Macbook 12 Inch - £1995 repair bill in 3.5 years - 3 new logic boards, 1 new Keyboard

tfking

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 5, 2016
16
8
London
2015 Macbook (Retina 12-inch) purchased 04-Nov-2015 on Amazon UK

Not sure how Apple think it's ok for a customer to have this sort of experience with their products. I've made countless trips to the "Genius Bar" where they take advantage of customers. Fortunately, I don't depend on this laptop for anything critical like running a business or else they would have had me in a vice grip and squeezed me for as much as they could.

I have not paid for one repair, but I think this is academic. Had I paid for repairs not sure their customer service would've been much better.

So as I am reminded by the so called "Genius Bar" staff the Macbook 12 inch has a logic board with everything soldered onto it forming the guts of the entire laptop. They don't repair these, they replace them. As you can imagine at great cost. Point is, this machine is on it's third logic board in 3.5 years at great inconvenience to me. I don't make a habit of long posts on forums (especially at 1am at night) and hate visiting "Genius Bars" posing as a cash cow.

I just want to let people know the other side to this so called "cool" company. At this point I'm not hopeful this laptop will be fixed. I assure you it has caused me a great deal of distress regardless of any consumer laws as I am not familiar with invoking them.


06-Dec-2016, 2016 Repair Bill: £835.20 Total

Price Item Number Description
£212.00 661-02243 Top Case with Keyboard, Space Gray
£415.00 661-02249 Logic Board, ETSI, 1.1GHz, 256 GB
£ 69.00 S1490LL/A Hardware Repair Labor
£139.20 VAT
£835.20 Total

--

21-Jan-2019, Repair Bill: £580.80 Total
Estimated Pickup Time: 21-Jan-2019
Customer Information
Product Information
Warranty Status: Out of Warranty (OW)
United Kingdom
Model: MACBOOK (RETINA, 12-INCH, EARLY 2015)
Date of Purchase: 04-Nov-2015


Problem Description/Diagnosis
Issue: Customer has come in today due to issue with hard drive, it will intermittently show up.
Steps to Reproduce:
any other Genius that was taking the appointment did see that he couldn’t see the hard drive when bottom into diagnostics, I took over and did pray reset and ran mri.

MRI passed
Cosmetic Condition:
Display: display have few marks round the sides and edges of the display, few marks on the back of the display clamshell.

Top case: few marks round the sides of the top case and on the top side of the top case.

Bottom case: multiple marks on the bottom case.
Proposed Resolution:
Booking in for triage

Run full diagnostics start with ASD OS and EFI
Mac OS Version: Unknown
Hard Drive Size: 251
Memory Size: 8192

Employee 973589710

Repair Estimate
Item Number
Description
Price
Amount Due
Customer KBB
661-02249
Logic Board, ETSI, 1.1GHz, 256 GB
£ 415.00
£ 415.00

S1490LL/A
Hardware Repair Labor
£ 69.00
£ 69.00

VAT
£ 96.80

Total
£ 484.00
£ 580.80


--

03-June-2019 Proposed Resolution: Machine needs MLB - OOW at £580.80 Total
Warranty Status: Out of Warranty (OW)

United Kingdom Model: MACBOOK (RETINA, 12-INCH, EARLY 2015)
Date of Purchase: 04-Nov-2015

Issue: Customer states the computer stopped powering on again.
SMC or PRAM did not solve the issue.
Unable to run diagnostics.
Keyboard doesn’t have backlight on.

Steps to Reproduce: Took to minimal systems and trying starting the Mac up with various parts disconnected to try isolate issue but did not ever turn on.
MLB is getting power from IO board & Flex as light is appearing after connecting to charge but no further power to turn the machine on.

Proposed Resolution: Machine needs MLB - OOW at £580.80

Unfortunately, machine is outside previous repairs 90 day coverage. Not eligible for consumer law as bought outside EU and not from Apple.
Resolution: Customer Declined
Reason: Repair Cost
 
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apiro

macrumors regular
Oct 23, 2017
169
104
Ha. Got my maxed out MacBook from keyboard replacement on Monday from Apple Regent Street. The keyboard was not British so had to be ordered and was not lying around in their storage for long. When I got my Macbook there was a huge chip on the replacement top case and even worse the Macbook details were screwed wrong and the bottom case did not align with the top case on the right side... Wonderful as of late Apple QA/QC.

At least the whole staff clapped profoundly to the resigning employee that day. Good job. They clearly know what's important.
 

tfking

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 5, 2016
16
8
London
Ha. Got my maxed out MacBook from keyboard replacement on Monday from Apple Regent Street. The keyboard was not British so had to be ordered and was not lying around in their storage for long. When I got my Macbook there was a huge chip on the replacement top case and even worse the Macbook details were screwed wrong and the bottom case did not align with the top case on the right side... Wonderful as of late Apple QA/QC.

At least the whole staff clapped profoundly to the resigning employee that day. Good job. They clearly know what's important.
on the first repair (06-Dec-2016) you can see the keyboard was replaced free of charge. The Store staff insisted I pay for this repair despite it being common knowledge that there was a design problem with the butterfly keyboards. Since then Apple have acknowledged this design fault and offer free repairs. Good thing I escalated the issue at the time to more senior staff at Apple Support and someone there had the good sense to acknowledge the poor user experience.

So far they refuse to acknowedge 3 logic boards in 3.5 years is poor reliability.
 

tfking

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 5, 2016
16
8
London
ok so I just came off the phone with Apple support. They will not be offering me anything from their end to resolve the problem. No reason given for their decision.

They cannot tell me what is wrong with the logic board just that is needs replacing at a cost of £580. The repair would only be under warranty for £90 days, I can take it or leave it. My only other option is to buy another laptop.

I lodged a compliant two weeks ago which the support person today acknowledged. When asked about the progress of the compliant she informed me it was only internal and I would not be provided with any feedback on their findings. WHAT SORT OF COMPANY IS THIS?

By now most people would've given up and paid for another computer, apple or otherwise. This product was faulty from the day it was purchased and it was only a matter of time before it developed faults. Correctly so, they have not even tried to tell me about water damage as it has never had anything spilt on it (I know of a case where they insist a device had water damage and refuse to fix it). Truly gutted that this company's standards have fallen this low, not just because I have lost countless time and money from this faulty purchase but it doesn't bode well for the industry and my confidence has been knocked.

Dell XPS or even Chromebook maybe my next stop. I will look at the viability of repairing it by a third party. However, Apple is fighting against the right-to-repair - think about that when you are approached by their staff wearing the cool t-shirt and fake carefree persona. There is a clear conflict of interest in a company making products only it is authorised to repair, they are incentivised to make and sell faulty goods. They already take steps to prevent repairs outside their eco-system that doesn't bode well for a company who likes to portray that cool image. Competition in business is good and is part of a free market economy, even in the electronic repairs industry. If you were a senior executive you'd want to keep the business nimble and efficient, ready to face challenges in the market place. There is a case to be made for right-to-repair being in the interest of Apple itself. Microsoft's monopoly-like status in the 90's was part of the reason Apple was able to conquer and surpass them with ease, they had become sloth like and uncompetitive.

i am now aware how important serviceable parts in deciding what electronic device to purchase. The Apple brand is that the consumer can rely on the company making the design and engineering choices that takes the guess work out of deciding where to spend their hard earned cash (or even credit). Apple Fan boys will no doubt find somehow find fault with me - please read the repair history again!

Note, Apple have not updated the Macbook 12 Inch - lets see if they decide to silently kill off this failed experiment. Interestingly, a Genius Bar person did try to push me down the buying a Macbook Air as the replacement.

Got to admit, I am astonished my this entire debacle but also what I have found out since about their practices.
 
Last edited:

Neodym

macrumors 68000
Jul 5, 2002
1,949
527
If it would be a design fault, I’d expect more reports like yours around here. So you may have indeed been unlucky with your machine or you may have exposed the machine to conditions that have impacted the lifespan (such as using an insufficient 3rd-party charger, having dropped it etc.). Difficult to tell from a distance.

But as you said you did not pay for a repair, that means that your 2nd repair was out of warranty already and still Apple has taken the cost, probably as goodwill. Not too many companies doing that after 3 years.

Btw. it’s pretty normal that these logic boards are simply changed, as it would be even more costly to have a highly paid technician do root cause search and eventually still lack the machinery to fix it (if he finds something in the first place). That’s the price we pay for highly integrated and miniaturized circuitry these days.

Regarding the MB product quality: I’ve owned the 2015 myself and never had a problem with it. Sold it off to switch to a 2017 and the 2015 is still running like a champ for the new owner. Just as anecdotal as your experience, but from what I’ve read on these forums so far, others seem to have similarly good experiences with that machine.
 
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0989382

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Jan 11, 2018
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I've had the same issue with my 2017 MBP. They did take care of it each time, but it cost me too much to travel to my nearest Apple Store twice per incident and be without it for a week.

Once too, the quality of the repair when they handed it back was poor. There was fingerprints and an eye lash on the laptop. That was the third screen replacement too. A few days later, the bottom case had seemingly popped out, so I emailed Apple discussing my love for its products and disappointment that the MBP I loved so much was giving me no choice but to go to a competing brand and how disappointed I was that Apple couldn't fix it properly and that I'd never spend on AppleCare again for this quality. I got a call the next day from the Apple Store manager where the repairs were done, apologising to me for the hassle and offering me a full refund, or brand new replacement or to add some money in and buy the 2018 TouchBar model. The last option is what I did.

Unfortunately, I had more issues with this machine and the 2,000+ price tag was giving me anxiety carrying it around in a backpack all the time! Though it was absolutely a powerhouse, and the MBP of my dreams. I loved that machine, but sadly decided to refund it and buy a Mac Mini / iPad setup in March. The mini being immune to 'laptop problems', and being more reliable for my work needs. The iPad for portability.

Then I decided Windows on a high spec X280 ThinkPad. Do not go to Windows.

YES, it's tempting. I was there. I get it. It looks like Windows has better hardware... lower prices... freedom to repair... better specs... no 'Apple BS'. Yeah.

The experience just isn't the same as macOS on a Mac, won't work as well with your iPhone (or Android phone, as I found). Sure, you can install Linux but that's nowhere near Windows or macOS for 95% of users. And even when it is, it's hard work. If you admire beautiful, cutting edge software AND hardware these options don't compare, I'm sorry, but we all know that. Some people can live without it, but I can't.

Plenty of logic board failures, faulty displays, sticking keys and dead keyboards / lousy batteries on ThinkPads (the kings of PC reliability and build quality), despite their benefits. They still run Windows, too. There are simply too many users and forums for Apple's few products, where these complaints and faults can easily be recognised and publicised versus these less popular machines.

Only, in my experience, no straightforward process for Lenovo etc's support. Posting off your machine, still. No Apple Store equivalent. So it's still very inconvenient. But where can you complain to then? You're kind of on your own.

For you, I recommend the MacBook Air. Apple knows about the issues you and me have had. They are making changes. If this doesn't stop soon they are in trouble. I vowed to boycott them I don't know how many times by now... but I never do. The product is too appealing, too smooth and just perfect for me. It's a shame about the problems, but they will be ironed out. There are bugs and glitches in Windows 10 that haven't been, and probably never will be paid attention to. It's very much jumping out of this ship and it's problems and into another.

That's my advice anyway.

Tl;dr: Don't leave Apple, yes the problems suck. But you'll not find that experience when it does work elsewhere. Get a 2018 MB Air.
 

Neodym

macrumors 68000
Jul 5, 2002
1,949
527
Tl;dr: Don't leave Apple, yes the problems suck. But you'll not find that experience when it does work elsewhere. Get a 2018 MB Air.
I still believe that the MBA 2018 sits in a strange place: If you appreciate low weight and small footprint (a.k.a. mobility) more than performance, you’d better get a 12” MacBook. If you see it just the other way round (performance over mobility), the MBP offers significantly more in a similar housing and at the same price-point.

To me it looks as if the decision for releasing the 2018 MBA has solely been made due to hoping to sell to existing MBA owners who basically wanted a better (Retina) screen. Only that the world moved on and Apple themselves offer more convincing options these days. Can’t recognize a solid use case for the MBA 2018.
 
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0989382

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I still believe that the MBA 2018 sits in a strange place: If you appreciate low weight and small footprint (a.k.a. mobility) more than performance, you’d better get a 12” MacBook. If you see it just the other way round (performance over mobility), the MBP offers significantly more in a similar housing and at the same price-point.

To me it looks as if the decision for releasing the 2018 MBA has solely been made due to hoping to sell to existing MBA owners who basically wanted a better (Retina) screen. Only that the world moved on and Apple themselves offer more convincing options these days. Can’t recognize a solid use case for the MBA 2018.
Well for OP, he's had the 12" MacBook and it hasn't been a great experience, his machine is nearing end of life and there hasn't been much change in Apple's offering of it (nor in price) to recommend he move on to the same machine.

As for the MBP, he could get this but it adds a lot of weight.

The Air, with its slightly better performance but still portable body , T2 chip, recent release and long support life ahead of it seems a good next step. If any of the current Macs do, then the new MBA is the one that'll have solved as many issues as possible by Apple in attempt to improve the current situation (e.g. keyboard, display issues etc). Might result in a better experience for OP, was my way of thinking anyway
 

Neodym

macrumors 68000
Jul 5, 2002
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The Air has the exact same dimensions (WxH) as the 13” Pro, so the Air is not really that much more mobile than the Pro. Yes, the Pro weighs nearly 10% more than the Air, but then the Air already weighs nearly 37% more than the MB.

With the Pro not being bigger in footprint and less than 10% heavier than the Air, it would IMHO be completely worthwhile to take this comparably small extra step in weight for the massively increased performance and functionality over the Air, especially with both machines sharing the same price point.
 

0989382

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Jan 11, 2018
527
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The Air has the exact same dimensions (WxH) as the 13” Pro, so the Air is not really that much more mobile than the Pro. Yes, the Pro weighs nearly 10% more than the Air, but then the Air already weighs nearly 37% more than the MB.

With the Pro not being bigger in footprint and less than 10% heavier than the Air, it would IMHO be completely worthwhile to take this comparably small extra step in weight for the massively increased performance and functionality over the Air, especially with both machines sharing the same price point.
That's all completely valid and true. And, the MBP has full P3 colour gamut (better colour), 500 nits brightness vs. 400 nits too. Though it lacks the T2 chip at that price point, not sure if an end user should/would care about that though.

I know if it weren't for the imminent update coming for it, I'd make that choice. Though I'm about to buy a 12" MB myself as there's a steal of an offer on selling it for 800GBP vs. 1249GBP normally. That, to me justifies the MB!
 

_Kiki_

macrumors 6502a
Aug 13, 2017
961
276
the problem is because you live in UK, there is no such thing like Apple goodwill in this country, the opposite is US where you get better service even after the warranty passes
 

Martin Ashford

macrumors newbie
Dec 16, 2019
5
1
Exactly the same problem here. Stuck with a £580 repair or a recycle leaving me with nothing. The Mac is not worth the cost of the repair. From looking around I can see that this is not a one off. Apple are no help.

Search macbook a1534 logic board and you’ll see loads of evidence of faulty logic boards. Seems like power isnt getting to the right places, and if I plug the MacBook charger in to a surge protector the MacBook turns on, and logs in, but crashes about 10 seconds later.

Anyone else having problems with this, good luck, mines going in a draw in the hope that Apple offer a recall.
 

The Samurai

macrumors 68010
Dec 29, 2007
2,001
582
Glasgow
Exactly the same problem here. Stuck with a £580 repair or a recycle leaving me with nothing. The Mac is not worth the cost of the repair. From looking around I can see that this is not a one off. Apple are no help.

Search macbook a1534 logic board and you’ll see loads of evidence of faulty logic boards. Seems like power isnt getting to the right places, and if I plug the MacBook charger in to a surge protector the MacBook turns on, and logs in, but crashes about 10 seconds later.

Anyone else having problems with this, good luck, mines going in a draw in the hope that Apple offer a recall.
Sorry to hear, cracking little machine and its a shame Apple aren't standing firm behind their devices. Have you tried speaking with someone at Apple Customer Relations?
 

Martin Ashford

macrumors newbie
Dec 16, 2019
5
1
Sorry to hear, cracking little machine and its a shame Apple aren't standing firm behind their devices. Have you tried speaking with someone at Apple Customer Relations?
In store say it’s a repair cost, online chat just stand by the in store assessment and can’t override it. I can’t even find a way to talk to someone higher up. I might dig around a bit more. But I have to ask myself if it’s worth the stress, because a MacBook dying for no reason at all, when only just out of warranty is very stressful.
 

Martin Ashford

macrumors newbie
Dec 16, 2019
5
1
When did you purchase it and did you purchase it directly from Apple?
Apple store in LA 2015, which also makes getting help with it hard, it’s been broken for a while, just now trying to sort it out after it turned on with a surge protector. I’m not expecting anything really, just hoping by logging the fault in a few places will raise the awareness of the issue.

I would love to have the faith in Apple to just recycle it and buy a MB pro, the poor service and lack of help is putting me off a bit.

Im aware 3.5 years is an okay life for a Machine, was just hoping for longer.
 

ascender

macrumors 68030
Dec 8, 2005
2,789
758
I take it you guys have checked out the UK/EU consumer laws to see if there's anything you can do via there?

How about a secondhand logic board from somewhere?
 

Martin Ashford

macrumors newbie
Dec 16, 2019
5
1
I take it you guys have checked out the UK/EU consumer laws to see if there's anything you can do via there?

How about a secondhand logic board from somewhere?
UK law warranty covers for 3 years, I think, which I’m out of. Second hand logic board is about £280, and I can’t fit it myself. Non Apple repair places near me say that as long as there’s nothing I need off the Mac, it’s not worth the cost of repair, I store everything with cloud, so, it’s probably going to be Recycled. Thankfully, it’s Apple so I can at least happily know it isn’t just going to end up in landfill.

I think I can accept that it’s a mess, and probably part of the reason the MacBook 12inch has been discontinued.
 

The Samurai

macrumors 68010
Dec 29, 2007
2,001
582
Glasgow
UK law warranty covers for 3 years, I think, which I’m out of. Second hand logic board is about £280, and I can’t fit it myself. Non Apple repair places near me say that as long as there’s nothing I need off the Mac, it’s not worth the cost of repair, I store everything with cloud, so, it’s probably going to be Recycled. Thankfully, it’s Apple so I can at least happily know it isn’t just going to end up in landfill.

I think I can accept that it’s a mess, and probably part of the reason the MacBook 12inch has been discontinued.
Ahhh, I was hoping you would mention that you had purchased it somewhere in EU as you would have had a case under the UK/EU laws.

For what its worth, draft a detailed email up and send it to Tim Cooks email address, his senior team usually follows up and they will call you. Be detailed, everything logged etc. You have nothing to lose so give it a go, all the best.
 

Martin Ashford

macrumors newbie
Dec 16, 2019
5
1
Ahhh, I was hoping you would mention that you had purchased it somewhere in EU as you would have had a case under the UK/EU laws.

For what its worth, draft a detailed email up and send it to Tim Cooks email address, his senior team usually follows up and they will call you. Be detailed, everything logged etc. You have nothing to lose so give it a go, all the best.
Hah, yeah, maybe worth a shot. I doubt anything can be done, and I’ll probably just cave in and buy a 16inch pro once I’m done grieving haha. Thank you.
 
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ascender

macrumors 68030
Dec 8, 2005
2,789
758
That sucks....

Like @The Samurai says, its worth summarising everything very factually and sending it to them to see if they will do anything.

I don't think its unreasonable to expect a laptop to last 5 years+.
 

PhoenixDown

macrumors regular
Oct 12, 2012
159
91
Can you take Apple to court and sue for the value of the laptop? You have a pretty compelling story here with three logic board failures in a 3 year period. Here, you can represent yourself in small claims court but Apple, as a corporation, have to send a lawyer. It may be an added incentive to settle with you out of court (i.e. maybe a current laptop).