My MacBook is a dud. What can I reasonably expect from Apple customer service?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by joseph85, Aug 17, 2008.

  1. joseph85 macrumors newbie

    Aug 17, 2008
    This is my first post to this forum and unfortunately my first post is one in need of some help.

    Let me start off by saying I really like Apple's software. Mac OS X, iWork Pages, iWork Numbers, Mail, iTunes, and the list goes on. It's worth repeating: I really like Apple's software. Unfortunately, my MacBook has given me a lot of problems :(

    I just purchased an iPhone and I'm waiting for it to arrive my my local AT&T store. I don't have phone service right now, but once my iPhone arrives I'll give Apple a call.

    Here are the details:

    I've owned my MacBook now for 2 years. I did not, much to my aggravation, purchase the AppleCare warranty. In the 2 years I've owned my MacBook, it has given me a lot of problems.

    1. In 2006, it would shut itself down intermittently. Fortunately, this problem occured during the 1 year warranty, so Apple fixed it.

    2. The battery wont hold a charge. It works for about an hour and then it goes to sleep. While charging, the battery icon switches back and forth between "x amount of time until full" and "calculating time until charged."

    3. The power adapter wire looks pretty bad. The outer insulation is broken where the wire meets the connection to my MacBook. I can see the shield, but the center conductor is intact and it provides power to my MacBook.

    4. The LCD screen is very dim. It was brilliantly bright in 2006. In 2008, I can barely read text.

    5. The palm rest area looks pretty bad. It's cracked and slightly discolored. The cracks are right along the bottom edge where the LCD rests against the case.

    6. The right arrow key on my keyboard doesn't work.

    Now, I understand my MacBook isn't under warranty. However, holy cow!!! It should last more than 2 years and I'm left with the feeling of "what's going to break next?!?!"

    What can I reasonably expect from Apple when I can call them?
  2. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    "Thanks for playing" :eek:

    Seriously, it is outside the warranty

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
  3. EricNau Moderator emeritus


    Apr 27, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    They are not obligated to make any repairs after the warranty expires, with one exception: if any of your current problems were documented with Apple while the warranty was valid, they may be obligated to repair that issue.

    Do you have a genius bar nearby? You need not have a current warranty to make an appointment, and you can discuss your issues with them.
  4. joseph85 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 17, 2008
    I've considered buying a new computer and tossing this thing.

    But for my $1,300 I spent on this thing, I have not gotten a very good return on investment. I do enjoy the software, but is it worth this much aggravation?

    I understood the terms of the warranty when I chose not to purchase AppleCare.

    I did not, however, foresee Apple selling a piece of junk. I purchased my MacBook based on Apple's reputation for making "better" computers.

    Had I known the AppleCare warranty was a requirement to keep the computer running, I would have purchased it.

    I'm an E-4 (SrA) in the Air Force active duty. My pay is not high enough to afford replacing my computer every 2 years.
  5. WillMak macrumors 6502a

    Jul 29, 2005
    I've had many of your same problems and apple repaired #1, #2, #3, #5, and #6 outside warranty. I too have a two year old macbook without applecare.

  6. joseph85 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 17, 2008
    Thanks for your post WillMak.

    How was your experience getting these problems fixed?
  7. Trajectory macrumors 6502a

    Nov 13, 2005
    This is why AppleCare is a must for all laptops. They have far more problems than desktop computers, and it's usually worth the cost for the extended warranty.
  8. chameleon81 macrumors 6502

    May 16, 2006
    try to get the apple care from ebay you can find deals. ( i did it once for a macbook pro i was going to sell and i paid around 130-150 - And it worked :))
  9. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Not an option for the OP however, because Applecare must be bought and registered in the first 365 days.

    All batteries wear down and need to be replaced. How soon depends on the type of use it gets.
  10. WillMak macrumors 6502a

    Jul 29, 2005
    It was pretty fantastic. I actually didn't know they would replace those parts for free. When my battery wasn't charging properly and would shut down randomly I though tI needed to buy a brand new battery. However, ta apple employee told me that my macbook might qualify for a battery replacement program if it was in the proper serials. It was and I got a brand new spanking battery!

    Palm rests were replaced with no questions asked.

    My power adaptor actually tore and I called applecare and they send me a new one that arrived in three days for free.

    I never had the brightness issue because I use an external to hook up with my macbook at home. But I'm pretty sure that will happen to me also down the road.
  11. WillMak macrumors 6502a

    Jul 29, 2005
    Oh in addition, my HArddrive also died and apple upgraded me to a bigger HD for free!
  12. uburoibob macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2002
    Location: Rochester, NY
    The case issue is well documented. You MAY find that Apple replaces the case. As far as the rest of it goes, I think you are on your own with the battery and power adapter - that sounds like wear and tear to me. I've not heard of the screen dimming - that may be due to you using a frayed power adapter and never getting enough juice.

    I sense from your tone that you won't get far with Apple. These computers are not "pieces of junk". Try saying that and watch how quickly you have to reach for your wallet. Be polite, contrite and humble.

    I've bought a squad of Macbooks for myself and employees. There have been small issues that crop up with each of them. The only one that all have experienced is the case issue. The keyboard will be replaced when they replace your case.
  13. tdhurst macrumors 601


    Dec 27, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ

    A computer is not an investment. An investment is something you input time or money into, then can expect to get a greater amount back than you originally put in.

    Electronics are NOT investments.

    Just sayin'.

    Okay, maybe some rare electronics are, but certainly not for their value as gadgets.
  14. Mr Skills macrumors 6502a

    Mr Skills

    Nov 21, 2005
    Whereabouts in the world are you?

    Depending on which country you're in, local consumer law may be able to help, particularly if you are in Europe.
  15. joseph85 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 17, 2008
    United States. Specifically, Arkansas which does not have an Apple Store. I'm stationed at Little Rock AFB.
  16. joseph85 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 17, 2008
    I understand this is an Apple fan site. I'm getting the impression from some of the replies here that anything wrong with my MacBook is, of course, my fault.

    Can Apple do no wrong?

    My "tone" is one of a disappointed and frustrated customer. A computer is indeed an investment. I expect the following return on my investment:

    1. Entertainment
    2. Access to the Internet and the obvious benefits to Internet access
    3. Software to make my life easier/better (iWork, iTunes, etc.)

    My MacBook has provided a fair return on investment; however, with it's continued problems, I regret purchasing it.

    Arguing with semantics does not excuse Apple for selling me a computer that's falling apart.

    I have not abused my MacBook. I have a soft neoprene case for it in the rare instance that it leaves my desk. 90% of the time it never leaves my desk. "Wear and tear" is hardly an excuse for the problems I'm having.
  17. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    The reality is that notebooks break and have numerous issues. It isn't just Apple. It's not like they intentionally set out to cause you these issues and by the sounds of it you haven't done anything about seeing if issues 2-6 can be resolved. As you can see from WillMak's comments Apple will sometimes go the extra length.

    Technology isn't at a point where every $1300 notebook can be made to last for years without fault. For some insight, I believe that average failure rates within the first year are still around 15% for notebooks (some ranges/models/companies are obviously alot higher). One of the biggest problem is that consumers aren't aware, especially first time notebook owners, that there is such a chance of problems. All you can really do is consider that to guarantee a Apple notebook will last you 3 years is to get Applecare.

    On the subject of this site, I have found that there is alot of anger towards Apple on the subject of quality and there don't seem to be many Apple apologists when it comes to this sort of thing. People are just telling you how it is, it's the internet and people will often be blunt. It would be no different at somewhere like the notebookreview forums.
  18. tdhurst macrumors 601


    Dec 27, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ

    Yes, many of us fanboys are more than a little disappointed with Apple's recent quality slippage, but most of us are realistic about it.

    Things break and while Apple computers may not be the tanks they used to be, I'd say you're still getting more for your money than the average PC. I think some people, especially switchers, are sometimes under this impression that Macs NEVER break. The only guarantee (well, as close as you can possible get to one) is that you won't get any VIRUSES when using a mac and you will in general have a better computing experience.

    And again, computers are not an investment, they are an expense. Oh, and always buy Applecare. It's a no-brainer, especially for laptops.
  19. joseph85 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 17, 2008
    Just to see, I re-calibrated my LCD screen and it looks a whole lot better!

    I think the majority of my problems are with Apple's design for the MacBook. The plastic case warps, cracks, and discolors. White plastic wasn't a good idea.

    I just now checked out how much it costs for a new power adapter. $80?! Wow. I was expecting $40 or $50.

    The reviews for the power adapter by other customers is pretty poor. Looks like I'm not the only one having problems.

    Searching on Apple's web site, they appear to have a program setup to replace defective batteries:

    According to the date I purchased my MacBook and the symptoms it has, I think I qualify for a replacement.

    I feel fairly confident that Apple will replace my case and battery since those problems are well documented. Since the trackpad, keyboard, and palm rest are one assembly, all those problems will be fixed. I'm not sure about the power adapter though.

    I'm going to buy apeelz ( plastic film coverings to protect my MacBook after I get these problems fixed. That should prevent further problems.
  20. patrickmacrumor macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2008
    I would call Apple for the battery. Usually, a battery's warranty is one year even under AppleCare. Like you, I bought one of the first generation MacBook in 2006. In January 2008, my battery started shutting down my MacBook at 40% charge. I was told that they were aware of this problem with some of the batteries in the first generation MacBooks and agreed to replace mine.

    Good Luck !
  21. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    The power adapter will likely be swapped if you walk into an Apple Store.

    At 2 years, the battery will likely be a new purchase even if you had Apple Care.
  22. zer0tails macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    Moral of the story. Always buy Apple care whether you need it or not. I have a bunch of things I have to buy apple care for before the warranty runs out.
  23. skubish macrumors 68030


    Feb 2, 2005
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    1. Fixed
    2. It is well known that Li-ion batteries are only rated for 12-18months of life. Sorry you didn't research this earlier.
    3. Apple will probably fix this
    4. Sound like you fixed this
    5. Apple will probably fix this known issue
    6. Apple will probably fix this known issue
  24. joseph85 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 17, 2008
    WillMak, you must have talked to the right person or have better luck than I do.

    I called them just a few minutes ago and they are not fixing or replacing anything.

    I'm just going to buy a new computer.
  25. bartzilla macrumors 6502a

    Aug 11, 2008
    Always be polite when complaining and asking for help. Hopefully for everyone here that's already a given.

    But... "contrite and humble"? Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you mean by that exactly, but a customer should never need to go cap in hand and beg for help. We are the customer, we should be able to expect the people who enjoy our custom to be as helpful as they possibly and reasonably can be, as long as we treat them politely and respectfully.

    It is reasonable to expect a computer to last at least 2 years under normal use, and the OP should politely (as I'm sure they will) and in an objective and professional manner ask the Apple Store team for help in solving this problem.

    Don't you have some kind of consumer rights and protection over there in the US? Warranties make things easier, but here in the UK a company that disavowed expensive items of this kind after only 12 months of 'reasonable' use would get pwned by the legal system.

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