How does Applecare's quality assurance process work, anyway?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by david06, Jul 11, 2006.

  1. david06 macrumors member

    Jun 19, 2006
    I have a W8609 15" MBP. When I got it, I immediately noticed the whine, and researched it and found out that it was the well-known CPU power management issue. QuietMBP kept it at bay most of the time and I figured I'd wait a few months since the issue would probably have a fix eventually. A few weeks ago, I started seeing blog/forum posts about a new logic board revision so I figured I'd try to get the whine taken care of.

    I call Apple and go through the troubleshooting process. I know there are two known noise problems - the display inverter and CPU power management whine. I described the issue by saying "I have a loud-pitched whine that does not change when the display brightness is changed. It will sometimes go away if the processor is being used enough." I tried to give the specific symptoms that differentiate the CPU whine issue so the rep would realize that was the problem.

    He then kept me on the phone for about a half hour going in circles between asking me where the noise was coming from, to which my only reply could be "I can't really tell. Maybe my hearing's bad or something, but it doesn't seem to be all that localized" and having me listen to noise samples over the phone that sounded the same. In any case I eventually said "I know you're trying to help, but I've really told you as much as I can figure out from the system. It's probably my fault that I can't be more descriptive, but in any case, can you just set up a repair dispatch."

    When I got the machine back, the inverter assembly was replaced. Obviously the noise was the same. I called back the same day I got the "repaired" computer. I escalated as fast as possible to a "product specialist" this time. When the guy wanted to start the troubleshooting script I said "can I briefly describe the problem to you." I then said that I have the CPU whine issue which is apparently a known problem. It is not the display problem. CPU utilization changes the whine. I will go through any troubleshooting you want me to since I know it's probably procedure, but the reason I am calling is that I want the logic board replaced with the latest revision." It was obvious at this point that this was not a level 1 tech because he became very cooperative and said that it would be no problem, and he would not be putting down on the ticket "fix the whine" but rather a more direct "replace the logic board." He said that if the tech cared about his job he would simply do it. He asked if there were any other issues I wanted noted on the ticket, and I said that the case seemed not to be put together properly after the last repair and was not even. He put that down too. This "product specialist" was by far the most helpful Apple person I have ever spoken with.

    When I got the computer back from the 2nd repair I was happy to see a new set of discs and the "new version main logic board" letter. The whine was completely gone. However, the 2nd issue, the "not putting the serviced computer back together correctly" problem was not fixed despite a replaced top case. This is freshly returned from Applecare:

    Notice the unevenness - how the right side's gap between the screen/case is much bigger? It's more obvious in person but this photo should kind of show what I mean:


    Furthermore, there are places where there is a visible gap between the top and bottom case that can be closed by pressing down on it. It will immediately spring back up. This was not an issue when the machine was new.

    I suspect if I took the machine apart myself and put it back together these problems would go away but still, I have to wonder: how does Applecare work? While I'm sure Apple has spent quite a bit of money to try to find the most efficient and effective procedures for repairs, common sense would state that there's 3 big parts to fixing something: positively identifying the problem - looking at the reported issue and seeing it for yourself to make sure the customer/phone rep's diagnosis was correct, actually fixing it, and testing to make sure the issue is fixed.

    From the first repair's failure to change the whine at all and not fixing the case issues at all, it seems that at least some techs in some cases skip #1 and #3 completely. They look at what the ticket says - "whine" or "case not closed properly" and stick in a new part such as a display inverter or top case, without really checking whether those parts have fixed the issue.

    Anyone else have problems with Apple's repairs? What should I do about the uneven case problem - live with it, call Apple again, or drive an hour to the closest Apple store to try and get it repaired through them?
  2. generik macrumors 601


    Aug 5, 2005
    It doesn't sound like a serious problem (the top panel alignment) to me, I think a quick visit to the local AppleCentre should get that fixed up in an hour or so.

    With regards to how Applecare works, well I honestly have no idea myself. Recently I had a chance to send my Mac to a local service centre, and while the staff there are generally quite friendly, that place (as in the decor, if there is any) looks just like a hideout for drug addicts.

    Seriously, that looks worst than a ghetto, and the big irony? The Applecentre downstairs is really nicely furnished.

    I suspect the repairers may actually be independent tradesmen who work jobs for Apple on a job by job basis, and hence quality might have suffered somewhat.
  3. brikeh macrumors 6502a


    Jan 24, 2006
    How does Applecare's quality assurance process work, anyway?

    It doesnt :rolleyes:
  4. AlBDamned macrumors 68030


    Mar 14, 2005
    You'll laugh at this report...

    To the OP. It's great that the whine was fixed. This case alignment looks bad though, especially if it wasn't there or as bad before it went in. However, a lot of the Mac aluminium notebooks have the front gap unfortunately - it's a flaw in the design, so you may not get a great response on that part.

    Any other gaps are not the norm, however.
  5. apunkrockmonk macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2005
    Rochester, NY
    I've never had my MBP repaired and I've never taken it apart and I have the gap as well.
  6. wako macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2005
    I am happy to see that you were able to get your problem taken care of (atleast the whine anyways). I am in a similar battle to get my MacBook's Moo out of its system and is currently going through all the steps. As of right now the product specialist is forwarding my computer data and problem to a engineer and see if they can do anything about it. Ironically with my problem though the guy seems to know of the issue but tries to play it as if he never heard of it.

    One suggestion I do have for you about the case is to call back AppleCare as soon as possible and quickly report it. If you report it later on, Apple may just write it off as a cosmetic issue. If you report it as soon as possible you can make it sound like they damaged your system or something placing the blame on them forcing them to fix it for you. Good luck

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