BB protection plan or Apple care ?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by devils punchbow, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. devils punchbow macrumors member

    Feb 12, 2010
    So I'll be buying my first Mac sometime this year. It will also be my first lap top. Hopefully a MBP after the new update has time to settle down. I'm in California on the northern coast, but plan to go to my friends place in Portland, Or to purchase. As no sales tax will save a substantial amount of money.

    I see Apple stores, and Best Buy have the same prices for new machines. is a reseller which looks like they are slightly cheaper. Which I also like cause they are a friendly local group with very nice customer service. They offer the Apple care as well.

    I'm sure I will get a extended warranty of some kind. How does the best buy protection plan compare to Apple care ? In regards to the benefits each plan would offer.

    For the record a Best buy is a three hour drive for me over a mountain range to the central valley. I have a Apple store a very short distance away from me, but I'm concerned it would be very busy in regards to service turn around time. As the Apple store by me is in a small University town. With no other service center nearby. I would have to drive a few hours to reach another physical Apple store.

    I don't even know if Best Buy has mail in repairs/replacement. Am i putting too much thought into this ? Should I just go with Apple care ? Then have the local/mail in repair/replacement options......

    I assume getting extra protection on this type of new MBP is a wise investment. These type of machines run a little hot, right ? Or it is very reasonable that something could go wrong with the hardware possibly within say a three year period.
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    If they both offer the same thing then AC. If one offers something more then go with that.
  3. kernkraft macrumors 68020


    Jun 25, 2009
    If there is a student or a university/college lecturer/teacher in the family, it makes sense buying the computers under their name and then transferring them onto your name. You get discount from the purchase price and discounte on AppleCare. On MacBooks, here in the UK, Apple gives around 70% discount. That is a lot...

    Otherwise you may find cheap AppleCare from websites. There are a few threads about AC on Ebay, check them out!

    With my white MB, I used AppleCare four or five times. With the unibodies, I hope that there will be no need. But several issues with noise and overheating suggest otherwise.
  4. thomanjones macrumors regular

    Dec 26, 2006
    Applecare is fantastic. Get it. It's the only extended warranty I buy (besides car), and it's saved me thousands. Also, if you are a student, you can get a great discount on Applecare through the Apple Education Store.
  5. devils punchbow thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 12, 2010
    So it is probably advisable to just go with apple care.

    Technically I am not a student. What do you have to provide in person, or online to get a student discount ?
  6. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    As to your original questions. If you are worried about turn around time, Apple ships the computers out to a service center. Turn around time for me has been a week and fairly consistent. Apple will also allow you to ship it directly in some cases (or all, I'm not sure, but know that it can be done.) Unless something has changed, Best Buy covered a little more in terms of accidents; but, there are some downsides, particularly the speed of their repairs.

    The EDU discount only applies to students that are in college of some sort and their immediate families. Reports vary as to how much exactly you need to provide to get the discount. In the past (prior to this summer in particular) you almost always needed a student ID. Plenty of forum users report going into Apple stores and just being asked if they were a student (presuming they looked around the age) - but, some still needed to provide ID.

    If you are close to being a student (i.e. senior in high school) you should know a couple things. Apple traditionally runs a "Back to School" promo over the summer that allows you to not only get the computer at EDU prices, but also a coupon for a free iPod touch (or other iPod) and a printer (after rebate.) AppleCare is cheaper for students, although you can find it on sites like L.A. Computer for similar prices.
  7. iMacThere4Iam macrumors regular

    Dec 28, 2009
    You're close to the Apple Store, that's a big bonus. The Genius Bar for many service issues, another big bonus. Best Buy will in just about every case involving a "fix" of some kind have to ship it out, and you'll be without a computer for awhile. At least a "Genius" will take a look and give you solid information on what needs to be done, turn around time, if necessary, etc. The guy at BB is probably trained to give pat answers covering a wide range of PC problems, so they'll most likely just throw Macs into the mix, and off your MBP will go, to who knows where, for at least a week. You also get a tune up once a year with Apple Care, don't know about BB. Unless there's a real big price difference, and I doubt there is, I'd go with AC.
  8. obey908 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 21, 2008
    San Francisco
    BestBuy, because it covers accidental. So, when the 3year warranty is almost up, you can smash it into the ground and get the latest model.

    Unethical? Yes. But bestbuy and them deserve it.
  9. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    The concern is that if your computer has a serious issue that doesn't require replacing the entire computer and you need a computer quick. There is also the ethics. Everyone is different, but I would say that only one of my issues would have required accidental damage – other than that - everything has been covered via Apple and quickly.
  10. chrisandersen macrumors 6502


    Sep 6, 2008
    I spilled liquids on my 15" MBP with a BB warranty. They replaced it for free with a newer model. AC would not cover that
  11. emptyCup macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2005
    There is much to be said about friendly, local service. iIf Powermax can make Applecare repairs it might be worth going with them. Otherwise, LA Computer is about the cheapest, reliable place to buy Applecare
  12. DesignerOnMac macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2007
    I have bought most of my computers from Powermax and they are a great company to deal with.

    I do not have a local Apple store, and a while back I had issues with keys coming off my iBook. I called Apple and they sent a FedEx box to me over night. I packed the iBook, called FedEx, they came the same day. Apple fixed the ibook and I had it back in 3 days with Apple Care. Sounds like a week is more like a good time now.

    Apple Care does not cover spills, but it isn't wise to have liquids next to a laptop anyways, right?

    I would go with what is the most convenient for you and what time it takes to travel, and how you feel about getting service was efficiently and as quickly as possible.
  13. devils punchbow thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 12, 2010
    I live on the northern California coast not far from Oregon. My cities sales tax is awfully high. So I plan to go see my friend in Portland, OR and purchase from powermax assuming they have something in stock I want. Possibly contact them before I head up to make arrangements with them. I can always go to a Apple store as well as no sales tax in the state will save me a lot.

    I'm not too concerned about accidental damage. I tend to take good care of my electronics. Certainly accidents happen, but these types of things seem to not happen with me much. As I tend to be aware, and would purchase things to help protect the equipment. Also BB will not be very convenient for me to walk into the store. I'd rather have the Applecare as I can check on wait time with my local Apple reseller for repairs. I assume any authorized reseller will accommodate Applecare customers. Or mail it in to Apple directly.

    The other nice thing about spending a few days in Portland to purchase the MBP. Is I will be new to Mac, and my buddy can show me all the tricks, and what have you on using Mac OS. Plus I always enjoy myself when in Portland. Nice that Powermax is in that town.

    Now for the hard part. Waiting, and hoping the 13 MBP gets updated soon with iprocessor. The C2D fits my needs, but I would rather be future proffed with the iprocessor. If no processor update for 13 then I'll just settle on C2D processor most likely, and upgrade processor at a later time. My hope is they update in the next 30 days. Then I let the buzz die down, and purchase MBP in June. That is thy plan......
  14. joeymendez macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2010
    I am the most knowledgeable....

    Ok... A lot of people will talk out of there asses about what the service plan covers based off of there own experiences... this is a terrible thing to listen to because these people are going to naturally be biased, either on the bases of a poor experience or a leetist attitude toward Apple stores.
    I have purchased computers from both BB and Apple and have purchased both plans. I am also highly qualified to answer this question because I have done extensive research and have no affiliations with either company. I am simply an art teacher who loves the Mac and wants the best for my hard earned money... so here's what I have found -
    First of all, yes there is a great deal of truth in everything that I have found that other people have said online. Both stores make straight profit from the service plans that you are paying for, but that doesn't mean that they are trying to rob you. They are also banking on the fact that you will hopefully forget to use the plans, obviously because if you use it, then they have to use the money that you paid to repair something that most of the time cost more than what you originally paid for for the service plan. Ask any independent or third-party insurance agency and they will tell you this. So does that mean that the service plans are bogus? Not in the least...
    The reason I say that is because, its freakin INSURANCE. You buy insurance on your car and home and boat and rental unit and all kinds of other things because you want to protect your investment. You do it because if some crap happens, then you are covered. Sometimes you will take advantage of getting insurance on electronics, and sometimes you wont... But its not a gamble... you have insurance, because you paid for it, so your investment is covered. Does that mean you can do whatever you want to the machine and get a new one or that insurance will cover anything that happens to it? Absolutely not, but the insurance on other things you buy for non-electronic equipment doesn't just cover ANYTHING either. So you have to pay attention to the fine-print...
    The fine print is first and foremost a legal document that protects the company and explains information to you as to what it covers (if the company you buy it from doesn't give you the fine-print, than it is against there policy and possibly against the law, so watch it). Based off of the fine print, my own experiences, the companies assurances and other users testimonials here is what I have concluded -
    Best Buys has a much stronger service plan. In what I have found, their service plan is actually more like an insurance plan than an extended warranty. They cover a lot more than the Apple Care plan, even though you will always pay more for it. So with that said, let me give you an example of what you will encounter with both plans.
    For the sake of understanding, I will also give examples of what you can and cant use the services for. Lets say for instance were going to buy a 13'' MacBook Pro. If I go to Apple and buy it, I can get there service plan for three years for about $250. Now anything that I buy with Apple (i.e. an Airport Extreme, Apple TV, Printers, etc.) on the same reciept, that AC extends to that device. The other benefit is I know that I can come back to Apple within three years to have a certified Apple technician work on my machine and that I will get brand new, genuine parts (not refurbished parts) in my Macbook. So if the mother board crashes, or the hard drive fails, or something major, I know its covered as long as it failed due to defects in craftsmanship. The other thing I like about it is that the phone service is extended for three years as well, so I can call someone who is competent in all things Apple. They also have a very speedy return time if they have to sent it back to apple for a major repair (given they have the parts). I got my Mac Mini back in about 7 days for a failed graphics cards... Very pleasing. There are also no shipping costs or deductibles I had to deal with. The downfalls of the plan are that if I want to use Apple instead, I have to make an appointment to speak with a Genius, which can be a few days out, and the plan doesn't actually cover anything other than "Parts and Labor" (aka defects) for the whole three years. This plan is actually considered an Extended Manufacturers Warranty (as opposed to insurance). Now lets say that I loaded my hard drive completely full and it crashed. They wouldn't cover it because it is considered "General Wear and Tear". I caused the hard drives demise and its considered my fault (which is legitimate - back your stuff up, dummy!) And whether or not they fix it will be determined by what I tell them happened in the first place - I wouldn't go in there and tell them that it was getting super hot because I was doing hardcore video editing and I just ignored it thinking it would go away. Then they could say that that I was using it in excess, which can be considered abuse, which obviously isn't covered in the fine-print.
    So if you thought $250 bucks was a lot, then you are going to wonder why Best Buys is so much more. Well here is why... First off, BB has Macs in the store for a reason. Because Apple gave them the contract to allow it to happen. And they wouldn't just give them the contract if BB wasn't capable of selling there products. To do that they have to be certified to sell and repair Apples computers. BB's Geek Squad is the same thing as the Apple's Genius's. They both know what they are talking about, so dont buy into one being better than the other. Definitely, Apple is going to have an edge because they fix more and are more familiar with possible issues that occur with a Mac, but BB's diagnostics program is top notch (I know because I have it ;) ). It does stress tests on the processor, mother board, graphics cards, hard drives, etc. I'm sure apple has this but have yet to use it.
    Quick Truth about commission. Best Buy is definitely not on commission. This is common knowledge now people, so quit listening to ignorant people that don't know anything. Apple doesn't either - I have seen the employees pay stubs. Each company might lie to you to get the sale but its not for their own intentions. It comes down to the management of each store pushing for the sales to maintain good numbers... its basic economics and business tactics.
    Back on topic - BB's services are more expensive because they cover a lot more. First thing is, there are no deductibles or shipping costs ever. They cover normal wear and tear, damages to the computer due to dust, heat, humidity and condensation, and power surges and brown outs. General wear and tear is worth it alone in my opinion, but it might not be in yours.... so here is what else they cover. They have a no lemon policy, which means if you got a lemon (aka piece of crap) and you have to bring it in for a total of 4 qualifying repairs, then they replace it with comparable technology or the cost of the computer. This isn't that big a deal, because most people don't get a lemon, but it happens and its nice to have. They also cover ONE battery replacement!! The battery that I was quoted for from Mac for my old Pro was $269.00.... The plan at BB alone is not that expensive, and the battery is definitely going to be crap after about 18-22 months, and if you let it die over and over, you are going to get it worst sooner. They also have free diagnostics, unlimited amount of times. This is normally about $70 to get without a plan (over-priced), so even if you wanted to bring in your system a couple times a year to make sure everything is tip-top, than it pays for the plan. If you travel internationally, and stay put longer, it covers the cost of shipping and repairing from other countries. That plan, for the MacBook Pro Laptop, at BB, for two years is $199. You can get an extra year for $50.
    Now here is where BB is way better... You can also choose to get an Accidental Plan for an additional $100 per plan (2 yr being $300 or 3 yrs being $350). I know its about 30% of the cost of the computer, but if you treat your computer like ****, or are clumsy, or have kids, or animals, or just happen to accidentally drop stuff, it is well worth it. The 13" glass screen on the Pro, retail, costs $800. Even more for the 15" and 17". It also covers spill damages, so if something happens to your computer, spill some orange juice, coffee, water or drool all over that beast and let it fry! That's unethical, but if it happens naturally, that even better.
    Now there are a few things the plan doesn't cover, in both plans. First, they don't cover Abuse. Don't come into the stores with a computer that has gunshot wounds, or tire marks. Don't tell them that you threw it at your buddy cuz he's a dick or you drop kicked it because you were frustrated. That is abuse and is not covered. It doesn't cover drops from over 8', so don't tell them that it fell off of a mountain or 3 story building. It doesn't cover Submersion. So don't drop it in a lake, bathtub or toilet. It doesn't cover lost or stolen/theft. It doesnt cover software based issues, but you should have any problems with that (unless you just delete the whole OS or corrupt your hard drive). It also doesn't cover acts of God, like wind, hail, thunder claps, earthquake, snow, rain, etc. Though I was told that it will cover lightning strikes because that is considered a power surge. I live in North Carolina, so that comes in very handy around these parts.
    I know all of this because I took time to read the fine print and ask questions. Don't believe everything you hear from the internet or some disgruntled consumer or even the sales person delivering their pitch (or me for that matter) because they didn't get what they wanted.
    I happen to like the BB plan way more because it have more benefits for me. The other reason is they have way better financing offers (0% interest for 18 months -WOOT!), price match with mac, have instant rebates (macs mail in stuff sucks its hard) and there are way more Best Buys. I don't have to drive 50 minutes to the nearest Mac store to get help. But heed this warning, NOT ALL BEST BUYS ARE CREATED EQUAL. I go to the Best Buy in Mooresville more than I do the closest Charlotte store, because they are way nicer, have way more product knowledge, and give it too me straight. They are also unbiased, I guess because they aren't on commission, whereas when I walk into the Mac store, I get bombarded.
    Now if all of that doesn't make up your mind for you, then listen to this - When I was last in Best Buy, I noticed they had a new Mac representative in their store, from Apple Corp office (named Chad). I asked him what his honest opinion was about the services in both stores and he told me that Best Buys was better. I was very suprised to hear that....
  15. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Ya think? :rolleyes:

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