Am I being taken for a ride?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by holiday, May 21, 2009.

  1. holiday macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2009
    At my work, we are responsible for the repair of our MacBooks. My MacBook was having charging issues (needed second charger in the last 10 months, first one burned out after 5 months). As the second charger was having trouble, they called in a technician who opened up the computer and diagnosed motherboard problems. They want to replace the motherboard, the airport card and the topcase since there were 2 spots on the computer. Again, the computer and all its components have been working FINE, just the charger was not working.

    Do you think I am being taken on a ride from the repair company? The total cost of repair is over $1200
  2. rogair macrumors member

    Dec 1, 2007
    Taken for a ride? No. MLB costs can be around $900 depending on the model.

    Is he authorized by Apple to repair Macs? If he is, then he's ordering his parts from Apple and the cost is higher than getting the parts by 3rd party (eBay, ifixiit, etc.)

    The top case should be able to be replaced by Apple without charge (depending on what kind of spots you have).

    Edit: I'd actually get a second opinion on this, now that I think about it. Take it to an Apple store, or an authorized apple service provider.
  3. holiday thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2009
    oops, I forgot to mention that the spots are from what they say are "liquid damage." There are two small spots visible under the keyboard, but I did not get to see the computer before it went away, but since there was a water "mark" on the topcase, they wanted to replace it. They also said that the airport card is fused to the motherboard, so if the motherboard is replaced, then they must replace the airport card. I am getting no help from our IT dept. as they just want the money. I work around teens so I am thinking one of them spilled something, but it could not be anything much because whenever it happened, the computer did not show damage.
  4. Unspoken Demise macrumors 68040

    Unspoken Demise

    Apr 16, 2009
    Cant you decline service?
    At my job, and i see this often, if a call is deemed billable by a company they can decline service and figure it out themselves.

    Cant you decline service and get a new charger or fix the issue yourself?
  5. The General macrumors 601

    Jul 7, 2006
    You can buy a new MacBook for that much. Is your MacBook out of warranty? Have you taken your computer to the Genius Bar?
  6. holiday thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2009
    I do not "own" my computer, my company does. It is under warranty, but the IT person (who is a bit unscrupulous and I think could have a deal with Apple) says that the warranty was null and void once they opened it and saw the spots (they couldn't tell me what the liquid was - or how long it had been there, but there wasn't much). They have a repair contract with a local Apple repair company, but I have had no contact with the repair company as my job says I have no say over the repairs or who does them, I just have to pay. Others I have talked to think this is very strange as a new computer costs as much as to repair this one yet this is what my company says they are doing.
  7. BlackMax macrumors 6502a


    Jan 14, 2007
    North Carolina
    Not enough information to know for sure, but since you can purchase a new MacBook for that price I would at least ask for a second opinion (from Apple if at all possible). If it turns out these repairs are indeed needed I would tell my boss you could purchase a new MacBook for that price and sell this one on Ebay for parts.
  8. iLog.Genius macrumors 601


    Feb 24, 2009
    Toronto, Ontario
    I would take it to an Apple Store or AASP for a second opinion, definitely wouldn't hurt.
  9. holiday thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2009
    I want to thank you for all your replies. I cannot get a second opinion because the laptop was taken when the technician came to check it out. I was also told that I do not get any say in who does the repairs (I did ask for a second opinion, but was told this information). It is quite hard for me to believe, yet i know nothing really about computer hardware.
  10. jbrenn macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2008
    I think something is wrong. If there is really a problem they would let you take it to someone else to confirm. I would be looking for a new job. Something is wrong when a company makes you pay for your own repairs. I understand if you are stupid and take your company phone waterskiing then you should pay. But if you are just working and the charger stops working the company should pay for that. could the spots be the liquid submersion sensors triggered. what model do you have.
  11. Germwise macrumors regular

    May 2, 2009
    It seems to be like BS.

    If the computer runs fine on a new charger what does the mobo have to do with it? if there was a short, it would be with a connector and it would have more immediate effects.

    It seems to me that your techs aren't really sure whats wrong and said to hell with it, lets replace the mobo.

    The fact they won't let you take it makes me think that in opening up your macbook or messing with it THEY broke something and are trying to lay it on you.

    If they want your money, you have the right to get it fixed somewhere else.
  12. Roric macrumors regular

    Sep 29, 2005
    I work tech support at a University. The above statement tells me the tech who opened it is not Mac hardware certified and should not have opened it. At my place, we have a policy for the techs that if your actions will void a warranty, you do not do it. That is what we buy the warranty for.

    Have your boss throw that back at them. Also, $1200 (more than the purchase price) for a repair on a used laptop is not cost effective and a new one should be purchased, with the broken one returned to the owner.
  13. BlackMax macrumors 6502a


    Jan 14, 2007
    North Carolina
    I *believe* the OP was insinuating that the cost would come from his team's budget or cost center. I doubt they expect him to pay for it personally.

    If I am wrong and the OP IS personally responsible for the repairs, then it should be up to the OP's discretion where it gets repaired. I'd be taking the issue up with my boss or HR.
  14. GSMiller macrumors 68000


    Dec 2, 2006
    If that's the case then why would the AirPort card be considered a separate component :confused:

    For what it's worth, after poking around a few sites (1,2) it looks as though the MacBook's AirPort card is replaceable without having to replace the entire motherboard, so I don't know why you wouldn't be able to replace the motherboard without replacing the old card as well.
  15. holiday thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2009
    Yes, at my job, they require us to have a laptop, and they require us to personally pay for all damages that are a result of our actions/negligence (even if you do not know about it - for example, a teen accidentally gets liquid in your computer, wipes it up and doesn't say anything). The negligence word was not in our forced-to-sign contract, yet that is what I was told I was responsible for. It has been a hard lump to swallow. In fact, we are told if we follow "the golden rule" with computer use, we are not held financially responsible but basically now, any damage not covered by the Applecare warranty is our responsibility.

    Exactly what happened was I was having charging issues, they asked if I wanted a technician from the Apple repair place to come out, I said sure, we scheduled it for 2 days later (because my computer was working, just shorting out on the charge) and then they whisk my computer away for diagnosis and it comes back with these damage/charge costs. I didn't get to see it but they took photos of it. They gave me a backup and said I wouldn't get my original computer back but they would use it as a spare. They did swap my hard drive to the new computer.

    I thought to call a couple repair shops to see what they would do, but all I have is the photos, not the computer. They want me to pay by the end of the month (half - since this is all so strange) but I don't even want to pay that because I think OUR IT guy is trying to screw me over. We are a laptop school, having purchased over 200 MacBooks from this Apple store and you would think we would get some deal on the repair.

    Final assessment was liquid damage or liquid marks on the motherboard, airport card, and top case.
  16. Buskape macrumors 6502


    Dec 10, 2008
    NGC 4889
    I'm pretty sure these guys broke your laptop while checking it out and now their making up excuses and blaming it on you and stuff.

    I wouldn't let this go by. You should elevate your tone when you return
  17. holiday thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2009
    These are OUR IT person's responses when I questioned the repairs.

    "The airport card is connected to the motherboard, and one of the spots was on the actual airport card and the others on the motherboard so both where changed and replaced. Note the airport card is always changed when the mother board is as they are all one welded part."

    "The top case and keyboard are one unit and they where replaced because of the water damage on the keyboard and keyboard casing which is connected to the motherboard. They had to change all parts of the computer where there was water damage or water marks. They do this as their is oxidization created from water, and can lead to problems later. This is a standard procedure."

    Is this true?
  18. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    The AirPort card is separate; it may be screwed to the motherboard, but it's separate nonetheless. See this photo from iFixIt

    Furthermore, the top case and keyboard are also separate; if your repair technician is too incompetent to do the repair, it is a totally different matter. However if Apple does the repair, the keyboard and top case are one part when ordered, so that is a reasonable repair.

    And you always have the right to decline a repair; it's the law. Your IT department cannot make those decisions on your behalf without first consulting you.
  19. 22Hertz macrumors regular

    Oct 20, 2007
    A repair cost over the price of a new laptop is ludicrous.

    If there is evidence of misuse however you may not have a leg to stand on to fight it. If something was shorting while you were charging then something caused a short inside.
    Who knows if that something was from a spill or from excessive heat/current from the first charger's malfunction.

    Im sure the Apple guys would rather say its from your misuse rather than a faulty charger, and will do so with any evidence of misuse. Think about it...why would they see evidence of misuse but put it extra time to investigate the charger issue to see if they are at fault to foot the bill and lose money for a repair? If your IT guy is on their side, the laptop is already gone, its company policy....your screwed.
  20. holiday thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2009

    Yes, I think this is the case they are using with me. There is evidence of a very small liquid spill, so they say that with that negligence, all bets are off the table and I have to pay for any and all damages, whether I did it or not. The head IT guy is not on my side at all (he's the only one-others in his dept. tell me to fight it because he is unscrupulous), he drew up the original contract. I also do not know why they didn't just buy a new laptop, which is why I am questioning this at all as it just seems ludicrous, but that is what they are telling me they did. If anyone else wants to weigh in, I'd appreciate it.
  21. ihabime macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2005
    As to the repairs, since you are the one paying, you should at least ask for the ability to deal with the repair shop and Apple directly. If you can, contact Apple and escalate your case so Apple itself can check on your authorized repair company. Since you are not the owner, warranty is not in your name, so I'm not sure this is allowed, which brings me to my second point.

    Leave that job as soon as you can. I'm not sure where you are located, but most states in the US and I believe the EU have laws governing what is allowed in employment contracts and this sounds like it crosses the line to me. Employers will regularly put things in their employment contracts that are utterly unenforceable, but they know most will go along with them because they need their job. Companies like that are not worth working for, they will nickel and dime you to death.

    Since you probably want to keep your job for the time being, you will probably have to eat this one, but at least make sure that it's seen by a real Apple Tech and push the case as far as you can without endangering your job.
  22. MacTech68, May 21, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011

    MacTech68 macrumors 68020


    Mar 16, 2008
    Australia, Perth
    The first paragraph appears to not be true (upon first reading). Unless a certified tech can correct me, Airport Cards are a separately ordered part and plug into the motherboard.

    However, if evidence of liquid spills have been found on BOTH the AirPort Card AND the Mother Board, then these would both require replacement.

    Without having access to the MacBook to to troubleshoot your charger problem, it is difficult to say whether the liquid spills were the real cause of the charger problem OR whether the "tech" opened the machine, saw evidence of corrosion and said "We'd better replace these parts because I see corrosion on them".

    Jumping to the conclusion that "They broke it and are now expecting you to pay" is pretty unjustifiable. That said, replacing a motherboard and Airport card and top case simply because "I saw evidence of a liquid spill", is equally stupid.

    But, to add to that, I am aware that Apple Certified Techs and workshops are NOT permitted to do anything to faulty circuit boards. In this situation if it's just "spots" and I was conducting my own repair, I'd be cleaning the affected area, re-checking for corrosion, desoldering components and rechecking the area with a 20x lens.

    Liquid spills on laptops are a real pain. If an affected metal part (motherboard, shielding etc) is not reworked or replaced, it can grow into a bigger problem later, much the same way as rust "grows" on a car. You either cut the rust out and add new material or you replace the affected panel completely.

    I would ask, if you are permitted, to post the pictures they sent. On another note, obviously they are not repairing your old MacBook, but have assessed how much value (in terms of spare parts) have been lost. If I understand the situation correctly, they are now only expecting you to bear half that lost value. Apple logic boards and case parts are often this expensive.

    Hope that helps...

    Toyota P transmission
  23. holiday thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2009
    I will scan them tomorrow, or ask the IT guy to send them to me. Yes, I am in the EU.
  24. 22Hertz macrumors regular

    Oct 20, 2007
    Makes you wonder how people use any electronic devices outdoors as there is a lot of water/liquid in the air during the summer where I live.

    Its hard to say from hearing only one side of the story without being there to see what the tech saw but from what you said something just doesn't add up.

    If you feel like you did not spill anything on the computer then tell your company you did nothing to harm it, you were given no chance to get another professional opinion and are now being strong-armed into paying money out of your pocket. Refuse to pay for it.
    If you go this route be prepared to be fired and possibly sued. Then again they may go along with it if you are a valuable asset to that company.

    Good luck
    Let us know what happens

Share This Page