Apple DOES care about its customers – no matter what ‘Boy Genius’ says

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You know, sensationalist headlines are nothing new. There was a time, before blogging became a business, where that kind of thing was frowned upon in the blogging world – but that time has passed. This weekend Ahmed at Tech Soapbox wrote a great piece about just this subject. You can read it here.

He’s responding to a situation that occurred over at TechCrunch. Today, I’m writing about the same subject because of a totally different kind of sensationalist headline over at Boy Genius Report. They titled an article “Apple doesn’t care about its customers” because Apple is refusing to assess the repair damage of a Macbook Pro for free for a customer who openly admits that the water damage is his fault. That’s sensationalism at its best – and its reaching too.

Apparently a “friend” of Boy Genius Report spilled water all over his Macbook Pro – then was very upset to discover that it was going to cost him $300 to have it look at. The email and response are listed below:

Dear Steve Jobs,

I wanted to write and express my concern about some recent problems that I have had with Apple Care. This week, my MacBook Pro unfortunately sustained water damage. I understand this is entirely my fault but it is still something I would like to get fixed. After three or four calls I was finally able to get a straight answer. While I was happy to get a straight answer, I was not at all happy with the answer. It is very worrisome to me that the only way to get my computer fixed is to pay almost $300.00 up front with no guarantee that this will fix the problem. I was horrified to learn that their is no system to assess the problem and bill once all damage is known. I am reluctant to put money into a problem that could easily grow. I have had three Apple computers in a row. I love using them but I am not sure if my replacement will be one. I feel powerless in the situation and the whole experience has turned me off of the Apple company.

Sincerely,

Xxxxxx Xxxx

Xxxxxxx,

This is what happens when your MacBook Pro sustains water damage.They are pro machines and they don’t like water. It sounds like you’re just looking for someone to get mad at other than yourself.

Steve

Now, first and foremost we don’t know for sure that this is even real. We only have BGR’s word to go on – but I’m going to assume, for the rest of this post, that it is – in fact – an actual email from Apple.

Is it a sarcastic response? Yeah, it is. Does the email that was sent to Apple politely threaten to stop using Apple computers and switch back to Windows if the company doesn’t agree to assess the problems with his Macbook Pro for free? Yeah, it does.

You can judge for yourself on how you feel the response was handled.

What I can say about Apple, however, is that they do care about their customers. If they didn’t they would have worked with me over the last several weeks over my own experiences with my Macbook Pro. My machine was (and still is) defective because of a parts problem within the machine, and even though I was 3 weeks out of warranty when this whole thing started – they have seen fit to fix it for me at no cost. It has taken longer than I would have liked for the problem to be fixed, but it is a very rare problem – and they have worked with me the whole way on it. Again – without charging me for it.

What’s the difference between my problem and the BGR problem? Mine is a quality issue with an Apple product. Theirs is a guy who water damaged his Macbook Pro.

No company fixes a problem for you at no charge when you’ve damaged it yourself. It just doesn’t happen. File a claim with your renter’s or home owner’s insurance and be done with it. If you do not have renter’s or home owner’s insurance…well…this is exactly what renter’s and home owner’s insurance is for – go get some for next time.

Now, granted, this post is a little more “fanboy” than I normally go on this site -but my problem here is not with posting about the email or the response. My problem is with the sensationalist and inaccurate headline post by BGR. Of course – I may be over reacting. It is 3am.

What do you think?

Comments

  1. Spilling water over a laptop is an accident that could happen to anyone but wanting Apple to fix it for free is just plain stupid. I can’t even start to believe BGR would even post something like that. What’s next? “I dropped my iPhone in the toilet and want a new one… maybe a couple”.

  2. Anyone who threatens to take their business elsewhere usually has no plans to. These scare tactics are often used to coerce a business to give in to the customer demands. Steve Jobs is a pretty smart guy, he sees right through that. (Not that I think for a minute has actually has the time to answer emails such as this.)

  3. I don’t think the issue is one of getting the Mac fixed for free. The issue is one of being billed $300 for them to just look at the problem. In a worst case scenario he might be told nothing can be done and be forced to buy a new machine. Therefore a new machine would in effect cost $300 more than just going out and buying a new machine right away.

    I guess the question is can or should companies give free estimates for repairs? I can understand the user’s frustration. I have had hardware die in the past and if the company doesn’t provide free estimates its always a quandary- should I have it checked (and possibly throw money down the drain) or buy new? But also can companies afford to provide free estimates?

    What do you think?

  4. jadedcritic says:

    Setting aside any fanboy instincts, if he thinks the other computer companies WOULDN’T charge him for the service he is sadly mistaken. I don’t know; Honestly, to date, I have had ONE experience with Applecare, and they didn’t technically have to work with me, but they did. I bought my Macbook Pro at the CompUSA going out of business sale. I bought it probably a good 3 or 4 months after Leopard had been released, but it was an significantly older serial number. I called them because I’d spent 2500 some odd, and I wanted Leopard. (Had Tiger). In retrospect, they could’ve told me to go to hell, or more realistically they could’ve told me to go back to CompUSA. They didn’t do either. The rep flexed the rules a little bit and offered to send me leopard for 10 bucks shipping&handling. Needless to say, I didn’t fight him on it.

    There is no customer service method in the WORLD that will make everybody happy. If you check hard enough, you’ll always find someone who thinks they got the short end of the stick because they didn’t get everything they wanted for nothing in return.

  5. Michael, read David’s comment (3) and make sure you understand what this issue is all about.

    This guy doesn’t want it fixed for free. He wants to be sure the mac will be fixed after he pays that money.

    He used a lame scare tactic, I agree with that.

    But Apple’s response wasn’t any better. Instead of that, they should have forget all about it and ignore that email.

    And of course, I don’t really belive that email is for real…

    Michael, your fanyboy meter is pretty darn high right now.

  6. @Lucky

    In all seriousness, read my post and make sure you understand what I wrote about.

    I didn’t say, not once, that the guy wants it repaired for free. He wants the damaged assessed for free. I said that – twice.

    Damage assessment and the actual repair are two very different things.

    :)

  7. Two comments:
    * Only an idiot believes a company should fix self-inflicted damage for free.
    * Only a fanboy believes Apple treats it’s customer fairly.

    I’ve been a dedicated Mac user for 16 years. I use Apple products because they work better than their competitors. I’m fortunate. I’ve only owned one Apple clunker. My experience with that one wayward machine (along with the experiences of my Apple using friends) showed me that Apple will obfuscate, mislead and deny their own issues in order to avoid making your machine “just work.” They frustrated me enough that I just gave up (despite purchasing Applecare) and continued to use a defective product.

    My point is this: Apple makes a superior product. They can abuse customers who recognize that the alternative product isn’t going to be as good. The bottom line for Apple is not customer satisfaction, it’s making money. They’ll only treat us better when the competition forces them to do it by making better products.

  8. Honestly I have not found a single company with a better customer service record. I speak from personal experience. First I purchased the last revision of the Powerbook (notorious for the display lines issue) after replacing it twice and a few attempts at repairs I returned the machine nearly a year after purchase for a full refund.

    Fast forward a year or two, I buy a Rev. A Macbook Pro (buzzing issue) which I proceed to have it replaced seven times (no joke) before I get one to my liking. Throughout that process Apple is polite and never puts up any sort of problem

    Most recently my iPhone stopped recognizing when the headphones were in or not. I bring it into an Apple store and boom, new iPhone on the spot.

    So there you go, I am a aapl shareholder and Apple has been good to me as a consumer.

    Honestly this individual deserved the sarcastic response from Apple, it’s a basic characteristic of being an adult: write in a polite manner and you will receive a polite response. Make accusations and kick and scream and you are left out in the cold like this poor sap.

  9. @PV

    You know, the funny part is that – in this particular area…writing about Apple…you can’t win. If you say things positively about them then you’re a fanboy. If you say anything negative about them then you’re bombarded with hate mail.

    All I can do is tell you what I’ve experienced. I’ve been treated very well by the company, and I can’t complain.

    I can tell you in general I don’t like the “geniuses” at the Apple store, but so far in my Apple experience I have had 3 major issues with Apple products.

    1 – My first iPhone was defective. The video didn’t render in full color. Apple replaced it the same day with a new unit.

    2 – My Macbook Pro battery died. Apple replaced it the same day.

    3 – My Macbook Pro gave me several problems that appeared to me to be hard drive failure – when I finally contacted them about it it was 3 weeks out of warranty – they have fixed it anyway, at no charge to me.

    How can I possibly complain about that, or not think they do a good job with customer service?

    I can only write about my own experiences. If you’ve had a bad AppleCare experience, by all means, share it. I haven’t had one yet – aside from the first time I called about the Macbook Pro issue, where a service tech gave me the wrong information about getting my MBP fixed – which Apple quickly corrected.

    Having said that, I do agree that Apple’s bottom line is money. I don’t live in a fairy world where Apple isn’t concerned about money.

  10. (Disclaimer: I have managed a service department, and I have worked for Apple) The situation is very simple: It’s known in advance that this problem is not going to be covered under warranty; and that the system, once repaired, may never be completely reliable. It may have to be reworked multiple times to get it to work at all. Further, the probability is VERY high that the estimate will be refused (Beyond Economical Repair, in the vernacular). A lose-lose situation for all.

    So, does Apple give away an hour or three of technicians time in the interests of customer relations? I wouldn’t. it’s exactly the same as when my car blew its engine (out of warranty). For free, the dealer would tell me “You need a new engine.” For $500, they’d take it apart and tell me exactly what failed.

  11. Maybe an intermediate solution – like some auto repair places offer. Evaluate the machine for $X and then apply part of $X towards the cost of the eventual repair. So, if the cost of the evaluation is $300, and the cost of the repair is $1000, then Apple would credit (say) 50% of the evaluation bill ($150 in this case) towards the eventual repair bill. If the customer decides NOT to fix it, then of course, he is out the $300. OTOH, if he/she does not want to deal with Apple, he/she should deal with the many online shops (some of which I have used with good success in the past).

    In summary, it is unreasonable to expect ANY company to evaluate the damage caused by YOUR mistake for free. (I remember CompUSA wanted $150 to touch my machine – cost of repairs would be extra).

  12. Michael,
    I can’t disagree with your experience, and it is obvious that most of my experiences with Apple have been positive. My one bad AppleCare experience along with the numerous accounts on the web, shows that Apple is just trying to make a buck. If they screw some unfortunate people along the way, they’ll still make money as long as the majority are happy.

  13. An actual "genius" says:

    For the record, the quote he was given was a standard out-of-warranty repair price, which is 100$ labor and 200$ parts, which doesn’t cover anything “accidental”. Apple has a tiered price structure for that. If they re-quoted him, and he declined to proceed with the repair, he’s out the 100$ labor only.

    Truth in blog-journalism is rare.

  14. Bryan Gibson says:

    I say take that $300 and buy one of them-there e-machines laptops. Now that’s quality stuff, and you’ll be gettin’ back at ol’ Steve Jobs, too! Take that, devil…

  15. How could they ever claim that Apple did not care about the customers. They should no by now that for any business that is suicide. And they would be going out of business if this were true.

  16. Dude you’re getting a Dell

  17. Dear moron,

    it sounds like you have the perfect solution….buy a worthless PC for $300 and when you drop it in the tub you can get another new one for another $300—problem solved…you get a new machine whenever you can’t seem to take care of the one you have!!!!!!

  18. First off I want to say I work in computers at Best Buy, so I know a little bit about dealing with customers and there broken machines. I believe that $300 is too much to look at the computer but if what the “true genius” said is true then that seems much more reasonable. I know our Geek Squad does not charge to do a simple once over of the machine, but they do charge for more in depth matters such as water spillage. As for no one covering accidents that is untrue. Best Buy’s Performance Service Plan has an accidental damage option, which may be $100 extra on top of the standard plan, but if that happened and he had our Accidental Damage and Handling on the service plan then we would get a brand new one off the shelf and hand it to him for free.

    I also believe Dell offers an accidental damage service.

  19. Brian Sherry says:

    I’ve worked in nearly all kinds of electronics, and they all carry that clause…if you spill…you pay.

    What’s the point of spending €2000 on a laptop and then hosing it?

  20. I am sorry but no they dont…

    ____________________________________________

    I am writing you in hope to get a resolution to this ongoing problem. I have a case open since beginning of 2006 when I first installed 10.4 server. I work for a school in San Diego and we bought multiple copies of 10.4 server. The problem is that the print quotas advertise in 10.4 won’t work at all and they are also advertise in 10.5 server and guess what they don’t work in 10.5 server either. I’ll keep it short one last thing you are selling a product that does not work as advertise, I am surprise that a class action law suit has not been started on this. I hope to have a resolution soon we have lost money by purchasing your product why? It’s does not work so we gave you money and got nothing back second since your tech support has done nothing about it we have lost money from all the toner and paper wasted.

    Jose Cerna

    From: Cerna Jose
    Sent: Fri 4/4/2008 11:19 AM
    To: Joshua Rude
    Subject: RE: Print Server

    Josh when I called today they gave me this case number new 95283515.

    Jose Cerna

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Joshua Rude [mailto:[email protected]]
    Sent: Thu 3/27/2008 1:57 PM
    To: Cerna Jose
    Subject: Re: Print Server

    Do you remember the name of the AppleCare Rep. you talked to?

    On Mar 25, 2008, at 2:15 PM, Cerna Jose wrote:
    > Josh I called them again and this is what the engineer responded.
    >
    > The printer drivers are the problem, apple cannot be responsible for
    > manufacture drivers (HP).
    >
    > Let me give you an update of what I have discovered.
    >
    > If you use any of the manufacturer drivers (i tested all major
    > brands HP, brother, etc) on the client and the server this is what
    > happens:
    > Client and Server – print quotas don’t work at all and you cant use
    > special options like print form manual tray
    > Client only Server Generic driver – print quotas don’t work at all
    > and you cant use special options like print form manual tray
    > Client and Server Generic driver – print quotas work and you can
    > send jobs to manual tray, but we still have the problem that it does
    > not count the number of copies.
    >
    > I asked to be given a new case number and i was Denied. He said he
    > was going to try to continue work on the print quotas using Generic
    > drivers only. I am afraid using a generic driver cause other problems.
    >
    > To me it is irrelevant that the manufacturer drivers don’t work
    > because none of them do, at least not one that I could find. Do each
    > manufacturer need to make an specific driver just so apple’s print
    > quotas can work? I would think that apple being the ones making the
    > print server application would have tested and worked around the
    > manufacturer drivers.
    >
    > I know that the workaround in 10.4 is to use appletalk but that’s
    > not an option for us. I need to use LPR or IPP and SMB for the
    > windows clients, I have not had a chance to test the quotas using
    > windows clients so I guess I should. I will keep calling apple care
    > to get updates I’ll keep you posted if you can please escalate this
    > it will be help full.
    >
    >
    > Thank you
    > Jose Cerna
    >
    >
    >
    > —–Original Message—–
    > From: Joshua Rude [mailto:[email protected]]
    > Sent: Tue 3/25/2008 11:22 AM
    > To: Cerna Jose
    > Subject: Re: Print Server
    >
    >
    > The quota, not counting copies, issue for 10.5 server requires a new
    > case. AppleCare would like for you to contact them.
    >
    > The previous issue Quotas not working for LPR queues was resolved in
    > 10.5. Engineering has not addressed the issue under 10.4.x . The
    > workaround in 10.4.x is to use Appletalk instead of LPR.
    >
    > Please send me the new case number for the counting copies.
    >
    > On Mar 14, 2008, at 9:56 AM, Cerna Jose wrote:
    >> Print Server:
    >>
    >> 10.4- Print quotas never resolved
    >>
    >> 10.5- Print quotas work but only if you sent the jobs one at a time.
    >> Example – Quota is 10 pages, I can send a multiple jobs that are one
    >> page each and when i sent ten jobs my quota would be reach
    >> (1×10=10pages). Or I can send ten jobs all 1 page each but ask for
    >> 100 copies of each job and my quota will reach only after i send the
    >> 10th job (10×100=1000pages) so the quota is working but it does not
    >> take into account the 100 copies asks it counts it as one page.
    >>
    >> Can you please send me the information on getting the iBooks to wait
    >> longer to logon so they get all information from the server and also
    >> do you know of a way to manually connect to a windows shared
    >> printer. I can do this in10.3 and 10.4 but not 10.5. Thank you for
    >> all your help Josh and I am sorry to keep going back to you about
    >> the print quotas but now more than ever we need to conserve
    >> resources and our principle does not like that we paid for this and
    >> we can’t use it.
    >>
    >
    > —
    > Joshua Rude
    > Senior Systems Engineer: ACTC, ACSA
    > K-12 Education
    > Apple Inc.
    > 1.760.476.9879
    > E-Mail: [email protected]
    >
    > Macintosh. The shortest distance from inspiration to reality.
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >


    Joshua Rude
    Senior Systems Engineer: ACTC, ACSA
    K-12 Education
    Apple Inc.
    1.760.476.9879
    E-Mail: [email protected]

    Macintosh. The shortest distance from inspiration to reality.

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