I have a dead pixel... Bought from Amazon.com

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by adamk77, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. adamk77 macrumors 6502

    Jan 6, 2008

    I bought a MacBook Pro from Amazon.com about a week ago. A few days ago, I noticed a single dead pixel on the LCD screen. After some research on the internet, it seems that Apple will not repair the unit because they consider up to around 3 dead or stuck pixels tolerable in a new LCD screen.

    At first, I tried to live with it because I did not want to go through the hassle. But the dead pixel continues to stare at me and mock me whenever I am working on my laptop. The dead pixel is near the center of the screen.

    So I am considering returning it for a replacement to Amazon.com. I have searched Amazon.com's return and exchange policy, but I have been getting some conflicting answers. Amazon.com's return policy states that there will be a 15% restocking fee on opened laptops. And that repairs for any defective items must be addressed directly with the manufacturer. However, I also emailed Amazon.com's customer service and told him that the screen is defective with a dead pixel and the representative emailed me saying that Amazon.com will replace any defective laptop without charging me the restocking or shipping fee.

    I would like some definite answers before I send the laptop back because I would like to avoid as much hassle as possible, and also because I do need the laptop for work. Has anyone had experience exchanging a laptop with Amazon.com? Specifically, would Amazon.com consider one dead pixel a defective item?

    Thank you kindly for any answers.
  2. PDE macrumors 68020

    Nov 16, 2005
    I exchanged so many MBPs with defective screens (no dead pixels though) that Amazon closed by account and banned me forever -- despite the fact that I had pictures to prove the defects and also had taken several of the comptuers to the genius bar and been told by geniuses that it would be better to return rather than repair given that they were brand new. Many people experience the same thing early this summer, as Amazon started banning people it felt they were not making money off. Rather than adjust their return policies, they kept them and instead will penalize those who they feel have crossed their internal threshold on what is acceptable. Google "mass closing of amazon accounts" to read more.

    Anyway: since you've told them what the problem is and they've said they will replace it, then I'm sure it will be fine. If you do it too many times, they may ban you in the future, but you should be fine once or twice. If it were me and the screen is otherwise of high quality, I'd think twice about getting it exchanged since you might get a new MBP with more problems than what you have now.
  3. adamk77 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 6, 2008
    Thanks PDE for your reply.

    I've been thinking it through for the past few days. I've been trying to live with it, but the pixel just won't leave me alone.

    The thing is, the screen was perfect when I first got it. I think the dead pixel developed in the past few days.

    What were the other screen defects that you've had? Are screen defects a common problem in MacBook Pros?

    I'd like to ignore it, but I think I'll just have to try it once. I've had this problem on my 52" Sony HDTV, and I lucked out on my 2nd unit. So perhaps...
  4. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    Amazon did that to me as well. It was stupid too, as every product I had ever returned either flat out didn't work when it arrived, or it suffered from a serious and well documented defect that I had pictures of. Examples: HD-DVD player that arrived mangled in shipping... HDTV with a dark line extending all the way across the screen right in the center (vertically)...

    I'm not sure how it's easier to get rid of customers than to hold product manufacturers and shipping companies feet to the fire.
  5. adamk77 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 6, 2008
    Well, it looks like I won't be getting a replacement.

    A new customer service representative just emailed me telling me to take my Macbook Pro to the Apple store and get it looked at to see if it really is defective and not a software glitch. And then to get the case number and send them the information, upon which they will decide whether it warrants a replacement.

    I really do not feel like driving all the way to the Apple store in traffic and waiting in line and all that glorious stuff, so it seems like I'll just have to befriend the dead pixel.

    It was worth a try though. I really wish Apple would provide a zero dead pixel tolerance. I understand that all LCDs may be prone to this, but they advertise the MacBook Pro as being far above other brands in quality, and also as a luxury brand of laptops.
  6. mrbrown macrumors 6502a

    Mar 27, 2004
    Ozark, Missouri
    Do what I did every time I had a problem with Amazon.com and the MacBooks/PowerBooks they sent me (previously, I've ordered two laptops from Amazon... the PowerBook never showed up, and it took 2 months for Amazon to issue me a refund, and the MacBook they sent me was used and broken!) - escalate the problem to the BBB. An executive from Amazon should contact you within a few days to resolve the problem.
  7. six.four macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2008
    I read about this a few months ago. The only people that were banned had exorbitant return percentages - if you were banned - you can ask amazon and they will tell you exactly why you were banned and how high your return rate was.

    Let's face it. The majority of the people who get banned will never admit to doing anything wrong - but from what I've read, people who were banned rightfully deserved it.

    Additionally, if you believed you were incorrectly banned, you had the right to appeal your ban and they would review your case. The people who were on the border of their return "threshold" were given a second chance - meaning those who appealed and STILL couldn't get their accounts reinstated must have had extremely high return rates.

    Amazon has an amazing return policy - for those who don't abuse it.

    You say you have "several" exchanges. I'd like to hear the exact number. I'd speculate that the number is pretty ridiculous.

    Well.. last time I checked, amazon WAS in the business of making money. Why would you care to keep customers that were putting you in the red and abusing your policies?

    It was a good move on their part to not change their policies: they avoided punishing those who weren't abusing the system. By removing their worst customers instead of changing their policies, they were able to preserve their friendly return policies. If they had changed their policies, then a very small minority of customers would have effectively hurt all the customers who weren't abusing their policies. A few bad apples didn't spoil the bunch here.


    This should not put off reasonable customers who have returns. I buy from amazon all the time and I have returned things once in a while without issue. The people who were banned were hitting excessive rates of returns and are an extremely small minority.
  8. adamk77 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 6, 2008
    Thank you for the suggestion, but this is exactly the kind of hassle I want to avoid. If they let me, I just wanted to do a clean exchange. But it looks like there will be too many steps involved.

    It's not like Amazon.com is in the wrong in my case.
  9. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    Posts like this just piss me off. I beat my head against the wall when my account was closed and Amazon didn't do squat, nor did they offer to repair my account case despite a lengthy e-mail correspondence back and forth.

    I had reviewed all of my order detail over many years and my returns were a tiny percentage. Of course I packaged all of this up for the Amazon folks at the time. The problem I had was at the end I ordered an HDTV that arrived with a serious manufacturing defect. I'm not talking dead pixel, I'm talking something you can photograph from 8-10'. They sent a replacement, which also had a huge defect. In both cases I went through the motions. I had Pioneer send a tech to look at the TV's. Their only solution was to replace the panel in both cases, so they recommended I exchange it with the vendor. I sent Amazon photos, e-mail correspondence with Pioneer, even links to a home theater forum where people were discussing the 2 defects and a Pioneer insider had posted that their engineers were aware of the issues.

    Never once did I ask for a refund. I only wanted a fully functioning product. I followed their process. I had the manufacturer check it out. I did everything they wanted by the book. In the end they closed my account because the $$ amount of the TVs weighed against the value of all my orders over time (mostly books, games, DVDs, and the occasional small electronics) exceeded a threshold they won't disclose.

    In the end I got my account closed and they stuck me with a defective TV that has a dark line all the way across the screen left to right (centered vertically). The line is about an inch or so high all the way. I still have the original shipping box with the stickers on it about Amazon's "easy returns" if I have a problem.

    The stupidest part was that when I called them about the second TV I told the lady I was uncomfortable with returning it because I had sent one back and didn't want to keep doing it. She's like "no way you should keep it with a problem". Of course before the replacement shipped they flagged the account and closed it.

    The person with which I corresponded after that basically said that receiving 2 defective TVs in a row is not probable. When I sent him the photographs, and testimony of the manufacturer's repair tech for both... He then admitted I was telling the truth but still refused to "spare" my account. Anyways sorry for the OT rant. I just get ticked off all over again when I read these posts. What good is an "appeal process" if they admit you aren't doing anything wrong, and still won't rule in your favor?

    Edit: I just reviewed some of the e-mails. My favorite statement: "We do understand that there will problems with a very small percentage of the items we ship out to customers. This means that any one customer might receive one or two items that are either defective or damaged throughout the lifetime of their account."

    If that is their expectation, then they should add that verbiage to their returns policy lingo. Someone that shops there for many years can easily need more than 1-2 returns.
  10. PDE macrumors 68020

    Nov 16, 2005

    bla bla bla. Amazon has a return policy that they actively promote. I didn't abuse anything, except protect myself from being stuck with expensive defective products. I also keep most products I buy from Amazon (at least 95% or more, including a lot of expensive photo equipment, cameras, lenses, hard drives, monitors etc),with one exception: the MBPs Apple was spewing out with awful displays that were not acceptable 'Pro' machines - awful backlight bleed, graininess, uneven illumination, yellowing, poor dithering incapable of showing gradients etc etc. I took pictures of all and documented many with Apple too when I had time to go to the store - I'm no abuser of return policies, but I won't be abused either. If they have a return policy and actively promote it, they should stand by it all the way. If they had examined my returns they could have charged me their restocking fee if they didn't agree with my or Apple's assessment. They didn't.

    Over the course of 18 months, I probably returned 8 to Amazon all in all - spread out 3-4 occasions because I was hoping that I'd get lucky with a worthy LCD. Amazon replaces once, and then they tell you that there is a manufacturing problem and recommend that you wait a few months before trying again. During that same period, I also kept 4 MBPs and a few macbooks I also bought a few from Apple directly and returned/replaced several there too, and after writing to Steve Jobs got a 17" replacement with a good screen for my 15" with a pathetic screen.

    Excessive? You're damn right it was! Excessive waste of MY time, money and energy. Whose fault? Apple's fault. And Apple kept telling me that I should just return it to Amazon instead of going through a repair on a new machine -- I agreed and would do the same again. Are you suggesting that I should have just settled with defective machines in order to save Apple and Amazon some money? They produce products and skimp on quality control because they know that most customers won't notice or don't have time to care about defects unless they're problems that make the machine inoperable. Unfortunately for them, I do care and I won't accept poor quality control on such expensive machines. If they were $1000 less, maybe, but not at this price point.

    To sum up: you really don't know what you're talking about.
  11. adamk77 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 6, 2008

    What a horror story!!

    Just reading your story made me angry.

    From now on, I've decided not to deal with Amazon.com or any online vendors when shopping for expensive items. The hassle is too great when something goes awry.

    brentsg -- you should definitely follow up with the BBB like one of the posters mentioned if you haven't already.
  12. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    That was my issue too. I wasted a lot of energy messing with trying to get it resolved. I had to take a vacation day from work to be here for delivery, and for pick-up of the defective one (and for repair guys to check them out). There were scores of people out there with the same problems and it was well documented.

    So you get to deal with tons of problems... blow some vacation... spend $3K+ on a defective product you get stuck with... AND have some asshat tell you that they don't want to do business with you any longer, after years and years of being a good customer.

    They simply wanted to enact a simple fix to a financial issue they had with people who were looking for loopholes to exploit. Well, there is no simple fix. So they cast a broad net across and screwed a bunch of honest people in the process. And they bank on people like me... full time job, wife and a couple kids... I can't afford to turn screwing with a retailer into a part time job. So I let it go... grrr...
  13. six.four macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2008
    I really didn't bother to read your entire post, but I'm not here trying to start a flame war. A post that starts with "blah blah blah" doesn't strike me as a post I'd bother reading. If you think you were in the right - then you have every right to hate amazon.

    brentsg - that is extremely unfortunate. If it were me, I would call and ask to speak with a supervisor. That does suck.

    Certainly their banning system isn't perfect or in some cases, even fair - but my point is really that amazon has good reason to implement a banning system. As much as it may be unfair to a few - there is logic behind their decisions.

    To PDE: your issue is more with Apple than it is with Amazon.

    That's all.
  14. PDE macrumors 68020

    Nov 16, 2005
    Fair enough, buy you started this by suggesting that people who got banned by Amazon were people who abused the system.In fact, that's your assumption, nothing more. I can document all the problems I've had and there is not one returned MBP that Amazon has said was invalid. I sent them all my photos, but they're not interested in that. They only cared about whether they were making money off me in the short term, not whether my returns were legitimate or not. I've been an active amazon customer for many years and really only used the return policy when with the MBP. In the long term I'm a great customer, but of course the MBP fiasco probably does make me look like a bad customer. I don't return for fun or because I change my mind about my purchase.

    My issue is certainly with Apple, but since I bought from amazon and Apple only repairs when purchased from other places (I take issue with that too), I had to deal with Amazon. If Apple had said they could just replace, I would have done it in the Apple Store.

    Nuff said. It obviously still makes me mad and I can't help get annoyed when people who know nothing about the situation seem to think that everybody who was banned was abusing Amazon.
  15. bluefiberoptics macrumors regular


    Jul 23, 2005
    I got my new Macbook Pro today from Amazon and I have maybe 1-2 dead pixels, but they are so hard to spot I don't think replacing the entire unit would do much good. I might end up getting a new Macbook Pro with some other defect. Amazon.com has been really good though, so you guys that have been lurking and becoming scared about Amazon, go ahead and order. I've been waiting to buy a Mac since 2005 and I have nothing but praise for them.
  16. MowingDevil macrumors 68000


    Jul 30, 2008
    Vancouver, BC & Sydney, NSW
    Tallest Skil said there's a widget you can download that could fix the pixel. Worked for him. Sometimes they're just stuck.
  17. MVApple macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2008
    Uhhh I was not aware of Amazon's mass account closing, I'll have to read more on that. So far I returned a pair of headphones ($80 dollars) because they were super uncomfortable, a Plasma TV ($1300) because the shipping vendor dropped it and completely bent the metal on the back and Amazon said they wouldn't have them in stock for a month, and a Macbook Pro ($2000) because it came with a bad superdrive. The Macbook Pro was a replacement though, and I had both briefly and the new one reads the discs while the old one didn't so I was able to confirm it was a bad drive.

    I usually shop for books, movies, music, and video games and I really love Amazon for this because their price+no tax+free shipping is awesome but I wonder if maybe I'll get flagged for being a bad customer now as the stuff I buy from them has low profit margins and the two expensive pieces of electronics I've bought have had to be returned through no fault of my own. I'm pretty sure Amazon insures what they ship so maybe they didn't lose anything on the TV since it was physically damaged through shipping and the Macbook Pro was a replacement so maybe they broke even.

    Oh well if my account gets closed I'll just have to use my girlfriends and stay away from expensive electronics and just use amazon for stuff I know I won't have to return, books, movies, music, video games.
  18. xvolcomx88 macrumors newbie

    Oct 15, 2008
    If a MBP is purchased from an online vendor and ends up being faulty, can one take it to the Apple Store to have it swapped out for a new one?
  19. frogger2020 macrumors regular

    Sep 10, 2006
    No. In fact you can't return an online purchased product to the Apple Store. You have to return it through the online system.
  20. bluefiberoptics macrumors regular


    Jul 23, 2005
    If that's the case, what's the use of buying Apple Care?

    I bought mine from Amazon. But if something breaks down the road, surely I can call Apple if it's within my 1 year warrant or Apple Care warrant.
  21. mhnajjar macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2008
    Amazon's customer services is one of the worst especially after they got a big customer base.

    They used to be fine, but now they even cancelled their 30-day price protection so if you buy something and it drops in few hours, they do not reimburse you. This is fine compared to banning me from selling anything on their market place claiming that my account was used before!!! I have been a loyal Amazon customer and I still spend almost $500 every month buying products from them so they should know better that I am never even opened a seller account let alone selling and getting banned!!! :eek:

    Yet, they have one of the best deals in the market which makes it really hard to boycott them :eek:
  22. PDE macrumors 68020

    Nov 16, 2005
    Apple will repair regardless of where you bought your computer, but they won't replace it right after you got it even if it's defective. They did do it once for me, but it was an exception. If you multiple repairs over the course of the first year, they may replace it for you eventually, but not if it's in the beginning.
  23. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    Dead pixels are incredibly annoying and I fully understand you not being able to "forget about it".
    I've been very lucky with my Mac gear and never had a dead or stuck pixel (out of over a dozen machines), but have had them with other computers and always tried to get them swapped out.
    Sometimes they'll do it without question but I think it depends on how many you have, and a lot of companies won't swap out for a single dead pixel if it's not in the middle of the screen. I've read that Apple are better than most companies in this regard though so hopefully you'll be OK.
  24. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    Why would you buy a dead pixel from amazon.com?

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