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View Full Version : Yet another Powerbook horror story


battlecat
Oct 15, 2003, 04:00 PM
This is my story, for anyone who cares. I sent a slightly different version of this letter to Apple earlier today. Thanks to everyone on these forums for speaking up on these issues.

October 15, 2003

Dear Apple,

I have been using your computers since the age of three. Apple has always been my first choice and recommendation in personal computing.

When I called Apple on September 19 to order a new Powerbook G4 (15.2/1.25GHZ/512/80/SD/AP/BL/LL), I was told the unit would ship in 2-3 days. Problems began almost immediately:

1) For unknown reasons, I was not charged tax on my order, and was told on 9/23 that I was in debt to Apple for the tax amount of $158.59. This delayed the order process by several days.

2) When I attempted to pay this tax by electronic check, Certegy (the company that verifies electronic checks for Apple) would not allow my payment. This was because I had “exhibited high velocity spending” in the past week. This spending, of course, was $2773 on my Powerbook. For this reason, I was unable to complete my payment by check with Apple. After hours on the phone with both Apple and Certegy, an Apple employee was able to find a workaround using my debit card.

3) After being told that my order was processed on September 19, and that the computer would ship in “two to three days,” I did not receive a shipment notice until September 30. No one at Apple ever informed me that I would have to wait for my computer to clear customs, and that this would create additional delay. I feel misled about the amount of time it would have taken for my Powerbook to reach my door.

4) When Airborne Express picked up my shipment to deliver, they used Ground Delivery instead of Second Day Delivery that I requested. I did not receive the computer until October 6.

5) When I did receive the Powerbook, it was defective. The latch holding the screen closed never worked properly, meaning that I could not close the computer. Although I needed the computer to create important presentations throughout that week, I was forced to call Apple and request an immediate replacement. I returned my faulty computer via FedEx on October 7.

6) It is now October 15, nearly a month after my initial order placement, and my replacement computer has yet to ship. I have spent no less than six hours on the phone with various Apple representatives attempting to get a functional Powerbook, and I have unwillingly reneged on numerous work and class assignments because of my lack of a Powerbook.

The problem is not that you will loose me as a customer, but that you will loose my advertising and loyalty. Because of my extensive experience in multi-platform computing, friends, classmates, and co-workers often seek my purchasing advice when searching for a new personal computer. I can no longer recommend Apple Computer to these friends and acquaintances. I would love to praise Apple’s products and services, but in light of my recent experience, I simply cannot. The service I have received from Apple Computer is infuriating, and, in my opinion, totally unacceptable.

After researching the Powerbook latch issue online, it is clear that my faulty unit was not unique. Numerous other purchasers have reported the same issue. I would hope that Apple has some sort of quality assurance in place to prevent such a defect, but this may not be the case. Ultimately, I feel the facts listed above speak for themselves, and that it should be understandable why I am upset with this purchasing experience.

My purpose in writing this letter is to let you know that at least one faithful Mac supporter is very upset at Apple right now. Please let me know if what steps are being taken to remedy the Powerbook latch issue.

And please, most importantly, give me reasons to be proud of Apple once again.

applefan
Oct 15, 2003, 04:51 PM
Good letter Battlecat. Sorry to hear that you had such a rotten purchase experience. It must have been hard to present the facts an contain the rage, but you did a good job. Letters like yours will make the right impression if received by the right people.

jsd
Oct 15, 2003, 05:37 PM
I purchased my new PowerBook 15" at the Apple Store on the day of the announcement. At first, the latch seemed to work fine, but gradually it stopped holding on, and I couldn't close the screen. I took it in to be repaired, but the tech showed me that there was actually nothing wrong with the latch—it's how you close the lid. He said the latch had been redesigned to be more durable, but in so doing, requires a rather specific technique in closing. You have to close the lid rather swiftly. Now my powerbook closes without any trouble at all. What bothers me is that everyone in the world is going to think their latch is broken, and Apple should have included some kind of explanation with the machine.

fraeone
Oct 15, 2003, 10:57 PM
This sounds like more of an Apple Customer Service horror story, rather than a PowerBook horror story.

Schiffi
Oct 15, 2003, 11:08 PM
Kinda the same thing with the old Ti's. Some of the time I need to close it swiftly for it to close correctly. I got the idea from "Daddy Day Care" with Eddie Murphy of all places. There are 2 scenes where he closes the lid swiftly and it latches. I tried it with my Tibook, and low and behold it worked. No more 2 hand press and holds for me.

battlecat
Oct 16, 2003, 12:00 AM
fraeone: You're right. This is more of a customer service story than anything else. I guess I just couldn't see past the fact that all this is preventing me from having my brand new Powerbook, which is certainly quite frustrating.

Of course, I can't overlook the fact that the Powerbook wouldn't close when I finally got it. Whether this is a function of poor design or my poor closing technique, I don't know. We'll see when I get the new one.

I look at the situation now from a managerial standpoint: what can I do to get my computer here the fastest, and what can I do to ensure that this doesn't happen again. I believe I have addressed both of those issues in communication with Apple, which means the entire experience hasn't been for naught.

That daddy day care thing is funny. There's a little wisdom everywhere.

ColoJohnBoy
Oct 16, 2003, 12:42 AM
I wonder if this is what's taking so long on new PowerBook orders - Apple addressing these little flaws, I mean. I ordered mine on thhe 9th, and despite it saying 7-10 business days, the Order Status page says shipping on or before 10/27. Kind of frustrating, but if it guarantees that these issues won't come up, then I suppose it's worth it.

Plus it might come with Panther pre-installed :D:D:D

matthew24
Oct 16, 2003, 01:39 AM
Indeed, great content Battlecat. This is the right attitude of a faithful Mac user and should make the difference with a PC user.

Keep in mind, no company is flawless.

I am expecting my BTO Pbook in 2 to 4 weeks, bought it at a reseller so I can test it right at the shop.

It will take sometime but things will get solved and you will be a happy Mac user again.

Good to have you around at Macrumors. :cool:

cwedl
Oct 16, 2003, 10:03 AM
Battlecat, I am sorry that you have had loads of problems, I have only recently switched, and have bought through apple on three occasions, every delivery has been at least 2 weeks late, I say to myself that because apple has agained my loyalty I don't mind as much, and will still buy products through them.


I would be interested to hear what kind of response you recieve from apple.

Thank you.

iPC
Oct 16, 2003, 10:06 AM
The latches have been a proble for some time now. It is not just limited to PB's either. My roommates iBook 500 (dual usb) latch failed after 13 months or so. To get it fixed by Apple would have cost nearly $600. He did not get the work done (1/2 the price of a new one...), and now has a iBook that does not close (the latch does not swing down). Too bad for Apple, as in that first 12 months he convinced 3 people to "switch" to Apple. Now he just rants about their build quality, lack of customer service (being on hold for ages, etc), and overpriced repair options.

I keep my fingers crossed that it doesn't happen to mine...

battlecat
Oct 16, 2003, 10:56 AM
FWIW, here's the latest, along with some additional background:

I called Apple customer support yesterday morning.
After reading somewhere in these forums about the importance of filing an "official complaint," I asked a supervisor if this was possible. I essentially told him (politely) that I was extremely disappointed with my purchasing experience and that, if there is any formal system of filing complaints, I would like to do so.

Here's the gold, guys:
direct_management@group.apple.com

He told me that this address would get me to a group higher up of around 7 to 8 people. He also said that he would pass along my concerns through his own channels, but that my letter would have a greater impact. If anyone else is considering doing this (for whatever reason), remember to be persistent. The first "front-lines" representative I spoke to was very polite, but didn't seem so excited to help me file a complaint. She asked me two or three times what exactly I wanted her to do, then what exactly I wanted to complain about. When I began rattling off the list I had written down in front of me, she pretty much cut me off and left me on hold for another 10 minutes for her supervisor.

Anyway, the supervisor was understanding and polite. I made it clear that, although I do support Apple, I feel that I must file some sort of official complaint. This is when he gave me the email address. The good thing about all of this was that I think he actually felt bad for me. He told me that my exact BTO computer (only change was one 512 dimm) is probably already floating around somewhere in a factory after a cancelled order. This happens fairly often, he said; they are called "orphaned" computers. He told me he would search for my configuration among these orphans and call me back later in the day. He did, and my computer shipped FedEx last night.

One little orphan just found a home.

The point, I suppose, is to make your voice heard and to be persistent about it. No response yet on the actual letter that I sent yesterday, but I will certainly post an update if it comes.
Thanks for the support. It makes all this a bit easier on my nerves to hear some understanding voices out there.