Lost Macbook hard-drive; disappointed with Apple's customer service

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by jacob.patton, Oct 6, 2008.

  1. jacob.patton macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2008
    Hi everyone,

    I just registered with these forums so I could post my recent experience with Applecare service.

    About a month ago my Macbook's rear fan started making grinding noises, and since it is covered under Applecare, I sent the machine to the Memphis repair center as Apple's support reps instructed. A few days later the machine returned with a fixed fan but without the 200 GB hard-drive I had installed in the Macbook. Instead, it had a 60GB drive that opened with the "Welcome to Leopard" install process.

    Things got a little irritating when I called Apple to make note of the problem.

    At first Danny, my Apple support rep, said that the hard-drive hadn't been replaced, since the repair manifest did not list that as having occurred. "Am I sure the drive has been replaced?" Danny asked me, even though I told him at the outset that the machine I received had a stock 60GB drive with a fresh Leopard install on it. Finally, Danny said that he'd double check with the service center to see if he could find out more.

    Several days after having spoken with Danny this first time, he called me back to say that no, the service center doesn't have any record of replacing the drive, and once again, "Are you sure the drive has been replaced?" I assured him that yes my drive and all of its data is sitting in the repair center and that I was a little worried about having my drive and all of its information going missing in this age of identity theft and such....

    After this interchange, Danny seemed to go on the offense. "Since we can't prove you had a larger drive..." he began to say, to which I replied that I had reported the aftermarket, 200GB drive when I first requested the repair. "Well, I think you might have voided your warranty by installing that drive," he said. I told him, I didn't think that was the case, and he insisted on rerouting me to an offshore call center to confirm as much.

    When I called back to let Danny know that no my drive upgrade did not void the warranty and could I speak to anyone in Apple's legal department about data security and the missing drive he said that he "isn't allowed to give out contact information for the legal department." He said that I'd have to ask my lawyer to contact them. When I asked how my lawyer is supposed to know how to contact their legal department, he said that lawyers have "special training" and they "know how to find the contact info they need." It's this sort of absurdity that made me begin to get really irritated, although I was always peaceable and civil on the phone. (Btw, the special training lawyers have might be called "Google." Search for "apple legal contact info" and you get this link.)

    Finally, after four phone calls, Danny asked me to send him the receipt for the hard-drive I had installed so that he could find out if he could offer a replacement. I promptly emailed him the receipt; although he initially balked at it being a PDF of my only Newegg invoice, he eventually said that he could use it.

    Danny and I spoke again today, and his "solution," to this debacle is the irritating cherry on this frustration cake. Although my hard-drive was internal, Danny offered me an external replacement, since Apple doesn't have internal drives for sale. "Yes," Danny said, "you can get larger hard-drives installed when you build-to-order a Macbook," but those installations happen at the factory. I can only offer you a hard-drive that we sell at the Apple store. Outside of the factory, only our service centers have larger drives in stock." The service centers... like the one that initially lost my drive. But they can't send me a replacement, and Danny can't ask them to send him one. I thought this was ironic; Danny did not.

    I told Danny that an external drive wouldn't be too useful to me, since I already have one and that, besides, I'll likely need to purchase larger internal drive again because I need that sort of storage on hand, without additional cables and such. Could I just get a check or store credit, I asked. No dice. Could I get anything else from the AppleStore? "That's not part of the deal," Danny said. :mad::mad::mad:

    Ultimately, I convinced Danny to let me have "no more than two" items from the Apple Store for a total of $30 less than the price of the replacement external drive he had offered me. :mad:

    I'll probably take Danny's offer and get an iPod shuffle or two, and write off the week's worth of phone call's and irritation and be done with it. The whole experience has made me question the current state of Apple's customer service and support.

    As I mentioned to Danny at the start of our conversation, I was upset that the service center had lost my drive, but more than that I was concerned that my drive could be floating around somewhere. If once Danny had said, "I'm sorry," or offered any sympathy, I might not be so upset. Instead, I got resistance, foot-dragging, and a reluctant "offer" to fix the problem.

    I've purchased a dozen Apple computers in the past. I'm not sure that my next machine will be a Mac :(

  2. Dybbuk macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2006
    That is absolutely abysmal. You should have asked to speak with his supervisor immediately. Don't take that ******** deal; call back and speak with someone higher on the chain.
  3. jacob.patton thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2008
    Thanks for the reply, Dybbuk. I'm definitely going to try to escalate this issue -- I just checked the battery bay to see about upgrading the internal drive, and the idiot who worked on my machine stripped one of the heads of the screws holding the RAM/drive cover bracket in place!!! I can't even replace the internal drive if I wanted to, now!
  4. Vulcan macrumors 65816


    Jul 17, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Call back up and make a bulleted list of things you want to say, and immediately ask for a manager. Be a bit ruder as well.

    -Say that your hard drive was lost, and that you are very angry that your private data is sitting at an Apple Repair center. Specifically make note that you believe that Apple had no write to take your drive without making a record of it and that for all we know your personal info could be flooding the internet now. Moreover, they downgraded the size by 1/4!

    -They screwed up the repair. The tech working on your machine really caused damage to it, and Apple has caused you a great deal of stress, not only was your hard drive stolen, they failed to so a complete repair regardless.

    -There is no way for them to rightfully solve this problem. The chaos they bad put you through has really causes you a good deal of problems and stress forcing you to reconsider Apple in the future. The only possible remedy you could see is to upgrade you to a model with an equal hard drive, and that would still not completely win your satisfaction.

    You say that to Customer Relations (yes, make sure you call Customer Relations, not AppleCare), you got a good chance of getting a brand new Black MacBook.
  5. Samarium macrumors 6502a


    Jan 6, 2008
    @ home.
    So true. They have to feel your frustration. I hope everything has a nice result. Cheer's mate.
  6. khunsanook macrumors 6502


    Jul 2, 2006
    East Asia
    that is utterly pathetic on Apple's part. You should be able to get a new drive, although I kind of doubt you'll be getting your original HD back - totally lame! I'd push for some serious extra Apple store credit if I were you.
  7. JNB macrumors 604


    Oct 7, 2004
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    Escalate, escalate, escalate! "Danny" sounds like a Best Buy reject.

    As a general caution, have a printout System Info in "About this Mac" (which will take 300 or so pages, so just print as a PDF and save the file), a current backup, and in the case of a swapped drive (I'm in the same boat here), if possible replace back to the original before shipping. Also, have them note on the repair record that there is an aftermarket drive installed (and in the case of the MacBook does not void the warranty, unless you made a complete hash of it).

    Make sure you keep a log of every correspondence, sate, time, person(s), etc.

    Keep us posted.
  8. eye.surgeon macrumors 6502

    Jul 12, 2007
    From the Macbook service FAQ:

    "Will the data on my MacBook be preserved?
    Don't rely on it being preserved. Many repairs require Apple to replace or reformat the hard disk, which will result in the loss of your data. Please make sure you back up your data on a regular basis to minimize your data loss. .Mac members may download and use Backup to save an archive of their data to a series of CDs. Apple and its AASPs are not responsible for any damage to or loss of any applications, data, or other information stored on your MacBook while performing service."

    From the hardware warranty:

    "Your product will be returned to you as originally purchased."

    It's something to think about when you do aftermarket mods. You should probably be prepared to return the macbook restored to it's original state at the time you bought it, ie. put the old hard drive back in, prior to sending it in for repairs. Good luck.
  9. Lunchbox16 macrumors member

    Jul 28, 2008
    You know, I had a very similar situation with my old iBook back in May. The motherboard on the machine went out and I took it to the Apple Store on Micigan Ave. in Downtown Chicago. I brought my external with me to back everything up, just in case. Well, the external ended up giving me problems, and when I tried to copy some stuff to my 1GB flash drive, the guy at the Genius bar said I couldn't sit there all day backing stuff up. He told me they wouldn't touch the HD and only the motherboard when they sent it for repairs, so, trusting him, I assented to the repair. Well I get the machine back a few days later and they replaced the motherboard, but the HD too. I lost all kinds of information, including 4 years worth of email (that I was pressured into not backing up) all one month before a 2 month-long research trip to Europe. All I wanted was the old HD back so I could get the info off of it, but the Apple told me it was in a bin someplace and they couldn't get it, even though a.) I called them immediately, even before I was outside the store, and b.) they knew exactly where it was, what bin it was in, and the serial number. Honestly, it would have been a 30min task. But my needs be damned, it's more cost effective for them to throw other stuff at me that I didn't want. Needless to say that I was disappointed in Apple, and especially at the Genius Bar. I'll be damned if I let them try to push me around or make me feel bad about backing up my stuff again.
  10. Moriarty macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2008
    That's completely unacceptable. Doesn't matter what the warranty says. They have no right to give you a machine with a much smaller hard drive, for no apparent reason, and to cause you to lose such data.

    They say you should back it up before sending it in, blah blah blah. But do they provide anything for you to do so for free? No.

    You need to be much firmer, and stand up for your rights, or take them to a small claims court or whatever you might have where you live. Call them back, ask to speak to their manager, and ask to speak to the manager's manager. Then make your case. Or try to get in contact with "Customer Relations" (whoever they are... :confused:), as someone above said.

    But DON'T settle for anything less than the 200GB drive with all your data intact. If they can't find it, ask to be fully reimbursed for the cost of the drive plus extra compensation for the hassle and the fact that your private information could be in someone else's hands.
  11. Chappers macrumors 68020


    Aug 12, 2003
    At home
    Stay cool but be firm. You need as everyone else has said - take this up the food chain.
  12. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    You don't speak to Danny. You speak to his supervisor. Or you go to small claims court.
  13. emac82 macrumors 6502

    Feb 17, 2007
    NB, Canada
    I can understand why the OP is frustrated, but Apple has to have some rights too.

    There is no proof that he sent it in with a 200GB hard drive. He didn't order it custom from Apple - he did it after his purchase. The only proof he has is that he purchased a hard drive from newegg. That doesn't prove it was in the MacBook. Not saying he is lying - but how does Apple know that.
  14. Dybbuk macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2006
    oh come on
  15. emac82 macrumors 6502

    Feb 17, 2007
    NB, Canada
    What? I mean, the records weren't even showing that his HD was replaced..

    I'm not saying Apple shouldn't do something to help the customer out, but what is the limit?
  16. Vulcan macrumors 65816


    Jul 17, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
  17. Dybbuk macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2006
    you're right this is all an elaborate story he invented to post on macrumors so he could

  18. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    Also, by Apple's own policies, their technicians are not allowed to touch or replace your third-party parts under no circumstances.
  19. tonie macrumors 6502

    Mar 29, 2008
    Are you kidding me? Should every customer open up their laptops and record the specs and send it in? That's ridiculous customer service.
  20. jacob.patton thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2008
    Hi everybody, OP here. I have managed to achieve resolution to the problem with Apple. By escalating the issue up the customer support chain, Apple has agreed to fix the stripped screws and will provide me a reasonable store credit for the trouble I've gone through.

    I'm still disappointed in Apple's repair center for losing my drive. As for their customer support, however, I suppose Danny was a bad apple spoiling the whole bunch.

    Next time I send in a machine for repair, I'll likely save a PDF of the system profiler readout, and I might just swap back in the original HD to make sure that I don't risk theft of my data.

    Thanks for all your comments, and may you never have to go through this kind of melee, yourself.


  21. polaris20 macrumors 68020

    Jul 13, 2008
    I'd just like to point out that it's never a good idea to send a laptop in for repair with your hard drive.

    Both HP and Dell have lost company hard drives for me. Luckily I put a dummy drive in the machines (blank drive, no data) and didn't lose anything.

    Lately I've been sending them out with no drive at all. No one can be trusted. Not Apple, Dell, or HP.

    Just my opinion. ;)
  22. daydream macrumors newbie

    Oct 9, 2008
    I happend to me too -- sorry for the long post

    Hi, apple repair center lost my hard drive just today!

    So I sent in my 4 years old 12 inch powerbook (Oct, 4th) because there is a vertical line on my lcd with third party harddrive(100G) and memory.

    At the apple store,I actually read the fine print about data lost but the apple geniuns told me that nobody is going to touch my hard drive as it is third party so it is uncessary for me to get a backup.

    Tuesday(7th) a woman called from the repair center mentioned my harddrive failed during the repairing of LCD:( and she need to put a 60G one as that is the original settup and I should expect two packages: one laptop, my old harddrive. and it is my job to restore the data if any has left.

    I was not happy about as my harddrive was working perfectly and it is only one year old but I decide to live with it.

    Today I found out it is delivered to apple store so I called to arrange the pickup only to find out they have no idea about the returned harddrive. So I called apple repair and found out at their system my repaired is finished. I called techinical support and found out they couldn't located my harddrive after 5 hours of calling around.

    What should I do now? I have a lot personal data on that disk and i am having the feeling that I won't get my HD back.

    Thanks a lot

  23. fuzzielitlpanda macrumors 6502a

    Mar 24, 2008
    Sorry to hear about all the problem you guys are having, but for future reference have you thought about putting in the stock HD before sending in your machine for tech support?
  24. tonie macrumors 6502

    Mar 29, 2008
  25. jaikob macrumors 6502


    Jul 1, 2008
    Freeland, MI
    I always take out my installed hardware, and send it in barebone. They have the spare parts laying around. :)

Share This Page