Edit: Resolved - Apple Warranty Horror - Loophole Policies

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by badgerpoison, Jan 19, 2008.

  1. badgerpoison macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    #1
    Edit - This was resolved by Apple.

    Last June I bought a Santa Rosa MacBook Pro. I love it. About three months later I dented the corner of my MBP when I dropped the case carrying it. It was the corner closest to the hard drive. I powered on the machine, and experienced no problems for the next three months.

    Last week on January 11, my screen stayed blank even after turning on the computer. I tried turning the machine on and off a couple times, and trying some types I found online, and eventually the computer powered up. When it loaded, I realized the wireless connection was not working no matter which router I pointed it to. So I restarted the computer hoping that everything would work the second time, and no luck. No matter what I did, the screen would remain blank. After the computer was on for a while (screen still blank) the volume up/down keys worked and Num/Caps locks toggled.

    I took my computer to the genius bar the next day. The man assisting me tried a bunch of different methods of repairing and diagnosing the problem with no luck. He told me it would need to be send in to Apple for repairs. He suspected the logic board but said he couldn’t be certain. He warned that Apple does not cover accidental damage, but the dent in the corner most likely wasn’t responsible for the symptoms my computer was showing.

    Last Wednesday I got a call from Apple stating that my repairs could not be completed without authorization to replace my case and hard drive for a cost of $975. What??? I asked them if they could fix the display and wireless problems without fixing the case or hard drive. The women told me that Apple has an all or nothing policy with fixing computers. If they do not fix the computer to a state where it passes 100% of the diagnostics, then they will repair nothing. This is not stated in the Warranty; I read it multiple times. I told her I would not pay $975 for repairs I do not want and that I am capable of doing myself, and she said Apple will send my laptop back.

    I then called Apple Customer Relations. The man on the phone confirmed that Apple has an internal policy of not what he called “partial repairs,” even under warranty. I asked him if Apple would fix my display and wireless problems if I replaced the hard drive and sent the computer back in. He said no because the hard drive needs to be replaced by Apple or an Authorized repair center to retain its Warranty. This policy is not stated on the Warranty. The warranty states that damages caused by the service would not be covered; it makes no mention that the service voids the entire warranty. He confirmed that despite the wording on the warranty, Apple could void everything because they can’t determine that the damage was not caused by the service. I am now scared to replace the hard drive myself out of fear that Apple will illegally use that as another excuse not to fix defects otherwise covered by the warranty. It is bad illegal for a company to demand that I pay them or one of their affiliated repair centers for over priced work so that in exchange they fulfill their contractual obligations to fix my defective computer.

    Friday (yesterday) I got my laptop back, only to be even more frustrated. I was expecting to find a document explaining how the technicians determined that the hard drive damage was caused by the dent in the same corner, but nothing like that existed. I was also surprised when I fired my computer up one last time and noticed that the hard drive was making a sound that it never made before. It was at that point that I realized my hard drive failure was likely not even caused by the dent in the same corner. I called apple back and spoke to a technician. The technician confirmed my suspicions. He was able to pull up images of my computer. He admitted the dent did not look too bad. However, he said that because the dent is in the same corner as the hard drive, it might have caused the hard drive to eventually fail, three months later. He said that if the dent were on the opposite corner, Apple would reevaluate. I asked him how Apple determined that the disk failure was caused by the dent and he said they couldn’t make that determination. He explained that Apple would need to open up the hard drive to make that determination and they were not prepared to do that. I asked if the hard drive showed signs of punctures or anything on the outside, he did not know because no one bothered to take those pictures.

    What is going on here? What happened to Apple and customer service?

    I am about to run out to the closest Apple repair center, Microcenter in Chicago for a quote. I am afraid that performing the hard drive replacement myself will ultimately turn my $975 bill into a better off junking the $2000, 6 month old laptop bill. Does anyone have any suggestions for me?

    Thanks for reading my rant.
     
  2. je1ani macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    #2
    Man up and go in there and do it yourself. It's not too bad :D It really sucks how there huge companies find loopholes to get away with not helping you out.. I would be pissed off as hell...
     
  3. angrynrdrckr macrumors newbie

    angrynrdrckr

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2008
    Location:
    ny
    #3


    i had the same exact problem-- dent on the corner from a drop, problems afterwards, broken logic board. after having already put $725 into fixing it with a similar problem (won't boot, very slow, etc.) in august, i decided not to spend another $1200 on the already-outdated powerbook. i'm getting an imac now, and i'm getting apple care, which i didn't have. all i can say is don't drop your computer and don't expect apple to fix anything if you do. hopefully having a desktop will eliminate that problem for me... good luck
     
  4. badgerpoison thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 18, 2008
    #4
    Thats what I want to do. However, Apple Customer Relations threatened that my warranty would be voided if I replaced the hard drive myself. I need my warranty to fix the display and wireless isues not related to the hard drive. I am not able to fix the wireless or display myself. I can not risk losing my warranty on my clearly defective computer.

    Good news is MicroCenter is investigating my hard drive damages for free and assesing if the hard drive can be replaced without replacing the entire case. Microcenter charges $60 for hard drive replacements on MBP (its $40 for most other computers). Its expensive, but not as expensive as fixing the MBP wireless and display.
     
  5. badgerpoison thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    I'm surprised you decided to go with AppleCare after your trouble with Apple service. Today I was thinking how glad I am that I did not pay for AppleCare.

    If only my Warranty had already expired because my Credit Card company (Mastercard) takes over the Warranty after the manufacturer's ends. My experience with Mastercard customer relations has been nothing short of excellent.
     
  6. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #6
  7. Hmac macrumors 68020

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    Midwest USA
    #7
    I guess I don't understand the problem. You dropped your MBP hard enough to dent the aluminum case. The hard drive fails. Apple won't fix it on warranty. Sounds like the terms of the warranty are being fulfilled to the letter. As to partial repairs, NO mfgr will do a partial repair. Nor should they IMHO.
     
  8. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #8
    I agree that they should do partial repairs if the part you want to repair yourself is user-replaceable. However -

    Considering that the MBP's HD is NOT user-replaceable, I don't see why you are upset about them not allowing you to void your warrantee. They don't know that you wont completely ruin the inside of you MBP trying to replace the HD.

    I'm surprised that they know you dropped it and are still willing to fix any problems with it. Most companies will void the warrantee right then and there.
     
  9. badgerpoison thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 18, 2008
    #9
    Let me clarify:

    1) I never asked Apple to fix my hard drive as I never realized it was broken.

    2) I never asked Apple to fix my aluminum case. The dent is minor and does not bother me.

    3) I asked Apple to fix my wireless and display. There was no disupute; these issues are covered under warrantee because they are not related to damages cause by accident. Apple refused to fix them because I would not pay them to replace my hard drive and case.

    Do you have proof of this?

    Regardless, this is not specified in the Apple Warranty. I was on the phone with an Apple technician who was surprised when he read through the warranty with me on the phone.

    From the warranty, "This warranty does not apply:" ... "(b) to damage caused by service (including upgrades and expansions) performed by anyone who is not an Apple Authorized Service Provider;".

    If I upgrade the hard drive and I do not break anything while doing so, according to the warantee, my computer is still covered. The apple customer relations representative stated that Apple will see my new HD does not have an Apple serial and that an Apple authorized repair center did not replace it; and use that as proof that they are not liable for any problems with the computer.

    The apple notebook is the first one I've owned that does not allow the user to replace the hard drive. I have owned HP and Dell notebooks with faulty hard drives. Dell and HP sent me new hard drives, let me replace them myself, and allowed me to send the defective drive back. No questions asked.

    Gkarris, I am in neither location. I actually own a Mac and live nowhere near Redmond. I'm a consumer who thought Apple meant quality products and service. I believe Apple still has quality products, but I'm not so sure about service.
     
  10. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    Texas
    #10

    You quoted it yourself, but are misunderstanding it. The warranty does not apply means they will not fix ANYTHING that is damaged by someone who is NOT an authorized service provider, including upgrades and expansions.

    That is basic English.
     
  11. badgerpoison thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 18, 2008
    #11
    Robert, we are agreeing on the meaning of the warranty.

    I was not very clear on what Apple told me over the phone; which is different than what you and I understand about the warranty. On the phone, the representative warned me that Apple has the ability to determine that the entire warranty is voided, even for defective parts. Defective parts that are covered by the warranty. They can make the judgement that the hard drive repair broke the wireless and display even though the wireless and display are currently broken (pre-hard drive repair). This is a dishonest business practice.

    Do not get me wrong. I do not think Apple is intenionally trying to screw me over. I realize it is a complex organization. I think they just have some policies that they need to change so that they can meet their contractual warranty obligations. Unfortunatley for me, I am getting the bad end of the deal. I called customer relations at apple thinking that it would be my representative in remedying the situation, but it is not.
     
  12. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    Texas
    #12
    Only if it is done by someone that is not a qualified service rep, since the MBP's drive is not defined as user-replaceable. (Even though it is to anyone confident enough to try.)

    As far as everything else, I too think we are on the same page. My apologies, I thought you were misreading that portion of the warranty.
     
  13. MacCurry macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2006
    #13
    This is most interesting. Companies like Dell offer accidental damage & repair in addition to the extended warranty. Most people don't use it, so its gravy for them.

    Perhaps Apple should offer something of the sort for their notebooks.
     
  14. macgruder macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #14
    Now normally I couldn't care a **** about spelling in a forum but when the thread is about the warranty, seeing the word 'warrantee' everywhere was driving me to distraction. Like this:
    Perhaps it's where guarantee and warranty meet which would be a cool new word.
    :)

    I do agree though with the original poster's sentiment. Seems unfair to me.
     
  15. badgerpoison thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 18, 2008
    #15
    Thanks for pointing it out, corrected. Did not notice my misspelling. It turns out that warrantee is a word, just not the right one. All of us on MacForums with Mac computers are warrantees.
     
  16. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #16
    I knew it didn't look right, but didn't want to put up the effort to find the correct spelling.
     
  17. arj8138 macrumors member

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    Dec 21, 2007
    Location:
    Pennsylvania, United States
    #17
    IDK if were still fuzzy on this fact but I have a good friend thats Apple Certified to fixt stuff and he told me that ANYTHING short of RAM upgrades that I do on my PowerBook voice the warranty for the computer. Its one of those they put a piece of tape or something over the case so if it gets broken they know that you were in there and they dont have to fix anything.


    As you can see with iPod/iPhone/MBA batteries, Apple rather do everything themselves so that they KNOW it was done right.

    Which is fine withe me.
     
  18. pkoch1 macrumors 6502a

    pkoch1

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    Location:
    Boston
    #18
    You probably had a tier 3 repair. Apple uses tiers to determine how much to fix on your computer. Tier 1 is pretty cheap, tier 4 is for broken lcds, water damage, etc. It is the highest possible that they will actually do repairs. They will (and have to) fix anything and everything on the computer that is malfunctioning. Therefore they charge $1250 or so. The location of the dent probably put it in tier 3 (around $950).

    That said, the AppleCare policy used to say (and might still say) that any physical damage to the bottom case or top case would void the entire warranty, but it is now becoming common practice among Apple Stores and authorized repair centers to honor the warranty if the damage is not in the same place as the malfunctioning part. The main point is that it is becoming common practice. This does not mean that they have to do repairs on dented computers if the dent is not near the problem. If I'm not mistaken, I believe that they can refuse service to your Super Drive if your magsafe connection is all busted up.

    I just wanted to throw some knowledge out there. I know I didn't make any specific points, but hopefully this post clarifies some of Apple's policies.

    EDIT: and it is also correct that if you do a hard drive repair yourself, you run the giant risk of voiding your warranty. If the service technician notices a stripped screws, a bent bottom case, or anything else that shows that the top case wasn't taken off fairly flawlessly, they can deduce that there was a repair done that might have broken something, or caused something to break. I've seen it happen.
     
  19. cantthinkofone macrumors 65816

    cantthinkofone

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    Location:
    Missouri, USA
    #19
    The hard drive will come out with 4 screws. Do it your self. its easy. You can probably find a logic board on ebay for ~$350. thats 66% off what apple would charge you.

    Coming here and writing a novel over how apple's customer service sucks is just stupid. I see how you joined this month, and all your posts are from this thread. There are hundreds more like this. All the same story, all posted by people who have been here for less than a month. All negative stories about apple's customer service, or computers.

    Do you have any pictures of the laptop?

    Look at ANY customer service rating and apple ranks the highest in satisfaction, and turn around time.

    Point is, it was user error that hurt the computer. If the HDD failed, or the logic board just went to hell and you had apple care on it, then it would be under warranty.

    Its like your asking the car dealer to replace the rear bumper on your car for free because you backed into a post.

    Tuff luck man. I dropped a remote on my laptop and busted the screen. Already know apple is going to charge in about what the laptop is worth to fix it.
     
  20. Plutor macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    #20
    Wow, great post here.

    I'm a potential future 1st-time Mac user as I'm strongly considering the next MBP update to be my desktop replacement computer.

    I've been on the fence as to whether or not I want to pay $350+ for Applecare, and this topic has pretty much given me my decision. If this horror story can happen to customers, regardless of having Applecare, then I may as well not get it.

    Thanks for the headsup, and I hope you get your problem solved somehow!

    Edit: I've been using Dell for about 10 years, and I have to admit their service level has always been top notch. My computer was once fried when lightning hit the powerlines outside my house while I was using the PC. They sent a replacement immediately, no questions asked.
     
  21. cantthinkofone macrumors 65816

    cantthinkofone

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    #21
    You don't have to buy apple care straight off. You have the option of buying it once the original warranty expires.

    i hate trolls.
     
  22. samh004 macrumors 68020

    samh004

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2004
    Location:
    Australia
    #22
    I have had issues with AppleCare before too, though I've always been stubborn with them and made sure they repaired what was broken. My PB had tons of dings and other things wrong with it and they never bothered with saying I needed to replace the case, however I got my repairs done in Asia where service is everything and if you screw up you get in trouble, haha.

    Anyway, maybe this is a bit late now, but I'd recommend sending your original post, edited slightly, to Steve Jobs. Can't remember his exact e-mail, emphasise what happened and you might get lucky... especially if you say you don't even want your case fixed or the HDD, it's something else entirely. He has been known to clear up situations that went bad.

    Don't mention extortion or anything like that though.
     
  23. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #23
    Although he may decide that it was caused by the drop and void the warranty.
     
  24. badgerpoison thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 18, 2008
    #24
    Thanks for the advice. I may go that route after my local Microcenter finishes its assessment.

    I have also edited my post to tone it down a little. I am here for advice and to share my experience, not to start a fire.
     
  25. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #25
    "Warrantee" is already a cool old word. It's the recipient of a warranty (or a warrant). So the OP doesn't have a warrantee. He is a warrantee.
     

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