How many Apple techs does it take to fix a MacBook?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by dougnewman, Oct 30, 2008.

  1. dougnewman macrumors 6502

    Aug 9, 2006
    Long Island, NY, USA
    I am at my wits' end.

    A while ago I noticed a display brightness problem with my MacBook (slight fluctuations in the brightness). Soon after, I noticed a crack near the front edge of the top case on the right side, a well-known issue I'd already had repaired once before. I brought my MacBook, which is covered by AppleCare, to my local Apple Store (Smith Haven in Lake Grove, NY) on Saturday 18 October in hope of having these issues repaired. I did not expect to still be dealing with them nearly two weeks later.

    At the Apple Store, the Genius (Apple jargon for in-store tech) noticed that in addition to the issues I identified, the display hinge felt loose. Along with the display brightness issue (which he speculated was caused by a bad logic board or inverter board) and the crack in the top case, he noted on the work authorization that the display hinge needed to be replaced.

    On Wednesday 22 October, I received the MacBook by FedEx from Apple's outsourced repair center, Flextronics International in Memphis, TN. The display brightness issue had been fixed and the display hinge replaced, but incredibly, the top case was not replaced, even though the crack was very obvious and above all, the work authorization clearly stated that it should be replaced. Furthermore, small cracks had now appeared where the rear display bezel meets the display hinge and at the rear edge of the lower case near the exhaust vent, caused by the display hinge replacement. On the other hand, my SuperDrive - which I had no idea was faulty - was also replaced.

    I was busy over the next few days and therefore unable to take the MacBook back to the Apple Store until Saturday 25 October. I showed the Genius (not the one I spoke to the first time) the top case crack that had not been fixed, as well as the new cracks that had been caused when the display hinge was replaced. He noted on the work authorization that the top case, the lower case and the rear display bezel should all be replaced because of cracks. Once again, my MacBook was sent off to the repair depot.

    On Tuesday 28 October, I checked Apple's repair status web site and it indicated that my MacBook had arrived at the depot but that the status was "on hold" because more information was required, and that I should call AppleCare to provide this information. I called AppleCare and, after ample opportunity to confirm my suspicion that Apple has the world's worst hold music, was informed that the repair had been on hold earlier that morning, but whatever issue had caused it to be on hold had been resolved and that the repair was now underway.

    In the evening I again checked the repair status web site and found that despite the assurances I was given, the status remained "on hold - more information needed - call AppleCare". With my confidence in Apple's service rapidly waning, I thought that perhaps the earlier assurances I was given were in error, so I again called AppleCare and was again told the repair was indeed being carried out, and that the status on the web site did not match that on the representative's computer, which would be more accurate. She speculated that perhaps the repair might be on hold pending the arrival of a part, but that no more information was required from me.

    On Wednesday 29 October I was delighted to find the status changed to "product return pending" and then, in the evening, to see that it had shipped and was scheduled to arrive this morning (Thursday 30 October).

    The MacBook did indeed arrive this morning, but to my dismay it has not been completely fixed. As expected, the top case and bottom case have been replaced, however, the rear display bezel, which had a small crack near the hinge caused by the replacement of the hinge during the previous depot repair, was not replaced. In addition, Apple once again seems to have discovered heretofore-unnoticed parts requiring replacement; in addition to the top and bottom case, an MPM mount, front and rear hard drive snubbers and a Sunon fan with cable were all replaced.

    Naturally, I am quite exasperated but will be returning to the Apple Store later today. I feel like I deserve some kind of compensation for their incredible incompetence - it is not that difficult to read a work authorization and do what it says! - considering how much of my time it is beginning to take up.
  2. Mindflux macrumors 68000


    Oct 20, 2007
    3rd times a charm. Send it back for repair. If not done to satisfaction AppleCare *SHOULD* just replace the notebook all together.

    Blessing in disguise, I say.
  3. kamm macrumors regular


    Feb 26, 2008
    FYI: I'm going back to the store the 4th time today: it's only about replacing a dead HDD properly in my MB. First they didn't replace right on the spot, I had to turn it in for days. Second time I picked up and it was working fine (though had to ask them AGAIN to fix the bending I asked for as well) but it was a lot smaller than the original size... third time they promised to replace right there so I can install OS X myself home but went there and they just ran out of HDD (in a NYC store!!!). Now it's going to be the 4th time...

    ...ridiculous, that is.
  4. dougnewman thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 9, 2006
    Long Island, NY, USA
    kamm - I'm sorry to hear about your experience.

    I've actually had really good experiences with in-store repairs. Too bad the depot service has been awful so for.

    Right now I'm sitting in the Apple Store waiting for my appointment. I was playing with a 17" MBP and I love that display...

    Is this bad, I'm here to complain about Apple's poor service and thinking about what I want to give them more money for? ;)
  5. dougnewman thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 9, 2006
    Long Island, NY, USA
    On Thursday 30 October I visited the Apple Store yet again with my still-sick MacBook. The Genius (the same one who had handled my first repair) was very sympathetic (and, he claimed, surprised) but said he had no choice to send my MacBook back to the depot. He made a note in the work authorization that this was its third trip and that the current issue should have been repaired last time.

    As I visited the Apple Store in the late afternoon (my appointment was at 4:20 PM), it was sent to the depot on Friday 31 October.

    On Monday 3 November, Apple's repair status web site again indicated that my repair was on hold and that I should call AppleCare for more information. This time the rep said that there was indeed a hold, but that it was probably because the problem wasn't clearly indicated enough on the work authorization. (Why she should be able to figure out what the problem was without asking me but she thought the repair depot wouldn't be able to is beyond me.) She re-stated the problem and removed the hold on the repair.

    For most of Tuesday 4 November the status remained "on hold" on the Apple web site. I called AppleCare again and was assured the repair was no longer on hold.

    The repair status updated with a FedEx tracking number late Tuesday night (I was watching election returns when I decided to check it).

    I wasn't able to sign for the package when it arrived on the morning of Wednesday 5 November so I received it today, Thursday 6 November, nearly four weeks I originally sent my MacBook in for repair.

    To my surprise, along with the usual Service Details document indicating the work done - in this case, a replaced display housing sub-assembly (finally) and heat sink - was a letter informing me that:

    "Of the issues reported concerning your Apple product, one or more were found to be within Apple's specifications for acceptable appearance, performance, usability and/or functionality. As a result, repair procedures were not performed for those symptoms. We have not assessed a charge for our diagnostic work.

    The reported symptom(s) found to be within Apple's specifications:

    Our analysis has determined that although your battery no longer has the capacity to function at a level necessary for the optimum operation of your unit, it is not defective....

    Apple's one-year limited warranty or an applicable AppleCare extended service agreement only covers batteries that are defective and does not cover batteries whose capacity to function has depleted through normal use. Since your battery is not defective, replacing your battery will mean purchasing a new battery...."

    This was all news to me: I had reported nothing wrong with my battery. As far as I knew, it worked perfectly.

    I read all this before opening up the styrofoam packet containing my MacBook. When I did, I was shocked to find that my battery - at least I assume it's mine - was a filthy gray, and that an entire corner of the white plastic housing had been snapped off. I also noticed that the front display bezel had been bent in the process of replacing the rear one, which was cracked in the process of replacing the display hinge.

    It would be an understatement to say that I am very dissatisfied. This time, not only did Apple's service provider (as with the previous two repairs, Flextronics in Memphis, TN) break something (my battery), but it tried to claim that the problem had already existed, and that I'd reported it and tried to claim it as a warranty item. How stupid do these people think I am?

    Tomorrow - a day short of four weeks after I originally sent the MacBook out for service - I'm going to return to the Apple Store. At this point I want a replacement MacBook and a refund of my AppleCare (a lot of good it did me).

    To recap, here is what has been done to my MacBook so far:

    First repair: 21 October
    Problems reported: intermittent display flickering; loose display hinge; cracked top case
    Work carried out: replacement of inverter board (resolves display flickering issue), SuperDrive (unknown problem); display hinge replacement appears to have been replaced (resolves loose display hinge) but this was not noted in Service Details
    Unresolved problems: top case cracking
    New problems: crack at rear of bottom case and base of rear display bezel caused by apparent display hinge replacement

    Second repair: 28-29 October
    Problems reported: cracked top case (original problem unresolved by first repair); cracked bottom case and rear display bezel (problem caused by first repair)
    Work carried out: replacement of top case (resolves top case crack), lower case (resolves lower case crack), MPM mount, front and rear HDD snubbers, Sunon fan with cable (unknown problems)
    Unresolved problem: cracked rear display bezel

    Third repair: 3-4 November
    Problem reported: cracked rear display bezel (caused by first repair and not resolved in second repair)
    Work carried out: replacement of rear display bezel (resolves cracking problem), heat sink (unknown problem)
    New problems: cracked, no longer functioning battery; bent front display bezel
  6. juanster macrumors 68020


    Mar 2, 2007
    3---one to hold the screwdriver and the other two to twist the whole laptop around to get the case im just kidding sounds liek you've been gogin thru hell....hope sh** get s fixed soon
  7. dougnewman thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 9, 2006
    Long Island, NY, USA
    So, today, Friday 8 November, I went back to the Apple Store. As I had no intention of getting any more technical support, this time I went in without an appointment and rather than going to the Genius Bar I asked to speak to the manager.

    I told her my story and showed her all the paperwork and the current condition of the MacBook. She went and spoke to the Genius who handled the first and third repairs, and they offered me a new MacBook (aluminum 2.0GHz model, which is the same price now as my old one was when I bought it last year).

    I am quite satisfied. I wish Apple's repair service wasn't so pathetically awful, but at least after botching things so badly they came through.

    They said I should call AppleCare who would give me a pro-rated refund on my warranty, which I'll do tomorrow. Assuming that works out, I'll be very happy.
  8. ntrigue macrumors 68040


    Jul 30, 2007
    I was going to suggest that it was manager time. It's interesting because you are THE reason they went to unibody construction. Look at how much your experience has cost Apple in labor and then product.

    Glad it was resolved to your satisfaction :)
  9. cheeseadiddle macrumors regular

    Aug 29, 2007
    Yep, that's how it went for me too. The fourth time I walked in and told them of the problem, then added don't even bother fixing it. I want a new one. I walked out with a new MacBook an hour later.
  10. patrickmacrumor macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2008
    Doug: If I were you, I would call Apple and ask to speak to a product specialist right away. They are the ones who usually make the call if the product will be replaced or not. I had similar problem where they kept changing one part at a time without fixing the problem. I told them that this could not go on. I need to have a working computer not one that goes in for repairs all the time.

    Good Luck.
  11. dougnewman thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 9, 2006
    Long Island, NY, USA
    See post #7, I have already gotten a replacement. :)

    But thanks for the advice, good to know for future reference.
  12. patrickmacrumor macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2008
    Did not see that :) Good to hear that you got a replacement.

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