AppleCare getting worse and worse

Foulenough

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 26, 2018
12
4
I’ve been using Macs since the early 1990s and have a lot of Apple stuff. There has in the past been occasional problems with the equipment which has usually been sorted out well but sometimes there have also been frustrations. In the past couple of years, however, the service and quality of the machines seems to have got much worse just as the machines have got more expensive.


In 2016 I bought a Macbook Pro to replace a 2012 model which had run with no issues but was getting old. This new machine had continuous problems from the outset: over 18 months, the keyboard stopped working three times and the display went once. Each time I had it repaired under warranty at the local Apple store. When the keyboard broke again in June last year I lost patience, decided I’d got a lemon, put it down to bad luck, and traded the machine in for a new Macbook Pro. Staff in the store assured me that they had not had the same level of problems with the new model as with the 2016 one so I was optimistic.


Five months later and the keyboard on the new machine stopped working properly. This time, I couldn’t go to the Apple store as the local one was booked out, so I rang Applecare and they told me they could pick it up for me to get it repaired. This they did. Then, two weeks ago, the display went. Same issue with not being able to take it in store, so Apple again arranged to have it picked up for repair. But this time, the repairers said that the display wasn’t working properly due to “accidental damage” and that they couldn’t therefore repair it under warranty. When I asked them to return it unrepaired, they asked for over £100 to do so!


This seems to be the latest Apple approach: make it impossible to take a damaged computer in-store, then take the computer off of you and refuse to return it unless you pay £100, meaning not only do you lose the computer but you can’t even argue with them about the damage they claim you’ve done. I rang Apple. They were very sympathetic and rang me back several times but in the end did nothing beyond suggesting that I paid for it from my home insurance. I wrote to Tim Cook – nothing!


So now I feel that I have an expensive computer with useless cover which might cost me £100 every time I try to use it should Apple’s repairers decide that it’s my fault (with no appeal, because they’ll just hang on to the computer). I am very unhappy about this and, with the increasing prices of these machines, for the first time I’m seriously thinking that my next computer/phone/speaker/TV won’t be an Apple one. This is difficult because I’m not at all fond of Windows, but, honestly, if it gets me a machine that I can get repaired locally without some sort of arbitrary surcharge if it’s decided it’s my fault, then it’s worth considering.
 

Stephen.R

macrumors 68020
Nov 2, 2018
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Warranty literally covers defects and faults in manufacturing.

If you want cover for your own accidental breakages you need insurance.

Your post is also pretty vague on details about the latest issue that they claim is caused by your actions, and you haven’t really refuted their claim in a convincing manner here either.
 

Foulenough

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 26, 2018
12
4
I'm sorry if I gave the impression that my complaint was that Apple were refusing to repair a machine which I had damaged. They may be right - I may have damaged it and not noticed, although there was little evidence of any damage to the machine when I sent it off. But it is not this that I'm complaining about.

The point of my long post was to say that I am unhappy that Apple now, in my experience, are making it harder to get things looked at locally, so compelling you to allow them to ship it somewhere else and charging you £100 if they then decide that the fault is not their's. This turns the process of using Applecare into something of a lottery and this is what I'm very unhappy about. As I said

"So now I feel that I have an expensive computer with useless cover which might cost me £100 every time I try to use it should Apple’s repairers decide that it’s my fault (with no appeal, because they’ll just hang on to the computer)."​

Thinking about it more, I'd go further and suggest that this might be something of an emerging policy on Apple's part. They now glue or solder everything in making any repair very expensive and given the problems the last few MacBook Pros have been having with keyboards, it must be costing them a fortune to repair them as doing so involves switching out most of the bottom of the case and the battery. Making it harder to get a repair and introducing a gamble as to whether or not they decide it's their fault is a way of deterring people from trying to get the machine repaired: i.e. better to hang on to a £3,000+ computer with a faulty "f" key than risk having to pay £100 for asking to have it repaired.
 
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apiro

macrumors regular
Oct 23, 2017
169
104
That's always been the case

Why did you not find a time at your local apple store? There was no time available on any day?
Because local shops in e. g. Central London are sometimes fully booked three weeks in advance, all of them. And they literally say "you may come tomorrow early in the morning and wait for several hours - there is is no guarantee but if the specialist has time he'll see your MacBook... otherwise just try next day and then next day... or book an appointment in several weeks".
 

Foulenough

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 26, 2018
12
4
That's always been the case

Why did you not find a time at your local apple store? There was no time available on any day?
Yes, exactly that. I tried stores in London and Cambridge and both were full: both this time and the last time there was a problem
[doublepost=1548159440][/doublepost]
Because local shops in e. g. Central London are sometimes fully booked three weeks in advance, all of them. And they literally say "you may come tomorrow early in the morning and wait for several hours - there is is no guarantee but if the specialist has time he'll see your MacBook... otherwise just try next day and then next day... or book an appointment in several weeks".
Actually, they didn't say that, they just said that they were full. And even if they have are they saying that with Applecare I can come in and they might see me? Seems like a lot of hours to give up.

When I rang Apple, they said that they could collect it instead. They made no mention of having to pay any money if they decided it was my fault.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,665
33,523
Boston
Yes, exactly that. I tried stores in London and Cambridge and both were full: both this time and the last time there was a problem
You couldn't book the time out further in the week? I can only speak about my experience and its been that I need to book an appointment a week out (at least). Even then, with the appointment, I found myself waiting 40 minutes, which annoyed me to no end.
 

Foulenough

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 26, 2018
12
4
You couldn't book the time out further in the week? I can only speak about my experience and its been that I need to book an appointment a week out (at least). Even then, with the appointment, I found myself waiting 40 minutes, which annoyed me to no end.
No, there were no appointments available at all (it was fully booked out for the whole period on offer). And this has now happened twice to me.
 

SDColorado

macrumors 601
Nov 6, 2011
4,279
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Highlands Ranch, CO
You couldn't book the time out further in the week? I can only speak about my experience and its been that I need to book an appointment a week out (at least). Even then, with the appointment, I found myself waiting 40 minutes, which annoyed me to no end.
I hate that too, they expect you to check in early for your appointment and I always do arrive 10-15 minutes early, but they are never on time and you end up waiting an additional 30-45 minutes beyond your scheduled appointment to be seen and sit additional time as the "Genious" multi-tasks with other customers because he is running so far behind. They will start a diagnostic or something on your computer and then disappear for another 20 minutes, while it finished in 5.

The online calendar is really a pain for a busy store where you can face it being booked out the entire week, but I thought online support was able to go out further to several weeks and book the next available opening for you. Has this changed?
 

Foulenough

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 26, 2018
12
4
I hate that too, they expect you to check in early for your appointment and I always do arrive 10-15 minutes early, but they are never on time and you end up waiting an additional 30-45 minutes beyond your scheduled appointment to be seen and sit additional time as the "Genious" multi-tasks with other customers because he is running so far behind. They will start a diagnostic or something on your computer and then disappear for another 20 minutes, while it finished in 5.

The online calendar is really a pain for a busy store where you can face it being booked out the entire week, but I thought online support was able to go out further to several weeks and book the next available opening for you. Has this changed?
From memory (so I might be wrong) the online calendar goes out 3 or 4 weeks. If there's nothing available in that time, you can't book further ahead. You can ring Apple support who will firstly confirm the lack of availability there offer to pick it up for you (but in my case fail to mention that it could cost you £100 if they decide its your fault). To me this makes Applecare pretty useless.
 

SDColorado

macrumors 601
Nov 6, 2011
4,279
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Highlands Ranch, CO
From memory (so I might be wrong) the online calendar goes out 3 or 4 weeks. If there's nothing available in that time, you can't book further ahead. You can ring Apple support who will firstly confirm the lack of availability there offer to pick it up for you (but in my case fail to mention that it could cost you £100 if they decide its your fault). To me this makes Applecare pretty useless.
Seems to me that you should not be obligated to pay the £100 if they failed to mention it to you as a part of the terms & Conditions when you sent it to them. When you bring your car in for service they always mention that there will be a diagnostic charge of X amount and that it will be applied to the repair if you have it done, but I believe they are obligated to inform you of this prior to collection? Did they not send a follow-up email or anything with that information?

Do you have any options for authorized repair centers? I am not sure if it is just me or a US thing, but when I try to book, it only shows me a week at a time, but it does list all the stores and authorized repair centers in my area. Some I wasn't even aware existed.
 

Foulenough

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 26, 2018
12
4
Seems to me that you should not be obligated to pay the £100 if they failed to mention it to you as a part of the terms & Conditions when you sent it to them. When you bring your car in for service they always mention that there will be a diagnostic charge of X amount and that it will be applied to the repair if you have it done, but I believe they are obligated to inform you of this prior to collection? Did they not send a follow-up email or anything with that information?

Do you have any options for authorized repair centers? I am not sure if it is just me or a US thing, but when I try to book, it only shows me a week at a time, but it does list all the stores and authorized repair centers in my area. Some I wasn't even aware existed.
Looking through the old emails from the repair company, in an attachment to an email sent after they had arranged to pick it up, it says "A service fee of £82.80 (£69+VAT) is required if a quotation is not accepted." Even if I had noticed this it would not have worried me, as I wasn't asking for a quotation, I was asking for it to be repaired under warranty. Certainly there was no mention of any charges by apple on the phone: it was presented to me as an option because I couldn't bring it in.

Yes, there were other centres offered, but they were over an hour's drive away.
 

mick2

macrumors regular
Oct 5, 2017
179
179
UK
When the keyboard broke again in June last year I lost patience, decided I’d got a lemon, put it down to bad luck, and traded the machine in for a new Macbook Pro. Staff in the store assured me that they had not had the same level of problems with the new model as with the 2016 one so I was optimistic.
I think in retrospect that this is where your problems started. Customers need to stop rewarding Apple for their poor QC / CS and put their money elsewhere.

OP it sucks that they have effectively got your machine as hostage in this situation. I think all you can do is argue the issue with them - assuming that you dont believe you caused the damage - and be persistent with it. Ask for details / photos of the damage and their reasoning as to why this is caused by you. If you cant spare the time / energy to do this, swalllow the £100 fee and buy elsewhere in the future. Best of luck!

The MR forum is predominently (but not exclusively) populated by US posters, with an understandably US-centric view of Apple and their CS. I think many of them would be surprised and shocked at the prices and less than stellar CS realities that Apple customers in the UK and Europe endure. Though to balance that out we do generally get better consumer rights under UK/EU legislation than our US cousins when things do go wrong.
 

SDColorado

macrumors 601
Nov 6, 2011
4,279
4,244
Highlands Ranch, CO
Looking at Apples Legal Terms and Conditions, they do state the diagnostic fee, up to $100 USD or up to £100 UK.

1.8 Service Exclusions and Diagnostic Fee

https://www.apple.com/legal/sales-support/terms/repair/generalservice/servicetermsen/

Among their exclusions for charging that fee "product has failed due to accident."

Of course part of the BS in those terms is that "up to" usually also translates to "no less than."

Is there any evidence that the issue *was* actually a result of accidental damage? If so, why did none of the in-store techs document that? I mean if you buy a MBP and bump the display in the first month of ownership causing a little nick, chances are it has nothing to do with a display failure 2 years down the road.
 

apiro

macrumors regular
Oct 23, 2017
169
104
Oh wow, that's unbelievable, that stinks :(
The funniest thing was when the manager of the Geniuses stereotypically told me something along the lines like "let me show you how to book an appointment somewhere nearby" (like this is so hard I need guidance for that), led me to an iMac with the stereotypical impression like see how it's easy at Apple, made me sign in with my password on public computer with a lot of other people looking, only to find out confirmation to my words that no place within 5 miles has any spot for the next 2 weeks.

Well, by funniest I mean the opposite.
 

Foulenough

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 26, 2018
12
4
I appreciate all of your help and advice as to how to solve the issue. I'm currently looking to see if my home insurance will pay for the repair and it is hopeful.

But (and it's a big but) I have Apple products because they are quality products. If they have problems I expect Apple to act quickly to solve the problems, but I am not sure if they care any more. A system whereby you risk being charged £100 just for Apple to look at your faulty computer is a very poor one and (in the UK at least) surely of questionable legality. I don't expect this of a company I've liked and bought products from for many years and this experience, along with a rise in the prices of everything Apple sells, may lead me to change my mind about future purchases.
 

TheRealAlex

macrumors 68020
Sep 2, 2015
2,162
1,220
I'm sorry if I gave the impression that my complaint was that Apple were refusing to repair a machine which I had damaged. They may be right - I may have damaged it and not noticed, although there was little evidence of any damage to the machine when I sent it off. But it is not this that I'm complaining about.

The point of my long post was to say that I am unhappy that Apple now, in my experience, are making it harder to get things looked at locally, so compelling you to allow them to ship it somewhere else and charging you £100 if they then decide that the fault is not their's. This turns the process of using Applecare into something of a lottery and this is what I'm very unhappy about. As I said

"So now I feel that I have an expensive computer with useless cover which might cost me £100 every time I try to use it should Apple’s repairers decide that it’s my fault (with no appeal, because they’ll just hang on to the computer)."​

Thinking about it more, I'd go further and suggest that this might be something of an emerging policy on Apple's part. They now glue or solder everything in making any repair very expensive and given the problems the last few MacBook Pros have been having with keyboards, it must be costing them a fortune to repair them as doing so involves switching out most of the bottom of the case and the battery. Making it harder to get a repair and introducing a gamble as to whether or not they decide it's their fault is a way of deterring people from trying to get the machine repaired: i.e. better to hang on to a £3,000+ computer with a faulty "f" key than risk having to pay £100 for asking to have it repaired.
You are 1000% correct, Steve Jobs wrote about modeling Apple after the Automobile Industry. Follow me here. For some you have Motorcycles, or iPhones, fast and mobile. Or you have Cars sedans mobile and slightly bigger or Laptops.
And so on.
Automobile dealerships literally make more money On Service and Repairs of sold automobiles than sales of new cars.
Get ready......Apple is transitioning to do the exact same thing.
Apple is designing its products and policies slowly, in such a way that in about 3-5 years they will make more money from Services and Repairs than new products sold. IMO.
 
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SDColorado

macrumors 601
Nov 6, 2011
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Highlands Ranch, CO
I appreciate all of your help and advice as to how to solve the issue. I'm currently looking to see if my home insurance will pay for the repair and it is hopeful.

But (and it's a big but) I have Apple products because they are quality products. If they have problems I expect Apple to act quickly to solve the problems, but I am not sure if they care any more. A system whereby you risk being charged £100 just for Apple to look at your faulty computer is a very poor one and (in the UK at least) surely of questionable legality. I don't expect this of a company I've liked and bought products from for many years and this experience, along with a rise in the prices of everything Apple sells, may lead me to change my mind about future purchases.
I think by and large they are trying to promote Apple Care+ as well, by calling any repair where there is even a slight hint of damage "accidental damage" and denying the repair. "Oh, so sorry, that is due to accidental damage. You should have purchased Apple Care + and had accidental damage coverage."

I have been a huge Apple fan for many years, but I am disappointed in some of the things lately.

@TheRealAlex makes a good point about them fashioning their business model after the auto industry, but by the same token could you imagine if you took your car in for service and they refused to do a warranty repair on the engine because you had a ding in your door?
 

csurfr

macrumors 68020
Dec 7, 2016
2,310
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Seattle, WA
All of this now makes me wonder if I should take photos and a video of my working MacBook Pro before I send it in for service in a couple of days....
 
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Foulenough

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 26, 2018
12
4
@TheRealAlex makes a good point about them fashioning their business model after the auto industry, but by the same token could you imagine if you took your car in for service and they refused to do a warranty repair on the engine because you had a ding in your door?[/QUOTE]

Or if you went to replace your car battery only to discover that Apple had soldered it to the starter motor
 

Stephen.R

macrumors 68020
Nov 2, 2018
2,482
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Thailand
could you imagine if you took your car in for service and they refused to do a warranty repair on the engine because you had a ding in your door?
Is there any suggestion at all that warranty repair was refused on your Mac because of unrelated damage? That seems like a breach of consumer protection laws.

As I said before - your posts about this are somewhat vague, which makes me wonder if you’re upset they won’t repair your mistake under warranty.
 

Foulenough

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 26, 2018
12
4
Is there any suggestion at all that warranty repair was refused on your Mac because of unrelated damage? That seems like a breach of consumer protection laws.

As I said before - your posts about this are somewhat vague, which makes me wonder if you’re upset they won’t repair your mistake under warranty.
No. I’m upset that Apple won’t return my computer unrepaired without my first having to pay £100. They are charging me just to look at it
 

Foulenough

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 26, 2018
12
4
Is it with Apple, or a third party Authorised Service provider?

Apple’s stores in London and Cambridge both had no available times to look at the computer for the next three or four weeks (which is the maximum period of time Apple will let you book an appointment in advance). So I rang Apple and Apple contacted an authorised service provider who then came and picked it up. So no, not Apple but organised by Apple because they couldn’t do it themselves.
 
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