View Full Version : 30cm drop and the consequences?

Dec 13, 2009, 07:05 AM
Bought MBA1.6 in May 2009. In June 2009 my MBA fell 30cms from the top of my suitcase as I was loading it into the back of my car (rear seat). It did not alarm me too much.(In fact my partner dropped it for me, and he was not too concerned either - he has had 12 Macs so far and convinced me to get one). It was not in a case and sustained a tiny dent on the top right hand corner. It is difficult to see unless pointed out. Its approx 3mm long.

A question...or 2. I am agonizing over this as something does not seem right here.

A little bit of background:

It worked fine for the next 4 months. Only left the house twice, otherwise lived on my bed and used for late night surfing or emails. (I also have a desktop which I mainly use, so MBA got minimal use). In October the screen showed a message in several languages then shut down and died. Repairers said the logic board failed. Repair report stated 'faulty logic board - no other faults found'

29 days later, I was on my bed surfing the net and noticed a cross in the battery icon box. I re started the computer but it never came back to life, even on plugging in to power. Took back to have it repaired and told them that the battery box had a cross in it - on the sign in sheet they wrote 'boots to black screen' and did not mention the battery box . Took 10 days for them to look at it.

My partner called Apple to ask why and I think this got repairer off side. Local repairer then sent pic of damage to Apple who diagnosed that I had dropped it (!!! no one bothered to ask me - I discovered this after much investigating) (allegedly since last repair) and the Apple tech then diagnosed over an email "broken logic board due to drop - no warranty". The local technician then decided the screen needed replacement to. I was rung with a quote of $2540 to fix.

When I asked Apple to help, they accused me of lying (about the drop - even though I had an several witnesses that the little dent was there before first repair).

I am awfully sorry for the long email - but this is the condensed version. I felt like I have tried every avenue. I have spent around 30 hours investigating this and imagine my surprise when I went to pick my computer up and spoke to the local tech who sent the pic to Apple. HE HAD NOT EVEN EXAMINED IT ! So all of this diagnosis was done by sending a pic of a 3mm dent to some guy at Apple who knows where.
The tech was kind enough however to give me a copy of this email - so I have lots of evidence. When I questioned hin about how ludicrous this was, he said he had to do what Apple said.:confused:

The woman I spoke to at Apple was appalling. Apart from accusing me of lying about dropping it, she then threatened me that I was lucky that they didn't charge me for the first logic board ($1040). Yet in the same breath accusing me of dropping it after the first repair. So how could the drop had anything to do with it.:confused:

My concern apart from all of the above is that these things are mighty fragile. If a supported drop leaving a tiny dent incurs over $3540 in repair costs, just how merchantable is this product?

So can anyone tell me if this drop could cause the logic board to fail 4 months later, be replaced with a new one, then although not dropped, cause another new logic board failure and a screen failure????

And what of the battery?

I am willing to bet its a battery problem and the rest is just nonsense.
How can you tell what is wrong with a MBA if you don't actually take the back off?

Any tips would be appreciated. I am quite at a loss. When you consider that these things get knocked around my schoolkids and some adults all the time, how can this be that the cost of repair almost equals 2 new MBA's? My friend who took me in the first time to get it replaced said his daughters has got a hole in it from being dropped and you can insert your finger in the hole and touch the hard drive (its a Mac Pro) - but it still works fine. He laughed when I showed him my dent.

And finally, could someone please send me the details of who to contact high up in Apple. To this point, I really have not been heard properly and I don't want to waste any more time.

Many Thanks in advance.

Dec 13, 2009, 01:25 PM
Well I can't tell you who to contact higher up at Apple, but it certainly sounds like a mess you've been going through.

The fact is however they were right on the initial assessment of your computer. The screen with multiple languages you saw originally was a kernel panic which very often points to a failed logic board.

Now, whether or not it's attributable to the drop is another story altogether. I will say though that I've owned a number of Macs over the years, and they do indeed ship lemons on occasion. Usually those lemons have a mess (not just one) of problems associated with them.

My gut here is that you honestly got a bad copy of the machine, and so you're seeing the general consequences of that. In terms of getting it repaired, my only advice is really just to go to an Apple store directly and complain about the poor telephone service and general lack of performance on the machine, and see what they can do for you.

Dec 13, 2009, 02:35 PM
I agree with vraxtus. Just go to a store and explain that you had a repair done on the logic board and now you have other issues, all unrelated to the drop because there were no issues for months after the drop. Also "play up" that fact that you purchased a cutting edge product and expect more personal service. Having to spend 2-3 times the cost of a new unit to get a used unit repaired is unacceptable. Be calm and respectable, but firm and show you expect resolution. You are a high end customer and expect the same level of service. Period.

Dec 13, 2009, 03:04 PM
Thank you kindly for both replies so far. It is very encouraging to know that I am not alone in my concerns that something is not right here.
I think it is a lemon:(
I have been to the repair place and spoke to the technician who 'didn't' examine it.
I have spoken to the repair place manager at length over the phone who was supportive but said he could not help.
On the weekend I went back to the place where I bought it. They too were sympathetic and although they gave me an additional 2 year warranty to follow up after Apples 12 month one, they said that if they sent if for repair, Aplle would have all my details and reject the warranty claim anyway.

Does anyone think that it may be the battery as well?

I appreciate any further advice as I did love the little MBA, however as you can imagine, my opinion of Apple is deteriorating rapidly.

Dec 15, 2009, 04:31 PM
Yesterday I spoke with a senior person in Customer relations (as I had requested). The day before I had tried customer relations again and spoke to a great young man. I sent him the forum entry that I posted here and he sent this up the line.

She listened to my story and has allowed me to seek a second opinion at another Apple repairer in the ACT. I called them yesterday and am dropping my MBA off this afternoon with my work colleage who was there when I dropped it off the first time.

I will anxiously await the outcome of this examination.

What is interesting to note also is that I plugged in my MBA the other night. What for - I don't know! Hoping for a miracle I guess as I want this all to be over. It made the start up noise and then the screen showed grey and whitish (about 2cm) lines across it, then it went white, then it died. I am encouraged however that it at least did something.
As I also said, I love my MBA and I miss it, but I am concerned as to how a computer can be so clever as to keep breaking itself after it has been fixed!

Dec 15, 2009, 05:17 PM
Hope it works out!

Dec 15, 2009, 09:43 PM
Hope it works out!

Thanks vraxtus.

I left it with another repairer today. he has already called back and said it appears the first repair is where the problem lies.
Its looking good.

Oh, I will gladly post some photos (but it is currently with the second repairer) so I hope you can hold on.

Dec 16, 2009, 03:00 AM
As you mentioned SarahFrancis, these machines need to be intrusively dismantled for investigation and repair.

If you look at this (http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBook-Air/598/1) you can see that the battery needs to be removed, to get access to the logic board. The 2nd repairer may have found that when the logic board was replaced, the battery was not put back correctly, or similar.
Perhaps the lemon was your first repairer. No excuses for Apple getting all uppity with you though.

Hang in there...

Dec 16, 2009, 03:51 AM
Thank you, that's absolutely fascinating. Its so neat inside - and so complicated!!!

Its funny, the second repairer was quite discrete, but said he has had to do this same sort of thing a few times (as in re repair). I will suggest to Apple that maybe they do a quality control check of the first repairers work?

Anyway, I am completely exhausted with the whole thing, hope its over soon.

BTW, do you have any idea why it started the other night and the screen showed those lines then went white (and then went off again)? Would it do that if the monitor was broken?

Many thanks for your help

Dec 17, 2009, 04:30 AM
Why did it flicker on briefly, then go off again? To tease you of course!

Couldn't say why, could be anything...hopefully its only a symptom of the underlying problem with battery/logic board repair.

Dec 20, 2009, 02:50 AM
Well, it turns out the logic board that was replaced late October failed. I paid an excellent independent repairer who thoroughly examined and found nothing else wrong with my mba, including the lcd screen which I was quoted for a replacement of from the previous repairer. Apparently, it is not so unusual for logic boards to fail in the first 4 weeks or so, hence the 90 day warranty. (so it is to be replaced as per warranty)

The dinted part on the mba was closest to the hard drive, but the repairer said it all looked good. Of course there may be a crack invisible to the human eye, but fingers crossed its all over. Its just unfortunate that is slipped from its cover and dented, as I am sure other are subjected to greater shocks and Apple would not be any the wiser as to the unit being dropped.... But anyway, honesty is the best policy and this will hopefully all be over now. At any rate, my (purchased) extended warranty is voided and Apple will do no more. Fair enough, it is dented after all :( But as to why they didn't think it an issue prior to the first logic board failure - who knows??? I had so many witnesses though to the drop occuring in June, that my word maybe won out over theirs). Anyway, its awful to be called a liar. That really pushed my buttons!

I have heard so many good things about the quality of Apple, so I can only hope my mba lives a long life after this. My mba will never leave the house again. It will be wrapped in padding and live on my bed. I can only hope that this one does not fail. If so, I will be gladly dropping it from the top of the highest building possible or selling it on EBay as is - whichever gives me the greatest pleasure.:D

Thank you to the people who replied with advice. It was greatly appreciated. The senior Customer care person I spoke with will deal with the feedback that I gave for my rather traumatic experience, and also hopefully look into the standards of the first repairer (who incidentally have a poor reputation according to many locals I have spoken with).

Hopefully all questions from now on with be strictly technical :)

Dec 20, 2009, 05:08 AM
Persistence rewarded, nice work :)

Dec 20, 2009, 08:31 AM
I too was in the same situation with a MBP (they were setting a refurbished model for $100 more than they wanted to fix mine), they yelled at me, were rude, and I realized I don't need to take that sort of verbal abuse. My dent was while the computer was in a bag, so as I see it, either you move the laptop off of your desk, or you travel with it protected by bubble wrap.

Next time, get a Dell. I'm serious. Their Latitude Z line is amazingly thin, and they don't call their customers liars. I've dealt with them for literally years (since '98?), and while I can't always understand them, they are always helpful... so I keep going back.

Little Endian
Dec 20, 2009, 09:16 AM
I too was in the same situation with a MBP (they were setting a refurbished model for $100 more than they wanted to fix mine), they yelled at me, were rude, and I realized I don't need to take that sort of verbal abuse. My dent was while the computer was in a bag, so as I see it, either you move the laptop off of your desk, or you travel with it protected by bubble wrap.

Next time, get a Dell. I'm serious. Their Latitude Z line is amazingly thin, and they don't call their customers liars. I've dealt with them for literally years (since '98?), and while I can't always understand them, they are always helpful... so I keep going back.

Yeah I agree with you that the MBP is very sensitive to damage, however I am wondering what kind of bag you had it in? I travel with mine all the time and keep it in an Incase hardshell case and a neoprene padded sleeve while not in use. I have owned other Apple, Dell, and IBM thinkpad laptops over the past decade and have never had a serious failure due to a minor drop. However I have always kept them in a case while not in use and in the case of my Apple laptops I have always used a Hard shell protective case like the ones available from Specks or Incase in conjunction with a messenger bag or neoprene sleeve.