PDA

View Full Version : "Switcher" gets introduced to Apple-Care(Not!)


dkeninitz
May 13, 2003, 04:01 PM
I just had my first experience w/ AppleCare, and what a disappointment. Last night I noticed while working on my TiBook that it wasn't charging. I then noticed that the AC adapter plug ring wasn't glowing either orange or green. When I went to check the wall outlet I picked up the power brick and nearly fried my hand it was so hot. I tried calling AppleCare, only to find they don't offer 24/7 support like Dell and others. Tried the Apple website, but no help there.

Called AppleCare this morning. After 20 minutes on hold, I got to speak to a tech, Chris, who told me I had to reset the power management system before he could offer any additional help (I couldn't understand how this could affect the adaptor becoming incredibly hot, but he was adamant). It was as if the guy was reading from a script (and he probably was). I can imagine a conversation like the following:

"My power brick has melted and there's a fire in my living room"

"Sir, you must reset the power management system, then call back"

When I got home, I did the reset, to no effect. The adaptor got extremely hot within a minute or so, and began to emit a chirping noise along with an electrical odor.

I called AppleCare again and, after another 20-minute wait, reached a different tech, Dan, who promplty asked for my "case number". I told the rep I hadn't been given one. He then said I'd have to pay $49 for "per incident" support and asked for my credit card #. When I told him I was experiencing a hardware problem with a three-month (96 days to be exact) old machine, he said, "no matter, it's $49 for 'phone support' after 90 days". No explanation of how calling for warranty service could represent "phone support". So, out with my credit card.

After explaining the problem to him he puts me on hold for several minutes before coming back to tell me he's transferring me to a "product specialist" The product specialist tells me they're going to treat it as a safety issue, and that I need to go through a questionnaire with him. It's quickly evident that the purpose of the questionnaire has nothing to do with diagnosing my problem and everything to do with limiting Apple's product liability.

"Sir, were you injured in any way during this incident/"
"Sir, was there any damage to the area beneath or around the adapter during this incident?"

...and so on and on...

Finally, the guy says he's going to send me a new adapter and wants to know if I need the cord as well. I tell him I have no idea, since I don't know what caused the problem to begin with. After pausing to consider for a minute, he decides to send me a new power cord as well and then acts as if he's doing me a great favor. He tells me I should get everything within within "three to four days" So it's back to my Dell and IBM laptops for the rest of the week.

The TiBook is my first (and now almost certainly last) Apple product, based in large part on this experience. As a professional business consultant, I have to hand it to Apple: offer half the service of your competitors at twice the price. Somehow I foolishly thought that after shelling out $3K for this thing, I could expect Lexus-like service. Ha!

iJon
May 13, 2003, 04:54 PM
the only problem i see is that they put you on hold, is that the only thing that made you mad? I just dont see the big deal, this isnt a common problem, and apple is glady fixing it. if you are mad because you couldnt call apple in the middle of the night then i dont know what to say to you. what is your example of "lexus' service. personally i wouldnt want lexus service because that means i have to drive my car 2 hours away to get it fixed, but thats jut where i live :) just elaborate a little more on what you are exacly mad about.

iJon

Mblazened
May 13, 2003, 05:04 PM
What the hell are you bitching about?

baytch
May 13, 2003, 05:14 PM
I have been using Macs for 10 years and have no intention of going to the dark side. However, I recently assisted a friend on the purchase of a Dell centrino laptop, and I noticed that a 3-year mail-in warranty comes STANDARD. This is what the poster is referring to. You have to pay hundreds more for the 3-year Apple warranty. It is the one issue where I feel that Apple is clearly lagging behind the Windows world. Improve the warranty! Otherwise, it is MUCH more expensive to buy an Apple, once you take into account the paltry warranty. That said, I have been very pleased with the extra AppleCare coverage I paid for - it is much better than the coverage a friend of mine got with Gateway. I had a problem with the power adapter on my iBook even after my 3 year warranty expired, but Apple replaced it free of charge [since it was related to a pre-existing problem] -- I didn't pay to talk to support either.

caveman_uk
May 13, 2003, 05:20 PM
Originally posted by Mblazened
What the hell are you bitching about?
It does sound like either he's exaggerating or he's been treated like ***** by Apple Support. Just because you think that Apples products are the greatest thing since sliced bread doesn't mean you can diss the guy for complaining about crappy service. Perhaps he has a genuine reason to be annoyed?

Being asked for money for phone support when the problem has nothing to do with the guy not being able to use the machine properly is wrong. The charger is faulty and is a warranty repair.

Personally my experience of Apple Support has not been like this (I use Apple Europe so it's a different bunch of folks) and they've all been really helpful and answered the phone pretty quickly Sounds like this guys experience wasn't up to the level that anyone should expect.

tjwett
May 13, 2003, 05:25 PM
I thought phone support was "free" with Apple Care? Why did they charge $50?

iJon
May 13, 2003, 05:28 PM
Originally posted by tjwett
I thought phone support was "free" with Apple Care? Why did they charge $50?
he doesnt have apple care. after 90 days it isnt free.

iJon

caveman_uk
May 13, 2003, 05:31 PM
Originally posted by iJon
he doesnt have apple care. after 90 days it isnt free.

iJon
But a screwed power supply ain't phone support. It's warranty so he shouldn't have to pay for it unless he's dropped into a puddle or something. Warranty lasts 1 year not 90 days. Unless he uses telepathy he's pretty much stuck with using a telephone to report the problem.

syco
May 13, 2003, 05:39 PM
Our poster is most likely mad because he had to shell out $50 for service regarding repairs, which is covered under warranty. I agree wholeheartedly, that shouldn't be an issue.

However, and correct me if I'm wrong, there should be a page on Apple's service page where you can apply for repairs under warranty.

iJon
May 13, 2003, 05:43 PM
Originally posted by caveman_uk
But a screwed power supply ain't phone support. It's warranty so he shouldn't have to pay for it unless he's dropped into a puddle or something. Warranty lasts 1 year not 90 days. Unless he uses telepathy he's pretty much stuck with using a telephone to report the problem.
parts and labor is 1 year, telephone support is 90 days. he doesnt have to use telepathy, he could have taken it to an apple store or a reseller and they would have taken care of it, but that may have not been an option for him. i will confirm whether or not he should have to pay that 50 or not before the night ends.

iJon

tjwett
May 13, 2003, 05:44 PM
Originally posted by iJon
he doesnt have apple care. after 90 days it isnt free.

iJon

oh, my bad. so why is the post entitled "...introduced to Apple-Care"? um, hey original poster dude, you don't have Apple Care so next time RTFM. i agree that the standard Apple Warranty is lame though.

iJon
May 13, 2003, 05:47 PM
Originally posted by tjwett
oh, my bad. so why is the post entitled "...introduced to Apple-Care"? um, hey original poster dude, you don't have Apple Care so next time RTFM. i agree that the standard Apple Warranty is lame though.
yeah its ok, im sure he just referred to apple support as applecare, they tend to be called each others opposite names from time to time, they are basically the same thing.

iJon

sanford
May 13, 2003, 06:13 PM
Here's the fun part: He doesn't have to pay *anything*. After 90 days, Apple phone support takes your credit card number so that if it turns out the whole thing is your fault, then you have to pay the $49 charge. If it's *their* fault, they never charge your card. The fee is for *phone* support, not *warranty* support, which can be a little difficult to disintguish until the problem has been discussed. And just try getting a credit card number out of someone *after* you've answered their tech support question for free.

My only experience with Dell support was when a processor went out and I had to listen to the Dell on-site technician complain for half an hour because *I* wouldn't just take the processor from him and install it *myself*. He did have a nice pocket protector, though.

taeclee99
May 13, 2003, 06:15 PM
I had the same problem with my power adapter for my tibbok. One day I plugged it into the wall and the adapter started to spark. I took it back to the Apple Store and the genius said that they would replace the adapter.

e-coli
May 13, 2003, 06:39 PM
Apple customer service sucks. They're a big bunch of nazi's. And soooooo stingy.

Even with Apple Care they suck. I've had a similar situation with Apple. But I was creative enough to get around the $49 charge. I guess that's why you buy Apple Care. :rolleyes:

iJon
May 13, 2003, 06:48 PM
Originally posted by e-coli
Apple customer service sucks. They're a big bunch of nazi's. And soooooo stingy.

Even with Apple Care they suck. I've had a similar situation with Apple. But I was creative enough to get around the $49 charge. I guess that's why you buy Apple Care. :rolleyes:
they cant please everyone, i have heard excellent things about apple support as well from my personal experience, some people get screwed over, but for the most part it doesnt happen ofter, sorry to hear that happened to you. no matter how hard you try someone will always be pissed off. its the world of running a business.

iJon

Huked on Fonick
May 13, 2003, 06:53 PM
I dont know what you guys are talking about i have had 2 ibooks and the adpaters keep on breaking all i do is call up apple tell them my adaptor is broken and they send me out a newone it arrives in 2 days and i send them back my old one. i have done this is 3 adapters for my 2 ibooks and 1 for my friends ibook. Its hassile free apple care is great they dont even ask how it broke (one of them just stop working and the other 3 broke at the tip(where the wire goes into the plug thing) i know i have never gotten this good of service from anyone elce, geez when ever i have used dell and gateways service its a pain in the ass and serive net is even worse..............stop bitching and pay the money for 3 your 3 years, you are likely to come out ahead, computers break its a fact of life, THE PARTS WEAR OUT NO MATTER HOW GOOD THEY ARE!!!!

-Pat

dkeninitz
May 13, 2003, 07:38 PM
just elaborate a little more on what you are exacly mad about

I'm not mad, I'm disappointed (and a little annoyed, I admit). My disappointment is based on my comaprative experiences with other vendors, mostly Dell and IBM. I'll admit I've been lucky, but in 20 years of PC ownership - covering roughly 15 laptops and 15 desktops - I've only had three hardware failures (this is the third). The display failed on a Toshiba laptop I had 7 or 8 years ago and they replaced the next day. The hard drive began to fail on my current Dell desktop last summer when it was 8 months old: I called Dell around 10 PM in the evening and they had a tech out to replace it the next afternoon (even gave me an 80gb drive in place of the failed 60gb).

I figure I could have gotten a roughly "equivalent" (don't flame me!) Dell or IBM laptop for $2K, compared to the $3K I spent on the PowerBook. Here's what bugs me about my Apple experience:

-- Lack of 24/7 support.
-- Long hold times both times I called.
-- Being told by a guy that didn't seem to have a clue that I needed to reset the power management system. When I asked him how that could affect the extreme heating of the adapter he paused (gotta grab the script, right) and said, "when the power management system fails, it can cause anomalies in the power adapter". In his own words, no doubt.)
-- Being told by the second tech I'd have to agree to pay $49 just to relate the nature of the problem. When I protested, the guy literally said - in a not-too-friendly voice - "Sir, you've got two options: pay $49 per incident or buy an extended AppleCare plan for $XXX (I think he said $349) - that's how we work it." I had to give him my credit card number before he'd log the problem.
-- Getting shifted to a so-called product specialist and being made to go through a questionnaire that had nothing to do with diagnosing the problem, nada, zilch.
-- Having to wait up to four days until my laptop is (hopefully) useable again.
-- Having to give the product specialist my credit card number so he could reserve $138 against it to make sure I send him the failed power adapter. I understand Apple isn't the only company that does this, but in light of the rest of my experience, it doubly annoyed me. I'm guessing they'll probably want me to pay for the shipping, but he didn't specify so I'll wait and see.

Again, I'm not really mad; I'm a bit irritated, somewhat bemused and very disappointed. Again, this machine cost $3K. A computer that goes for roughly 150% of the competition ought to come with gold-plated service IMO. Y'know, if this was a $1,000 Celeron that I'd bought from Gateway or someone like that, I'd understand. It's just that I'd always viewed Apple as the cream from my distant Wintel world, and if my experience is typical (maybe it's not), then I can't see shelling out the premium Apple commands. Yeah, it's got a very slick operating system and some other cool features, but those don't make up for run-of-the-mill customer service.

baytch
May 13, 2003, 10:30 PM
The on-site service that you describe with your Dell -- you must pay extra for this, yes? In that case, you should compare it to paying extra for the AppleCare warranty, which I highly recommend. I've been pleased with AppleCare. Yes, you have to mail things in, but you don't pay for shipping, and Apple has always shipped things immediately.

dkeninitz
May 14, 2003, 10:52 AM
The on-site service that you describe with your Dell -- you must pay extra for this, yes? In that case, you should compare it to paying extra for the AppleCare warranty,

No, I didn't pay extra. Dell's standard warranty then (and now) on desktops is 1-year on-site. And they have 24/7 phone support. Their current standard warranty on notebooks is 3-year mail-in. You can upgrade that to 3-year on-site for $100 or 4-year on-site for $200.

A Dell notebook configured similarly to a 1ghz PowerBook goes for around $2,200 (net of rebate), and includes an extra battery, basic software bundle (WordPerfect) and 3-year mail-in support. You can upgrade that to 3-year onsite for $100, so now you're at $2,300. My TiBooks was $2,800, and if I want to "upgrade" to 3-year *mail-in* service it's $350. So I'd be at $3,150 vs. $2,300 and I still wouldn't have on-site service because Apple doesn't offer it. And I wouldn't have 24/7 phone support.

My point is not that I had some horrific service experience w/ Apple, but that the service experience is mediocre for the money they charge for the machine. And I certainly can't see paying $350 for the privelege of mailing the machine back to them if something goes wrong and then waiting who knows how long to get it back.

I depend on my laptop and desktop in my work everyday, which is why Lexus service is a must for me.

sanford
May 14, 2003, 10:59 AM
Typical wait from my own experience is 3 days. But please, buy a Dell.

yzedf
May 14, 2003, 11:39 AM
There have been two big failings among switchers and their expectations, and to be honest, it has kept me on the fence.

1. Hardware reliablity of Apple is no longer better than PC stuff.
2. Service / Support is no longer as good as the best PC companies.

Dell is #1 for a few reasons, but the two biggest are price and quality of service. Apple can charge more, their product is different. But people expect Mercedes service with Mercedes prices (to quote others in their comparisons of Apple to Mercedes).

MorganX
May 14, 2003, 11:51 AM
The cost of support should not be an issue. But reading the story, I would find that kind of support unacceptable.

I expect to be treated like I'm paying for your next vacation whenever I call customers service for any company.

I'm surprised that whenever someone expresses displeasure with Apple's customer service that so many defend their right to offer poor/insulting customer service. No wonder Apple doesn't want to grow market share much. This kind of thing would never be acceptable in PC-land. Gateway, Iomega, and many others have tried and failed to offer insulting, company-first customer service. Of course, they're in a market with competition.

jxyama
May 14, 2003, 11:58 AM
There's this one thing usually bugs me a lot... Something along the line of:

"Similarly configured Apple cost $xxx more than a Wintel..."

Ok, only thing you can be similar is the hardware specs. Have you ever thought about what's arguably more important than the hardware: SOFTWARE? (Including OS.) Yeah, paying that much more for "just" the OS and some software may sound like a ripoff to some, presumably because you don't "physically" get anything for the money, but the frustration of dealing with Windows is enough for me to stay with a Mac, even paying that premium.
I know not everyone feels this way, but let's remember that you are not just paying for the physical parts...

Also, Ti or Al case costs more than a cheapo plastic case. You are not getting a beautiful Al case for free. You pay for that too.

[edit]
By the way, the reason most people get "defensive" after a post like this is not because they are nuts about Apple. I'd suspect that it's because we haven't had an experience with Apple that was unacceptable/unsatisfactory, etc. Here he is, one guy with one bad experience (which I feel sorry for, I hope that upon no one) with Apple and he's basically calling the entire company's reputation into question. There'll predictably be two kinds of responses to this kind of a post:

1) "I've never had problem with my Mac, what's your problem? Why are you attacking my beloved company, Apple?"

or

2) "I've had exactly the same or nearly the same experience and hate Apple now. Why is everyone else so pro-Apple when it's obviously a ripoff?!"
[\edit]

Noc
May 14, 2003, 01:33 PM
Originally posted by dkeninitz

No, I didn't pay extra. Dell's standard warranty then (and now) on desktops is 1-year on-site. And they have 24/7 phone support. Their current standard warranty on notebooks is 3-year mail-in. You can upgrade that to 3-year on-site for $100 or 4-year on-site for $200.


This is not true. Every Dell machine (that I know of), laptop or desktop, has options for 1-year and 3-year warrantys. If you got a 3-year warranty, whether you consider it "standard" or not, you could have saved $200-300 and downgraded to 1-year warranty.

Just a tiny nitpick.

I do sympathize with your problems with Apple service and agree they could do better. I've never had a problem with an Apple machine (I've only owned 2, iBook 500 and PowerMac 733) but I have had 2 of my other 3 previous laptops fail in the past and have gotten great customer service both times. Once was an IBM Thinkpad and the other was a Sony Vaio. Both times, after calling customer support, I received a postage-paid box the next day via Federal Express. Nobody asked me to whip out my credit card for support!

In the instance of the IBM they said it would cost $600 to replace the motherboard (not under warranty!?!!) I said forget it, just send back the faulty laptop (it was only worth 1000 or so new) and they replaced the motherboard anyway and sent it back free of charge! How lucky.

The other time was a vaio that they didn't have the parts to fix so they replaced it with a newer (refurb) model. I was pleased.

I do hope that if I ever have a problem with my Apple machines that Apple will treat me right.. I guess the best thing to do in such a situation is bring the machine to an Apple Store instead of calling customer support.

macfreak
May 14, 2003, 02:16 PM
Why didn't he just go get another power supply? Doesn't he know that being put on hold is typical of most phone support? And why is he threatening to never buy and Apple product again when the problem was not actually caused by his Powerbook? People complain over the dumbest things :p

syco
May 14, 2003, 02:16 PM
Apple does offer on-site repairs when you purchase AppleCare (so long as you live within x miles of a local Apple-certified reseller or repairer).

i purchased AppleCare for my DP 1.25 MDD PMac. Haven't had to use it, though.

And, as far as I know, Apple's standard 90-day-phone-1-year-repair warranty is also called "AppleCare".

TiBook
May 14, 2003, 02:49 PM
Originally posted by caveman_uk
But a screwed power supply ain't phone support. It's warranty so he shouldn't have to pay for it unless he's dropped into a puddle or something. Warranty lasts 1 year not 90 days. Unless he uses telepathy he's pretty much stuck with using a telephone to report the problem.
Wrong, hardware got a warranty for 1 year. But the telephone support is only 90 days. Questions and so on that u got is ony 90 days from that day that u receive the computer. Execption is made if your are going to send your computer on service, then u will not have to pay the "support" u have got.(I think)

snahabed
May 14, 2003, 02:54 PM
It sounds like an annoying experience, but unless you have lived in a cave for the past 10 years, you will know that your level of service will almost always depend on the luck of the draw in who you get on the phone.

All reps are not created equal. Some are better trained, some are new on the job, some are just more intelligent, some will go that "extra mile" for a customer, and some will only go "by the books." It is like this EVERYWHERE.

When I get the feeling I got a bad rep, I hang up and call back. To me, this variance in service is not a reason to get rid of a major investment.

I mean, Apple's basic warranty/service sucks. I know that, you know that, we all know that. Moreover, Apple doesn't hide it. They make it QUITE clear what their terms are. If you buy the machine anyway, you accept those terms. It is that simple.

Of course, if one is ACTUALLY annoyed with customer service enough to get rid of a brand, then I would argue it is more productive to write a sane, reasoned letter to the ombudsman or customer service VP. Otherwise, it is akin to people bitching about a Safari bug on a message board instead of using the Report Bug button.

Regardless, it all depends on your value system. I don't like Dell, 24/7 service or not. Even if I liked Dell, I abhor Windows. If Apple goes belly up, off to Linux I go. Thankfully, Apple won't go belly up, and I have had no service problems.