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Getting my PowerBook fixed in the UK

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Lau, Jul 15, 2005.

  1. Lau

    Ok, so I have a weird white spot on my screen, and it's been there for a month. I'm still under the warranty, for about the next month and a half. I took it to my local (non official) Apple shop and they confirm that yes, I'm right, there is indeed a 1-2 cm lighter spot in the screen. They offer to send it in for me, for a small charge, as they aren't a proper Apple shop. I ask how much the "small charge" is. It's £70. I don't have £70. I thank them, and leave.

    So I spent about an hour looking for an email address on the Apple website to organise a pickup, in order to avoid any sort of support phone call charges, and eventually give up and phone them. Obviously the guy threatens to charge me £35 for "support', and also tries to convince me to buy AppleCare. Humph. But the guy (who actually couldn't have sounded less interested) tells me that I have to take it to a shop that is a service provider, and get it fixed that way. I heard this before, and isn't this a bit pants? I would possibly consider AppleCare if they picked it up, not if I have to drag it to the nearest big city.

    Anyway. I phoned Bristol (which is the nearest), and they didn't answer the phone, and it eventually cut off. I emailed them, but last time I emailed them it was about buying my PowerBook, i.e. offering to spend £1000 in their shop, and they didn't reply. I'm not holding my breath. Also, my friend had to get her screen replaced last summer, and the Bristol shop quoted her 6 weeks. So she took it elsewhere.

    Now, the only other possibility is, as I could be in central London next Thursday for the Ultra-Fab-MR-London-Meetup™, I could in theory drop it off at the Genius Bar then. So I phoned them, and they said I can't make an appointment until on the day, and it has to be in person or on the website. Not by phone. If I'm there by 10, I can probably get one. But I can't be there until 11, 11.30 at the earliest, and didn't really want to hang around all day in London with a whole bag of stuff. And then I'm away for a week, so I don't know when I can pick it up.

    So, what would you guys do? Have you had to get anything fixed? Should I risk the dodgy guys at Bristol, or go through the almighty hassle of lugging it to London? Will London be able to post it back to me? Is there any way I can get someone to send me a box, I put it in and send it off to them, and get it back when it's ready? It's all a bit of a faff, really, and I'm extra annoyed because my boyfriend has this hideous laptop from a company called Mesh, who are totally unglamorous, and he bunged it in a box, and got it back in a week. And they'd replaced bits that were broken even though it was his fault. Darn.

    What do you all reckon? Sorry for the hideously long post.
  2. macrumors G4


    You can book online at the Apple Store - you can always check online for the next couple of days and see what time of day it does live for booking appointments. The good news is that the Apple Store will send it off for free the bad news is that you'll probably have to pick it up again from there.

    If you moan at Applecare enough, they will send you out a box to pick it up in. They just like to tell you that you have to take it to a service centre. I'd call Apple back and tell them that you took it to a service provider who agreed there was a problem but wanted to charge you to send it to Apple
  3. macrumors 68000


    If you are still under warranty, do as dearest AppleSpider says :p .. Play hell! I did and they do things quicker and they send a box. Apple support UK is shocking - I don't know what the instore is like. Book an appointment and go next thursday, asking it to be sent back home rather than back to the Apple store.
  4. Lau

    Nice one, thanks. Apple support knew I had been to the local store in Bath and that they were going to charge, which is why they sent me to Bristol. Just on the off-chance, I phoned Bristol again, and miraculously a very nice woman picked up, and said I can bring it in any time, and it'll be 3-5 days for parts, and then as soon as possible after that. I think I'm gonna do that, as it will be easier (assuming they don't screw me around). I wonder if they've been told to sort themselves out, because they have an awful reputation round here.

    But it is extremely useful to know I can hassle Apple and get a box if I need one.

    Thanks for all your help, Applespider and SpaceMagic :cool:
  5. Lau

    Well, I went to the Bristol store, and some smug rep said: Sure, there's a problem. You can hand it in and it'll be 4-6 weeks.

    <Lau's jaw hits floor> Whaa?!

    So I had to go on holiday and leave it, and just phoned them again, and some dude reading off a script kept saying "As you haven't purchased AppleCare, you are entitled to 90 days phone support and then a year's limited warranty". I know! Stop saying that! Phoned them up again, same thing, different dude. So got their complaints/service email (uk.consumer@euro.apple.com) and was assured a reply in 24 hours.

    So all fired up I wrote the below:
    We shall see. I'm going out for a walk. Possibly even a pint.... :mad:
  6. TMA
    macrumors 6502a


    From working in an Applecentre (reseller) in the UK I can completely understand your frustration at Apple.

    We see this kind of thing all of the time. Apple tell people to take any Apple product into our store and that we will get it fixed for them. The reality is that it's not that simple an operation and often people are alarmed when we tell them we will gladly have their machine fixed, but that they must wait weeks for Apple to send the parts to our engineers. Also if we book a machine in for a repair, that later turns out to be a software issue (i.e not covered by warranty) Apple will NOT reimburse us for our time (which could be 1-2 hours at a minimum)

    The situation has gotten much worse, as now Apple are instructing people to bring in iPods to us that need repairing under warranty. Quite simply, nobody but Apple can fix iPods so all we would be doing is sending the iPod off to Apple anyway! On top of that is the fact that as a reseller there is no reason why we should be using our time to sort out Apples problems. If the iPod is purchased from our shop, fair enough, but if the iPod is from Woolworths why on earth should Apple be expecting us to get it sorted out? We don't get any money or financial assistance to help this mass 'ferrying' of iPods too and throw.

    Apple support in the UK is a complete joke. If you kick up enough fuss, Apple will agree to collect your machine. You could try phoning Apple and ask to speak to a supervisor or manager. They often have some power of evaluating a situation and acting accordingly (Perhaps they are allowed to even choose which crib sheet to read off)
  7. Lau

    TMA, I can totally understand where you resellers are coming from. The guy in the one at Bristol seemed to relish the fact that it was going to take 6 weeks, but the way he said it implied it was more of his frustration at Apple for putting them in that position. I'm not surprised that you guys get annoyed for being put in that position, especially as it means you guys are in the firing line from the customers when you have to tell them how long it will be.

    And Apple Uk doesn't have a complaints phone number. I can't think why....

    Anyway, they will respond to my email in 24 hours, apparently. This means, at 14:21:12 tomorrow, I am officially allowed to go all angry on em. :)
  8. TMA
    macrumors 6502a


    Did you get a reply by any chance?
  9. macrumors G4


    yes... I hope your silence isn't because you've been arrested for destroying public areas in your fury...
  10. Lau

    Ooh, sorry, didn't notice the replies for some reason, and it's not cause I was going all Hulk on the neighbourhood or anything. I waited the 24 hours, and sent an email to sjobs@apple.com saying it just wasn't cricket, basically, and then an hour later I actually had a reply from Apple UK. I'm under no impression this had anything to do with emailing sjobs, though. The email from Apple said

    I thought, ooh, a customer service number. And then looked in my phone memory, and realised it was the number I'd already phoned.

    So I sent this back:

    We shall see what happens. Maybe I was a bit hasty, but I just want the darn thing fixed! If I don't get a reply by lunchtime tomorrow I'll brave the customer service number again.

    Tune in next time tomorrow for the next installment of Lau's Customer Service Adventure!
  11. Lau

    Well, needless to say, they didn't phone me back. I bit the bullet and phoned them, and after a 45 minute phone call :eek: (national rate :( ) a actually nice and helpful man seemed quite happy to organise sending out a box (which should arrive tomorrow, fingers crossed) and he said I should have it back in a week or so. And I didn't even have to get angry with him, I was just firm, and obviously at the end of my tether, and it seemed to work. Amusingly enough, just as the second guy said the words "the box will be with you tomorrow or Monday, and you should have it back within the week" this email popped into my inbox:

    Well, thanks for that. Looks like it really is a case of getting the right person then. What annoys me is this is the second time something like this has happened. Last time it was a almighty cock up with my rebate from Cram and Jam and it followed the same pattern:

    Unhelpful person: No, we don't have a phone number for them.
    Bored person: You can only contact them by email.
    Unhelpful person no. 2: No they don't actually have a phone number.
    Helpful person: Would you like their number so you can phone them?

    Lau: :confused:

    2 weeks later on second screw up (I had deleted the number as I thought was all sorted)

    Bored person: Actually, they don't have a phone number.
    Me: They gave me the number last time, so i know they do.
    Bored person: Oh, well, I can give you it then. Even though it doesn't exist.

    In conclusion, the way to deal with Apple UK is to act like an irritating litle kid poking their mum: "Mummy" <poke> "Mummy" <poke> "Mummy" <poke> "Mummy" <poke> "Mummy" <poke> "Mummy" <poke> "Mummy" <poke> "Mummy" <poke> "Mummy"

    <poke> "Mummy" <poke> "Mummy" "OH FOR GODS SAKE WHAT IS IT?!"

    I knew that technique would come in handy one day :D

    But, anyway, am pleased it's all getting sorted.
  12. TMA
    macrumors 6502a


    Yay! Result!

    It's interesting that Apple are saying they only collect smaller items since it states on retail Applecare boxes that they will collect if your hardware develops a fault* The * points to some small print that says something to the effect of "In certain locations/countries" However, no where on the packaging does it say which countries they offer this service. To me, this sounds dodgy on an advertising standards level as it's not clear what you're getting.

    Glad you got it all sorted, did you happen to know where this guy was calling from and what his position in the company was? I'm also curious where you go the email address "uk.consumer@euro.apple.com" from. It doesn't seem to be on Apples website anywhere.

    Trading Standards have some interesting reads on their website www.tradingstandards.gov.uk some of which would have applied to your problem. Where ever you bought the computer from, even if it's not Apple, would have a responsibility to sort out the repair for you in a timely fashion. You were in a position to write to their head office with your problem, state what you want happening, give a reasonable time frame that you want it sorting out (e.g 14 days) and that you should also expect a timely reply. If they didn't comply with this then you would stand a good chance at successfully taking legal action.

    Where it stands at the moment, you could purchase a brand new computer, have it break down 3 weeks later and then take it to an Authorised Apple Centre for repair (at your cost) only to find it will take 4-6 weeks to sort out! MADNESS!
  13. macrumors G4


    Tho I'd have said that a Powerbook was a 'smaller item'. I can kinda understand not sending a box for a PowerMac where it's so big/heavy it could get tossed around, but a Powerbook should be relatively easy! That basically means that they're not accepting any computers back and the postal service has been reduced to a Mac peripheral and iPod service.

    Very...that very nearly happened to me. I bought my Powerbook which turned out to be a bit of a lemon... Luckily though, since I'd bought a stock model, I'd got it from John Lewis. Apple UK told me that they could look at it but it would take a few weeks so I took it back to John Lewis instead, told them it wasn't acceptable and they replaced it for a new one on the spot.
  14. Lau

    To be honest, the fact that someone at Apple UK was willing to send a box pretty much as soon as I asked, when the guy the day before at the same number wasn't shows how inconsistent they are. Especially when an email comes through from Apple UK saying "No way, ever" when a guy at Apple UK is telling me my box will arrive tomorrow. :confused:

    I actually called him, on the same number as before. I think they were both at a call centre in India or somewhere. I could be wrong, but for two guys to both have very strong, very similar accents and both have fairly poor English makes me think it is based overseas. Especially as Apple UK generally have Irish accents as it's based in the ROI. As far as I know, the guy today was at the same level as the guy yesterday, but he seemed a bit more sympathetic. Fortunately!

    As for that email address, it definitely isn't on the website anywhere accessible. in fact it's a nightmare trying to find any contact details on there that aren't "sales" or "technical". I got it by phoning then up and saying "I want a complaints phone number" and they said "errr, we don't have one". "Well, an email address that I will get a reply on then". "Here you go....please hang up now". I think if it means you don't complain to them then and there they'll give you anything!

    Now that is very interesting when you consider the email I got back from them today: "Unfortunately there are often backlogs leading to long wait times for repairs. I regret the inconvenience that a 4-6 week delay may cause but unfortunately our Applecare department is unable to provide an alternative."

    Hmmm. Interesting, Meester Bond. <strokes cat> ;)
  15. Lau

    To be honest, after all this, I think mine's coming from somewhere like John Lewis in the future. Maybe even second hand. If you save a couple of hundred getting a used one, you can put it towards anything that goes wrong, and get a decent repair service cause you're paying for it. The only reason I got a new one was because I figured you get service and the like. Oh, and it was exceptionally pretty. :p

    And as for AppleCare, who'd pay 200 quid for this?! :mad:
  16. TMA
    macrumors 6502a


    Yes this is the big problem. The official line from Apple is that they will not collect Laptops. This means that in some parts of the country you must drive for hours to get to an Apple Authorised Repair Centre. This could potentially cost huge amounts of money for Petrol as well as several hours of wasted time. We've had people come to our shop that have driven for 2 or 3 hours to bring their computers.

    Apples technical support phone line and customer services (both the same phone number, but Apple advertises them as separate lol) will either go through to a call centre in ROI or India. Outsourcing is common place now unfortunately and in cases like these it is successful in making poor customer service even worse. Apple are trying to move away from using the telephone altogether, instead they now usually refuse to help you if you don't try everything in the relevant support area on Apple.com first. Customers without internet access are told to go to a friends house or an internet cafe.

    A wait that long could be considered acceptable if you want a computer fixing outside of its warranty. But for an essential peice of equipment (often peoples business depend on a computer) that is still well within the original 1 year warranty it is not. I also believe that you should get better service from the place you purchased your computer. In the case of ordering direct from Apple, I would expect Apple themselves to sort out a repair as soon as possible. If you purchased from a reseller I would expect them to do their absolute best to get it sorted as hastle free and as quickly as possible.

    As Apple gain popularity with iPods and increasing mac sales they will have to respond better than this before regulators start stepping in and give them a spanking.

    I wouldn't recommend anyone buys a Mac directly from the online store. The shipping estimates are often complete bull and you do not have access to additional support privileges that a real shop can offer. If you have a reseller near you then make the most of it, selling, supporting and helping mac users is their livelihood and you'll get a much more passionate service (hopefully)

    Applecare is still a useful service to have, as you can avoid some real nasty repair bills in the future. Apple are really forcing it down peoples throats though, and don't expect the support staff to suddenly be more consistant or useful.

    There, i've had my moan :)
  17. macrumors G4


    I completely agree that the service is disgraceful during the initial warranty period. There are people on the Apple boards who have waited 4 weeks for a replacement screen. And it's particularly frustrating when Apple US customers receive the kind of service where they send off their Powerbook one day and get it back within the week most often.

    Here, I should say that I do work for John Lewis, tho not in a store, so buying there means I get a discount (always useful since there's no edu one for me) but they do also give a 2 year free warranty on computers which can be extended to 5 years for the same price as Applecare (3 years). Sure, you're equally dependent on them having access to Apple certified technicians for repair but you've also got more chance of talking them into a substitute computer while it's away or a freebie something.
  18. TMA
    macrumors 6502a


    It's interesting that you get a free 2 year warranty free of charge from John Lewis. Does Mr. Lewis pay for any repairs after 1 year out of his own pocket? From the margins Apple give us on macs, a few warranty claims out of dozerns of computers sold would completely obliterate any profit. Though I guess Apple would be a lot generous with bigger chains. Would love to know how that works, but would not be offended if you aren't allowed to say (or don't know)

    Discounts are always good :) We've also got a nice staff purchase system that I take advantage of faaaar more than I should!

    In retaliation to your great offer for 5 year warranties, I should point out that we offer Applecare at the cheapest prices around ;) :p
  19. Lau

    I think I'd heard that as a good reason to buy from John Lewis before, but because of the edu discount I bought it online from Apple. However, in a year I won't have that discount, and (with the biggest, Bo Selecta style oversized fingers crossed :p ) as I won't need to buy another computer in that year, there's no particular need to buy it from Apple next time round.

    I was thinking about this tonight, and how the big guys think is the best way to run this. If they started saying, tell you what, plastic's cheaper, let's make the PowerBooks out of that instead. People would say, "Oi, Apple should be better quality than that". But that is kind of what they're doing - reducing what was a very good service, ie repairing by UPS and within a week, to something that's much worse and is hugely inconvenient.

    It's that kind of thing that stops them seeming like a 'premium' company, I reckon. In a way <very sacreligious comment ahead>, it's a shame they have a monopoly really, if you want the OS you have to buy Mac hardware. At least Windows users can make a choice for their hardware depending on what they think is important, whether that be looks, customer service or whatever.
  20. macrumors G4


    It's one of JL's selling points to differentiate them from other retailers in the electrical areas (5 yrs on TVs, 2 years on most other electrical items). It's not Apple specific - it's any computer. The idea is that it encourages customers to buy from JL rather than others so the increase in sales volumes helps offset the cost.

    The additional warranty (2 yr or 5 yr) isn't from Apple proper - your Applecare is still just 12 months that you can extend via Apple. It's basically JL taking out an insurance policy on your behalf to cover the cost of any work that might need done but rather than you dealing with repairers, JL do it so you have a little more clout behind you.

    I've only had to use the repair service once. I bought a TV for my godmother and it broke down nearly 5 years later. I almost forgot that it had such a long warranty and since she's housebound, JL picked up the TV (30 miles away) and since they couldn't repair it cost-effectively, they replaced it for her with a new model. They also loaned her a TV (which they dropped off when they came to pick up the faulty one). And that didn't involve me trying to call in any favours.

    However, I also have a 10% discount card for the Apple store at the moment so should I decide on a BTO in the future, I may well use that and come check out your cheap Applecare! ;)
  21. TMA
    macrumors 6502a


    It is a shame, but they are a business trying to make money after all. I still can see and feel the 'Appleness' with the latest macs and OS. What I mean by that is the train of thought, attitudes and ethos that goes into building the hardware and OS. It's a lot more inspiring than that of any other PC hardware or windows and I still really buy into it. I'm not sure I could get that if Mac OS X and Mac hardware were separated, they almost go hand in hand.
  22. Lau

    Absolutely, I totally agree. If I could buy some manky PC or a sleek Mac and still run OSX on it, I'd still buy the Apple. However, if Apple were losing sales of hardware because aformentioned manky PC manufacturer was hassle free when it came to customer service, and it made Apple buck up their ideas a bit, that would not be a bad thing at all, and I would happily enjoy my nice Mac with its good service. :)
  23. TMA
    macrumors 6502a


    Yeah please do! We also do education discounts, bundle discounts, BTO orders, etc.. The full works. A great deal of people think that because we're 'only' a reseller they can't get discounts or BTO's.

    Stealing business away from Apple online store is especially easy if we need to quote someone 8gb of RAM for a Powermac G5. £800 vs £1500 ! :D muahahahaha.

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