting it to be exchanged for a brand new boxed version is simply foolish. You could have bypassed that entire situation if you just went to the Genius Bar and had the tech look at it, and they probably would have swapped it out for a replacement if it was malfunctioning.
  • Reply 16 of 28
    sammicksammick Posts: 416member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by deepdarkfunky View Post


    Not to beat a dead horse here, but on all Apple receipts it is clearly stated there is a 14 day return policy, otherwise their limited warranty kicks in for pieces that need service... bringing an AirPort Express 6 months after you have purchased it and just expecting it to be exchanged for a brand new boxed version is simply foolish. You could have bypassed that entire situation if you just went to the Genius Bar and had the tech look at it, and they probably would have swapped it out for a replacement if it was malfunctioning.



    All the more reason to buy what you can from Costco, Nordstrom, or Amazon
  • Reply 17 of 28
    majormattmajormatt Posts: 1,077member
    $600 to fix an iMac G4 neck! Egads, I'd would have used wood dowels and super glue first!
  • Reply 18 of 28
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,672member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by deepdarkfunky View Post


    Not to beat a dead horse here, but on all Apple receipts it is clearly stated there is a 14 day return policy, otherwise their limited warranty kicks in for pieces that need service... bringing an AirPort Express 6 months after you have purchased it and just expecting it to be exchanged for a brand new boxed version is simply foolish. You could have bypassed that entire situation if you just went to the Genius Bar and had the tech look at it, and they probably would have swapped it out for a replacement if it was malfunctioning.



    1. A 14 day return policy for an unopened, non-computer item is totally unreasonable. The lady had a receipt. Whatever their policy is, it's not consistent with other retailers.



    2. Again, that's not consistent with other retailers. I guarantee you I could return just about anything in six months, especially for even exchange. Hell, I did it with a one year old power drill...no receipt and no box! I got store credit for that one. Apple's policy is not in line with retailers that like to keep their customer's business.



    Secondly, are you claiming that it's reasonable to tell me it's a three hour wait for them to check it out?



    Now, and update: I had them check it out and guess what? It was "fine." Right. The only fix I can find is to change from WPA2 to WEP security. They shoudl take it back...that's what a decent retailer would do for an unhappy customer. Apple is arrogant ( I know, I've dealt with them for many years). They know they have a following not unlike Jesus Christ. Ergo, they don't care.
  • Reply 19 of 28
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,672member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MajorMatt View Post


    $600 to fix an iMac G4 neck! Egads, I'd would have used wood dowels and super glue first!





    That's because they have "tiered" repairs. Level 1 is $150 or whatever and then it goes up to like $600 or even higher. Stupid system, but I bet it's profitable.
  • Reply 20 of 28
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post


    1. A 14 day return policy for an unopened, non-computer item is totally unreasonable. The lady had a receipt. Whatever their policy is, it's not consistent with other retailers.



    2. Again, that's not consistent with other retailers. I guarantee you I could return just about anything in six months, especially for even exchange. Hell, I did it with a one year old power drill...no receipt and no box! I got store credit for that one. Apple's policy is not in line with retailers that like to keep their customer's business.



    Secondly, are you claiming that it's reasonable to tell me it's a three hour wait for them to check it out?



    Now, and update: I had them check it out and guess what? It was "fine." Right. The only fix I can find is to change from WPA2 to WEP security. They shoudl take it back...that's what a decent retailer would do for an unhappy customer. Apple is arrogant ( I know, I've dealt with them for many years). They know they have a following not unlike Jesus Christ. Ergo, they don't care.



    1. Your mileage may vary.



    2. So don't buy through Apple then.



    3. I am claiming that if you made an appointment to see the tech, and if it was a bad unit they would have swapped it out on the spot. It's not like they are going to drop everything they are doing and whomever they are helping just because you deem it unreasonable to wait 3 hours for your appointment. That's why they have the queue in the first place. \
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