Customer Service on a whole new level...

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by smiddlehurst, Jun 16, 2007.

  1. smiddlehurst macrumors 65816

    Jun 5, 2007
    What follows is tale of slightly dodgy hardware and some of the best customer service I've ever had the pleasure to receive. I make no apologies for the length as I feel it's only fair to illustrate the lengths my local Apple store went to in order to make sure I was happy.

    A day after Apple announced the new Macbook Pro's I went in to my local Apple store here in the UK and picked up the basic 15” model with a glossy screen. It had everything I wanted in a notebook – performance, a decent graphics card, enough space to handle all the apps I'd want to install and, of course, it looked good into the bargain. Once I got it home I was stunned by how good the screen was, the sheer brightness had me reaching for the sunglasses and at £1,300 it was actually good value for money as well. Sure it got a bit hotter than I wanted but what notebook with this equipment and this form factor doesn't run hot? I was, to put it simply, convinced I bought the right machine. And then, a week later, I noticed the yellow band at the bottom of the screen.

    Thinking it was a bit weird I came onto these forums only to find it's a common fault on the new LED-equipped machines. Reluctantly I stuck the machine back in the box and headed back to the Apple store on my lunch break. I expected a fight, the traditional retail experience of arguments, begging and threats to get them to honour the 14 day return policy. To my astonishment though they agreed to swap it out before I'd even opened the box. I showed them the fault, they acknowledged it certainly shouldn't be like that and they'd have another one brought down for me immediately. After a bit more discussion we decided to try a matte version as I hadn't been 100% happy with the glossy screen (for the record I adore the glossy Macbook I use for work, the 15” screen though was just big enough to show more reflections).

    Now, here's where things really went off course from the path I expected them to take. I'd swapped the machine, had the receipt and was expecting to have to go home and try it out. Uh, no. The Apple employee who was helping me suggested unpacking it there and then and trying it out even though that meant I'd have to register it to myself even though I might not own it for more than about 10 minutes. As it happens this was very good advice as, sure enough, the matte screen had the same problem as the glossy and we were back to square one.

    Before going I'd already decided that, if I couldn't find a 15” with an acceptable screen I'd have a look at the 17” units with the HD screens. A quick play with the demo unit (which had only gone out the day before) revealed a perfect display, not as bright as the LED models but with great colour reproduction, not a hint of grain and so much desktop real estate it was verging on silly. My only concern was whether or not I could live with using it on my lap. No problem, they just supplied me with a stool and an older 17” MBP to have a play with in a quiet corner without so much as a security guard standing over me to make sure I didn't just peg it out the store.

    Sure enough, I decided it was JUST small enough to use as a laptop instead of a desktop replacement and a brand new boxed HD 17” machine was brought out from the stock room. There may have been a heavenly chorus and accompanying spotlight of sunshine but I'd been in the store for over 30 minutes by then and the bright white lighting might have been getting to me. My ever-helpful assistant rang it up and told me that it would be... £1,960! When I recovered from the involuntary muscle spasms we went through the spec on the web site trying to figure out where the extra £100 had come from. Only an item-by-item check of the box revealed that Apple had, in their infinite wisdom, decided that if you wanted the HD screen on your 17” MBP from an Apple store you HAD to have the 7,200rpm 160Gb drive as well. At this point a bad word may have escaped my lips, a sentiment I was surprised to find echoed by the Apple employee in the form of “£100 for that isn't worth it”.

    Another round of brain-storming followed and we came up with a plan: get another 15” model, try it and keep it for another 2 weeks. Then if I wanted to replace it I could bring it back and change for another machine which should be from a later batch. More paperwork followed and, once again, my helpful Apple assistant (who at this point was practically part of my family) suggested I try it out. So another box was opened, another seal broken and joy! The screen was almost completely free of Yellow bands, just the very bottom was affected and I'd never have anything low enough to notice it. Great. Fantastic. Wonderf.... wait a minute, the screen isn't mounted straight in the lid, it's sloping down to the left. Bugger.

    At this point I was fed up and reluctantly asked for a refund. The sad fact is I'd already put off the purchase for a month waiting for the new MBP's to be launched and couldn't afford to loose more time waiting for the second batch to come in so I'd have to, reluctantly, buy a Windows machine as an alternative (the MB is not an option as I wanted a better graphics cards). I may have mentioned this durng one of our (many) conversations but only in passing. She (the apple employee) asked me to wait a minute and went for a chat with her manager. Several minutes later he came over and asked me if I'd had a look at the 17” HD they had on display and what I thought of the screen. I expressed my utter infatuation in rather glowing language and he offered me £100 of the display model!

    Not being a complete muppet I agreed before he'd finished saying “£100” and they got the box out. I did the paperwork and paid the extra and got passed the box which... hang on, this is a brand new machine. Normally I'd have run for the door at this point but they'd been so good I just couldn't do it. I pointed out that the deal had been for the ex-display model. The sales assistant asked the manager and he said no, the new machine was fine!

    So, from a customer who wasn't exactly Mr Happy my local Apple store turned me into someone who will sing the praises of their employees and their commitment to keeping customers happy until the day I die. They made a bigger sale than they otherwise would have, but at the expense of three opened and marked-as-faulty MBP's, a £100 discount and over an hour of their own time.

    The machine itself by the way is fantastic. The screen is unbelievable (and boy-oh-boy am I now looking forward to Leopard and resolution-independence) but the best bit is it runs cooler compared to the 15”. Oh, the sensors show the same figures (well, mostly anyway) but even when the bottom case sensor reads 36 degrees C it feels 5 degrees cooler than the 15”.
  2. jamesybsu macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2007
  3. dcv macrumors G3

    May 24, 2005
    Thanks for sharing your experience with us :) Can I ask which UK store it was? I had a really helpful guy in the Regent Street store; I was torn between the 2.4GHz 15" and 17" HD (and yeah I know about the extra £100 for the 7,200 option), he did his best to help me compare them - messing up their displays to drag them next to each other to do side-by-side comparisons, also offered me a stool if I wanted to try the 17" on my lap but I felt a bit silly so I didn't :eek:

    I bought the 15" in the end but it's suffering from the kernel panics issue and very slight yellowing etc. It's also very hot, uncomfortably so. It's interesting that you say the 17" runs cooler in comparison. So no Airport issues with yours running on battery?

    I was going to take mine back to the store today but it was raining most of the day and I haven't been able to get hold of 'helpful store guy' so far. Might pop down there later/tomorrow/whenever, just depends if they have a replacement 15" in stock or perhaps I'll even try out the 17" and see how it goes...
  4. sonictonic macrumors 6502a

    Mar 25, 2006
    Central Coast, California
    Your post definitely could've been shorted a little bit buddy... :p But, it's really nice to see a positive story posted instead of the usual negative ones. So thanks for the post. :)
  5. smiddlehurst thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 5, 2007
    Brent Cross Apple store. I've dealt with them a few times now and, with the exception of the Genius bar ALWAYS being fully booked if you try to book on-line, find them to be very good indeed.

    With regards the 15", I found it an absolute necessity to install fan control software and crank the default levels up a bit (around 2k). The 17" is odd in that average temperatures are probably slightly higher (which makes sense, faster processor, faster hard drive, bigger screen are all going to produce more heat) but the case seems to stay cooler at a given temperature reading. I guess it's the benefit of the greater surface area and the hinge fans being slightly larger.

    So far anyway no problems whatsoever with the machine, wireless works perfectly, battery life when working in open office with safari in the background is around the 3 to 4 hour mark (as always, disable wireless and receive a big battery life boost). That said, it REALLY likes being on a laptop stand with case temp after playing a 2 hour DVD being around the 33 degree C mark.
  6. smiddlehurst thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 5, 2007
    Heh, I was doing a battery test on the new machine and writing this post was part of it so got a little carried away. :D
  7. dcv macrumors G3

    May 24, 2005
    Ahh, thanks for that. That's probably my next nearest store so thanks for the info!

    According to iStat Pro the bottom enclosure of mine was around 40-something C and the CPU was anything from 56 to 73C when I was using it last night on my lap. And I had very pink legs from it! :eek: I will eventually get an iLap for it as I have for my PowerBook at the moment... but I need to get a fully functional MBP first of course :p

    You're tempting me to get the 17" now...
  8. iMacBook macrumors 6502a


    Jun 14, 2007
    Down by the bay.
    I'm sure if you went into a Windows equipped store, they would've given you hell.

    Congrats on your purchase. I can't wait to get my MacBook. I've been drolling over it!

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