How does AppleCare really work? (debatable)

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by tekmoe, Sep 28, 2005.

  1. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2005
    #1
    i have a question for anyone and everyone who has had to go thru AppleCare for a warranty issue...

    let's say my powerbook has a couple of dents and bruises. all of the dents and bruises occured within 3 months after buying my powerbook. 8 months later, my hard drive fails. i call AppleCare and explain the problem and they decide the hard drive needs to be replaced. they ask "does your powerbook show any signs of damage, such as bruises and/or scratches?" i reply, "yes, it does." the AppleCare tech replies, "ok, you can send in your powerbook for repair, but if we come to the conclusion that your hard drive in your powerbook failed due to the damage you have caused to your powerbook, we will have to charge you."

    now, my question is...even if the hard drive did fail or did not fail due to the damage with my powerbook, how can apple really tell what the cause was? are they going to disect the hard drive, run scientific lab tests on it, and determine whether or not the hard drive failed due to the powerbook damage that occured within 3 months after the powerbook was purchased?

    all of this confuses me. the main reason why i am asking this is this: my gf dented the front left corner of her powerbook about a month ago. everything is working fine, and it is just a small dent. however, if something decides to stop working before the warranty expires, say the optical drive, how would apple know if that dent really caused it or not? and would they blame that dent to be the cause? it worries me because powerbooks are suspectible to damage easier than other notebooks. yes, i know you are not supposed to drop them. accidents do happen though.

    i am just worried that something like this could happen in the future. even if a banged up powerbook functions fine for months and months before the warranty expires, and then one day, the logic board decides to crap out, why do i believe apple would blame it on the damage just because they don't want to replace the logic board? i haven't had to deal with apple in this manner which is why i am asking these questions. maybe there are those of you here on these boards that have run into these exact situations. if so, could you please share you expierences?

    i always read how apple has great service/support, but then there are those that have been stiffed harshly by apple as well. these are the types of things that make my head spin.

    thank you for your time.
     
  2. macrumors 68030

    nbs2

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2004
    Location:
    A geographical oddity
    #2
    I can understand why Apple would be wary of damaged computers. It gives people an incentive to protect their machine (which I am not accusing you of failing to do, just an observation) and it keeps them from having to fix things that are not their fault. If I leave my PB on top of my wife's car, we drive off, and it falls and smashes into pieces (or something less drastic), Apple is not in a position to protect you from that. AC is not insurance, it is a warranty.

    That said, in the case you present with your girlfriend, I would think it would depend on several factors. If the dent is on the left front corner and the optical dies - there is really no relation. But if it is on the right, then Apple wonders if the dent caused the failure, and what caused the dent. If the dent caused the failure and the problem was that the metal warped b/c of bad materials, that is Apple's fault. If the dent was her using it to hit you in the back of the head b/c you were mentioning how attractive her sister is and you gf could take some pointers, then the problem is hers. How apple determines this is probably something better suited to another person, but I would think that they have seen enough products to know whether the failure was caused by Apple or the end user. When the cause is joint...that would be a fun call to make. I would guess that AC flips a coin - Heads the customer is happy, Tails we can't shell out every time.
     
  3. macrumors 65816

    drlunanerd

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    You're better off paying to have it insured for accidental damage, say as part of a household contents policy.
     
  4. thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2005
    #4
    i guess what it would come down to is the consumer saying "PROVE IT."

    ***

    scenario: tom drops his 3 week old powerbook. very slight dent in the front left corner of the powerbook and that is all. thankfully, everything is working fine. 5 months later, the logic board takes a dump. tom thinks to himself "damn faulty piece of crap." he calls apple and they decide the logic board needs to be replaced. they ask him before he sends the powerbook in if it has obtained any damage. he tells them exactly what happened during the third week of owning his powerbook.

    1 week later, apple calls and tells tom, "tom, we have come to the conclusion that your powerbook's logic board has failed due to the accident you had during the third week of owning your powerbook." tom says "bullogny!" furthmore, he states, "why don't you prove to me that the logic board failed due to the accident during the third week of ownership, because i do not believe you."

    ***

    what can apple do at this point? can they simply state that they do not need to prove anything, and that all the laptops which have had the front left corners dented, had to have the logic boards replaced?

    i guess this would actually be more of a legal standpoint.

    btw, i am only asking these questions from a pure "what if" standpoint. none of this has happened to me. the only thing i have said that would stand true is my gf DID drop her powerbook. it fell about 3 feet in which it was inside of a tucano second skin of her samsonite backpack. the damage is very minimal, yet it is heart breaking to see the dent everytime i use it.

    one thing that i can smile upon is my powerbook is in immaculate condition.
     
  5. macrumors 68000

    mklos

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2002
    Location:
    My house!
    #5
    Thats not always available to everyone here in the US. You're insurance policies are different from ours in the US.

    I would just raise some hell if they tell you they think its been abused. Its their job to kiss your ass, and if you get up to a manager then you "may" get that.
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

    wrxguy

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2005
    Location:
    Deepest Regions of Hell
    #6
    Apple care is totally worth your money...yes they will go through and determine the real reason for the failing HD and a few dents wont be the cause...I buy apple care for all my apple stuff ... its deffinitly worth your moeny
     
  7. macrumors 6502a

    snkTab

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2004
    Location:
    Cincinnati, OH
    #7
    many US insurers offer this coverage. even if your car home,renters insurance doesn't cover it (which noramlly only covers fire, theft, etc.) it can be bought seperately. and if your carrier doesn't, nothing stops you from having more than more insurance policy.

    I'm mean really, insurance companys will give you policies on anything, they make so much money on it.
     
  8. macrumors 65816

    MacTruck

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Location:
    One Endless Loop
    #8
    It's all a big scam. Powerbooks are especially prone to dents and scratches as they are made of soft aluminum. The fact that your warranty is void because of a dent is bullcrap. IBM never played that crap. They replace any signs of cracks or damage under the standard 3 yr warranty. With apple not only do you have to shell out $350 US but its void if they see a dent? This is why applecare warranties are illegal to sell in places like Florida where the goverment has noted this as illegal.
     
  9. 603
    macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2004
    #9
    it's strange...

    my first 12" PowerBook had some very strange issues with warping (heat dissipation) and a clicking hard drive. these issues showed up just a couple of months after purchase. i sent it back for HD replacement, and it came back scratched up. the latch also would not close properly and it interfered with the "sleep" state. a second return resulted in more damage to the laptop, a 1" long scratch on the cover and other small scratches on the case. i called and told someone at Apple about it. he was very concerned and said, "that's not the experience we want you to have." i asked for (and received) a replacement, which has not given me any problems (although i admit that i don't use the PowerBook that much).

    this scenario did not happen under the extended AppleCare plan, but i want to illustrate that Apple is so big that you never know what you're going to get. the person who authorized the second "repair" was very unwilling to accept that Apple had damaged the machine. he finally relented and said that they'd replace the scratched parts of the case. (it was "FrankenBook" when i got it back - the parts did not really fit together right.) however, the person who authorized my replacement mentioned that the repair center that repaired my first machine (in Tennesee, or was it Kentucky?) had been getting a lot of complaints "lately" (this was Feb 04). so i think it all depends on who you get on the phone and which repair center your machine is sent to.

    if there is a problem, you will go far by standing your ground but not being a jerk about it. of course, this works with almost every business you deal with.
     
  10. 603
    macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2004
    #10
    it all depends on who picks up the phone...

    my first 12" PowerBook had some issues with warping (heat dissipation) and a clicking hard drive. these issues showed up just a couple of months after purchase. i called and the first rep i talked to said it was a sign of "imminent hard drive failure" and authorized an overnight return. when it came back, it was scratched up pretty badly. it was flawless when it left my house.

    i called to talk to someone else the second Apple rep was very unwilling to accept that Apple had damaged the machine. he finally relented and said that they'd replace the scratched parts of the case. the second return resulted in more damage and a very shoddy swap-out of the scratched parts. it was "FrankenBook" when i got it back - the parts did not really fit together. the latch would not close properly and it interfered with the "sleep" state. there was also a new scratch (1" long) on the cover and other small scratches on the case.

    i called back a third time and talked to a different rep. he was very concerned and said, "that's not the experience we want you to have." i asked for (and received) a new PowerBook, which has not given me any problems (although i admit that i don't use the PowerBook that much). this third rep understood that fit and finish are very important to Apple customers. i was honestly a bit surprised by his comment about "the experience we want you to have," it was very in line with the Apple aura that most people think is just a PR ploy. he was in no way trying to insinuate that i had damaged the machine and simply failed to notice the damage, which is exactly what the second rep had done.

    this scenario did not happen under the extended AppleCare plan, but i want to illustrate that Apple is so big that you never know what you're going to get. it all depends on who you get on the phone and which repair center your machine is sent to. if you call and it sounds like the rep is going to give you a hard time, just hang up. keep calling until you get someone that sounds sympathetic. you can tell by the way they answer the phone what kind of mood they're in.

    the nice guy that answered the phone also mentioned that the repair center that repaired my first machine (in Tennesee, or was it Kentucky?) had been getting a lot of complaints "lately" (this was Feb 04). that was an interesting bit of insider info that i was also surprised to hear.

    so basically, if there is a problem, you will go far by standing your ground but not being a jerk about it. of course, this works with almost every business you deal with.
     
  11. macrumors 68020

    Macky-Mac

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    #11

    that's pretty much how it would work........they would tell you they made a good-faith review and had determined that the damage didnt fall under the warranty.......and then it would be back to you to figure out what you're going to do

    and what can you do? can YOU prove that whatever accident caused the dent DIDN'T cause the damage to the hard drive? most likely not........so you don't have a lot of options other than to pay somebody to replace the drive
     
  12. Wes
    macrumors 68020

    Wes

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2001
    Location:
    London
    #12
    I guess all you can do is take a video of your laptop functioning correctly after each incident of cosmetic damage and be prepared to produce this when questioned.
     
  13. macrumors 68040

    XNine

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Location:
    Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?
    #13
    Speaking from experience on one side of the fence (won't say which one), Apple employees will usually treat their customers based on how the customer's acting. If you're acting like an ass**** they will treat you like one. If you have patience and are civil witht hem, they will treat you the same.

    I have only had one Applecare experience with Apple, and it was a good one. Took no time at all to find the problem, and correct it.
     
  14. macrumors 68000

    Eniregnat

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Location:
    In your head.
    #14
    For me Apple Care has been fantastic. I have had turn around for major repairs in less than 72 hours, I think I once posted that it was about a 32 hour turnaround. Apple once accidentally left a diagnostic CD in the bezel of my old tangerinE iBook, and they did some additional cosmetic replacements when I sent the computer back (due to damage that the CD did to the drive). I have had screens replaced for defective pixels, and I have always had an easy time getting repairs (except for plastics- those old iBook handles just were meant to crack.).

    A note on my current computer, I have AppleCare and it is useless, as I dropped my computer and did the repairs myself. I voided the warranty by doing this. So in this case it was worthless, and my eMate- it was so reliable that I never used AppleCare.

    If your computer is mission critical and you have limited funds it's well worth the peace of mind.
     
  15. macrumors 6502

    ScubaDuc

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2003
    Location:
    Europe
    #15
    My guess is that it depends a lot on the country you are in. My experience in Europe leads me to belive that they will try to get away with everything. If your Mac is not in the "original" configuration they wont help. When I bought my G4, the apple dealer doubled the memory for free...when one stick went bad, since the computer was not in the "original" 256 Mb configuration they refused to help.
    Similarly, I am stuck with a sleep issue in the motherboard that they refused to aknoweledge a problem because I had 2 hard disks instead of the original one.

    On the other hand, when the LCD screen died, they had to replace it for free. It took them 7 weeks because they lost it and then someone from France had to sign for a replacement....
     
  16. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    #16
    Just a thought, but what if you took your slightly dented laptop to the Genius Bar at the Apple store and asked them to take a look at it and note in your records that it seems to be unaffected by the dent? Then, if the pb dies some months/years down the road, this informal note by the Genius Bar person may make the difference in your Apple Care claim.
     
  17. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 5, 2005
    #17
    Applecare has been awesome to me. I had couple dead pixels on my 12'' Powerbook G4, they replaced the whole LCD. They did the job in less than 72 hours which is very impressive.
     
  18. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2004
    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    #18
    Personally, I wouldn't have told them about the dents. That's just me.
     
  19. macrumors 603

    solvs

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Location:
    LaLaLand, CA
    #19
    I think this situation is hypothetical. ;)
     
  20. macrumors 6502a

    drake

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2005
    #20
    To me, an extended warranty is just another potential hassle. Since its the manufacturers option to make the repair or not, you could well end up fighting with them to get the warranty honoured. I buy everything with a credit card that gives me an extra years warranty included. After two years, I'll likely be looking for a new computer anyway.
     
  21. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2003
    Location:
    Germantown, MD
    #21
    Personally, I view Apple Care as extortion, but a necessary evil. First, if you call them after 90 days with a hardware problem, they won't even talk to until you give them a credit card number unless you have Apple Care. A few years ago I bought my first Mac, a TiBook 1ghz; the power adapter overheated to the point of smoking. When I called Apple to report it and get a replacement, their first response was, "you're outside our 90-day window, give us a credit card number". They charged $49 bucks to my card, though I eventually got it reversed (along with a replacement adapter).

    That was my first Mac and now I have 5; I love the machines and the OS, though my experiences with Apple have convinced me that not having Apple Care is very risky. They'll do anything to avoid covering a repair (even if you have AC).
     
  22. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    #22
    Heres how it really works

    You have a hardware problem that needs repair. the computer also has a dent. When asked, be honest, this is so they know what condition the computer is in.

    If the harddrive problem has nothing to do with the dent (bad sectors or blocks) they will replace the drive under warranty. If they take the drive out, shake it and it rattles like a baby toy, then they will not replace it under warranty... This would be confirmable damage due to an impact.

    Another example: you mislead the folks at apple and call, playing dumb (lets say the computer will not come on) they try to get it working on the phone and cannot. Send you a box, get it and find orange juice inside.. Not only will it not be repaired but you can be charged just to get your computer back...

    Best advice. Be nice, very nice, be honest. "yes it does have dent in the bottom corner and a few scatches" Some of these things are expected. A dent in the computer does not void the warranty. Don't let anyone tell you it does. If Apple gets it and finds that the damage is what caused the problem, then no problem.. Have them send it back, go buy a hard drive and install it yourself.

    To the person that said "prove it' they can play hard ball and not only prove it but take their time doing it. You come a lot closer to getting what you want when your nice.
     
  23. macrumors 68030

    skubish

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2005
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    #23
    Its called normal wear and tear. Its not considered damaged by a few dents and scratches especially on a PB.
     
  24. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    1 Loop
    #24
    Always, say no....Let them decide it does.......
     
  25. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #25
    This strikes me as very odd, unless you had a lot of dead pixels?

    That's completely untrue. They will offer you AppleCare, and sometimes the representatives are a bit pushy. But in my experience all you need to do is tell them it's a hardware issue and you are under warranty (they are required by law to do this).

    The $50 charge was for your phone support. They had to "diagnose" your problem, I'm guessing. This strikes me as miscommunication, not extortion... or maybe it was an isolated incident.

    I think for students, the laptop AppleCare is a very wise investment. $239 goes a long way if you need a hard drive, LCD or logic board replaced. And if they can't fix it you get a new toy sometimes. :)
     

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