My first (and hopefully last) experience with AppleCare

Discussion in 'iMac' started by adamneer, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. adamneer macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2013
    Chicago, IL
    So i ordered a refurbished 27" late 2012 iMac just before Christmas (the one listed in my signature) and decided that I would definitely purchase AppleCare, but would wait a bit longer before doing so, since it was already a $2,000 purchase. Initially, I planned to wait a few months before paying the additional $170 for AppleCare, and figured that there was really no additional use for it in the meantime, since the overly simplistic chart on Apple's site basically says your first year of warranty service is covered, even without AppleCare.

    Upon receiving the iMac, I noticed right away that it had some pretty noticeable issues with image retention. I was pretty disappointed with this, and online documentation from Apple would have you believe that image retention is a common problem with LCDs and that for the most part, it is out of the scope of responsibility for Apple to fix it. So, even though I highly disagree with this statement (none of the other 9 LCDs I've used in the last 7 years has shown image retention to the extent that I am seeing with this iMac) I decided to give it some time, to see if it was an issue I could live with, given the fact that the giant 27" iMac is not exactly return friendly. In any case, after a few weeks of use, I decided that the fact that I spent $2,000 on this computer was enough to deem some sort of action to correct my screen issues worthwhile. I read a few posts from others, saying how easy it was for them to either simply exchange their computers (for the same issue) or have it serviced, so today, I contacted customer service.

    I first began an online chat. This was not too much a big deal, and although they asked a few questions that were clearly geared towards the typical no-nothing customer, I was able to describe my issue with them well enough for the rep to suggest I either bring it in to an Apple store for service, or if i wanted, he would have a service rep contact me by phone to possibly set up an in-home repair. This was the option I was interested in, since again, a 27" iMac is not the sort of thing you want to be lugging around town.

    So part 2 is where I spoke with someone on the phone regarding the issues. A little annoying at first was the 5 minutes or so they needed to go over my previous interaction with the online rep, while I was on the line. Could this not have been done before calling me? But fine, no big deal, so after that is done, I go on to give him a little more detail about my image retention. He asks "how long does the image remain visible" and I tell him that I have witnessed image retention lasting around 30 minutes, from the time I closed whatever window caused it, till the light blue silhouette that can be seen on a grey background completely dissolves. He is initially surpassed at this, saying that the "normal" image retention Apple is speaking of, should last no longer than a second or two. (I believe what he is describing would more accurately be referred to as ghosting)

    Next he wants me to quickly grant him access to a screen share, so he can rule out whatever he needs to. I agree, and though we were both aware that image retention wouldn't display itself on another computer anyway, I believe this was a step that needed to be done more for beurocratic reasons than actual helpfulness. After this is done, he asks if I have taken any pictures of the screen with a camera, and whether I can upload them for him to see. So I upload a photo I took with my iPhone to their special link he sent me in an email. The only other diagnostic he asked me about was whether I had the same issue with any other monitors connected externally to my iMac, which I told him I have not. I have a 24" Dell Ultrasharp sitting right next to the iMac which exhibits no such behavior. With all of this, he says, the issue is definitely a hardware issue that is covered under warranty. Unfortunately he tells me that only in-store repair is covered by the built-in warranty that I have without AppleCare.

    So that sucked. The whole point of any of this was to get them to initiate some sort of in-home action. Otherwise, I could have easily just scheduled an appointment and taken it in on my own, without first having to spend an hour with customer service. So my immediate reaction is to unfortunately pay for AppleCare over the phone with him so that I can be granted access to in-home repair service. I would typically expect not to have to pay for such an exception when the item that needs service is so large, but seeing as I had planned to eventually get AppleCare anyway, I reluctantly did so. After paying, he informs me that he will need to get approval by his manager (or whatever) to have a service tech dispatched. Since we are already 20-30 minutes into a phone call, he suggests he call me back in 5-10 minute rather than putting me on hold, to which I agree.

    After about 15 minutes, I get a call, this time not from the 800 number that I was connected to previously, but from a number registered somewhere in Austin, TX. For some reason, the person calling me is not the man I was already speaking to, but the more highly ranked person the previous agent was needing approval from. So a lady begins by giving me the typical "we're very sorry for all of your inconvenience thus far" and "thanks for hanging in there with us". You know, the usual things we hear from every CSR we have the misfortune of working with. She then informs me that my particular case was not something they were able to diagnose and confirm over the phone or online, and that I would need to bring it into a store to have it confirmed before service. Now up until this point, I found nothing objectionable about the process. But immediately I asked her what exactly the purpose of the networked screen share and uploaded photo was. If these were not things capable of returning proper confirmation of my issues, then what purpose did they serve, other than to waste my time? For this she offers another half sincere apology. I also tell her that the 2 people I had already spoken to made no mention of the need to "confirm" my issues before qualifying me for service, in fact, the impression I got from the last guy was that it was something "definitely" covered by my warranty, and something that I could get fixed via the in-home service. Again, an unoriginal "sorry" from the CSR manager.

    So the final "solution" that she offered me (and something she touted as being outside of their normal scope of offerings) was to call the local service agents in my area to see if any of them would work with them on a free in-home confirmation of my issues. I told her, whatever needs to get done, fine, but I absolutely would not be paying for any additional consultation on account of them not being able to confirm my hardware defect over the phone or online. She says she will call me back in 30 min to an hour with the results of her "findings".

    After only 20 minutes or so, she calls back to "regrettably" inform me that none of the technicians in my area would be able to do an on-site service confirmation for no charge. She lists pricing anywhere from $150 at one place to $300 minimum rate from another. And unfortunately, this was not a cost they were willing to incur in order for me to confirm that in fact my brand new $2,000 computer had an issue that was worthy of repair. I told her again, there is absolutely no way I am paying for this, and asked whether there was a chance I could simply return or exchange the iMac without having to put up another $2,000 charge on my credit card for the time it takes for them to get my return. Unfortunately, no was the answer I got, which didn't surprise me. So in the end, her ABSOLUTE BEST solution for me was that she would be more than willing to find my nearest Apple store and schedule an in-store service appointment for me. I told her no thanks, I am quite capable of doing so on my own.

    In all of this, I just cannot help but wonder, if sharing my screen with a CSR and sending them a picture of my issue is not enough to confirm that my computer has a defect, then what issue could ANYONE possibly have that they could in fact confirm over the phone or internet? I suppose the only issues they could possibly get 100% confirmation would be those that were logged through system errors, but if that were the only sort that they could justify scheduling in-home service for, why couldn't they have told me this at the very beginning, before wasting an hour of my time and giving me false hope for an easy outcome? Honestly, is the picture I've attached not enough confirmation of a bad monitor?

    Attached Files:

  2. Ak907Freerider macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2012
    I had somewhat of the same experience with applecare. My HDD was failing a week after purchase. Then logic board went. Took right at year and a half to FINALLY get replaced. I ended up having to buy a external thunderbolt HDD and show them first hand that it was in fact their HDD failing. About 25 calls, 2 in store repairs later they finally fixed it. Now the video card is going out and my wifi card is dead. Same story had to buy and return 3 routers what a pain that is BTW till they finally agreed it was my wifi card. Applecare said they would cover it just bring it in again. Told them Im done I contacted Excutive relations who I dealt with before told him it had failed AGAIN. He told me he would call me next day. Well got a call today first thing he said is he is extremely sorry for all the run around I went through and he is shipping me a new computer.

    Moral of these stories don't expect applecare to actually assist. They will stall you out for as long as posable. In hopes you either A give up, or B run out of warranty.
  3. richard13 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2008
    Mill Creek, WA
    Wow... that is quite the tale and it's also very unfortunate. My condolences.

    You said you noticed the problem right away. I have to ask, why didn't you just return the iMac when it was still within the return period? Yes, it's big and heavy and all but you would have saved yourself all this aggravation if you did.

    But since you didn't, you should have been able to have this resolved via AppleCare as all new Apple products come with it. The first 90 days you can get technical support and the first year covers your equipment (warranty). I'm puzzled as to why they wanted you to buy the extended AppleCare so soon after purchase.

    As far as in-home repair is concerned, I've never heard of that. Interesting though.

    Good luck to you on your Apple Store visit. Having a live person there to check out your issue should yield better results than the phone conversations you had. I know from first hand experience that the phone calls do waste a lot of time and don't usually resolve the issue.
  4. adamneer thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2013
    Chicago, IL
    the reason i didn't return it right away was as follows-
    1) after some googling, i found that image retention is a relatively common issue with this particular iMac, and there is always a chance that whatever machine i get in exchange could also suffer from it (a weak excuse, i know)

    2) there is the obvious pain in returning a gigantic 27" computer, and the less obvious pain of having to completely wipe the freshly migrated data from the bad machine and then reinstall everything on the new machine.

    3) i figured i would give it some time, knowing i had a year of warranty coverage that from my knowledge would allow me to get this issue fixed or replaced if need be. i wanted to be sure it was an issue that would cause me grievance during normal use, and not just something that i could only notice under limited and atypical usage.

    4) i don't have another $2,000 that i can put up for the interim time of an online exchange, and since its a refurbished unit, i can't do a 1 for 1 exchange in-store.
  5. Ak907Freerider macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2012
    Don't give up. It is like pulling teeth to get service with AppleCare. If it is not on their cue card what to say they say go to a store. Then at store if they can not see the problem with their own eyes they hand it back. It is a endless game they play.

    Best thing I did was email Tim cook and explain all the steps you have taken. They do have in house repair just they don't like to admit it so might take awhile to go that route. If you have the time and patience to sit at store to make it do your problem go for it. I did not have hours to sit at store to show them. But I was able to call when it would fail and do a screen sharing to show them.

    Also document every call email etc. get the techs name also. I know this sounds ridiculous to have to do to get service but this is how apple works. They are very friendly yet they will lead you on a wild goose chase to get repaired. After my 3rd failure I made it very clear that we are done and it needs replacement. They told me they wouldn't. This is when you need someone higher up to step in. Tech support doesn't have the authority to replace unless it is 3rd failure of exact same part ( 3 hdd or something ). But a apple executive relations person does. This is why you email Tim cook.

    Good luck it is extremely fustrating. I really thought about filming my whole AppleCare adventure. It got very entertaining at times. Like when they told me to bring it in that day then I get to store. 4th floor of mall mind you. They tell me they aren't accepting computers for repair due to the holidays.

    Or when they called said it was repaired ready for pick up. So I get a babysitter go to mall only to be approached by 2 managers telling me " ya we're waiting on parts it's not done". Ahhhhh AppleCare
  6. Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000


    May 17, 2012
    Oh, boy... My screen has all kinds of dirt and mark on the right side that looks just like a set of finger prints between the glass and screen inside it. I also have experienced my video card overheating and shutting itself off when gaming. I can just imagine the fun of "proving" that to them. The screen though is obvious just to look at it with any light background displayed. The entire perimeter of the screen is dirty inside and looks terrible. This is a mid-2011 27" iMac I purchased from brand new with AppleCare also at the same time. I will have owned this for two years this coming May so I am well within warranty. I bought it new from Amazon because there is no store near here in the sticks.

    I was not aware they offer in-house service. When I called about this they wanted me to travel someplace to bring it in. I guess I need to call back and brace myself for some fun trying to get the service I paid for on a $2,000. computer with an added $170. extended warranty.

    The above horror stories have me not feeling so well right about now. :eek:
  7. Ak907Freerider, Jan 15, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2014

    Ak907Freerider macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2012
    A apple store will just run a diagnostic test for 24-48 hrs. If it passes fine they will do nothing and hand it back. So cross your fingers it happens in that time or else your stuck with your broken machine. Maybe try filming it failing. That could help. Very tedious to do but apple will not cover something unless they see it first hand. Even showing them with screen sharing they won't consider that a failure. It has to happen in store.

    Also another thing I found out if you buy your apple product at say best buy, amazon etc. they will not replace it in store. They will order you a refurbished replacement. Which can take a bit. Yet if you bought product at a apple store they will pull new one off the shelf and off you go. Found this out with my 3 AirPort Extreme routers.
  8. adamneer thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2013
    Chicago, IL

    I got a call this afternoon from the same lady that denied me in-home service yesterday. She wanted to know if there was anything else I needed and again, if I wanted any help setting up an appointment at a store. It's funny though, because i could have sworn that I told her the answer to these questions yesterday. I guess I'm supposed to see this as good customer service? Because she "followed up"? I told her the only thing I could possibly need help with at this point is getting someone to do in-home service, to which she said "unfortunately thats the only thing I can't help you with". What a joke.

    My biggest problem with everything so far is this:

    -They got me to purchase AppleCare before I had originally planned on doing so, because they told me specifically that I could only get in-home service through AppleCare and not through the existing product warranty.

    -After having purchased it for the sole reason of getting in-home service, they tell me in order to get someone to work on the computer, it has to be a confirmed issue, which even after unofficially being confirmed by the first 2 CSR's was denied by the one responsible for setting up an appointment. The one who, conveniently, did not handle any of the actual discussion of my issue.
  9. Ak907Freerider macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2012
    You will probably have to bring in for repair. If they find no problems at store then email Tim cook. You will get a call from apple executive relations. Explain your case. Save every email, call time date names etc. Show this to them. You have to play their game fully until you can prove every means was taken to get repaired. At that point they should offer in house repair. Good luck your going to go through the ringer.
  10. richard13 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2008
    Mill Creek, WA
    Whoa... what happened here? Were these the new "tower" ones?
  11. Ak907Freerider macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2012
    Well turned out my iMac fresh from a new logic board, hdd and ram replacement from apple store. Long story short wifi card died. So apple kept blaming the router. So would swap out. After 2nd router I got money back and tried a netgear router. Same problem. So got experimenting on my own since apple couldn't figure it out. Shut off one device at a time iPad, iPhones etc. Then shut off iMac and ta da wifi works great. So called back explained what I found and was told to bring into store to see if they could duplicate the wifi problem. Ya not playing that game after a year and a half to fix previously mentioned logic board, hdd and ram.

    So called the apple executive relations guy that I dealt with with previous problems and said "I'm done" called back next day told me he is shipping me a new iMac.
  12. Ak907Freerider macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2012
    Just a little update. Got call today from executive relations guy I have been working with. Told me it is taking a bit longer because they are replacing my 2011 iMac bto for a 2013 iMac bto. So after many failed parts (logic board, hdd, ram, and the death blow wifi card). They are finally replacing my cursed iMac. I just asked about adding fusion for extra cost waiting to hear back. Either way will be a joyfull walk to store to drop the cursed iMac off for good. Hopefully it doesn't get resold haha. If it does I'm sure I will see your posts in the forums!
  13. stjames70 macrumors member

    Jul 5, 2009
    iMac system failing and AppleCare

    iMac 12,1 or iMac 27in Mid 2011

    I bought AppleCare with the computer and I am glad I did.

    The video card failed about a month ago (that would have been covered with or without AppleCare), and I brought it to the Apple store to have it fixed. After running diagnostics and so forth, they determined it was the video card. They proceeded to order the part, and a new LCD display. Apparently some bugs got in, so it was considered contamination so they just replaced the whole display along with the video card. Now, my primary startup disk, the internal SSD has completely failed. Luckily, I CCC that SSD to the internal 2TB HD, so when the SSD failed, the computer just booted from the HD, and I backed up the HD to a Promise R6.

    I personally would not waste too much time talking on the phone. I know that the iMac is a behemoth, but take it in to the Apple Store. They can fix it there most of the time, and the tech people are usually a lot easier to work with than the ones on the phone. Besides, I hate being put on hold. So unless you are physically unable, take your iMac in for repair -- pain in the butt, but it will get fixed the right way.

    And I have heard that Apple will give you a new machine eventually if you have too many failures with your current one. Don't know who ultimately decides, but I have heard of this quite often and first hand, so you might want to try that tact in case your machine is really that problematic.

    I also own two MacPros 3,1 (2008), and I can say with confidence that compared to those, the iMac kind of sucks. I have never had this many hardware problems with Apple products as this particular mid-2011 iMac whereas the MacPros are just rock solid. On for most these last 5-6 years and have only had one HD fail (that's expected). I really believe the mid-2011 iMacs have serious heat dissipation issues which eventually destroy most of the sensitive components inside the tight case.
  14. Ak907Freerider macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2012
    I agree about the mid 2011 having issues. I have never had a computer fail so many times. Pretty fustrating after such a steep price tag. Hopefully the 2013 model is more reliable. If not it will be for sale. There is no reason in this day and age a computer shouldn't last a min. 5 plus years. So we shall see.

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