MBP display issues + strange customer service...suggestions?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by lawstudent23, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. lawstudent23 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    #1
    Hi everyone,

    I am new to posting in forums but I really need some outside-Apple suggestions. I have had a MacBook Pro since mid-October and I am now starting to have an issue with it, as can be expected with any tech product. When I returned from Spring Break I opened the computer up to find a strange flickering display. I held the screen trying to adjust it and it went back to normal, but the minute I released it, the flickering began again. It was sporadic but it was there, so I called Apple and made an appointment. Over the next few days the flickering increased. This flickering can best be described as a "solarized" type look - bright colors suddenly get all sorts of weird shades, everything looks highly pixelated, and there is a weird vibrating/quivering effect that gives me headaches if I look at it too long. Now I know nothing about technology but this seems to me to be something loose or disattached with the display, because pressure on the back of the display does help and it does go back to normal sometimes.

    So here begins the real problem with Apple support in the Mac store. When taking off the Speck case, he noticed a tiny dent in the bottom corner of the display which came as a surprise to us both. Immediately, he accused me of dropping it, to which I replied that I used the Speck case and a separate laptop compartment in my backpack, and I had NEVER dropped it. He said, "I'm just calling it as I see it...and I see it's dented....so that is going to void your warranty because you damaged it when you dropped it." We then argued for 5 min. over whether I dropped it, and he tried to get me to think of every possible moment I could have dropped it. Then he noticed that the display hinge was incredibly loose....on the OPPOSITE corner of the computer. And that was where the pressure was fixing the problem. So then he said..."oh that's lucky...the dent seems to have nothing to do with the display so I guess you're covered." I now had the luck of now being covered by my own warranty, awesome. So they sent it in and sent it back and it only took them 8 days...

    Then I pick it up and the girl at the front can't tell me what was wrong with it. She told me that they "didn't replace anything" but assured me that everything was now operating fine, and I assumed that they just tightened something or plugged something back in. I didn't check it in the store either, again assuming from my previous experiences with other companies that they had actually done something to it to make it better - I have never had a problem getting anything repaired on warranty with an obvious hardware problem. Upon getting home and putting the Speck case back on, I booted up and the problem was still obviously there...except worse....almost CONSTANT flickering.

    I called Apple again and told them about my situation, only to have them tell me that it didn't look like they actually did ANYTHING to the computer. Everything was "within specs" at the repair center. So, regardless of the fact that I had an obvious problem verified by Genius Bar Guy....nothing was done when I sent it in. NOTHING. After being shuffled around at the call center the last guy gave me a code for a "forced repair"...an option that, in his words, "makes us repair whatever we determine is wrong with your display." HUH? This option will take yet another week - "3-5 business days at the earliest" - to pursue.

    I have never had to fight this much with any computer CS and I've had Toshiba, Dell, Gateway, etc... Even with an obvious problem I have to "force" Apple to repair a defective part?? Isn't that why we have warranties? Not to mention that as the guy explained it, again they get the power of determination even with a "forced repair" and could (if they really wanted to be jerks) just send it back again as "within specs." I am upset that I have paid thousands of dollars for this hardware, been without a computer for a week, and I am still not guaranteed even an honest attempt at fixing it the first time I sent it in. It does not bother me that I have to go through the repair process - I understand that is part of owning any computer. However, it DOES bother me that I have an obvious problem that Apple is trying their hardest NOT to fix.

    So...because I have been searching all over the Web to find a fix:
    1) has anyone had these kind of display problems?
    2) Has anyone had experience with a "forced repair?" I haven't been able to find anything about it online.
    3) Does Apple give loaners? He told me to schedule the fix ASAP as the force code will run out but right now I simply cannot give up my computer for another week. I could give up my computer now if they gave me another so I can get some work done over Easter.

    Thanks for any suggestions!
     
  2. LSMSA.Mac-user macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 29, 2008
    Location:
    Natchitoches, Louisiana
    #2
    I know it's not any help, but...

    I have been an avid Mac Forum reader since I got my first mac (coincidentally a santa-rosa MacBook Pro) but have never had the urge to actually post in threads until now. Your problem has struck home with me and the utterly deplorable customer service you have received has bothered me as well.

    My MacBook Pro is invaluable to me—I use it every single day for both schoolwork and homelife—but just recently my screen has begun to shudder and flicker when I open the computer. In fact, the only way to "fix" the problem is to press lightly against the right side of the screen with my thumb until the lines, shuddering, negative coloring, etc. go away. After my temporary "fix" the computer runs just as I would expect a several thousand dollar computer to run ... until I close and reopen the screen. I must then go through the same issues all over again.

    I have a two-fold problem with your customer service reports. First, I am bringing my computer in tomorrow to the *only* Apple certified repair center in my entire region (there isn't even an Apple store here) and I sincerely hope that they aren't even worse than you've reported Apple as being. Second, there is a dent on the side of my computer near the MagSafe port (dangerously close to the screen) and although it has absolutely no corrolation with my screen issues, I am now terrified that the repair center will argue that it has everything to do with my issues and that I will have to either spend another $700 to repair my already expensive computer or face the prospect of continuing to use a computer with a faulty piece of hardware. This is no way, in my opinion, for Apple to sell computers. Even though I would still purchase another MacBook Pro in the future, what will potential customers who see my own hardware issues think when they choose a computer?

    I am starting a summer semester soon and I cannot possibly go for more than a week without my computer, especially if it won't even be repaired. I feel that I am now in a similar boat as you, and I too am curious to see what people have to say about this frustrating situation that Apple has put us in.
     
  3. geekygoddess macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
    #3
    I had a similar problem recently. Mine was sent to the repair center and came back unfixed. So, they wanted to send it off again after it had already been gone for two weeks. I told them that was unacceptable and the manager gave me a brand new machine:) I was firm, not rude, sometimes you have to be that way. I am very satisfied with the service I have received from Apple, sorry you had that issue:(
     
  4. lawstudent23 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    #4
    Thanks for the responses....some follow up

    Yeah, that problem sounds exactly like mine. I used to hold my screen behind the hinges with my thumb. Hopefully they fix it for you. If you have the warranty it shouldn't be a problem for them to do it for you regardless of the dent - I am just saying be prepared to argue about it for a while (at least I did). Make sure that you keep driving them away from the dent issue and back to the problem of your actual display not functioning.

    After going back to the Mac store, they replaced the clamshell display. It took a little bit of being persistent again, and I only got a little grief about the dent the second time around. That has fixed the problem so far as I know, the display still looks great.

    The turnaround time was ridiculously fast when compared with the first time they took it in. I had it within like 2 days instead of the week it took last time. I think it might have been so fast because I told them that if I had to be without it for too long that they WOULD give me a loaner or they could see me in court, as I had already lost crucial time working on a semester long project for the week I was without the computer in the first place. The whole thing still makes absolutely NO sense to me. I'm not really mad, just confused as to why there was all this runaround.

    In other news, my B key is injured. I was in the middle of typing earlier today and the key made a weird crackling noise and fell off. The plastic scissor part is broken in the middle and fell apart - how did that one happen?! Back to Apple I go...
     
  5. LSMSA.Mac-user macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 29, 2008
    Location:
    Natchitoches, Louisiana
    #5
    Oh no.

    Well I don't live anywhere remotely near an Apple Store, so I had to bring mine in to an Apple Certified Repair Technician. The guy spent a whole week and a half "looking at my computer" only to tell me that it would not be covered under warranty because of the "abuse" to my computer. I argued with him, telling him that not only was it not the cause of the problem as it predated the problem by months, but that the dent was on the opposite side of the computer. Of course, this meant nothing to him, because even though he would "like to help" me out, he has to send in the part to Apple where he claims they would promptly bill him for the part as it should not have been covered under warranty due to "abuse."

    What ever happened to the great customer service Apple was once famous for?

    Anyway, I'm incredibly frustrated. Any ideas?
     
  6. dblissmn macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2002
    #6
    Don't deal with third parties re: Apple

    One way of dealing with this is to simply refuse to deal with any third party. Always deal direct with Apple. I was once charged $60 for a third-party simply to look at a computer under warranty. The relationship between Apple and the vast majority of third-party dealers is deplorable.

    As for Apple themselves, standards of service very tremendously. They have a real problem. I notice big variations even among the Apple stores in my area. I generally think in the US you get treated better when you mail order.
     
  7. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #7
    Write a nice fat letter to sjobs[at]apple.com and Mr. Jobs will take care of all your issues.

    Tips:
    1) Be courteous and professional
    2) Explain who you are
    3) Explain what have you done to get it resolved
    4) Explain Apple support's response so far
    5) Explain what you want done
    6) Be courteous and professional
     
  8. LSMSA.Mac-user macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 29, 2008
    Location:
    Natchitoches, Louisiana
    #8
    Well I wrote the letter

    I typed up a long, professional email yesterday and mailed it to both sjobs@apple.com and steve@mac.com. Hopefully I'll at least get some kind of response. I'm pretty down right now though. I really can't afford a $1000 repair on my computer. That virtually wipes out all my summer earnings... and I'm sure most of you know how valuable summer earnings can be for a full time student.
     
  9. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #9
    Uh I don't think emailing to steve@mac.com would be best (or at least not both); either your local store manager or the executive team (or both) you if you explained yourself.
     
  10. Burtonsnow9 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2008
    #10
    let us know if anything happens, as it would be interesting to see what is done
     
  11. LSMSA.Mac-user macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 29, 2008
    Location:
    Natchitoches, Louisiana
    #11
    I got a response, actually.

    I was pleasantly surprised earlier this morning when I checked my inbox... I had received a response from a public relations fellow in Cupertino. He provided me with a phone number and we had a long talk about my situation. He's now going to contact my repair technician and have him send in photos for Apple engineers to examine and hopefully help me out.

    -crosses fingers-

    Here's hoping, because I know the slightly bent/blemished corner of my upper casing predated my display problems by well over half a year.
     
  12. Dmac77 macrumors 68020

    Dmac77

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2008
    Location:
    Michigan
    #12
    good luck, I hope that your issue gets fixed. If I had to deal with some "genius" who acted like that I would have told hi/her to go and F**k themselves or something along those lines.

    Don
     
  13. LSMSA.Mac-user macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 29, 2008
    Location:
    Natchitoches, Louisiana
    #13
    An Update

    Apple has agreed to split the cost with me. I'll pay the first $400 and they'll pay the remaining amount (about $500 if I had to pay). I realize that what they're doing is pretty much "giving" the $450 part to my repair technician and then having me pay the actual repair costs, but hey... It's better then me having to spend almost $1000 on my own to fix the problem.

    All in all, I think it's a very smart move on Apple's part. They aren't losing too much money on it... actually they're gaining money: I will definitely continue buying mac products for years to come.

    Thanks Apple for the help you were able to give me.

    And thank you guys for the advice.
     
  14. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
  15. LSMSA.Mac-user macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 29, 2008
    Location:
    Natchitoches, Louisiana
    #15
    Thanks alphaod. You've been a big help. :D
     

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