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View Full Version : 8 Months with an unusable iMac G4. Help!


polyesterlester
Jan 18, 2005, 12:49 AM
I originally posted this in my blog (http://lester.furtherstudios.com/archives/000016.html), but want to collect comments here as well. My computer is still under AppleCare, but soon it will run out and I'm afraid that if Apple doesn't either get my computer fixed or get me a replacement by the end of my AppleCare agreement I'll be screwed! Help!

Dear Apple,

I have always loved you. I believe you already know this, as I have bought six of your computers in the past. And I tell all my friends to buy Macs, because they're better than the rest.


But ever since May of 2004, my iMac G4 has been incapacitated. I'll use it for, oh, maybe an hour or so, and then suddenly the display will turn into a plaid rainbow of flickering colors. It's really quite beautiful, and would fit in nicely in most any post-modern art museum, but it does me no good, makes the computer unusable, and is not what I paid for. And after a while, it would get to where it just plain wouldn't boot up anymore.


I had tried rebooting, holding down Command-S and typing fsck -fy after the prompt. That would get me a bootable computer, but the problem still persisted. Gorgeous rainbow of colors, and then a computer that wouldn't boot. I took the iMac up to The Alaska Mac Store, like you said, dearest Apple Computer, Inc., and they told me it was a software problem. I told them I thought they were wrong, but they looked at me like I knew nothing. They performed some software reinstallation, which I had already tried, and probably some other things which I may or may not have tried. A week later, they told me my psychedelic post-modern iMac was ready to bring home.


I booted it up, and an hour later my iMac had turned into another mushroom-induced light show. I'd like you to know, Apple, that I did not have iTunes visuals turned on. And that's an effect that I love, partly because when I'm done with it I can simply turn it back off and have a usable computer.


I called The Alaska Mac Store again, and they sounded disgusted with me, like I had done something wrong to ruin it again. I hadn't, I swear. So I brought it back up to them, and this time they said they thought it was something with the hard drive. I begged and pleaded with them not to erase the hard drive, to copy everything off it if they needed to and they said they would. They didn't. They installed a new hard drive and shipped the old hard drive with all my information on it to you, my beloved computer company, because otherwise AppleCare wouldn't pay for the new hard drive. But the new hard drive didn't fix it, and now I was missing all my information. I must confess that I lied to The Alaska Mac Store in order to get them to work their asses off to get me back my old hard drive. I told them that I had already found a publisher for my book, had a deadline of March of 2005, and if I didn't get it finished I needed to repay the $4,000 advance I had been paid for the book offer. Apple, I know this was wrong for me to do and I apologize, but I was desperate. And it's not like I lied to you, I only lied to The Alaska Mac Store. They contacted you and were able to get the old hard drive back, God bless them.


Then, they decided to replace my logic board.


Now, not only does my display turn into a hypnotic display of horizontal and vertical stripes of multicolored lights, but it also has a loud whirring noise to go with it.


I was furious, and told The Alaska Mac Store that I would never do business with them again. Not only had they not gotten it fixed, but they'd keep my computer for weeks at a time, and were rude to me every time I called them for a status report.


Then, oh great Apple, ruler of the digital hub and my digital lifestyle, you sent me a free RAM module to replace the original one that came with the iMac to see if that fixed anything. It didn't, so the RAM got sent back.


Last week, you called me and said that you were sending a technician over to check things over and replace some things to see if he could get it working. The next day I got a call that the technician had received all the parts he should need, and would be over shortly. He still hasn't shown up. And guess what he planned to replace? The logic board, the hard drive, and the RAM.


It is now January 17, 2005. Eight months have passed and the entire time my iMac G4 has been unusable. Please, oh gracious Apple, my Jehovah Jireh, send me a new iMac G5. I deserve one badly. If my iMac G4 was a car, I would have been sent a brand new one direct from the factory by now, with tinted bulletproof windows and electric locks that beep and wake up my neighbors at three in the morning when I press that cool and oh-so-tempting button on the keychain. Do the right thing, Apple.


Yours truly,
Lester Nelson


P.S. Mr Jobs, if you're reading this, I just want you to know that even though I live in one of the reddest states in the nation (Alaska), I was a proud John Kerry supporter, worked for the Alaskan Democratic Campaign, and am a vegan. A scary republican even threatened me to get off his street, "before he made me." Please don't hold this against me, as I am a very friendly and polite young man.

Lz0
Jan 18, 2005, 01:12 AM
In these cases you just need to insist that the store you purchased the item (any item) from replace it first time you have a problem, AND I DO MEAN INSIST FIRST TIME.

I once had a very small problem with a new (purple) I Mac purchased, upon taking it back to the store and a brief demo of the problem it was just replaced on the spot no questions asked.

If you let it go on past the first encounter you WILL HAVE A PROBLEM.

This is the fault of the store you purchased the item from and not Apple’s fault.

You should document every single problem and its date, when you contacted the store, who you contacted in the store, what was done (or not), how long you were without a useable computer, etc ect ect.

Take a copy of this document to the store with you along with a VERY bad and insistent attitude, and just let them know that they have one last opportunity to rectify the problem. Never threaten them in any way, DO NOT tell them you are taking legal action, and just insist very strongly that they replace the item NOW.

They know that you are now serious and will replace the item. If not you MUST NOW take legal action.

As a consumer you do have rights. They may be difficult to act on but they are still there – USE THEM.

polyesterlester
Jan 18, 2005, 01:21 AM
This is the fault of the store you purchased the item from and not Apple’s fault.

I purchased the iMac direct from Apple. They're the ones who told me to go to the Alaska Mac Store to have it fixed. And I'd also like to add that The Alaska Mac Store is 150 miles away from me, so that means I have a 300 mile trip to drop the computer off, and another 300 mile trip to pick the computer back up (since I can't just stay in Anchorage until it's fixed - especially since they never know when they're going to be done, and it usually ends up being a week or two later).

dotnina
Jan 18, 2005, 01:39 AM
Okay, based on your post, I will make some guesses as to what might be wrong here. They're just guesses, but a few things really stuck out at me.

Your letter is really longwinded. I have to ask, have you been this longwinded when dealing with Apple? If so, this could be part of the issue here. When you're trying to communicate about tech matters, it's usually good to be direct when stating the facts.

Now ... what happened when you went to the Apple Store? Did the problem(s) manifest in front of them? That they thought the issue was software based makes me think that they didn't see the wackyness you've described.

If you want my advice, here is what you do: CALL APPLE'S 800 NUMBER. Talk to them on the phone. Just state the facts relating to the problems your computer has. Mention that you're way too far from the Apple Store, and it's impractical for you to go there. I don't see any reason why they wouldn't take care of you.

Oh yeah -- and when you take your computer in for repair, it's YOUR responsibility to back up data. I think this may actually be explicitly stated in the terms of Applecare service. You should always back up your data, too, when sending a computer off for warranty service. I sent a laptop off once for a minor trackpad issue, and it came back with a new hard drive. Yeah.

polyesterlester
Jan 18, 2005, 02:21 AM
Your letter is really longwinded. I have to ask, have you been this longwinded when dealing with Apple? If so, this could be part of the issue here. When you're trying to communicate about tech matters, it's usually good to be direct when stating the facts.

No, I wasn't that long-winded. Originally this letter was just supposed to be a blog post, but I really do want help with this.


Now ... what happened when you went to the Apple Store? Did the problem(s) manifest in front of them? That they thought the issue was software based makes me think that they didn't see the wackyness you've described.

First off, we don't have an Apple Store, we just have an Alaska Mac Store. And when I brought it in, it was to the point where it wouldn't boot up. One of the problems when people go to fix it is it takes at least an hour after booting it up the first time before it starts to go all psychedelic again, so I guess they thought it was fixed.


If you want my advice, here is what you do: CALL APPLE'S 800 NUMBER. Talk to them on the phone. Just state the facts relating to the problems your computer has. Mention that you're way too far from the Apple Store, and it's impractical for you to go there. I don't see any reason why they wouldn't take care of you.

I have called them. I've called them so many times that now they've started calling me. But still, nothing happens. A technician was supposed to show up a week ago and still hasn't come. I just got off of Apple's iMac Support Chat, and she said the best she can say is that the guy should hopefully show up within the next two days.


Oh yeah -- and when you take your computer in for repair, it's YOUR responsibility to back up data. I think this may actually be explicitly stated in the terms of Applecare service. You should always back up your data, too, when sending a computer off for warranty service. I sent a laptop off once for a minor trackpad issue, and it came back with a new hard drive. Yeah.

I agree, I've been bad here. But here's the deal: I simply told them not to erase the hard drive and that I'd rather purchase a new hard drive than to have them erase it. But it doesn't matter anymore, I've got my old hard drive back (after having to pay for the one they replaced it with even when the hard drive wasn't the problem in the first place).

It seems like calling AppleCare isn't doing anything. If the technician comes and can't fix it, I'm asking for a new iMac. That's all there is to it.

My question now is, should I be assertive? Cause I'm HORRIBLE at that! :-)

solvs
Jan 18, 2005, 03:56 AM
My question now is, should I be assertive? Cause I'm HORRIBLE at that! :-)
Yes. That's your problem. Apple is usually great, but they are only the sum of their parts. You have been getting people who don't really care enough to really help you. Yes, always backup. No matter what one person says, someone else could come and do whatever they're going to do anyway. They shouldn't have promised you that, because it's standard for them to do a full re-install. You shouldn't have had to pay for the drive either.

This problem has gone on long enough, and you need to have it fixed before it runs out of warranty. No one else is going to do this for you, you'll have to be strong and demand to talk to a supervisor. Don't even bother with the underlings. Have them send you a box, or ship it to where they tell you to ship it. Get tracking so no one can say they lost it. Backup everything first. And DEMAND to get a working computer.

Sorry to be so tough, but writing in a blog or on a forum won't do you any good. Letting some customer service rep shine you off when you're too nice won't do any good either. Sometimes, even with Apple, you have to get tough.

polyesterlester
Jan 18, 2005, 04:19 AM
Sorry to be so tough, but writing in a blog or on a forum won't do you any good. Letting some customer service rep shine you off when you're too nice won't do any good either. Sometimes, even with Apple, you have to get tough.

Oh, you're not being too tough at all. You said exactly what I wanted someone to say. I wanted to know if anyone at least agreed with me so I could give myself permission to be tough :)

solvs
Jan 18, 2005, 06:29 AM
Oh, you're not being too tough at all. You said exactly what I wanted someone to say. I wanted to know if anyone at least agreed with me so I could give myself permission to be tough :)
Be tough, it's the only way they'll learn. ;)

Frump
Jan 18, 2005, 06:51 AM
I wonder how many more people are going to suggest that you and the store are at fault and not Apple?

Jovian9
Jan 18, 2005, 08:28 AM
Call the AppleCare number and ask to speak with Customer Relations.
Have all information ready and speak it all at once (all the problems, supposed fixes, time being fixed, $ you've spent, time wasted, etc.).
Be informative and don't beat around the bush. Get what you need to say out there. Let them know your warranty is about to end and you are not happy with the way they have handled fixing your iMac. Let them know that you would like a new replacement. Be serious with the rep. Above all, do not be rude!

iJon
Jan 18, 2005, 09:47 AM
You know if you buy AppleCar that will turn your warranty into an On-Site warranty and get you another 3 years. It's only $169 and probably cheaper after all those trips you keep making to Anchorage. Also, Apple will not give you a iMac G5, nor do you deserve one. You simply deserve a fixed computer by Apple. Asking for it is just pushing their buttons if you ask me.

jon

solvs
Jan 18, 2005, 03:16 PM
I wonder how many more people are going to suggest that you and the store are at fault and not Apple?
That's why I said Apple is the sum of it's parts and call Apple directly. ;) It is their problem. Not his fault, but he needs to be more assertive.

And yeah, if you don't have AppleCare, and you meant you're still under the 1 year warranty, for the love of Buddah listen to iJon and GET APPLECARE!

polyesterlester
Jan 18, 2005, 04:30 PM
Thank you everyone for responding! And yes! I have AppleCare!

polyesterlester
Jan 18, 2005, 04:57 PM
Also, Apple will not give you a iMac G5, nor do you deserve one. You simply deserve a fixed computer by Apple. Asking for it is just pushing their buttons if you ask me.

I deserve a computer that works. The iMac G4 has been worked on by certified technicians three times. RAM has been sent to me and sent back, because it didn't help. Now they're sending an on-site technician to do the same things that have already been tried.

I wouldn't normally make such outrageous requests. But I don't think it's that outrageous to ask for a replacement for my computer when they obviously haven't been able to fix it.

Counterfit
Jan 18, 2005, 05:15 PM
Hadn't any of those store techs thought of replacing the monitor or monitor cable? :confused:
Well, it's not the first time I've heard of them being stupid. I know they have a webserver running there, which still has the default index.html, which appears to be running on something pre-Jaguar, possibly 10.1

Are there any other Apple Authorized Repair centers around? Maybe someone there will be competent.

sie0174@gmail.c
Jan 18, 2005, 05:57 PM
your problem sounds alot like what happened to my compaq desktop. turns out my old geforce2 card was fried. whenever i tried to do anything graphically intensive like play a movie or game the screen would freeze and turn all sorts of colors. as soon as i took the card out and let the computer run on the gpu that was on the motherboard it worked perfectly.

Mechcozmo
Jan 18, 2005, 06:07 PM
Oh yeah -- and when you take your computer in for repair, it's YOUR responsibility to back up data. I think this may actually be explicitly stated in the terms of Applecare service. You should always back up your data, too, when sending a computer off for warranty service. I sent a laptop off once for a minor trackpad issue, and it came back with a new hard drive. Yeah.

It is. Because the trouble shooting process involves the replacement of various parts of a computer, the hard drive is one of the more likely items to be replaced. Apple's service guide says so itself. You must back up your own data otherwise you just have to hope they don't hit the stage in the troubleshooting which reads "Replace Hard Drive"

And I have to say, that sucks. What you should do is call Apple and demand a working computer. Not a G5. But a working computer. Keep going higher and higher up the food chain of employees, being nice but at the same time asking for them to give you a replacement. But above all, be nice. If you are mean then you're more than likely to not get help. And ask "Oh, where the hell is that repairman?" Just like that. You might get a response that way...

polyesterlester
Jan 18, 2005, 07:55 PM
Thanks everyone, once again. I got a call today from one of Steve Jobs' assistants, Allen Rhodes, wanting to know more about my case. He's going to call the local technician personally to make sure that it gets done, and quickly. The technician should be coming over tomorrow. If not, Mr. Rhodes told me to give him a call and he gave me his direct number. He was very nice.

Hopefully this will all be taken care of.

point665
Jan 18, 2005, 08:24 PM
Thats awesome that he called you... Good luck on it.

IDANNY
Jan 19, 2005, 01:58 AM
I hope that you get the computer fixed.

polyesterlester
Jan 19, 2005, 02:42 AM
Thanks point665 and IDANNY, I hope it gets fixed too :)

polyesterlester
Jan 19, 2005, 02:24 PM
The technician called today and said that he was no longer on the job, and that Apple was going to take care of everything. That's all he said. Hopefully that means what I think it might mean. :)

EDIT: by "no longer on the job," I don't want to imply that he's been fired, just that he's no longer working on my case.

ftaok
Jan 19, 2005, 02:43 PM
The technician called today and said that he was no longer on the job, and that Apple was going to take care of everything. That's all he said. Hopefully that means what I think it might mean. :)
Yeah, it means "Dude, you're getting a Dell."

Nah, just kidding. :D

polyesterlester
Jan 19, 2005, 02:47 PM
Yeah, it means "Dude, you're getting a Dell."

Nah, just kidding. :D

Oh God, I hope not! :p

IDANNY
Jan 19, 2005, 05:15 PM
keep ous updated this must be hell.

polyesterlester
Jan 31, 2005, 04:50 PM
UPDATE!

The local technician was supposed to show up last week, but was yet again a no-show.

I just got off the phone with Allen Rhodes (I hope Apple's paying him well, because he's a very nice guy, and the most helpful of any I've talked to), and they're sending me a new 1.6GHz iMac G5 with 512MB RAM and a SuperDrive! Oh man, you guys have no idea how excited I am for this.

andiwm2003
Jan 31, 2005, 05:11 PM
UPDATE!

The local technician was supposed to show up last week, but was yet again a no-show.

I just got off the phone with Allen Rhodes (I hope Apple's paying him well, because he's a very nice guy, and the most helpful of any I've talked to), and they're sending me a new 1.6GHz iMac G5 with 512MB RAM and a SuperDrive! Oh man, you guys have no idea how excited I am for this.

congratulation to your G5 :) . you deserve it! let us know when the machine is there and how you like it!

andi

polyesterlester
Jan 31, 2005, 05:46 PM
congratulation to your G5 :) . you deserve it! let us know when the machine is there and how you like it!

andi

Thanks! I just got another email from Mr. Rhodes, saying they're upgrading it to a 1.8GHz G5 instead of a 1.6GHz, because the 1.6 doesn't have the option of a SuperDrive. Today just keeps getting better. :-)

andiwm2003
Jan 31, 2005, 07:49 PM
Thanks! I just got another email from Mr. Rhodes, saying they're upgrading it to a 1.8GHz G5 instead of a 1.6GHz, because the 1.6 doesn't have the option of a SuperDrive. Today just keeps getting better. :-)

so if you buy a g4 powerbook today then you'll get a G5 powerbook in 8 month.....well, one should't push his luck.....

PickledSquirrel
Feb 1, 2005, 02:51 PM
Woohoo glad to hear your story is coming to a happy ending. Now I'm wondering how to make my iMac self-destruct a week before my applecare runs out... *patting screen and speeking soothingly -there there little one, there's two years to go*

-squirrel

Counterfit
Feb 4, 2005, 12:23 AM
Well, that's one situation resolved :)