From bliss to FURIOUS

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by Abulia, Jun 26, 2004.

  1. Abulia macrumors 68000

    Abulia

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Location:
    Kushiel's Scion
    #1
    I'm absolutely livid at the moment.

    My iMac -- which I have had for a grand total of 48 hours now -- has a fairly serious problem with its display. The display flickers slightly, as if the brightness was shifting a bit. This is mildly annoying but not show-stopping. This started roughly after 24 hours of use. My first real problem was when I attempted to restart the machine; the iMac would "ding" off and appear to reboot but didn't. It just kinda hung there. Turns out the unit just went to sleep. Hitting the sleep button or pressing a key brought the unit out of sleep but the display flashed briefly for 1 second and went black.

    Well, dark to be precise. If you stick your nose on the monitor you can *barely* make out the menu bar. Turning the unit off and disconnecting power for 20 minutes makes no difference.

    This is repeatable; putting the unit in and out of sleep will cause the screen to flash normal once and then go dark again. After about a dozen tries I can *sometimes* get the screen to stay on. (It will still flicker slightly, as above.)

    No worries. I'll call famed Apple Tech Support.

    Unfortunately the person I spoke with had such a heavy accent it made communication difficult. After explaining my problem he advises me to wipe the memory with the Restart + Apple+Option+P+R keys. Remember, the unit won't restart reliably!

    Next he wants to run a hardware diagnostic. Put in the diagnostic disc. Small problem, *Apple never gave me one!* Arrgh. Now he can't do anything until the diagnostic disc is mailed to me. I leave the country for 3 days next week, right when the disc will arrive.

    So, how about dropping the unit off at an Authorized Service Center and let them fiddle with it while I'm out of town? NO. Apparently I can't take the unit to a Service Center unless I bought the extended warranty. That's right, the unit is 48 hours old and I can't take it to my dealer down the road!

    Nothing can happen until I get the diagnostic disc. The best part is -- and some of you may have picked up on this bit already -- *my display doesn't work.* How am I supposed to run the diagnostic disc to tell me my display is faulty if I can't see my display?

    Assuming the disc shows up on Wed, I return Thursday and run the diag, I might be able to get a replacement shipped to me come Friday. If Apple makes me return my machine first before sending a replacement I will absolutely explode. Right now I'm looking at a minimum of one week+ downtime, two days after purchase. :eek:

    Two days. A dealer right down the road who can probably solve the problem. Me trapped in a red-tape nightmare of Apple "Support."

    Absolutely FURIOUS! :mad:
     
  2. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #2
    Talk to the store you got it from about a DOA unit, they may be easier to deal with than Apple.
     
  3. Abulia thread starter macrumors 68000

    Abulia

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Location:
    Kushiel's Scion
    #3
    Lookie, lookie. I don't have the Hardware Test CD but apparently my Install disc includes that as well (am reading the PDF right now).

    The Apple Support Tech apparently didn't know that the Install disc (which I told him twice that I *did* have) included this functionality as well.

    Time to reboot until the display comes up to run the test... (fingers crossed, still FURIOUS)
     
  4. Abulia thread starter macrumors 68000

    Abulia

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Location:
    Kushiel's Scion
    #4
    Ordered directly from Apple. :(
     
  5. Abulia thread starter macrumors 68000

    Abulia

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Location:
    Kushiel's Scion
    #5
    ...and now it's after 6 pm PST and they're closed. :(
     
  6. brap macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Location:
    Nottingham
    #6
    Sounds like you were talking to a muppet.

    You get full Applecare service and support free for 30 days with any new Mac. If they try and fob you off, or they guy you're talking to doesn't speaka da Engleesh, ask to speak to someone else. I work in a call centre, I know these guys are paid to sort out your problems. If one person doesn't sort you out, it's their obligation to find someone else who can.

    Have you tried calling your local service centre/reseller, and asking their opinions? If you are entitled to just take it down to them, they should probably know. I know the local one here asks for a deposit for inspection, but once it's sorted and they find there was a warrantable issue, they refund.

    Best of luck, and remember it's their job to make you happy. Give them hell.
     
  7. King Cobra macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    #7
    Be lucky that you're not the poor sap that had a problem with an eMac many months back...I don't remember who the person was, but the person's eMac screen kept flickering (due to the famous eMac monitor issue). So the person called in Apple Support to have it replaced. A second eMac was tested, same problem. Apple goes to a third, a fourth, fifth (I think), etc. and Apple calls the person back, saying "We can't replace it." That was it, can't do it. Point is: If Apple Support goes downstairs on you, then they probably went further downstairs on someone else first.

    Also, if you haven't already, purchase the full 3-year extended AppleCare. That is a prerequisite to most any positive tech support from Apple for if/when you have faulty hardware problems. Quick story: I had AppleCare on my iBook for the full 3 years. At the last 48 hours or so, I decided that my keyboard needed a replacement, since the control key didn't work. The genius at the genius bar at the nearest Apple Store (3 hours away) said that the keyboard had to be delivered, and that it would take until after AppleCare had expired on me before it could be installed. But since I brought up the issue before it expired, the service was free of charge...so I didn't have to pay for a $129 replacement iBook keyboard after my AppleCare expired. Point there is: Support at the Apple Store treat Mac users with AppleCare like unique artwork...

    Anyways, so once the issue gets settled, if you haven't already, get AppleCare so you don't have to pay the bill.
     
  8. Abulia thread starter macrumors 68000

    Abulia

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Location:
    Kushiel's Scion
    #8
    I have to admit that I was so *stunned* by what he was telling me that I neglected to speak with a supervisor. I'm not afraid to do that or raise a stink if necessary.

    I guess my point is that I don't think it should be necessary. I've had the unit for 2 days. It's essentially DOA. The display is what's screwed up, making any remote support rather moot. Apple shouldn't be making me jump through any hoops to get this resolved. Wait until a disc gets mailed to me? Am I the only one that thinks this is the craziest thing ever? It's an iMac!

    I called the local service dealer but they're closed too. I probably won't be able to get their opinion until Monday. I'd be surprised if the dealer wouldn't at least look the unit over on Apple's behalf. By then I hope to have some portion of this resolved; Apple Tech Support opens in 12 hours... :)
     
  9. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Location:
    with Hamburglar.
    #9
    Raise a fuss - tell them you are a first time switcher (if you haven't ordered from them before) - their ears definitely perk up for that.

    Your frustration is understood by all of us here. Apple better fix this immediately or there will be a Macrumors lynch mob assembled!
     
  10. Abulia thread starter macrumors 68000

    Abulia

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Location:
    Kushiel's Scion
    #10
    The unit has a one year warranty; Apple needs to fulfill its current obligation before I'll consider paying for three more years. We shouldn't be talking about how I need to purchase a three year extension two days after receiving my damaged unit.

    Also, is it really a situation of "Apple Customers" and "Preferred Apple Customers?" Does Apple Care get you the secret handshake to mysteriously get all your problems fixed?

    That doesn't seem right. A customer -- regardless of whether or not they own Apple Care -- should be entitled to the same level and quality of service. Apple Care just extends that service another three years.

    Isn't that how it should work?
     
  11. Elan0204 macrumors 65816

    Elan0204

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2002
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #11
    Honestly, if your iMac is that new, I'd just DOA it. I'd imagine the whole process is free of charge (including shipping), and that way you can just get a brand new different iMac.

    Here is something I pulled from Apple's Store Support Site:
    If that number is different than the number you've been calling, try it instead.

    edit: Nevermind, I just realized that is the normal 1-800-APL-CARE number.

    edit 2: Here is the full DOA policy.
    If Apple accepts that your problems qualify your iMac as DOA, I'd definitely opt for the replacement option.
     
  12. King Cobra macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    #12
    They should, but from reading through others' experiences on the forums for two years, I've determind that people have better experiences with tech support through AppleCare as supposed to without. The price of repairs might play a big factor in that...or maybe AppleCare Support doesn't want to discourage their AppleCare customers about the extended warranty plan not working. Even if you don't have AppleCare now, you can still get your problems fixed. But IF your computer -- after it is replaced -- has a problem a year and a half down the road and needs to be repaired, you would be glad to have AppleCare with you.

    Right now, your machine is under a basic limited warranty (the 30 days or 90 days or 1 year as default with the machine), and that grants you "a handshake" to free support for a short trial period. AppleCare grants you a 3-year handshake.
     
  13. Abulia thread starter macrumors 68000

    Abulia

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Location:
    Kushiel's Scion
    #13
    Oh my...

    I just popped over to the Apple Discussion forums to see what's up and see if anyone has had a similar problem. Now I know the dangers of reading too much from a vocal few but...

    On the first page there's no less than half a dozen people with this same problem, several of them discussing how they are on their 2nd or 3rd repair. (Faulty logic board and kinked cable in the neck are the top two culprits.)

    Is this a known issue w/ iMacs? At this point I'm *seriously* considering getting tech support on the phone, DOAing this unit and getting a full refund. :eek:

    iMac Discussion Forum
    Thread
    Thread
    Thread (My problem is IDENTICAL)
    Thread
    ...there are more but I think you get the point.

    I'm seriously considering running from this iMac screaming. I love the machine but I'm not about to be caught in repair hell for as long as I own it!
     
  14. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    #14

    I haven't found this to be true in my dealings with Apple tech support.
     
  15. brap macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Location:
    Nottingham
    #15
    The discussion forums are a melting pot for people with issues. By definition, those who go there require support. Whereas here, I'm sure you could find hundreds of equally vocal, satisfied iMac users. At the end of the day, you're likely to get an iMac that works after a little patience. If you like it, and want it, surely it must be worth it.

    Having said that, though... maybe a full refund, and a wait until after WWDC would be of benefit...
     
  16. FuzzyBallz macrumors 6502a

    FuzzyBallz

    Joined:
    May 2, 2003
    Location:
    Home of Al-Qaida
    #16
    Man, you're lucky the iMac didn't blew up on you, the machine at apple tech support might report you to home land security.

    Well, I hope you get your "Mac Only" problem sorted out. I never liked integrated all in one systems, monitor and the system just shouldn't be glued together. We got one of these cheap ass G3 pre-eMacs. It's slow as hell. I would never buy something like that.
     
  17. King Cobra macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    #17
    Well everyone has a different story. I'm saying: For the most part (i.e. on average), people with AppleCare/warranty usually have better experiences in terms of Apple technical support than people without it.
     
  18. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #18
    when my brother got an imac G4 700 two years ago, it turned on once, crashed part way through start up, and would not restart. I called applecare, and they tried to get to send it in for repair. "Thanks anyway," I told them, and hung up. Drove it back to the store (microcenter) and they replaced it on the spot, no questions asked. The new one hasn't had a problem to this day.

    I know you got it online, but the moral of the story is, if you have severe problems this early, something is WRONG and you should not have to put up with it. Your machine is a lemon, and you're entitled to something that works out of the box. Get this one declared DOA and get a brand new one ASAP.
     
  19. DGFan macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2003
    #19
    But if you find many people on the forums with the same issue recurring on their system it may be a signal to DOA or return the item instead of going for the repair. So it has some uses....
     
  20. Abulia thread starter macrumors 68000

    Abulia

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Location:
    Kushiel's Scion
    #20
    I'll be trying Apple tech support first thing in the morning. Failing that I'll contact a local Apple dealer / Authorized support center for help come Monday.

    Until then, I've done some more research. It seems my problem is a fairly common one: the LCD inverter is going out / gone out. This causes the backlight for the LCD to not come on when rebooting or after waking up from sleep. The signal is sent, a brief flash of the screen appears, and then the backlight goes off. If you turn off all the lights in the room and hold a flashlight to the monitor you can see the unit is still on and move the mouse around, etc. (When I say "common" I mean I was able to find over a dozen people with the problem, some with machines less than a week old, some over a year into their iMac on the Apple forums with minimal searching.)

    Unfortunately mine has gone from "annoying" to plain defective; where I used to be able to get the backlight to stay on after a dozen or so resets, now I can't get the backlight to come on at all.

    Using the aforementioned flashlight trick I'm going to do my best to burn a CD with some of the files and movies that I managed to get on the machine in the past two days.

    When I talk with tech support I'll jump through their diagnostic hoops (already did the memory reset -- didn't work) and then get them to qualify the machine as DOA. My order of preference:
    1. Full refund
    2. New unit
    3. Local service center repair

    Anything less will probably embark me on a customer service calling campaign. I'm going to give Apple every opportunity to make good the sale but based on the experiences I've read ("took 2 weeks for my service center to get the part," or "I'm on my third logic board") I'm not hopeful.

    I have to admit that in something like 20 years of working on / with computers, nothing like this has ever happened to me. But then, this is my first Apple. :)
     
  21. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Location:
    with Hamburglar.
    #21
    This is not typical of Apple - the forums you find are places where people post problems - there will be similarities of course, but that doesn't mean that it is widespread. You are in the 1% that got a dud. If there were places to post (with as much passion) about how much your new iMac has worked flawlessly, there would be thousands of posts. I don't mean to lessen the seriousness of your situation - just that it's not like a lot of iMacs have this issue.

    I would suggest not even messing with it anymore. It is DOA - Apple WILL get you a new unit. Toying with it will just anger you more. It will be fixed - and you will love your new iMac. :eek:
     
  22. James L macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2004
    #22
    Hey,

    Just to reiterate what the others have said, a dozen or more (say twenty?) does not constitute a major problem. Apple sells 2 - 3 million computers per year. 40% of those are laptops (so if we used the 2 million per year figure that is 800,000), which leaves 1.2 million desktops, or more, per year sold. I would venture a guess that close to 1/2 million of those per year, or more, are iMacs.

    I guess what I am saying is that it may appear to be a widespread problem, but when you crunch the numbers it isn't. That is not to belittle your situation, it sucks to get a dud machine you have so been looking forward too. It happens with ANYTHING though... my buddies transmission just packed it in on a car he bought 3 months ago (a 2004 model I might add). Just chalk it up to the gods of ****ty luck and focus on getting Apple to take care of you.

    Incidently, I have had Apple replace an entire machine within a week of its purchase because of a rather minor, but extremely annoying problem. It can be done... I have done it! Just be firm, and polite, with each person you speak too. Go through the chain until someone says yes, working you way to the top if you need too. Again, this process is typical of most customer service departments, just be persistent!

    I hope it all works out for you,

    James
     
  23. absolut_mac macrumors 6502a

    absolut_mac

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2003
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #23
    Sorry about the dead Mac :( But by law Apple is obligated...

    By law, Apple is - like every other company out there - obligated to sell you a working unit for your hard earned cash. They are also obligated to fulfill their one year warranty, without you being coerced in to buying the three year extension, which you have the luxury of purchasing anytime within a year of your original purchase.

    My advice is to speak to a supervisor and to firmly but politely demand to have it fixed pronto, otherwise you'll cancel the sale and get a refund. This option must be excercised within the first week or two, otherwise you'll lose your refund option.

    Customers on this board tend to forget that Apple are obligated to give you a refund if you demand it, because they didn't honor their part of the bargain in selling you a working unit. Your exact rights as a customer will vary from state to state. That's one of the advantages of the left coast, we have VERY strong consumer protection laws here.
     
  24. JoeG4 macrumors 68030

    JoeG4

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Bay Area, Ca.
    #24
    As said a few times, here's the few points:

    1. You're fully (100%) entitled to a replacement. That means you stick it in the box, they ship you a label, you ship it off and get a new machine.. THAT or you get a refund. You have (I believe) 14 days to get a full refund that way.

    2. Buying the extended warranty DOES NOT give you better service nor does it give you 'respect', and the 1 year warranty covers a year of service, but only 90 days of 'tech support', meaning that after that if you're sure you have a hardware problem you are still 100% in your rights to call in to get it fixed (for free) -- if they refuse to then talk to their manager.

    3. There are such things as lousy technicians. Before you begin a call always ask for their full name and note it down, that way if they happen to be bad and not allow you to speak to their supervisor you now have a way to get them where it hurts.

    4. About 2000,000 imacs are sold every 3 months, and there might be anywhere between 200-1000 incidents of this defect, that's if it's a "widely known defect", in the 2.5 years they've been manufacturing the imac. As much as you might not want to believe it, the iMac line has been known to be extremely sound (I've yet to see an imac with a problem).

    Good luck ;)
     
  25. blue&whiteman macrumors 65816

    blue&whiteman

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    #25
    exactly!
     

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