Apple offers free repairs, replacements for faulty 2008 Time Capsules

in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Customers who bought a faulty Time Capsule in 2008 may be entitled to a free repair or replacement of their hardware, and those who previously paid for a fix could receive a refund, according to a recently updated Apple support document.

Last week, Apple modified the support document "Time Capsule: Does not power on," to note that some hardware sold between February and June of 2008 may not power on or may shut down expectedly after starting up. The issue affects some Time Capsules with serial numbers in the range XX807XXXXXX - XX814XXXXXX.

Users who purchased a Time Capsule in that serial number range, and whose hardware does not power on or shuts down expectedly, may be eligible for free repair or replacement. An Apple Authorized Service Provider must first confirm that the hardware is affected.

Customers in the U.S. or Japan who want to retain data on affected hardware can contact Apple to arrange mail-in service. Turnaround time is typically between 3 and 5 days. Users in all other countries can contact an Apple Retail Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider.

In addition, customers who previously paid for a repair or replacement related to a faulty 2008 Time Capsule could receive a refund. Those customers are asked to contact Apple.

"This program covers affected Time Capsule models for 3 years from their original date of purchase," the support document reads. "Apple will continue to evaluate the service data and will provide further updates to the program if needed."

Last September, AppleInsider exclusively reported on Time Capsule troubles experienced by users who own hardware purchased in 2008. Users complained that their Time Capsules were dying in a spontaneous manner.

Some speculated that the problem could lie with the device's internal power supply, which cannot be replaced. The complaints first began to crop up in July 2009.

Last September, Apple was not covering the loss of data for users if the item was replaced under warranty. However, opening a Time Capsule to retrieve the internal hard drive voids the warranty. Apple's recent update to its online support document has since rectified this issue.


  • Reply 1 of 21
    A bit slow don't you think? 2008?
  • Reply 2 of 21
    asciiascii Posts: 5,936member
    These are the very first Time Capsules right? Their capacitors melted after 18 months. I have a much more recent one, hopefully it has been fixed.
  • Reply 3 of 21
    aplnubaplnub Posts: 2,605member
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post

    These are the very first Time Capsules right? Their capacitors melted after 18 months. I have a much more recent one, hopefully it has been fixed.

    It is the first ones. There is an entire website dedicated to this, The failure statistics are astounding. Bottom line, if you have AppleCare on a computer, they will use that to give you a new TimeCapsule before this. The difference now, they admit there was a problem.

    The problem was there was no way to vent the hot air out of the capsule itself. Unless a design change has happened, it is still the same problem Too much heat kills everything.
  • Reply 4 of 21
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,373member
    Mine failed a few months ago. But a free replacement arrived within two days.
  • Reply 5 of 21
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

    Mine failed a few months ago. But a free replacement arrived within two days.

    Are they replacing them with the same model or newer updated dual band?
  • Reply 6 of 21
    Mine is in that range of serial numbers but doesn't have any of those indications. Should I wait for a problem before exchanging it? Don't really want to have to setup a new one again.
  • Reply 7 of 21
    blursdblursd Posts: 123member
    MOTHER F#@%ER !!!!! I went in to the Apple Store and spoke with Apple Customer Service about seven times over the course of two months about six months ago because the power supply on my Time Capsule (from 2008) went out. This is the ONLY time I've ever been pissed off with Apple when its obvious a design flaw was evident ... the failure rate on these things is through the roof.

    They refused to replace it, and wanted $280 to fix it ... I told them that was ridiculous. I used it as my iTunes backup, and it turns out about three months ago I needed that backup, so I took my Time Capsule apart (because Apple had told me several times they wouldn't fix it) and took the hard disk out. Doubt they'll fix or replace it now that I've taken it apart ...

    I swear this REALLY pisses me off because that thing was close to $500 dollars when I bought it, and it only worked for about a year and half ... I am very unhappy.
  • Reply 8 of 21
    kp*kp* Posts: 13member
    Really sad they waited this long. I didn't get one, because I had JUST bought the last Airport Express and was out of the 14-day return period by about a week when the Time Capsule was announced. But if not for that I would have been one of the first adopters.

    If this happened to me I would have definitely replaced the unit if I was told it was out of warranty, and I bet a lot of other people took actions in the last two years besides just getting Apple repairs on it -- maybe switching brands, etc. that would not be covered by this far-too-late admission that the units are defective. It's not just Apple who does it, but in a lot of these situations they wait until a product is basically obsolete before offering people replacements and free repairs. I'd guess a lot of those who were affected by the problems have already moved on to something else anyway.

    At this rate, people who bought the current iPhone should be told sometime in 2012 that they can get their phone fixed because -- OMG -- there's something wrong with the antenna! And everyone will shrug because they will have an iPhone 6, or a Droid 4 by then, and the free replacement will be undesirable anyway.
  • Reply 9 of 21
    cory bauercory bauer Posts: 1,286member
    They replaced mine free of charge a few months back; the replacement arrived overnight, and I ran a backup before dismantling my old one to erase the drive before sending it back. Something about sending a hard drive into the wild full of all of my data ever just didn't sit well with me.
  • Reply 10 of 21
    schralpschralp Posts: 25member
    A year ago, mine died and Apple refused to guarantee that I would get my HD back to retrieve the data if I paid for reapirs. I replaced it with an Airport Extreme and another HD. When I saw this post, I called to see if I could finally get a refund. All they offered me was a replacement and assurances that the problem was solved. I grudgingly accepted but told them that I had it opened to retrieve my data. They told me that unless I could prove that an Apple Certified Technician opened it I would have to pay for the new one (which I really don't want--no more all-in-one devices for me thank you). This prompted me to fire off this email to Steve which I'm sure will go un-answered:


    Seriously, these things were obviously duds based on numerous users' experience and you are now attempting to make good on this issue which I applaud. The devil is in the details however. C'mon, these things held 500 GB to 1TB of data. On average they failed at 14 months of age (like mine). Therefore, they were out of warranty and you didn't offer any data recovery or guarantee that I would get my HD back to do my own data recovery if I sent it in for repairs. This led me to buy another Apple product (Airport Extreme), pay someone to recover my data from the dud Time Capsule and move on. Now, a year later, you are offering to replace it but when I called I fessed up to the fact that I had it opened to retrieve my data (after it died) and was told if it wasn't done by an Apple Certified technician I was ineligible for replacement. That would have been fine if that was the option at the time of death but a year later you gotta expect that people want to retrieve their data from their "data storage device". We store it 'cause it's important.

    I like your products and chose to replace some of the functionality of your obviously defective design with another (more carefully thought out Apple purchase--no internal power supply); however, when you decide belatedly to make amends, it would be better if you did so in a meaningful manner. For folks that called about these at the time of death, replace 'em no questions asked and you have a chance to win them over on endorsing the product in the future. A little word of mouth goes a long way.

    I'm sure you'll depth charge this missive but just had to get it off my chest anyway. Have a good day.

  • Reply 11 of 21
    auclaucl Posts: 19member
    mine broke down in it's 19th month. as usual

    Since i did not got any replacement or help from apple I broke it open so i could at least use the still good HD somewhere else. (unfortunately i did that less than a month ago ((( )

    they really should have answered that issue earlier, such a response time for backup equipment is a joke. fortunately the macs survived much better so far

    (when not taking into account cracked cases (previous MacBook design)

    and 2 superdrives that just stopped to work (macbook, and mac mini) (maybe should have used them more often
  • Reply 12 of 21
    kellya74ukellya74u Posts: 171member


  • Reply 13 of 21
    kellya74ukellya74u Posts: 171member


  • Reply 14 of 21
    blursdblursd Posts: 123member
    Originally Posted by kellya74u View Post

    I would think that if you had a work order drawn up at the Genius Bar & they documented it was not working at the time & that you had not cracked it open at that point, I would think you could use that to substantiate your argument. However, they do often argue that you should have purchased the extended warrantee for just such problems. Good luck!

    No, but I also took the power supply apart to show some of my engineer friends that the capacitors had melted ... So, its pretty well in pieces. Still, doesn't hurt to ask ... I think I know what the answer will be when I go over to the Apple Store in Carlsbad tomorrow. "Ja, hi ... I'd like to have you replace this Time Capsule I completely dismembered by myself, and is in about twelve pieces right now."

    All I can say is after hearing this news that now (over a year after the first of these Time Capsules started failing at alarming high numbers) they are going to start replacing and repairing these things after all I've been through ... its like adding insult to injury. I spent almost $500 on the Time Capsule just to have it fail about 16 months later, and then either have to pay $280 to have it replaced, or (what I actually did) buy a $200 Airport Extreme and then a $40 External USB HD controller and a $100 1TB Drive. Total cost ... $840 ... for a friggen wireless router and hard disk!!!!

    And now that I've spent all that Apple says they'll go ahead and repair it six months after they swore there wasn't a design flaw (which was a bold faced lie), and wouldn't do anything to repair or fix it that wasn't just as expensive as buying an entire new Time Capsule ...

    I mean I expect this kind of crap from Microsoft, but not Apple ...
  • Reply 15 of 21
    superbasssuperbass Posts: 688member
    Originally Posted by kellya74u View Post

    I have a Time Capsule in within the problem series. The heat issue was identified early on. My friend recommended to put the unit on a couple of pencils, which raises the bottom off of a surface & allows for cool air to be drawn in from below & the hot air to rise. I also dust it regularly. No apparent need for an external fan & no failures (so far).

    Great. Instead of replacing the unit, Apple could have just given out free pencils and dusting cloths.

    I wonder if they'll give out free scotch tape and quarters to use on payphones for iPHone4 users...
  • Reply 16 of 21
    pxtpxt Posts: 683member
    Given that Apple prides itself on its good reputation for customer support and that our data is so important, I think any replacement work for a Time Capsule should include a replacement of the data. Surely this is just a matter of setting up a procedure for offloading and reloading the data during hardware work on it.

    Data is everything.
  • Reply 17 of 21
    curmudgeoncurmudgeon Posts: 483member
    Does it seem like Apple waited so long so that user's would just toss their busted devices? If you no longer have the device, you can't trade it in. Saves Apple money. Of course, the damage to their reputation is bigger.
  • Reply 18 of 21
    tmedia1tmedia1 Posts: 104member
    My TC died 2 months ago, almost exactly 18 months from the day I purchased it. Took it to the Apple store in Costa Mesa and after determining that it was dead, they replaced it on the spot with a comparable factory repaired unit. The Genius bar guy told me that they were seeing alot of people coming in with 18 month old TC's that had died with the power supplies burnt out. Not surprising considering how hot this unit runs and it has hardly any ventilation. The tech actually told me to elevate the unit using 4 lego pieces to keep air flowing around it. I did that and also removed the bottom cover which allows for more ventilation. They really need to design a better case with greated ventilation. Nice that Apple is being proactive about this issue, but designing the thing right from the beginning would have been a better solution.
  • Reply 19 of 21
    blursdblursd Posts: 123member
    Just an update ...

    Went to the Carlsbad Apple Store today and the manager told me "no." I'm not mad at the store or the manager ... they're doing exactly what their superiors have told them to do. They were very respectful and professional. My problem is with higher ups that do make these policies ...

    Going to write a formal letter of complaint to express my dissatisfaction ... chances it will do any good ... not likely. Still, it will be cathartic.
  • Reply 20 of 21
    wtbardwtbard Posts: 42member
    As a note, if you bought a new TC when the old one failed (for example you didn't want to be without Internet access for a few days or weeks while it was repaired), you're out of luck on getting a refund.

    If you still have the old one, you can get it repaired. I'll do that and then maybe see about selling it on ebay or something.
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