iMac horror! (but I do like them, really)

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Santabean2000, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2007
    Hello All,

    I have a tale to tell, for those who have the time and inclination please read on...

    Basically i've just fired off a massive email to Apple about poor customer relations/service. I'm after you thoughts and predictions about the outcome to this:

    Hello *****,

    Thank you for the reply to my query re the 13" MBPs; after much deliberation (and saving) I did buy a referbished one just recently - and it's great!

    The real reason though that I'm writing to you now is that I'm desperately looking for someone at Apple (further up the food chain than the telephone support staff) who is willing to assist me in getting an ongoing issue resolved.

    I was impressed with your quick and informed reply to my earlier query and I'd be very grateful if you are be able to help me here too.

    If I can I'll try to articulate as clearly as possible here what my issues are and then perhaps you might be able to help me or at least point me in the direction of someone who can. It's a bit of a long story, so I appreciate (in advance) you taking the time to have a read.


    The short version:

    Technical support and customer relations for Apple have left me extremely frustrated and upset over issues relating to my 24" iMac, purchased new late in 2007. Quite simply the level of service has been (from some, but not all over the phone) inconsistent, often inept and hugely disappointing to the point of being completely unacceptable.

    Worse still is that the attempted 'fixes' have created a situation where the iMac is registered as two different machines causing software licensing issues which have left me in a somewhat awkward predicament and a difficult financial position.

    For your reference: iMac serial no. W*************


    The longer explanation:

    Late in 2007 I purchased a new CTO 24" iMac 'Extreme' 2.8GHz, 750GB HDD, 1GB RAM, with extended Apple Care - which I thought as just a safety net in the unlikely event of me having problems with this machine, (my previous computer purchase of a 12" PowerBook in 2004 was exemplary; a great machine that has served me flawlessly).

    After my initial positive impression of the machine I started to notice a few issues. Firstly there was quite a severe colour gradient on the display, the optical drive made all sorts of strange and unusual sounds and the computer was getting very hot.

    I rang up Apple Care, fine, "yes these all sound like genuine concerns" - machine was taken away to be fixed. The new replacement screen and optical drive were on the whole ok. However, after the fans were checked and power supply replaced the issue with the overheating was not resolved.

    Now, I live in Singapore, so I understand that the ambient temperature and working environment could be playing a part in the problem. So with this knowledge, and in conjunction with advice from Apple phone support, I undertook a number of tests and 'fixes' to try to resolve this overheating issue, including dropping the aircon temp, increasing airflow, swopping power points, resetting PRAM etc etc... Anyway, the overheating continued.

    Although far from a computer expert I do work with (Apple iMac) computers on a daily basis and do take an active interest in computers, esp those produced by Apple. I know enough about computers to know that heat is the enemy of the internal components, especially the HDD. I know Apple works hard to design computers that run 'cool and quiet', the use of (mostly) notebook components in the iMac with low thermal outputs is further evidence of this.

    Yet my iMac was/is practically burning hot to touch on the top and left side especially.

    I decided to get some specifics, so I installed a Widget (downloaded from the Apple website) called iStat Pro which reads the internal temps as reported by the sensors inside the machine. The highest temp I have recorded for the HDD was a massive 65ºC! - although it usually sits on 60-63ºC when at idle in a well ventilated, air conditioned room. I was and still am very concerned.

    Further investigation through Seagate (the maker of my HDD in the iMac) gave me information pertaining to the maximum operating temperature of the drive (of my model) - which is just 50ºC. I don't believe Apple would deliberately make a computer that operates approx 30% above the component manufacturer's specified limits - it just doesn't fit with Apple's MO of wanting cool, trouble free computers. My concerns were amplified.

    The iStat Widget was initially acknowledged over the phone by one of the first Apple technicians I spoke with as a useful and accurate tool to assist with problem diagnostics, (something he personally used on his and others' machines); the same Widget was later described by another technician as an unreliable, 3rd party piece of software that could not be used as evidence for accurate temperature measurements. This was the first of many inconsistent messages to me from Apple that started to ring alarm bells.

    I started to look more broadly to get a better idea of where I was at, so I investigated a larger number of the (250) iMacs at my place of work. To be the best of my knowledge and through my investigations, none of the iMacs at work have ever reached the such high temperatures, (I felt many and installed iStat Pro on many of them too).

    Discussions with the (Apple certified) technicians (at my place of work) also confirmed there was evidence of a malfunctioning machine at home.

    I investigated numerous iMacs in various Apple reseller/retail stores around Singapore. Not one iMac I found was ever as hot as mine.

    I did a lot of research on the internet trying to clarify what was a 'normal' operating temperature for my particular iMac model, including participating in many online forums on Apple specific websites.

    Every indicator, every piece of evidence I found said yes, there clearly is a problem. [Bear in mind, all I was after was a computer that I could be confident of as working as it's designed to do, as I understood it would when I purchased it. I never ever want to spend my time trouble shooting a faulty machine, I much rather be using it to get things done! Also worth noting is that I consider very carefully every purchase I make and expect my computers to run their complete lifetime - as seen with my now 5yr old PowerBook, and hence my concern over the chronic heat issue which is undoubtably reducing the life expectancy of the machine. I used the analogy of the iMac 'smoking a packet a day'.]

    Another call to Apple - my concerns are confirmed by Apple Technical Support staff and a second attempt at a fix was arranged. Interestingly, upon returning the iMac, the Apple contracted service provider explained they were at a bit of a loss as to what they could do to rectify the overheating, and had eventually swopped out the motherboard at the instruction of Apple's Engineering Department.

    However after 30-40mins of use my newly 'fixed' iMac displayed all the same old overheating symptoms.

    I contacted Apple again, (and subsequently again and again) to report the overheating issue. Sometimes I was met with active listeners, but usually I had to go through a conversion that entailed me describing the issue over and over again:
    "What was the problem?", "iMac's overheating" , "Have you tried this?", "yes", "Have you tried that?", "yes", "Let me check on something for you" *gets put on hold for long periods of time*. "So sir, there is no problem", "Really? - I believe there is", "Ok let me check with the Engineers and get back to you", Ok" *never hears back, or does at a much later time than specified by support staff*
    And then I ring back and get a new support staff member, and so the conversation repeats.

    My current position goes something like this... Basically I still have a chronically overheating iMac. One Apple Customer Care/Relations representative is saying yes, I understand you problem, we'll organise an onsite repair and if the hardware issue still remains we will get the machine replaced - at which point he transfers me to a technical support staff member to arrange an on-site fix. Now this new technical Apple rep decrees that no fix can be arranged unless there is a definite hardware issue identified, and he then goes on to quote from the case notes that the Engineering Dept has said "There is no problem", thus no fix can arranged.

    The sticking point appears to be that one of the (later) phone tech support staff previously sought clarification from the Engineering Department about the heat issue, (and apparently got it), the response being that there is no problem. Sounds straight forward enough right? No problem right?

    Not really.

    If this was true, that the iMac was/is meant to get very hot, then:

    * why did Apple not get this message out from the very start?

    * why were two attempts at fix made if there was no problem?!

    * why did the Engineering Department, when specifically sought out for specialist advice from the Apple Repair contractors in SIngapore, initially suggest that they replace the motherboard?

    * why has Apple/Engineering Department position changed so dramatically in that they now state there is no problem?

    * how can an acknowledged problematic overheating iMac suddenly be 'ok' - only after it's proved difficult/expensive to sought out properly?

    * why has no other iMac I have come across, and there have been many, ever had the same heat issue?

    * why would Seagate prominently display a maximum operating temperature for this generation of HDD up to 30% lower than what I'm experiencing?

    * how can some Apple support staff be so helpful and polite, and yet others be such incredibly poor listeners/communicators?

    I don't understand why a multinational corporation with (literally) billions of dollars in cash reserves balks at sorting out a legitimate issue on one, (in the scheme of things for Apple), insignificant iMac.

    Just to compound things further I am now being confronted with software licensing issues that have arisen though the 'fixes', specifically the swopping out of the motherboard of the iMac. Essentially some software including iTunes, but more importantly Adobe CS4 (Web Premium) is identifying my same old overheating iMac as a different computer. The two computer license for the Adobe software is now being consumed by the one overheating iMac!

    The retail price for purchasing an additional for a replacement license is US$2,186.00

    So from my perspective not only do I still have a defective machine, but now I'm out of pocket for very expensive software too, (as well as being extremely frustrated and seriously inconvenienced by the run-around that Apple has put me through).

    I am now at the point where I don't even want this machine fixed or replaced anymore; it's nothing but an overheating reminder of months and months of hassle and angst - I want it gone!


    The resolution:

    By writing this long and exhaustive email I am trying to provide Apple with one last opportunity to 'do the right thing'.

    To bring this to a peaceful resolution I would like:
    *someone at Apple to actively listen to my concerns and make a genuine effort to sort this out
    *a full refund of the original purchase price of the iMac, including reimbursement for the Apple Care Protection Plan
    *a statement/email/evidence/contact (something) from Apple to be used in correspondence with Adobe to officially clarify what happened to my iMac, to address the licensing issue I now confront.

    I really don't think this is too much to ask.

    If nothing happens soon in response to this email my only other option will be to head to the courts here in Singapore, and if that happens I'll go for everything that I can, i.e. I'll be seeking a full refund for the original purchase price of the iMac (and Apple Care Protection Plan), in addition to the full cost of a replacement Adobe CS4 Web Premium license, and compensation for my 'suffering' (or whatever the legal speak is) that I've endured throughout this process.

    I apologise if that is sounding like some sort of threat; it's not meant to be - I'm just trying to be as explicitly clear about where things are going in the hope that someone at Apple will listen and stop this escalating further.

    Thank you again for taking the time to read this through.


    D****** G*******
  2. mrsir2009 macrumors 604


    Sep 17, 2009
    Melbourne, Australia
    Same kinda story with me. I have a white iMac, and as soon as I got it, the DVD drive didn't work. It was under warranty, so I got it sent off to get fixed. When it came back a couple of weeks later the problem had not changed at all. So I sent it off again and they said they'd replace the DVD drive this time, but, they lost my computer halfway up the country!!! It was so irritating because it took months for them to find my computer, then they sent it off to this place to get fixed, but they couldn't fix it, so they sent it all the way up the other end of the country until FINALLY, they replaced the DVD drive. They sent it back, and DVDs worked fine, but CDs didn't work at all! I can't be bothered going through all that again so I just left it at that, and it still is now :(

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