Apple Called – an update on the Macbook Pro situation

screenshot_03.jpg

On Thursday I wrote about some problems I’m having with my Macbook Pro. I received lots of great feedback in the comments and via email.

After trying several solutions, I still couldn’t get the computer running at a decent speed, or recording audio properly. So, taking kyre’s advice of “the squeeky wheel gets the oil!”, I fired off an email to steve(at)apple(dot)com. I explained in that email what was going on, and how it could be documented that I was having problems here at the site and on the podcast, long before the 3 weeks since my warranty ran out. I also mentioned how unhappy I was that Apple was charging $900 to fix something that other companies could do for under $200.

On Friday afternoon I received a phone call from Apple. The gentleman on the phone was very helpful, and explained to me that the first guy I spoke with gave me the wrong information. As it turns out, Apple will only charge you $900 to replace your hard drive if you damaged it on your own (which still sounds a little steep to me…).

If there is a problem with your Mac that isn’t your fault, and you’re out of warranty, Apple will fix your system for a flat fee of roughly $350. No matter what’s wrong with it. So if they get the machine in and the problem is that the motherboard, the memory, and the hard drive all went out at the same time – they’ll fix all three for a total cost of roughly $350.

He then told me that it sounded to him like the problem with my computer was not the hard drive, but the logic board. He asked me if it had been accidentally damaged, and I told him no, I haven’t had any accidents with it. Then he surprised me.

He said they’d fix it for free.

He told me since the machine was just out of warranty and it was obviously an on going problem they were happy to fix it at no cost me, and asked for my mailing address. So a box is on its way from Apple today for me to put my Macbook Pro in, and it will be sent off to Apple. I will hopefully get it back on Friday good as new.

As a result, blogging may be light on the site this week – the Macbook Pro is my primary machine, and it will be more difficult to blog without it, but I’ll still be posting.

I’m very pleased to see Apple covering it like this, and its just another reason why I love writing about this company.

Comments

  1. Rick O'Neil says:

    Hopefully this is standard practice for apple to be so accommodating and not related to the fact that your an “apple” blog writer with the power to write less than exalting reviews on your customer service experiences that will be read by a lot of people. Not that you would pull that card intentionally. If a restaurant knows a food critic just walked in the door… well, you get the idea.
    Glad you got you problem resolved !

  2. @Rick

    Yeah, I doubt its something that is just because of the blog. It’s possible, but I really think the first guy I talked to just wasn’t very educated about his job…and the issue has clearly been an ongoing problem.

    This isn’t the first case I’ve heard of where Apple fixes something like this – so I think its just a matter of getting to the right people, and I don’t think the base level customer service guys are those right people, you know?

  3. @everybody –

    And btw – every one of you has the same power as I do in this particular situation – if you EVER have a problem like I’ve been having, and Apple gives you the brush off – just write it up and let me know about it.

    I’ll be happy to publish it.

    :)

  4. I’m glad it’s working out for you. That’s awesome.

  5. And what do you think gives you the right to pester His Steveness with your piddly issues that you think you can’t resolve using normal channels as you should, escalating if necessary?

    As if he doesn’t get enough emails and issues to deal with every day? All he’d do for you is forward your email to customer service anyway.

    I’m sure he didn’t say, “Oh no! This poor guy is having an issue, let’s make sure he gets the white glove treatment ASAP!”

  6. @None

    HA!

    I sincerely hope you’re joking – but if you’re not – it’s funny anyway.

    :P

    I don’t believe for one second that Steve Jobs checks that email. High level customer service reps do, and it gets things done.

  7. No, I was only kidding. :p

  8. @None

    Glad to hear it. You played it really straight. Kudos.

    :P

  9. Amazing! Absolutely great story! It’s great to hear things like these happen. I just don’t know what to say..

  10. I had a similar experience with the last of the G3 iBooks. We got this as our household laptop for the kids to play with and for us to all surf the web. About 6 months ago it exhibited the iBook logic board problem but my machine didn’t fall within the serial numbers of those machines being fixed. However, Apple fixed it for free and it’s still in use now – pretty amazing for a machine that was at least 3 yrs out of warranty!

  11. :D

    I’m just glad to hear your issues are being taken care of!

  12. My experience with the iBook logic board problem was the same.
    Fixed out of warranty; total time out of service; 36 hours including shipping.
    Excellent, and I now have a Macbook.
    Just a normal customer although I have been Mac since 1988.

  13. TekSavvy says:

    This is one more reason that people should realize how great Apple is, aside from there products and OS. (Their support is fair and top-notch)

    Since you had the problems (and proof) before the warranty expired, I feel that they did the right thing and this is a rarity in today’s society. Good luck with your new-ish machine…

    Tek

  14. I don’t think we have the same warranty here in Manila hehe. Hmm.. maybe if we email steve they’ll do the same hehehe. But I don’t own a mac so if that ever happened to me I doubt I’ll be able to test that theory out.

  15. Doc. Caliban says:

    On thing that I am oh-so-very happy about is that I know hardware. The prices that Apple charge for upgrades and repairs is nothing but a wickedly severe ‘tax’ against those of it’s customers who are not aware of the cost of hardware, or the lack of difficulty in repairing a computer.

    This blog entry for example… $900 to replace a hard drive? Let’s look at that:

    Highest rated 320GB laptop hard drive on the market: $170

    The time it takes to remove and replace 29 screws, 2 connectors, and a piece of tape: $730

    Wait, what?

    First, let’s forget about any issues of “it will void your warranty!”, or, “I would never do that, you have to really know what you’re doing and you could break something!”. For whatever reason you want, you won’t do it and you send it to Apple. Fine. But look, it really is just screws and a couple connectors and some tape:

    http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Mac/MacBook-Pro-17-Inch-Core-Duo/Hard-Drive-Replacement/87/8/

    Now I’m not an Apple Certified Repair Center, but digging around in a laptop is nothing new to me, nor is it the least bit difficult. (No matter what you think, it’s just parts put together with screws for the most part.) It took me ~20 minutes to upgrade my MBP hard drive.

    20 minutes.

    Now lets assume that a certified technician who has done this job countless times is a bit more efficient than I am and can do it in 15 minutes. (You can do it in 10, but we’ll give a margin here and say that they are extra special careful.)

    $730 for 15 minutes of work. That’s an hourly rate of $2,920.

    Hell, lets say that it takes them a half hour of processing on top of the actual repair time. 45 minutes is now a more reasonable hourly rate of $973 per hour.

    How about RAM?

    To upgrade from 2GB to 4GB when you are ordering, they charge $400. 3 weeks ago it was $700. Really.

    Now you’re only BUYING 2GB of RAM since the price you were paying for the machine already included 2GB.

    Highest rated 2GB memory module: $110. Oh, wait, sorry… that’s for all 4GB… two 2GB modules, which is what they will put in your laptop for $400.

    Labor: $280 (used to be $580) for taking the battery out, removing 4 screws, and… oh, wait. That’s all there is to do.

    http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Mac/MacBook-Pro-17-Inch-Core-Duo/RAM/87/3/

    The bottom line is: They are ripping people off. I mean this takes ‘buyer beware’ to a whole new level. 20/20 and 60 Minutes have aired stings on automotive and appliance repair operations for much less than this, and America Was Outraged.

    But then we trust Apple’s prices because their advertising and customer base seem hip and quirky? It’s a business. The part we see is the marketing facade.

    It’s not all just Apple, other computer companies, other industries, they all do it. I just think it’s ironic that so many people think of Apple as a Shiny Happy All About Us Customers company, but they’re stealing your non-technical friends and family members blind.

    -Doc

    PS: Oh, I almost forgot: The cost of a #00 screwdriver and a T6 Torx driver: $10. Including tax.

Speak Your Mind

*