Apple Customer Service everyone, or The Repair That Will Take 9 Months

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by apiro, Sep 20, 2018.


Apple customer service is the best in the world?

  1. You bet!

    20 vote(s)
  2. Indeed.

    4 vote(s)
  1. apiro, Sep 20, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2018

    apiro macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2017
    I've decided to tell you a story of awesome Apple Customer Service I've had lately.

    To start the story, let me just say that I have fully maxed out MBP 15" '16 - i7-6920HQ, Radeon Pro 460, 2TB SSD - purchased in the end of December 2016. With AppleCare no less. For those over the pond (I'm in the UK), this has been roughly 5372 USD back then (4378 GBP).

    So naturally as one would expect its keyboard started mispressing the keys. In January 2018, a little after the warranty period ended. Fortunately(?) I had AppleCare as back then Apple didn't recognise the problem with the keyboard as it does now.

    I contacted online support, they made me do all the regulars (SMC, NVRAM etc), unexpectedly it didn't help and they asked me to go to the Apple Store. The most convenient to me is the one on Regent St in London (for those unaware, flagship store on one of the most expensive streets in London and the world I believe). I go there, meet the genius, he behaves as if he has never seen such an issue before but agrees very fast this is not my fault and this should be fixed. And advises to just clean it with pressed air which he does. The issue becomes better and I have no way to make him actually repair the laptop even though I know well from the internet it won't help for long.

    On the 3rd day in it starts mispressing again. I have to visit the store again and ask for the repair. They quote 21 days of waiting. 21. 3 weeks without 5372 USD worth of a laptop. 3 weeks with additional warranty bought from them no less. As this is my only computer I decline. Among others the phrase "What do you want? We're the second busiest Apple Store in the world" is said about the period straight to my face.

    I phone support, escalate to AppleCare adviser, escalate to senior AppleCare adviser explaining every one of them the whole long situation over and over again. None of them is appalled by the period quoted or by the language used and all of them try to make me accept it. Eventually senior adviser understands I'm adamant and starts to solve the problem.

    He finally suggests they'll be able to order the parts without having my machine and I will only need to give it up after that, for the repair itself. Which seems kinda reasonable. Or at least I thought so. He asks me to go to the store for them to examine again and order the right parts. I do, they examine etc... and while committing to the repair I accidentally ask how long it will take after the parts arrive (expecting to hear like 2 days max or something). 14 days. Hell yeah. That solves the problem. Yay.

    I decline. Back home, email senior AppleCare adviser (he gave me both his direct phone and email - why this is significant would be explained further), explain the situation again, several emails, several calls, we agree they will order the parts without having my machine and then the repair would take no more than 1 full day (so I give up the machine Monday morning, it should be ready by Tuesday evening).

    Back to the store, explain the situation all over again. They check everything. And do not honour the agreement saying among other things "we don't know what you've agreed about with AppleCare adviser, we're another division, what do you want from us?".

    Back home, emails, calls with senior AppleCare adviser... he seems so eager to help. He assures me to go to the store again and this time they'll help me as we agreed - order parts before giving up my machine and for the repair to take no more than 1 full day.

    I go and indeed they know about the agreement. We reiterate all the conditions, they explain thoroughly how my machine will be repaired first thing the next morning after I give it up, how they will assign the best specialist to do it, how fast it'll be, yada, yada, yada, all in all - quite long marketing speech - and in the end they add "just in case something goes wrong you should know it might take 14 days to repair". I'm like WTF?! Isn't it the cornerstone of the problem? I cannot be without laptop for 14 days even if it's just a possibility. I decided I've had enough and ask to call the manager. Considering how bad they've behaved previously I understand that "might take 14 days" means "if we choose to it will take 14 days and you will be able to do nothing about it as you've signed the documents".

    Explain everything that has already happened to the manager, she agrees this is not right, thoroughly apologises, asks for a moment to speak with her subordinate, they go to the backroom. Several minutes after, she returns, apologises, says she understands all the frustration and that there is such an agreement. Starts explaining it will be honoured, the same long marketing speech how my laptop will be repaired first thing next day I give it up, yada, yada, yada... and in the end of the long speech adds it might take 14 days. I still have my temper, I tell this will not work as explained numerous times before and we need a contingency plan in case such an issue happens like providing me a temporary replacement laptop or something for these 14 days.

    She asks to take a leave to the backroom with her subordinate again, returns in 5 minutes... and the whole long speech happens again with "it might take 10 days" in the end. For the third time. At this point I understand I've had enough and say that I want the laptop to be replaced as per Consumer Rights Act 2015 which allows the customer to request either repair or replacement if the product is defective. For those over the pond, this is consumer law, retailers must honour it and must do it on the spot (not as in give the replacement instantly but they must know the law and start the replacement process).

    The answer is appalling and as rude and lawless as it can get - "ok, talk with the legal team" (as in the real Apple legal department which has better things to do like appeal EU order to pay 15 billion in taxes - find their number and call them). I ask to present the legal team in front of me - I'll gladly talk with them at which point she understands she's wrong and asks to take a leave to the backroom again.

    In several minutes she returns and says the law does not give me this right and repeats her marketing tirade about how my laptop will be repaired fast adding the piece about 10 days in the end of course.

    I decline, we read the law together from my laptop, she understands she's wrong, back to backroom, some more wait, she returns, reiterates the same speech and... unfortunately it's time for the store to close. As if she did it intentionally.

    To put this all into perspective - it's already middle February by that time as visiting the store instead of work is not always possible and senior Apple Care adviser does not answer the phone 2/3rds of the time and responds to emails on second or third day. I have two long business trips coming up.

    I relay all what happened to the adviser, he answers in several days how bad it is, I say to him that I'm going to quite a long business trip soon, maybe he could arrange a repair or replacement there, he says he actually can, every next message taking 1 to 3 days. He asks me what dates, what cities in the destination country, what part of the city I will be in. As if he's really interested to help. But during 4 weeks away nothing except those questions happen. :)

    I return to London, try to reach him, he's not answering calls and does no respond to emails. In 5 days he finally does but I have to leave for another 2-week business trip by that time. We agree to solve the problem after I return. Funny thing happens over these 2 weeks - I get a call from Apple, apparently my adviser went on vacation and his colleague was checking his cases - starting the call with "how good you laptop is now? the repair went well?" and not understanding it did not for roughly 5 minutes.

    When I return I try to reach him by the phone several times but no luck and drop him an email which he ignores. It's the beginning of April already btw. I try the same again in May but no luck again.

    The summer was quite busy and I had no time to resolve it further. Fortunately the main problem was with the Cmd key which there are two and I could use the laptop with some inconvenience. By the end of summer it became worse, also TB3 ports became so loose that slightly moving the laptop could stop the charging and display started to show slight reflective cover wear off. As I've finally had some free time I decided to fix it eventually.

    Contacted Apple, among other things asked to check what's the status of the January-May case IDs. The resolution was they've tried to contact me by phone both in April and in May and could not. Even though we communicated via email quite a lot they did not respond to emails? And I didn't have any missed calls from Apple (and they're quite specific - they come from 00353***) so I think it was ********.

    I've contacted AppleCare again, different adviser as mine could not be reached. They didn't see any problem in how the whole case was handled and only apologised after I stressed the worst points of their employees behaviour two or three times. They've assured me the only way to solve the issue is to get it repaired but also guaranteed it would take no more than 14 days. Being quite exhausted I thought **** it, let it be 14 days.

    Went to the store the same day as I was told appointment is not necessary. In store I was told appointment is necessary and the nearest one is in ... ... ... ... 9 days! And then, after appointment, it will be 14 more days for the repair. :)

    I asked to call a manager, explained everything to him, without any apologies, anything, without any second thought he went "yeah, just go to any other Authorised Service Provider, here are 4 nearby, they might have lesser wait time". We checked on the website - the least was in 5 days. As if it helps. Also he suggested to walk-in every morning and I will likely be seen without appointment after waiting for 2 or 3 hours (as if people have no better things to do than wait for hours at Apple Store - like work or something). Only after I explained him three times I as a consumer do not want to wander different places or wait hours in store and beg for my hugely expensive laptop to be fixed, I chose this store, I was advised it would take no more than 14 days and until this service is provided or documentally confirmed it will not be I will not leave him and he must resolve issue, he instantly found an employee which quickly examined my laptop, agreed with all the issues (keyboard, display, IO ports), ordered the parts, asked me to drop my laptop when the email about parts arrive and the whole process, she guaranteed, would take no more than 14 days.

    Looking forward to what they will **** up next. Still waiting for the parts to arrive.

    To summarise all of that. Reading all the stories about Apple Customer Service here on the website, be they positive or negative, I kind of laugh how miniscule they are. :)

    Sorry for the long wall of text. Any advice welcome. Any critics of my expectations or behaviour is welcome as well. Thank you for reading.
  2. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    I think that the core of the issue is very simple: a very busy shop will have their technicians booked fully booked for weeks, so they can't really fit you in before that. Going to a third-party service provider can indeed be much faster.
    And btw, as far as I know, you don't have any legal right to an escalated repair. They have to repair or replace it, but not immediately. Two weeks is seen as a reasonable time for such things, unfortunately.
  3. apiro, Sep 21, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2018

    apiro thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2017
    Well, we've checked with the store employees - store appointment was in 9 days, third-party service providers were all in 5 days. And it will be 14 days after that, not including that as per Apple. That is not a big improvement, is it? Good my laptop is working, though inconveniently, what will the person whose Mac has totally broke do? Sit 5 or 9 days without laptop?

    As for the legal right. Two weeks - yes. But the problem is it was 21 days first (which you would expect much less having Apple Care), and then they denied using the law at all ("speak with the legal team!"), and then they denied any of my rights under the law (only AppleCare) and then they refused to honour the request to replace it instead of repair...

    At that point it was not so much about what period they were quoting (though it was awful) but rather their behaviour with the client who bought expensive laptop, who bought additional protection from themselves, who has rights under the law (and the consumer laws in Europe are much more strict than in the US you know). It's not what one should expect from flagship Apple Store (or any Apple Store) I hope.

    And all of this is said as a rational person understanding both sides. I was only expecting good customer service even if somewhat slow (like 14 days is slow, 21 days is not ok at all) not having to go back and forth between the store and AppleCare not knowing and not honouring what the other side has promised.

    From purely egoistical customer perspective I would say "busy store? fully booked for weeks? hire more technicians, I don't care, it's your problem".
  4. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    No, you are completely right with this. And while I assume that its not very easy to run an Apple Store in London, of all places, it does sounds like they could really improve their workflows... Hope you can get it fixed :(

    Here, we are quite lucky that we have an excellent reseller from whom we buy and who also does the service (most cases done in 1-2 days as a business customer, no extra charge).
  5. aevan macrumors 68030


    Feb 5, 2015
    I have no idea about the legal side of this and, also, I totally understand how it’s inconvenient to loose mission critical equipment for two weeks - but in all honesty, laws are one thing, physical reality is another. They are obviously not capable of fixing it sooner and 14 days seems normal. If you want, you can, like, sue the company. But these guys in the store, they just can’t do anything - it’s a busy store, things break, it takes time to fix them, it sucks.

    You did what you could, now you have to wait. If you believe they are breaking the law, you can sue and go through that process. Maybe you can get some compensation. But I don’t really see what else they could do at that store. Also, the fact the computer is expensive and you payed a lot means nothing in this case, honestly.
  6. apiro thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2017
    They could provide consistent feedback, not be rude and not start with 21 days and not promise something that cannot be done. It's not that I walked in and said "guys, you will have to fix it in 1 day" and not that I walked in at the first time and said "guys, I'm a spoiled customer, replace me the laptop as per the law at once". I was as understanding as one could be and more. They promised one days repair themselves and I've only switched to the law when I was really being deceived 3 times in a row straight to my face (and this was like 3rd or 4th visit to the store so calculate how much time I have already lost because of their inter-department miscommunication by that time). I would say I was way more reasonable than one would expect.
  7. Ma2k5, Sep 21, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2018

    Ma2k5 macrumors 68020


    Dec 21, 2012
    I wonder if this was the case 5 years ago - where the forums would be filled with stories of going to a store and going home same day with a new laptop/fixed laptop. With Dell, I can get next day repair (sometimes same day) on my laptop there and then, I would never have to wait anything like a week even for even a motherboard replacement - so I know it is a service that can be done (we service many Dell's at our company). It isn't like AppleCare is cheaper than Dell's warranty either (for example, in UK right now I get a quote for £230 for 3 years warranty + 3 years accidental, on an XPS 9570). Lenovo includes 3 years warranty without charge.

    Edit: I actually went to an Apple store (London) 2 days ago to fixed my iPhone with a screen crack (I have AppleCare+). I had to queue only to be told they can book me in for next Wednesday. Not exactly the premium service I would expect but there you go.
  8. apiro thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2017
    That's exactly my thoughts. Had AppleCare cost like 100 USD my expectations would be so much lower.
  9. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    I don't know, last time we tried to have a Dell serviced it took around two months all together. For our latest failed Lenovo machine, we luckily had on-site warranty, so it took someone only two and half weeks to show up, and then two more weeks of waiting to get the machine back. I guess it all depends on your circumstances, how good the service branch of a particular company is where you are located, and how well you are connected with them.

    At any rate, I think we can all agree that OP's experience is way below expectation and that Apple can certainly do better.
  10. exogeneity macrumors member

    Mar 3, 2018
    I had a lousy experience in London earlier this year. It was bad, then the Senior Advisors over the phone made things worst.

    In summary, they screwed my laptop after an initial 2016 MBP Keyboard replacement. Broke the speaker, damanged screen and then killed the logicboard - total repeated repairs took almost a month and as a graduate school student, I only could write my thesis at the university during the Spring break as Apple can't loan me a replacement.

    And I was discriminated at the Store when i wanted to collect my Macbook - I had forgotten to bring my ID and was told that only 'government-issued' ID is acceptable. I went on the next day, and some lady who sat next to me forgot her ID and the Genius said 'it's fine, I trust you' - Wow! Then I wanted to speak to manager, which until today, never heard back from despite sending so many emails to the store.

    More excitingly, the case dragged so long that I changed 7 Advisors - some changed roles, some disappeared miraculously and another told me 'you are not cooperative to close the case'. Lol. It mean Macbook Pros in the UK is very expensive, and this is not what I paid for. Hahahaha.
  11. nicho macrumors 68020

    Feb 15, 2008
    Not that it excuses the poor experience from Applecare, but strictly speaking you don't have an inviolable right to have it replaced. Go back and see s23(3)(b). In the view of Apple, and the guidance from their legal team, throwing out your £4k+ laptop when repairs could be made for £100s, would be disproportionate. You could test it in court, if you're convinced thats not the case.
  12. apiro thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2017
    Yup, but s23(4)(c) says "whether the other remedy could be effected without significant inconvenience to the consumer" and considering what happened and considering the period quoted, I guess I could have good chances in small claims court... I mean this is gray zone, I agree with you, but it's not that they talked about it being disproportionate or requested my sane mind to choose repair instead of replacement as per the law. They straight told me to talk with the Apple legal department when I've requested retail law to be followed while I'm at the retail store, then denied any rights under the law and only adhered to AppleCare. And it was done without any explanation, they literally went to backroom, returned and started repeating the speech about repair I've heard 3 times by that time.
  13. apiro thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2017
    So far no parts have been delivered to the store for repair. It's already been 10 days since work authorisation. Tim Cook does not respond since Monday either. Sad, Apple, sad.
  14. madeirabhoy macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2012

    don't you wish you could rewind back to the bit in bold, and just said, 'okay thanks, fingers crossed then' and youd have had your MacBook repaired ages ago. I think past that you'd got their back up, not saying you were wrong, saying that's where the situation went wrong.

    in Portuguese law, they have a month to repair something. any longer than that and you can demand a replacement product.

    fact is when mac products have broken ive accepted that its going to take time to repair. I agree with you about the holding of your machine whilst ordering parts, seems to creep in and out of importance at apple and doesn't make any sense.

    my iPhone 6 battery needed replaced, the phone worked just the battery ran out fast. I took it into the only authorized repair centre on the island (middle of the atlantic) and they said it would be at least a week and they had to keep the phone the whole time. company policy I was told. messaged apple later, got vague answer that it was up to the shop, but didn't deny it was policy. as I cant be without my phone I left it, and a month later had my old imac in for repair. very helpful alas it was terminal. whilst there I said to the technician directly (ie not to the guy at the front desk) that it was annoying that I couldn't get my phone repaired without leaving it for a week. he looked in his computer, said here were batteries arriving the next day, told me to keep my phone until the next day, come in and he'd do my battery in half an hour.
  15. apiro, Sep 26, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018

    apiro thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2017
    The problem is they've said "we'll repair it first time tomorrow morning" only after I pushed through several channels twice or even three times. They were not willing to do it in store alone even though, as clear now, they can perfectly decide this on their own, without help from AppleCare senior advisers. At that point there was zero incentive to believe them adding "but it might take 14 days anyway" meant "we'll do our best but **** happens" but a lot of incentive to believe they meant "we'll **** up your repair as much as we legally can". So here's that.

    Initially I was as rational, forgiving and agreeing as one would expect from anyone in my situation.

    And, BTW, considering they've said the same things this time and my wait time is already more than 10 days... I think I assessed their willingness to help right that time.
  16. Merode macrumors 6502a


    Nov 5, 2013
    Warszawa, Poland
    Yeah, Apple Care quality is a myth. It's all anecdotal but:
    • When my iPhone 6S encountered battery issues just nigh on one year after purchase, I received zero help from Apple Care. iPhone was dying at varied battery percentage - the record was 70%. It happened every day unexpectadly. This is essential communication device that can in some situations save your life (by calling 112/911) not just Twitter toy. Apple Care ran remote diagnostic that said my battery is fine and they said they can do nothing. Lady said I can mail them my iPhone but if diagnostic shows it's fine, they'll do nothing. I spent 1 hour with her on phone and she kept suggesting I should wait for iOS update and that she'll not replace my phone. Happily, one month later Apple started battery replacement programme.
    • My Dell Vostro that I use at work had its mobo die after nigh on three years of service. We hade NBD service and after we called it in, next day tech came to our office and withing 30 minutes replaced mobo. Problem solved. This Dell Vostro with warranty cost less than iPhone.
    • Similar situation with my sister's HP ProBook except it was a bit DOA - it didn't recognize SSD I installed inside it. The tech came next day and said that maybe this SSD is unsupported (tech spec said this ProBook supported 128GB SSD but didn't mention 256GB). Anyway, he replaced mobo and everything started working. Took him maybe one hour. We didn't even have NBD warranty.
    I'm glad my Late 2013 rMBP works without an issue to this day, it's going to be 5 years in November.
  17. apiro, Sep 26, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018

    apiro thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2017
    The funny thing is that so far I had
    - MBA 13" late 2011 w/o AppleCare,
    - maxed-out in everything except SSD MBP 15" late 2011 w/o AppleCare,
    - maxed-out in everything except SSD MBP 15" late 2013 w/o AppleCare,
    - maxed-out in everything except SSD MBP 15" late 2015 w/o AppleCare,
    - maxed-out in everything MBP 15" 2016 w/ AppleCare,
    - maxed-out in everything MBP 13" 2018 w/ AppleCare.

    All of them (ALL!) had issues - some created by me, most - by Apple design (MBA 2011 - liquid damage, MBP 2011 - Radeongate, battery swollen, 2013 - staingate, 2015 - bent key right from factory and staingate, 2016 - keyboard-gate, staingate, loose ports, 2018 - keyboard-gate so far) but first four didn't bring me such negative perception over the problem even though I had no AppleCare - some of them were easily and cheaply fixable myself as not all the components were soldered/glued, others were fixed by Apple with only 3-4 days wait time without pushing for lower wait time via several support channels...

    2011 have happily worked for my family up until last year, since then they happily work for one mate.
    2013 still happily works for my family.
    2015 still happily works for my family.
    2016 and 2018 both bring me problems (the second one being only 2 weeks old) and I cannot retire 2016 to my family as it's beyond usable with so many issues.

    So I fully understand your happiness with late 2013. :)

    WTF Apple?
  18. exogeneity macrumors member

    Mar 3, 2018
    Nope, i tried to send him emails too. No reply. Been there done that mate
    --- Post Merged, Sep 27, 2018 ---
    Did you ask the store what the hell has been going on? Did they reply?
  19. apiro thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2017
    I will on Monday - after 14 days pass and they formally break their promise. Again.
  20. exogeneity macrumors member

    Mar 3, 2018
    Hopefully! Annoying
  21. bingeciren macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2011
    Similar frustrating experience here as well. For one thing, Apple won’t even look at any device unless one has a Genius Bar appointment. However, it is next to impossible to get an appointment because all available hours are always full for the next 10 days and one cannot book beyond that period. When I walked to the store and told them that it’s impossible to book an appointment so what should I do. They told me that I should keep trying because sometimes a slot becomes available briefly and once it becomes available I should grab it. What an atrocity. Why do I have to get an appointment? When I walk into the store with a problem device, they should be able to take it from me, put it on the repair queue and look at it whenever they can.

    For a mission critical device, just use the no questions asked return policy of Apple. Buy whatever you need it, use it and return it within 14 days. Keep repeating until your device comes back from the repair.
  22. digitalcuriosity macrumors 6502

    Aug 6, 2015
    I don't know how long you people can do without your computer, but if i was told it would be 9 Months for a repair i would do as i already have done.
    Spend around $500 dollars for a non Apple computer and move along with my life without my Mac.
  23. SDColorado Contributor


    Nov 6, 2011
    Highlands Ranch, CO
    So you are supposed to just keep checking and re-checking the calendar day after day in the hopes you manage to grab a cancellation before someone else does, even if it takes weeks to months?
  24. apiro thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2017
    Yup. And only after explaining three times I'm not going to do that and I won't leave that day unless the manager does something about it the slot was instantly found. If more people did it, Apple would've fixed the issue. To be fair, I guess this might be specific to Apple UK. For example in my home country there is no such problem with Apple and I haven't heard about this problem in the US.
  25. bingeciren, Sep 30, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2018

    bingeciren macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2011
    That’s right. Crazy isn’t it? I hate this new policy of Apple. I had a hard time convincing the guy at the store to take my Apple Watch with a popped up display caused by a swollen battery. I said why do I need an appointment for an obvious problem which is also covered by Apple Care+ on top of it. He said come just before our closing hour at night and I’ll try to squeeze you in. I went back just before the store was closed and sure enough someone cancelled their appointment and they took my watch for service. Still, this is a nuisance and really an inconvenient way to deal with repairs.

    Apple should find a way to alleviate this problem.

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