Apple's Customer Service Stinks!

Discussion in 'Hardware Rumors' started by elfin buddy, Dec 26, 2001.

  1. elfin buddy macrumors 6502a

    elfin buddy

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2001
    Location:
    Tuttlingen, Germany
    #1
    Hey all

    I've got some bitchin' to do about Apple here.....now first of all, don't get me wrong - I always have been and always will be a loyal Mac user - but Apple has been really pissin' me off lately! I (my family) recieved a new iMac for Christmas back in 1999. This was a top-o-the-line iMac DV SE (400MHz, 128MB RAM, etc...). Let me make this clear: I have NEVER been this disappointed with a product EVER before in my life! This new iMac came with a 1 year warrenty which, I believe, is standard on all Macs. The computer worked like a DREAM for the first 10 months. It was especially nice because I live in a tiny Wintel dominated community and I got to do lots of bragging over it's design and power. In early-mid November, the iMac just started shutting down at apparently random times. The random shutdowns got more and more frequent as time passed. We think it was a problem with overheating or something but we still haven't found out. On December 12th, it shutdown and refused to start up again. The first time i attempted to start it up after this there came a very static and choppy noise that sounded something like breaking glass. And that's it. We sent it to the nearest Apple retailer (900 km) for repairs (which, BTW, cost us $100 per trip). They only recieved it around Christmas and refused to repair it until after the holidays. We accepted this with no complaint because this was our first major problem with Apple. We tried to be very tolerant.

    Around New Years, we got the computer back and it worked fine for about another month. Then BAM! Same problem as before. We had trouble trying to get the techs to repair it again because (technically) our warrenty had expired. We convinced them to do it anyways because we argued that the computer had never be REALLY fixed and still had the same problems. They fixed (supposedly) after about a month (April?), charged us another $100 for S&H, and sent it back to us. it worked fine for about 2 months, although my dad believed I was really behind every single crash with my 'evil' programs and stuff. It started shutting down randomly again only it was not very frequent (around May). We lived with it like this for a few months (not wanting to spend another $100) and got by with troubleshooting and the like. Then it got too much to bear so we sent it to them again (around July 2001) with much the same excuse as before. It cost us ANOTHER $100. This time, they found some very severe problems and needed many new parts like a new motherboard, CRT display, etc. They first had to do some careful negotiating with Apple to get them to send the parts free of charge. When the parts arrived, they were either the wrong ones or they didn't work at all. They continued getting new parts and trying to fix it. They finally got it to work. They tested it for about 3 weeks, found no problems, and sent it back to us around SEPTEMBER! During this time, my dad was offered several thousand dollar contracts to do digital animation work for a local college. He had to decline ALL of them because he had no way to do the work. The computer worked fine for a month but then had a problem with the HD which we could only fix by erasing the entire thing. We didn't have much of it backed up. We recovered from this one and the computer worked as if it were BETTER than new for a few more weeks. Then it broke again for the FINAL time (early-mid November). We contacted Apple DIRECTLY and made a few very reasonable demands (i.e. either FIX our computer and give us another 1 year warrently, give us a new computer with a 1 year warrenty, or feel the wrath of court. They said they couldn't fix our computer and they refused to give us a new iMac (probably because a lack of them) but did offer us a demo machine used at a store. With a 3 month warrenty. We said no. We would accept the demo machine but not without a 1 year warrenty. They said no. We wrote many letters, made many phone calls, and sent many emails. Apparently, they only recieved the ones they wanted to. Now here it is almost 2002 and we are still without a reasonably powerful Mac. The question I pose to you all is:

    What the F#*& do you think we should do?

    I think I should also note that the times which we had our iMac and it wasn't shutting down, it was having frequent crashes besides that. I spent countless hours troubleshooting and various other things. Yep well I'm done raving for now....if anyone want to know more about this incident or has similar experiences to relate, I would be more than happy to hear them =)
     
  2. iwantanewmac macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2001
    #2
    imac

    you tried a new harddrive?
    seriously now. I have a dv se too and it sometimes acts
    "wierd" . I stil suspect a faulty harddrive.
    btw if your dad had thousands of dolars worth of work,
    he should have bought a new (or second hand) imac.
     
  3. Ensign Paris macrumors 68000

    Ensign Paris

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2001
    Location:
    Europe
    #3
    no rumors

    Sorry about this, I am not in a good mood....

    This is not a rumor, and is not something I need to know.

    Ensign
     
  4. elfin buddy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    elfin buddy

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2001
    Location:
    Tuttlingen, Germany
    #4
    no new hard drive

    No, when the hard drive started messin up, we wiped it clean and partitioned it. It worked beautifully for a few weeks after until it broke for the 4th time. While it was taken in to get fixed the third time, they tried EVERYTHING to get it to work including a new hard drive. They concluded that the hard drive wasn't the problem of the shutdowns so they swapped our old one back in again. My dad was 'offered' several thousand dollar contracts and he had no choice but to decline them so he didnt recieve any money for them. He refused to just go buy a new computer because he trusted in Apple to get it fixed. We also would have no real need for it when we got the lemon imac (or replacement) back again. It just seemed like a poor use of money at the time since we were busy moving house and all.
     
  5. GigaWire macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2001
    #5
    What is your dad doing working in 3-d on the family computer for a living? I find this story a little contrived. And I am no apple nut myself. I had a monitor crash and burn 1 month out of warranty. So you got a bad computer, but what is this post doing in hardware rumors? 3D animation on an iMac, no wonder it died so early...

    Also, since you were technically out of warranty, I think Apple and the repair technicians have been quite fair in dealing with this. Besides with MWSF coming, it's time to upgrade anyway, and this time get the 3 yr warranty. Corporations suck. Live and learn.

    P.S. you can try emailing steve@mac.com. I've heard of several people who's issues have been resolved through this address.

    [​IMG]

    [Edited by GigaWire on 12-27-2001 at 09:41 AM]
     
  6. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #6
    the hardware problems could be numerous

    ...but of all the explanations i have ever heard, as a hardware tech, rendering 3D stuff is not a reason i ever heard of any computer meeting its end sooner

    having worked with computers that dealt with email and internet only, spreadsheets only, word processing only, 2d and 3 d graphics only, games only, or a combination of one or more of the above, these things were designed for the computer to do and working on graphics applications will make your processor process more information in a shorter period of time, but it will not make the hardware go kaput noticeably quicker...one will likely spill coffee on their laptop, drop their laptop or desktop (or bang it) while moving it, or simply outgrow the machine as it becomes a casualty to the fast moving nature of the computer industry

    you have hardware, firmware, and software and all of these things are expected to work flawlessly...but guess what, they don't from time to time due to the great deal of engineering that has to go into each and every componenet...machines are built and designed by humans and humans do make mistakes

    a highly regarded item such as an imac do sometimes come built wrong or something broken gets installed into it right from the get go and certain software issues are often overlooked by hardware techs who have limited knowledge in software

    it's like when apple comes out with the golden master of os x after the beta...it is still full of bugs and screwups...so there are fixes and rethinking on earlier concepts

    having been on macrumors since the beginning, if you look back at the past, it is not all rumors, but also praises, criticisms, flamewars, and even talk of pcs
     
  7. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #7
    but gigawire is right in saying that this is the time to upgrade

    a computer lasts realistically for two years, and for minimal users like me who don't need the horsepower of a full on gamer, i can make a machine stretch two and a half years and maybe even three...but by then, even the cheapest pcs could outclass my mac by five to ten times on certain tasks (see zd benchmarks in many pc magazines to give you an idea of how fast things move)

    judgin from most users i have seen on most computer related forums, two years seems to be how long an average user can tolerate using almost any machine, so go for the extended warranty and unfortunataly that is three years instead of two, which would really fit the needs of most modern users today

    many pc manufacturers offer a two year option and that is perfect for the user and the machine in the vast majority of cases but apple needs the money and knowing that most people will never have to call up on the warranty, the extra money made from selling a three year warranty is much needed for apple these days

    ...so basically, i say get the extended warranty for three years and realize that you will probably have a new machine two years after that

    one day, the average useable life of any machine will be one year and i have met some crazy gamers in san jose who do just that...they seem to start a trend among users which the rest of the nation usually emulates and ends up adopting a few months later

    i am so freaking old, i remember when any computer was still relatively cutting edge five years after it was bought...those days are long gone...long, long gone
     
  8. eyelikeart Moderator emeritus

    eyelikeart

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2001
    Location:
    Metairie, LA
    #8
    do nothing...

    I don't think there is anything u can really do to try and "get back" at Apple by taking them to court. They aren't that big of a company, but they are big enough not to be intimidated by your threats.

    As for your iMac, I do not know what to tell u. I have a PowerBook G4 Rev. A which hasn't given me an ounce of trouble since the day I received it. There have been so many people with PowerBooks from the same batch as mine who have had problems with DVD, LCD, casing, etc, etc... I've been fortunate to have avoided all of these. I suppose it just means that there are always going to be some bad units in the batch? I know this doesn't make u feel better, but it's a simple fact in life I suppose.

    Also, I've never had to deal with Apple repair since I've been able to perform any maintainance & servicing to my own computers. I know big companies can have a tendency to put people off or even make them feel like a number, but I don't think this constitutes taking legal action. They did offer to give a fix by giving u a demo computer with a 3 month warranty. And I know this isn't a solution, but it was a step to try and make u guys happy.
     
  9. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #9
    MAYBE

    three months is all they could have promised with that imac demo model due to current leftover inventory (since jit inventory has taken over in the us and keeping extra parts lying around long will kill a company's net profits...as evidenced in our getting a good ass whooping by the japanese who realized keeping old parts around was killing them) and so we learned and leaned up our companies all across america

    maybe there are literally no spare parts left over to cover a year

    which means that they could be retiring the current design and going into the lcd imac realm which i am sure you will be first in line to buy out of need more than whimsy

    good luck on your next mac
     
  10. Foocha macrumors 6502a

    Foocha

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2001
    Location:
    London
    #10
    Apple customer service

    I would agree that Apple's customer service is poor.

    My Powerbook G4 has had a broken "M" key since I bought it (new). Apple offered to collect it, send it to the Netherlands??!! and return it in two weeks.

    Since I use my 'book every day for business, this is simply not possible, so I just have to live with it the way it is. (The problem with the m key is that it keeps duplicating - which means I have to go back and delete the exess mmmmmms - very annoying).

    The 'book also came with a broken power adapter that started buring up inside and stopped working. I had to buy a replacement one for £69 because I needed to use the 'book and Apple said it would take them a month to send me a new one. I'm glad I did go out and buy a new one, because they never sent me the promised replacement.

    It it wasn't for the fact that their kit is usually so good, I would have given up on them a long time ago.
     
  11. eyelikeart Moderator emeritus

    eyelikeart

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2001
    Location:
    Metairie, LA
    #11
    hate to say this, but...

    I completely understand the need to have a computer for daily use and what a struggle it can be to be without it for a period of time. But I feel that if Apple has offered to fix the problems, then it can not be fair to say their customer service is bad simply because u can not part with the computer for the given downtimes. When my car needs servicing, it's hard to get it to the shop I use since it's about a 25 min drive, through very hellish traffic, away from where I am....but I find a way to make it happen.
     
  12. Foocha macrumors 6502a

    Foocha

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2001
    Location:
    London
    #12
    But...

    1. They promised to send me a replacement power adapter that never arrived

    2. Apple is willing to send replacement keyboards for the Powerbook G3 for customer to install themselves, but they are inexplicably not willing to do the same for the Powerbook G4 which has a similar keyboard

    3. Why doesn't Apple UK have a service center in the UK - shipping to the Netherlands seems a bit extreme.
     
  13. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #13
    re: hate to say this, but

    that is true

    while the apple episode was not the best, it certainly beats what it was like dealing with apple three years ago when they were too busy with the imac to worry about customer service

    once imac got a foothold, then steve jobs got into retooling the customer service at apple and it has improved a lot

    it still has a ways to go until they reach the customer service efficiency of microsoft...hey they didn't become number one with agressive tactics and bad software alone

    like bill gates, when he has to be, microsoft knows how to charm better than any company in IT

    apple could learn lessons from bill gates and still keep the apple quality and ethics, too (i admit, very hard to do)

    btw, congrats on 200!
     
  14. eyelikeart Moderator emeritus

    eyelikeart

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2001
    Location:
    Metairie, LA
    #14
    Customer Service, 200 Posts, & Signatures

    Foocha...
    I can agree then that not receiving the new power supply was a bad deal, but did u contact them about not receiving it? I know if I were waiting on a new piece of hardware I'd bug the crap out of whomever was supposed to send it to me if they dragged their feet on it.

    jefhatfield...
    Thanks! I really like the boards on this site better than any other I frequent.

    and again jefhatfield...
    "the old guy on the boards?"....ha ha ha...
     
  15. Foocha macrumors 6502a

    Foocha

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2001
    Location:
    London
    #15
    Bugging the crap

    Hi eyelikeart,

    You're right, I didn't chase Apple for the replacement - but this is a perfect illustration of my point - if they had decent customer service I shouldn't have to!

    Hmm, maybe there's an opportunity to sell these guys an eCRM system!

     
  16. tiChick macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2001
    #16
    I work at a small college TV station, and we use a ruby iMac DV SE as our on-air bulletin board. We create information slides in Photoshop, pop them into Final Cut Pro, and run the bulletin board direct from the timeline out to a DV converter which converts the DV signal to analog. That signal is patched into the master control room. From MCR it gets onto the channel. We run it whenever we're not running programming. This machine has_been_running_continuously for 18 months without any major problems. As a matter of fact, the only major problem we've had is with the DV converter. It occasionally freaks out and sends out a checkerboard block pattern instead of the DV signal. Laird, the company who makes the converter says there's nothing wrong with it... shutting it down for a few minutes and restarting usually solves the problem so we've decided to live with it rather than fight with Laird.

    Getting back to the iMac and Final Cut, one minor problem is that the timeline stops looping after about 36 hours, so we have to restart it. Otherwise, this machine has worked flawlessly.

    It could be that you just got a buggy motherboard. I'm no expert, but I would guess probably one in ten thousand macs (more often with wintel machines), can have buggy motherboards -- and then there are flakey power supplies. I had a Mac clone die on me due to a flakey power supply, but it came back to life with installation of a replacement. I'm surprised the Mac tech support people you've dealt with have not checked this out.
     
  17. eyelikeart Moderator emeritus

    eyelikeart

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2001
    Location:
    Metairie, LA
  18. elfin buddy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    elfin buddy

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2001
    Location:
    Tuttlingen, Germany
    #18
    Thanks!

    Hey all!

    Thanks for all your comments and support. I'm sorry that my thread ended up here in the hardware rumors section and that some of you were annoyed by this. I will try to be more careful in the future. In case any of you were wondering, my iMac wasn't being used for 3-D animation. It was used for designing posters, ads, etc. for the local college using programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator. Both programs ran smoothly so I doubt this is what caused the mac to die. Other major programs which were used on it were MS Office and a few 3-D games like Myth II and Diablo. That's all I have to say!
     
  19. Falleron macrumors 68000

    Falleron

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    UK
    #19
    I have to say that I have never had a hardware fault on any of my macs!! I have been using various macs for over 10 years now. No customer service is perfect so I think we should give apple the benefit of the doubt? I can guaratee that there are far worse around!!
     
  20. blackpeter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2001
    #20
    I see his point

    Did I get the story right??

    -First contact was made with Apple before the warranty was up

    -The FINAL solution given by Apple was to replace the computer

    Now, I may be wrong - but if Apple is offering a different computer (for whatever reason - they ARE offering him one), shouldn't he get a new computer? Why should a demo be acceptable? Anyone here REALLY want a demo as their home computer? Seems a little half-assed to me.
    *And if Apple can't replace his computer (i.e. because they have no more and aren't making any more) shouldn't he get an equivalent computer (i.e. an LCD iMac) when they are available. I mean, he shouldn’t get any more than a 3 month warranty (the unit didn’t go bad for 10 months) but shouldn’t Apple hook a brother up? How about a little appreciation for the Mac-user community?
     
  21. kishba macrumors 6502a

    kishba

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2001
    Location:
    Michigan
    #21
    Don't let one sour Apple spoil the rest

    I know many of you feel Apple's support is lacking but I have to defend them. I once was a HUGE PC fan and an avid Mac hater. Then after building a PC that did nothing but crash I decided to buy a Powerbook G3 (firewire). This baby has been the best. My only trouble is the sound jack doesn't work correctly (I bought AppleCare though and plan to get it fixed). After saving some money I decided to purchase a Quicksilver with 17" Apple LCD and an iPod. I *love* these to pieces.

    Then things went bad. I slammed my iPod in a car door (my coat had been hanging outside). I contacted Apple and next day a box was at my door so I could send the iPod back. Then the next day a brand new iPod was on my doorstep. That is great service. I did not have the same luck with my PC components. I ended buying *2* motherboards and *3* CPUs to get is working.

    You may have had a bad experience, but believe me Apple is much better than some other companies at service and repair.
     
  22. eyelikeart Moderator emeritus

    eyelikeart

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2001
    Location:
    Metairie, LA
    #22
    re: I see his point

    U are right when u say no one wants a used computer...

    but who's heard of a computer manufacturer giving an entire brand new unit to replace one that's troublesome?

    If there's AppleCare, then maybe I could imagine it....but there wasn't....
     
  23. blackpeter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2001
    #23
    I agree. It isn’t that common to see a computer manufacturer replace a computer because it’s troublesome. But it happens. Dell Computer drove me to see the light a year ago when they sent me two new replacement towers which both crashed with the same blue screen of death. After this experience I argued my way into a full refund before reinvesting the money in my G4 (my first Mac).

    Now, for whatever reason, Apple has offered a different machine. Apple Care is a good idea, but he doesn’t need it. Remember, he’s within his warranty* So again, I ask – if Apple has indeed offered a different machine (which, I believe, they have) then where’s the beef?

    Stop quibbling and give the man what he deserves: a working DV iMac.
     
  24. elfin buddy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    elfin buddy

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2001
    Location:
    Tuttlingen, Germany
    #24
    yep....

    Apple did indeed offer us a replacement machine. A demo machine, but a working replacement. For reasons beyond my knowledge, Apple has refused to give anything beyong a 3 month warrenty on this demo machine they offered. The problem with this is that our old iMac worked fine for about 10 months and then broke. Since this machine is a demo, it was placed in a store for the masses to try out; meaning that thousands have probably gotten their hands on it and other things like that. It was a machine that anyone was allowed to use and , i'll bet, at least one little tot managed to wedge a cookie or something in it's DVD drive, or something like that. The machine has already been running for a year or two which means that if we had bought it new it would be out of warrenty. Say, for example, that you had the choice of getting either:

    a) A demo iMac DV which has been running for over a year, used by thousands of people, and a 1 year warrenty

    b) A demo iMac DV which has been running for over a year, used by thousands of people, and a 3 month warrenty


    Which would YOU prefer? Would you really trust a several thousand dollar investment, which would be out of warrenty by now, to a 3 month warrenty?

    The situation would be a little different if Apple offered to explain why they could not give us a 1 year warrenty or why they wouldn't give us a new computer, etc. As I'm sure many of you can, I could probably guess the answers to most of the questions I have, but it's just different when Apple neglects to tell you anything about your broken computer and is very slack about dealing with a year old situation. I think it is worthy of note that we sent our computer to Apple around mid-November, with a letter saying that we would like to have a new machine by November 30th. The iMac shipped out a week late so we allowed them another week to work on it. As you probably have figured out, we still haven't gotten our Mac back or any sort of compensation. The Apple worker we are talking to about this rarely returns phone calls, emails, or other forms of communication. And when he does it lacks any real context and is the same every time. I'm sure you can imagine how annoying it must be to be kept waiting an extra month for our computer, and still things haven't progressed any further than they were in November. Those of you who think I should do nothing must be either crazy or real friggin' rich! My family, on the other hand, does not have thousands of dollars to throw around and we are not going to ignore the fact that we were gyped on a $2500 (I am Canadian) computer and just buy another one. That's all for now....
     
  25. Kela macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 12, 2001
    Location:
    US
    #25
    Elfin! Obviously it is your handling of the imac which has ruined it!! Maybe not your programs but the viruses you allow to takeover your mac. Additionally you probably shut your imac down by hitting it! Also, since the nearest apple retailer is 900km away i assume u live in the ass of the world, hence, electricity is jittery and probably the inconsistent voltage changes probably have damaged your imac circuits.
     

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