Do NOT buy Apple Cinema Thunderbolt Display

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by AlessandroSarto, Sep 23, 2014.

  1. AlessandroSarto macrumors newbie

    Sep 23, 2014
    I decided to write an open letter for Tim Cook to explain what happened with my Thunderbolt Cinema Display.

    My quick advice is to visit Apple Support Community, read all the threads of people with a broken panel with Thunderbolt Cinema Display and "think different"..


    Dear Tim,

    I loved Apple since I was a child: here in Italy nobody had a computer in 1990.

    My father decided to buy an Apple, an incredible Macintosh Classic made in USA.

    I was 7 and I still remember the day I opened that box, everything changed: my work, my future, my life.
    Today my father is gone and I still keep that Mac with me as a piece of him.


    I always had an Apple: from my first color Macintosh LC III to my Mac Book Pro Retina.

    I was happy with Mac Book Pro until the last one.

    When I bought my MacBook Pro Retina I was unlucky, monitor suffered the "ghosting problem”.
    Andrei (that read us in copy) was really kind and helped me solving the problem.
    They changed the panel after very long phone calls, emails and after some Apple Genius called that problem “a feature”.
    I still can’t understand how a risk for my job can be considered “a feature” but I was happy with Apple repair policy.

    The 26th of September 2011 I decided to go for an Apple Thunderbolt Display.

    My Thunderbolt display worked fine for 1 year and 10 months, then it started to blink.
    I live 200 km far from an Apple Store so I (stupidly) decided to continue working with it.
    After 1 years the monitor just broke and I was forced to bring it to an Apple Store in Rome.

    The problem was the panel and they asked me to pay almost 700 euro.
    I was really surprised: a brand new hi-tech monitor panel broke 10 months after warranty and my Macintosh Classic was still perfectly working after 25 years.

    The Genius from Apple Store told me it was “unconvenient" for me to repair because with 700 euro I’d take back a 90 days warranty product and with few hundreds of euro over I could buy a new one.

    So I called Apple Care and I spoke with Marina Nisi (also her is in copy).
    I tried explaining her my history but after few days she just wrote me back:

    Salve Alessandro,Non sono stata in ufficio.

    Non è stato possibile far passare in garanzia la riparazione del suo monitor Thunderbolt Alessandro.
    Non è in mio potere.
    Cordiali Saluti

    Hello, Alessandro, I wasn’t in office. It was not possible to repair your monitor under warranty. It’s not in my power. Best regards.

    I understand Apple’s answer but how I can buy again unreliable products that can only damage my activity?
    I have only one decision to take: choose other products.

    Apple and its products are the tools I use to work, the instruments I use teaching, I use studying but I can’t continue wasting money with “top quality products” that broke few months after warranty expires.

    best regards,

  2. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    I am sad for your situation. I'll just say that when anyone buys any product, they should check the warranty and also extended warranty options.

    As for the Thunderbolt display, I would never buy it as there are far better monitors out there that cost less. Though they do not have Thunderbolt, it really isn't necessary for connectivity.

    For me to spend that much for a monitor, I would opt for at least a 2 year warranty or possibly purchase an extended warranty. In the meanwhile, my NEC PA 24" monitor is going strong after several years with no issues. Similar can be said of friends of mine with other makes such as the Dell Ultrasharp and other brands.

    I suggest you do* select a monitor from another maker and also consider spending the difference of cost on extended warranty. As a rule, I always get some sort of 2-4 year warranty (whether its an additional cost or not) for items costing over a certain amount of money which I cannot easily replace due to cost out of pocket.
  3. yukyuklee macrumors 6502


    Jan 4, 2011
    Boston, MA
    After reading all this I am having second thoughts about purchasing an Apple display... I am going to assume Tim Cook isn't going to read that email though
  4. gochi macrumors 6502

    Mar 31, 2011
  5. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    Doesn't the EU have regulations about warranty length? It's hard to imagine that an Italian Apple representative wouldn't know that, so maybe it's not so.

    But I keep reading about how the EU consumers get better warranties than whe US customers do, because of EU regulations.
  6. MacVibe macrumors regular

    Dec 21, 2009
    The Korean monitors now are less than $400. I have one adjacent to an imac and it is just as nice to my eyes. It doesn't surprise me your mac classic is still going strong but I don't think that has anything to do with the thunderbolt display; I recommend saving your money and getting a Korean monitor.
  7. jeremysteele macrumors 6502

    Jul 13, 2011
    So... for 22 months (1yr 10mo) it worked fine, started blinking, then after another year (34 months total, nearly 3 years) it broke completely? Or am I misreading it?

    If you didn't have AppleCare and your country doesn't force Apple to extend their manufacturers warranty that long - I have no idea how you can blame them and be upset with them for not wanting to fix it for free. Electronics break all the time...
  8. weckart macrumors 601

    Nov 7, 2004
    No regulations on warranty. That is the discretion of the manufacturer and always has been unless individual countries have some weird law on manufacturer's warranties with consumers.

    Italy has a law on retailers' guarantees. Two years, if I am not mistaken. Should have made that trip or at least logged the issue with Apple. Other countries are more generous (six years in England & Wales, five in Scotland).
  9. AlessandroSarto thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 23, 2014
    You are right: I will move on other products. I'm thinking EIZO: I'm a graphic and motion graphic designer and I use monitor also for color correction.. Eizo is the best brand for professionals and offers 5 years warranty. For free.

    I suggest to stay away from this product. I had problems with all my thunderbolt devices... I think this technology isn't ready at 100%...
    Well.. I found Tim Cook email address and they says he's actually answering.. I will post his reply here (if he replies! :) )

    Yes you can. But only during the first 2 years.

    It's a mess:
    if you buy as a company you have 1 year of warranty (extendible with Apple Care).
    Private citizens in Italy have 2 years warranty for everything.
    But... If you buy your device in an Apple Store or from Apple online, you are fully covered for 2 years. If you buy your device elsewhere, Apple covers you only 1 year; the second year is covered by the reseller. If you buy an Apple Care you are fully covered for 3 years.

    You understood perfectly. Well.. I think Apple can take "special decision" with "special clients". Here in Europe we have to call Ireland department for special requests. I spoke with a 4th level over there and I explained my situation: only last year my Apple account spent almost 10.000 euro (12.000$) on Apple equipment..
    I know that for Apple is nothing if compared to the amount they do with stupid apps for iphone, but I think that disappointing professionals isn't a good way to do business.
    Since I can't trust Apple anymore I'm starting to move all my business on other products. That's it.
  10. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Well as you have had one issue with Apple in 25 years I would say you are cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    Your product is past the guarantee you can not expect them to fix it for free, you can ask and hope but have to acceopt that they have every right not to do it. You can still trust apple to live up to their guarantees that is what they have doen with you after all.

    If you like and enjoy using apple products and tehy have worked for you for so long I can't see why one hiccup on a display out of warranty would cause you to move away from apple products.

    I think you are going to be very unhappy when you get bad service and poor products from the likes of HP but hey sometimes people just have to learn the hard way.
  11. wordsworth macrumors regular

    Apr 7, 2011
    Might I suggest that you continue to correspond with Apple, and continue to point out in civil manner that any customer ought to reasonably and realistically expect a longer lifespan from the product (in this case, your monitor) than has proven to be the case with you.

    The monitor in your possession must surely be considered a failure due to its short lifespan. That's not good for Apple's reputation, and it's not really acceptable for what is a premium product.

    It is my belief that the majority of Apple products do indeed serve out a full and appropriate lifespan of usage (when treated with respect and care). I have a variety of older Apple products, all of which can be considered functional long beyond my original expectations of them, and my own perception is that an Apple product will indeed generally last for a considerable number of years. It's one of the reasons I have such respect for the company and its products.

    Be persistent until you connect with the right Apple employee who also thinks like this, and who realises that it's not quite as simple as merely the small print on some documentation or national consumer laws (which can vary from country to country).

    My own experience of Apple when I did have a problem, some years ago, was as good as it gets. It must have cost the company several hundred pounds in site visits by a third-party engineer for what ultimately resulted in a replacement motherboard, but the service was excellent.

    Good customer service depends on the nature of the employee. Some are more helpful and better at representing both Apple and the customer than others.

    Good luck.
  12. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    So no one is to buy a display because if your one problem and your dramatic "open letter"?

    Stuff breaks, that's why I buy Apple Care even though I've never had to use it. My monitors are going strong after 4 years of very heavy use.

    And even older monitor is still going after 6 years of heavy use.
  13. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    I'm a bit of a @$$ when it comes to these sorts of things, so understand that before reading my comments...

    Most sites will tell you that buying extended warranties (i.e. Applecare) does not pay for itself. Example: Over the last 5 years, I have had 3 Macbook Pros, 2 Airs, 2 Minis, and 1 iMac. I have not had a problem with any of them. If I had bought Applecare on them I would have spent something like almost $1500. That would cover the cost of any of them with the exception of 2011 Macbook Pro 15" with most of the bells and whistles.

    However, IF you can not afford to replace a device out of your pocket, then extended warranties are for you.

    It's the same as buying a car. If you can only afford the monthly payment, then you should probably buy the warranty (especially if buying used). If you have plenty of money in savings, then save yourself the $1500 + interest (since it will probably be rolled into your loan) to protect yourself when things inevitably go south.
  14. dollystereo macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2004
    You are covered by EU regulation on warranties. A product should last what it's supposed to last.
    Don't give up on that.
    A monitor like that should at least last 5 years, if not, it's a defective monitor and should repair it for free.
  15. Rusto macrumors newbie

    Feb 9, 2009
    Don't throw the baby out with the bath water :)
    Apple isn't the only repair service in Italy, I assume. I bet if you went to a one-person repair shop, you could get it repaired for much less than 700 Euros. Often there is only one or two damaged components. They will charge you to look at it, but it's worth the gamble if it turns out to be a minor repair.
    I always start with, "I can't afford to spend a lot of money on this…"
    You could also look for a electronics repair school. You might be able to get it fixed for the cost of the parts alone!
    Good luck!
  16. TheWelshBoyo macrumors 6502

    Dec 14, 2008
    Cardiff, Wales
    Agreed. I would try arguing with them that 3 years is NOT a suitable lifespan for an Apple Thunderbolt Display, given the price, build quality etc.
    All these factors influence the expected lifespan of the device. 3 years is far from acceptable.
  17. anubis macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2003
    This doesn't help OP, but as a general minder for everyone else: credit cards often extend the warranty of items you buy by a year or more for free when you use the card to buy the item. I bought a set of studio monitor speakers on my American Express card and they both died after owning them for around 20 months. AMEX promptly refunded my money after I filed a claim.
  18. uniforms macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2008
    South Orange NJ
    OP, I am sorry to hear of your problem with your display. I have the 24 inch version which I have used for years and it's still working! I also got the 27 thunderbold ACD. I have had a problem with the cables needing to be replaced which cost a few hundered dollars. It was about 3 years of use before that happened. When you have issues started with your monitor I do feel you should have contacted Apple then. Waiting for something to fix itself in a year of use would not make things better. I feel you dropped the ball on this one. I think going to other products won't give you a better user expernicne. Infact I think much worse. I too have been using Apple products since an SE30. Todays Apple is far superior with not only fixing what goes wrong, but their whole aspect of customer service and care. My Sony flat panel TV died after 6 years of use. I tried to get it repaired and they no longer make the parts. Only 6 years of a 2000 dollar tv?????? Yet I chose to buy another sony because I like their picture quality best. And I have to say, Sony's support was no where near that of Apple. I can understand your being upset, but take a breath and think....after all these years of Apple products, this one is a problem. Buy Apple care, but remember that will only last 3 years. Best of luck to you.
  19. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008

    That's what I got out of this. If the litmus test for buying devices was zero failures by any forum member in the last 25 years, we wouldn't be buying anything.

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