MacBook Pro Nightmare

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Hannify, Jan 13, 2009.

  1. Hannify macrumors member

    Jun 6, 2007
    Greetings Mac Denizens,

    So I don't know if Apple's QC has really declined that much, or if I just got incredibly unlucky this time around, but I've had nothing but problems with my SR 2.4 Ghz MacBook Pro, purchased about a year and a half ago.

    The tale of woe began some 2-3 months after purchase. One day my video blacked out and wouldn't come back. This, coupled with the fact that the sleep indicator wasn't working correctly, made me pretty sure my logic board was malfunctioning, so I went down to the Apple store to have it looked at. Of course upon arriving at the bar the video spontaneously turned back on, and the genius I talked to told me nothing was wrong with my machine, despite my insistence that my logic board was failing. Several days later the video died again, so it was back to the store. I got a different genius who confirmed my logic board needed replacement, and my computer was shipped out for repairs.

    So my computer comes back with a brand new logic board, but the lcd has either been damaged somehow during the repair process, or suddenly began to manifest some latent problem that had been present all along. There is now a faint white spot in the upper middle portion of the screen. I decide to live with it since it's purely cosmetic and I can't afford to be without my machine for another 1-2 weeks. Unfortunately over the next month the problem began to worsen (that is, the white spot grew in size and intensity). Since the problem now seemed to be degenerative I was worried enough to bring it back to the store. The genius told me they would replace the whole LCD, so off it went for another repair.

    My newly repaired MBP came back to me without a white spot, but instead had some 4-5 dead pixels, some lint/dust in the upper right corner, and uneven backlighting. Once again I resolved to live with the defects (though they were driving me crazy) since they seemed only cosmetic and didn't appear to be getting worse over time like the white spot had.

    This incarnation lasted me about 7 months or so and then my backlight began flickering. One day I tried to turn on the laptop and the backlight was completely off with no way to turn it back on (screen brightness adjustment had no effect). At this point my machine was just barely out of warranty. I was convinced it was a new logic board failure. I took it in to the apple store again and got a genius who told me it was to due to disk errors (!), repaired my permissions and then told me everything was fine. I knew he was full of **** but there was nothing I could do to argue so I went back home and sent a letter to detailing my experience. About a week later I got a call from the manager of my local Apple store asking me to come back in so they could have another look.

    Lo and behold my logic board was indeed failing again, in addition to several secondary boards (left and right i/o, a couple other things I don't recall). Off my computer went for a third repair (to Apple's credit here, they did the repair free of charge).

    When I got it back all seemed to be well for about a week, and then my power went. The machine wouldn't turn on, at all, whether it was running on battery or AC. So Apple evaluates my machine again and tells me the left i/o is shot and needs to be replaced (this part was JUST REPLACED a week earlier). I negotiate a little bit and Apple agrees to replace my computer this time instead of repairing it, which I am incredibly happy about because it removes me from the endless repair/failure cycle.

    The guy I spoke to told me it would take 2-3 weeks for me to get my new machine. It has been three weeks today and still no computer. My classes have already begun, as has the scheduled workflow for a project I received a grant to work on and need to start immediately. I called a Apple a week ago, at the two week mark, to ask about my status. No one at apple can tell me what the status of my machine is or give me even an approximate estimation of when it will arrive.

    SO. MY question is: does anyone here know what actually happens when apple sends off for a replacement? How long does it actually take? Could the release of the new 17" be holding up my replacement (mine was also a 17")? It it worth calling them and playing the angry, obnoxious customer game?
  2. pdxflint macrumors 68020


    Aug 25, 2006
    Oregon coast
    I'm thinking it's the new 17" model you've got coming, thus the delay. Of course, as a contrast to your story I've got a mid-2007 refurb (purchased in April 08) that has been ok across the board. I'm sorry you've had a lot of problems, and it does indicate some serious QC problems at Apple, but at least they are taking care of the problem. Looks like you might be getting a brand new unibody 17" MBP for your inconvenience, which isn't a bad thing.

    Let us know what happens in the end.
  3. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    I guess there's some hope that they could pull a last-generation 17" for you, .. the stores have them in stock.

    If you're wanting the new unibody design, you're stuck waiting (along with the umpteen thousands of people that have pre-ordered them) until the new units hit the supply chain.
  4. Hannify thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 6, 2007
    Thanks for the prompt replies!

    @Pdxflint: You're right of course, it does speak well of Apple that they are taking care of me. Except for one or two instances of Geniuses refusing to acknowledge my problems, the support has been very good on Apple's part, and the support has been fantastic across the board post the angry letter to steve jobs (it's like I have some strange VIP status now- I communicate with the store manager directly about everything).

    I work in the digital audio world, so the majority of my colleagues are also using macs, and most of them have had no problems. So I understand that I appear to have just gotten a lemon. My previous computer was one of the last revisions to the old Powerbook G4, bought back in 2003, and that thing lasted nearly five years without a single problem- it was still perfectly functional when I sold it a year ago. So it's just surprising to have this experience with the MPB.


    When I spoke to the manager over the phone regarding my replacement, it seemed to be the last generation 17" that I would be getting (2.5 ghz, 4 GB ram). However this was literally one day prior to the announcement of the unibody 17", hence my confusion about what I have coming.

    To be honest I severely mixed feelings about the unibody. It's incredibly sexy, and the specs are superior to what I had in terms of ram/processor/gpu, but I need two firewire ports. The machine is essentially crippled for multitrack audio recording because you really need to have a separate firewire port for your audio interface and for your hard drive. Of course you can daisy-chain them but that is buggy as hell in my experience.

    It wouldn't be the end of the world though. I guess the good outweighs the bad in terms of the new unibody over the late 08, it's just that for my very specific needs the unibody is a little problematic. I suppose I could always buy a firewire card for the express slot. And they are really sexy :)
  5. tcphoto macrumors 6502a


    Feb 23, 2005
    Madison, GA
    My replacement was through a local Apple Store. My machine was sent in for a repeat of a previous repair and they had to have it back before handing me another. Although they have the current model on hand, it sounds like you might be getting the just announced model. It really does not hurt to call and ask what is causing the delay.
  6. sehnsucht77 macrumors 6502

    Dec 26, 2008
    for the amount that you pay for a computer from apple, you'd better get a great working one outta the box. a quick look at the number of returns i;ve seen people undergo here to get a good working lappy without any issues, i would say apple has some serious QC issues to workout. come on, 2-4 returns before a good working one in some cases? silly!
  7. Hannify thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 6, 2007
    Hi all,

    Since the store couldn't tell me anything, I decided to email Apple support. They were able to give me the order number for the replacement computer so I could look up the order status my self and see what was going on. Turns out I'm getting the unibody 17," and it ships on feb 4th.

    So I'm pretty stoked and really glad to finally know what to expect and when to expect it. I do have a question though that maybe a more knowledgeable forum member can help me out with.

    The original plan was that the Apple store was going to make a complete image of my hard drive and copy it over to my replacement so I don't loose any of my data, applications, or settings. The potential problem though is that I was running Tiger. Do the new unibodies even run Tiger, or are they locked to Leopard at this point? If they will only run Leopard, what are my options? could the Apple store do a migration for me so all my data and apps are still present?

    Thanks in advance for any help!
  8. Adokimus macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2007
    Boston, MA

    Problem solved?
  9. Hannify thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 6, 2007
  10. SFStateStudent macrumors 604


    Aug 28, 2007
    San Francisco California, USA
    I saw that Belkin item at MWSF '09 and it looked pretty amazing. Keep us posted on your results...
  11. ElectroGhandi macrumors regular


    Jan 9, 2009
    Baltimore, MD
    That's cool, I love when companies send you the updated model. I had my Samsung i730 replaced with a Samsung i760. :D

    Hmmm that is interesting. I know for a fact you cannot install Tiger on it, but who's the say you couldn't just install Tiger externally and boot into it. (What you are doing)

    ~EDIT~ I just did a little bit of research, and it's not necessarily a limitation on new Macs that don't allow you to downgrade from Leopard to Tiger, it's just a lack of resources (Generic Intel Tiger Retail discs are nearly impossible to come by). So yeah, I think cloning your Tiger HD into your Unibody's HD should work just fine.
  12. chaos86 macrumors 65816


    Sep 11, 2003
    Worst case, they lose your data, but then they'll have hell to pay and you already have the customer service VIP flag so I doubt they'll do that.

    OK case, the clone your drive onto the new machine's drive, and don't test it. Then it's up to you to find it won't boot, and you just run Leopard install on it and upgrade the install.

    Slightly better case, they upgrade your installation.

    Best case, they call and ask what you want to do, or they give you the new machine and the disk image to do with what you please.
  13. Hannify thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 6, 2007
    I just wanted to give a status update.

    So I got stuck along with everyone else when the initial delays hit on the 17 " unibodies. My original ship date was feb 4th and I was bumped to the 19th along with the rest.

    on the day of the delays (the 4th) I got a call from apple saying that my machine would be shipped within a week (this occurred while I watched my ship date change to the 19th). So I figured the date on my order page was worst case and that my machine would be ready soon.

    When people's orders began shipping on the 13th I got very excited. I thought that surely my machine would be one of the first out the door. Flash forward to the 19th and my computer still hadn't shipped. I called apple twice this week and each time they assured me that the 19th was a "commit date" and that it would ship by 5:30 pm on thursday.

    5:30 came and went. today I checked my order status to discover that my shipment has been further delayed to the 26th. I called apple again and they told me I was simply misinformed regarding the 19th delivery date. I told them that I WATCHED IT CHANGE from the 19th to the 26th, at which point I was put on hold. Apple now says that they have sent a notice to the shipping warehouse to release the machine immediately. However they are not sure if it will go through (I don't pretend to understand how they can be "unsure" about this). They are going to call me back later today to let me know what is going on.

    Needless to say I am a very unhappy customer at this point. Apple has lied to my face several times throughout this process, and seems intent on screwing me at every turn. I have now been waiting over two months for this replacement, which is an absurd and unacceptable amount of time. even though apple seems to be getting the ball moving finally, I had to pull teeth with customer support to get here, and apple still doesn't seem to grasp that this goes beyond inconvenience for me. I don't just dick around with my computer- I rely on it professionally. I have lost an inordinate amount of time and money over this. Frankly they are lucky I don't sue them for damages.

    Anyway, I don't think I'm being unreasonable. I'm not looking to be compensated with free stuff or discounts. I just want my machine. I'll report back later today with another update.
  14. P90Xfit macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2009
    The thing is, you let them walk all over you!! I wont take any crap form them! I got a 15" unibody for $1450.00 +a incase sleeve $35.00+ an incase sling pack $80.00. Every time they mess up I get something for it. Every lie the people told you should cost them something! They know when I call, they messed up and they are going to have to "bite the bullet" for that one phone call, I am V.I.P and they need to make sure when I hang up, I have a smile from ear to ear.

    You try getting a 15" unibody with $115.00 worth of stuff for $1450.00! lol it was easy, every time they mess up, I call and peak to some one, they can't help me? Well maybe the manager can.

    Call this guy, tell him your story from day one, he will fix it I guarantee

    James Crowl: 512-674-6726

    He hooked me up!
  15. Hannify thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 6, 2007
    who is he?
  16. xpovos macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2007
    Oh you poor naive person. I used to think that way. Two years and twenty MacBook Pros later, I had learned that a replacement machine often just starts the cycle all over again.

    Here's to hoping your luck is better than mine was.
  17. cia33 macrumors newbie

    Feb 20, 2009
    Philadelphia suburbs
    Mac Book Pro Nightmare

    I am wondering how long it might be before Nehalem processors, due for release next month, will be installed in unibody 17-inch mac book pros?????
    Any ideas.
  18. Hannify thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 6, 2007
    I certainly hope so. If it isn't than I will simply be forced to change platforms. I have been a long time mac user- my powerbook g4 ran flawlessly for the five years I had it. I have colleagues who are running first and second gen macbook pros who are getting similar longevity. So clearly there are at least a few golden eggs amongst the sea of lemons...
  19. P90Xfit macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2009
    customer relations. VERY helpful.
  20. Apple Corps macrumors 68030

    Apr 26, 2003
    No - that is not the mobile version of Nahalem. The mobile version is slotted for production late this year.
  21. waffle911 macrumors regular

    Dec 22, 2007
    ⇧⌥K = 
    In terms of what others said earlier, I think it's more likely that they will perform a data migration from your old disk image to the new hard drive. They can do it at the store when you upgrade, I don't see why they wouldn't be able to do it for you in this case. Though I do agree, it does suck being forced to wait 2 months for a replacement, especially on something that you depend on professionally. I know in the automotive industry, they would at least give you a decent loaner vehicle until they could deliver on their promise (at least, high-end luxury dealers will; I see a lot of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Lexus courtesy vehicles driving around).

    However, I will be interested in knowing what you think of the new unibody. I'm off to university next year and I'm going to be majoring in engineering, with a few side classes in design; I at least want something with good battery life, large screen, and competent rendering performance to work with, and the 17" unibody sounds perfect.
  22. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2008
    when i had my logic board replaced on my 2 month old MBP, it took 3 days total. They sent it out thursday am, and had it sat at 10am.
  23. apolloa macrumors G4

    Oct 21, 2008
    Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
    Well I don't know about you, but in the UK that's utter BS. I dealt with Apple directly with my new Unibody MB Pro 15" which they happily replaced 3 times due to defects, no arguments or questions, just apologies and new machines. I didn't have to shout and get angry once. I find that if your firm but polite you get much further, if you shout, get angry, swear, they will be a lot more unhelpful because they will be thinking why should I help this c***. I mean fair enough your machine started to break after a year and a half, the fact Apple has replaced it with a BRAND NEW MODEL that's JUST been released I think is pretty damn good.
  24. xpovos macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2007
    Without a doubt there are. Plenty of them. I just never managed to find one. :(
  25. P90Xfit macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2009

    I agree, stay firm, just don't take any ****. If you don't like what they are telling you. "it will take three weeks for repair," then you tell them uh, no it better take less then 3 days!

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