2 MBA's fail within 1 week...

Theophany

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 16, 2008
633
186
NW London.
I have 2 MBA's that were bought at the exact same time 18 months ago. They are identical in specification, were made on the same production run and are, essentially, indistinct in every respect except the serial numbers.

So when the first one's hard disk failed last week, I just accepted that it happens. I've worked with computers for years and have had hard disks go strong for over ten years and I've had hard drives fail out of the box - with any mechanical device there is an accepted failure rate and it's purely a lottery.

However, when just three days later my second MBA fell foul of the exact same symptoms; failure to boot and the spinning wheel being replaced by a bar as OS X tried to read/repair the disk, I started to worry. I ran through the exact same procedure as before - popped in my OS X Snow Leopard disk, tried to verify the disk and then repair it through Disk Utility, but was given the same outcome; the drive was kaput.

Now, before anybody goes off on the Apple Kool Aid and starts hurling statistics at me, hear me out. I am not a moron, and I accept that this kind of occurrence is not impossible. However, it does somewhat push the limits of day-to-day believability. Whilst this is statistically possible, it is so unlikely as to cause concern.

I sent one of the machines to Apple via my local service centre, KRCS. They got back to me yesterday to confirm that it was indeed a hard disk issue and would cost 160 pounds to replace the drive (plus a 40 pound charge to have the machine looked at). Obviously, this is an outrageous price - the 1.8" Samsung ZIF drives used in the MBA sell for around 50-60 pounds, so the inflation up to 160 is extortionate. They confirmed that if I were to supply the drives, they would replace them at cost, but I'm still not happy.

I spoke to Apple earlier today and was put through to a tech support supervisor who told me, after a very lengthy conversation, that there was simply nothing he could do. After all, this is not impossible and can statistically happen.

Now as a customer who has spent over 5 grand on Apple products (2x top spec iMac 27", 2x Mac Mini, iPad, 2x iPhone 4, 2x MBA, not to mention all the iTunes music and app store purchases that they take a slice of) in the past 2 years alone, and who has taken out AppleCare on all but those two MBAs but who has never made a claim on any warranties, I thought that just this once I'd be shown a gesture of goodwill as a loyal customer and perhaps have the costs waived this once. Even if it weren't the entirety of the cost, even if they just charged me for one and replaced the second as a gesture of goodwill I wouldn't be so peeved.

It's difficult to divorce myself from this because it's happening to me, but does anybody else think this is unreasonable or has anybody else had a similar experience? I've been a loyal Apple customer for many years now, but this is the kind of experience that can reverse the trend for me. I buy from them for the exceptional service and build quality I have come to expect from them and they have always delivered in the past, but now I'm thinking I should step back, sell the faulty MBAs on eBay for what they are and just buy a non-Apple laptop. Thoughts?
 

416049

macrumors 68000
Mar 14, 2010
1,844
2
Hi,

I am sorry to hear because the Air is a beautiful machine.
However if it doesn't work for you maybe you should sell them on Ebay and buy yourself a 13inch MBP.
It's just a bit heavier and thicker then the Air but a great machine depending on how fast you need a laptop you could maybe also wait for a refresh of the 13inches.

maril
 

wjlafrance

macrumors 6502
Dec 23, 2009
359
1
Madison, WI
The hard drive failed through no fault of your own and should be covered under the one-year default AppleCare. Take them into the Apple store with a Genius Bar appointment. If they tell you they're charging for a replacement, raise your voice slightly and ask to speak with a manager. You're in the right. The more you make Apple look bad in front of possible buyers (ie, in the store), the quicker your problem will be solved. They should have hard drives on hand and replace them immediately.
 

agaskew

macrumors 6502
Dec 3, 2009
409
237
Two outstanding replies there, one that says "sell them" and the other that seems to have failed to register that these are over a year old.

Anyway, I think you have a point and I sympathise. Did you manage to get any escalation route from the Apple tech support supervisor you spoke to? I think you have done the right thing by pushing this on the technical level to start off, but it sounds like the tech people have their hands tied. So perhaps there is a customer relations route to use instead, who can authorise some sort of goodwill gesture.
 

kernkraft

macrumors 68020
Jun 25, 2009
2,456
1
The hard drive failed through no fault of your own and should be covered under the one-year default AppleCare. Take them into the Apple store with a Genius Bar appointment. If they tell you they're charging for a replacement, raise your voice slightly and ask to speak with a manager. You're in the right. The more you make Apple look bad in front of possible buyers (ie, in the store), the quicker your problem will be solved. They should have hard drives on hand and replace them immediately.
There is no such thing as "one-year default AppleCare". You get a statutory 12 months manufacturer's warranty and a 90 days support period from Apple.

If you buy AppleCare, that 90 days extends to three years with the warranty period.


I'm afraid, you can't do much. If it was the hinges (I've had that), it would be different. But there are no widespread issues with these HDDs, so you can only rely on their discretion. You can send a few emails and visit a few stores, but in the end they can send you away.

I'd just buy two SSDs (or HDDs), install SL on one and clone that onto the other drive. It's not cheap, but it's certainly cheaper than Apple doing it for you.
 

Theophany

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 16, 2008
633
186
NW London.
Couple of top bat answers there guys, thanks!

I think the cheapest option from this point is to just buy two of the 1.8" ZIF drives that the MBA uses. I haven't checked yet, but I believe Samsung are one of the only companies to manufacture them and sizes above 80GB aren't all that common. Even at the 80GB range I'm guessing roughly 60 quid is going to be the price point (feel free to correct me on this!). KRCS said that they will fit them (and I assume warranty the work carried out, this I will have to check) whilst there should be a manufacturer's warranty on the drive should something like this happen again.

I do understand that it is down to Apple's discretion as to whether or not they waive any/all charges for the work, but I'm not convinced. Whilst I've always found their tech/customer support to be well above par, the bottom line is exactly that; they're a company looking to make a profit and that's not necessarily a poor reflection on them.

If anybody knows of any reputable outlets that does sell these drives, I'd be very grateful if you could let me know :)
 

FireArse

macrumors 6502a
Oct 29, 2004
893
102
What I'd do

Dude, you're in Exeter right? With its own Apple Retail Store? Why go KCRS for a quote? Apple won't charge for diagnosis labour when you decide to carry out repair. They'll just charge labour to put the new HDDs in.

Use their known lenient stance on these things. Both items are over a year old, but Apple (including the Genius you see) have every option to overcome these 'difficulties'.

Make an Appointment with a Genius at Exeter Retail Store. When the Genius tells you sod off (I would have CS'd these two) ask to speak to a Genius Lead. Explain the story. See what the Lead can do. Don't budge until you see a lead but be polite.

It helps your case if the machines are spotless. Else, well, you've gone and shot yourself in the foot.
 

kernkraft

macrumors 68020
Jun 25, 2009
2,456
1
Couple of top bat answers there guys, thanks!

I think the cheapest option from this point is to just buy two of the 1.8" ZIF drives that the MBA uses. I haven't checked yet, but I believe Samsung are one of the only companies to manufacture them and sizes above 80GB aren't all that common. Even at the 80GB range I'm guessing roughly 60 quid is going to be the price point (feel free to correct me on this!). KRCS said that they will fit them (and I assume warranty the work carried out, this I will have to check) whilst there should be a manufacturer's warranty on the drive should something like this happen again.

I do understand that it is down to Apple's discretion as to whether or not they waive any/all charges for the work, but I'm not convinced. Whilst I've always found their tech/customer support to be well above par, the bottom line is exactly that; they're a company looking to make a profit and that's not necessarily a poor reflection on them.

If anybody knows of any reputable outlets that does sell these drives, I'd be very grateful if you could let me know :)
You may contact Consumer Direct or other consumer protection agencies... You should also keep the correspondence and receipts in case that there will be a class lawsuit later on, in which case you might be partially refunded. But the chances are really slim, I'm afraid. Currently, it makes sense manufacturing crap that lasts the 12 month warranty.

At the time of manufacturing your computer, the most reliable HDD would have cost Apple much more, so they already saved a lot. They can probably start a replacement program and still be better off financially.
 

TheBritishBloke

macrumors 68030
Jul 21, 2009
2,532
0
United Kingdom
At the end Of the day. Apple won't do anything because they don't have to. You should've bought AppleCare. Either way you should've expected a stupid repair price.

I say just repair them yourself. Hard drive failure is the least of your worries.
 

Theophany

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 16, 2008
633
186
NW London.
At the end Of the day. Apple won't do anything because they don't have to. You should've bought AppleCare. Either way you should've expected a stupid repair price.

I say just repair them yourself. Hard drive failure is the least of your worries.
Very kind of you to reiterate my posts. Anything of any value to add?
 

TheDrift-

macrumors 6502a
Mar 8, 2010
877
1,370
I'd try taking them both in for a repair, with apple.

With x2 mba failing at the same time from the same run, I'd hope someone would take pity and maybe say only charge you for 1 x labour or something.
 

ouimetnick

macrumors 68030
Aug 28, 2008
2,629
1,924
Beverly, Massachusetts
At the end Of the day. Apple won't do anything because they don't have to. You should've bought AppleCare. Either way you should've expected a stupid repair price.

I say just repair them yourself. Hard drive failure is the least of your worries.

Aren't Apple computers suppose to be more reliable and better in every way than PCs?
 

Jayomat

macrumors 6502a
Jan 10, 2009
703
0
Aren't Apple computers suppose to be more reliable and better in every way than PCs?
Apple does not use some magical parts from the future, they are exact same parts. Why would they last longer if they are build into a MBP instead of an Acer, ASUS or HP?^^

The build quality of the unibody is high, but that's about it.. Maybe be internal design contributes to being so perdurable (components are exposed to less head, more dense build, protecting the internals).. I don't even think that Apple's laptops last that much longer than an equally priced PC.. ^^ Haven't seen any proof of this..
 

G4DP

macrumors 65816
Mar 28, 2007
1,451
3
Aren't Apple computers suppose to be more reliable and better in every way than PCs?
You would think so, the way most go on around these forums. The fact is Apples quality control is a poor as anyone else. If anyone thinks differently they're an idiot.

OP if you have no luck in the Apple store, take them to Storm Front. They seem to be a bit friendlier and far more helpful than the staff in the Exeter Apple Store. They may also offer you a reasonable price of replacing the drives.
 

bowlerman625

macrumors 68020
Jun 17, 2009
2,135
11
Chicago, IL area
I agree with the poster who said go to an Apple store and ask to speak to the manager. I have a friend who's wife has has 2 issues with an out-of-warranty and non-Apple care covered MacBook who got repairs by going in and speaking to a genius. One was a battery issue and the other was a motherboard issue. It's worth a try, especially with your Apple related loyalty over the past years.
 

mangrove

macrumors 6502
Jul 10, 2010
440
0
FL, USA
Maybe this is the time to put in an SSD, like Runcore or another brand. The heck with Applecare, it's past the one year and on a ultra portable Apple Care in hind sight looks the best route.

For the life of me why do you have Applecare every where else, but not on your portables which can be the most vulnerable?

Sorry for my questions-you must feel bad enough, but you posted your dilemma here.
 

wordoflife

macrumors 604
Jul 6, 2009
7,563
34
Why, don't you know - Apple sends a remote kill to each computer after the warranty expires. It's kind of a lottery to see which computer gets killed over first.


Sorry to hear about that though. Hopefully you'll get them working again soon.
 

Kebabselector

macrumors 68030
May 25, 2007
2,851
1,174
Birmingham, UK
Under UK law goods have to fit for the purpose, a laptop that costs £1000+ should last longer than 18 months. I'd be speaking to your local trading standards dept. If you push it Apple (or whoever you bought them from) will have to repair them.
 

tflournoy95

macrumors 6502
Sep 21, 2009
457
0
I have 2 MBA's that were bought at the exact same time 18 months ago.
The hard drive failed through no fault of your own and should be covered under the one-year default AppleCare.
its always better when we read isn't it?

and to the op: five grand in two years? wow they should just give you a new mba for that kind of loyalty. what on earth do you do with all those computers?
 
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