My MacBook needs AppleCare repairs (after 3 years in Africa)

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by umiwangu, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. umiwangu macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Location:
    Malawi
    #1
    I'll be heading back to the US on Saturday after being away for 3 years and I've got a nice long list of repairs that needs to be made (I'm still under warranty). I'm just wondering what the best course of action would be (by phone/store?) and what needs to accompany the MacBook if/when I take it in.

    I purchased a bottom end refurb MacBook back in February 2007 (first gen?) and I got the extended AppleCare. The machine has performed really well (I had issues with the optical drive at first, got it repaired in Jhb), but in the last couple months some things have popped up.

    Here are the list of issues I'm having:
    1. Small white spots appears on the screen. They are only visible when the screen is a solid colour. I've seen this before on other LCDs and I think it's just ageing. I don't really mind if this isn't covered.
    2. I'm starting to get small hairline cracks under the palm rest (but on the shiny plastic, not on the palmrest itself) and back by the vent. Does anyone know if this is covered? (I use an Incase neoprene case all the time, along with thin foam between the screen and keyboard)
    3. The biggest issue: the battery just started swelling in November. At first it wasn't that bad, but it's getting worse. The battery is also starting to push the palmrest up and the MacBook is resting on the battery now instead of the feet.
    4. The screen flickers when it's on the lowest brightness setting and on battery (all the time). It also does it sometimes on full brightness and on A/C.
    5. A friend's dog chewed my Magsafe right where it connects to the MacBook, but it's been soldered back together. I know this won't be covered, and that's fine.

    This is the first time I'll be dealing with AppleCare and I would just like a couple pointers on the best way to do it. Should I call Apple first? Shall I just take it into an Apple Store (I've never actually been in one, but there is one about 30 minutes away from where I'll be staying).

    And if I do take it in, should I put the original RAM back in (I replaced one 256 stick with 1 GB). Do I need that little card with my AppleCare registration number? I also have Windows 7 installed (I use it 99% of the time): Can I leave that on the hard drive (after a back up, of course)?

    I'm hoping worst case scenario is that I get a new battery. Best case scenario would be getting a brand new white MacBook, but that might be too much to hope for. I'm planning on selling this one anyway and upgrading to a 13" MBP.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. GfulDedFan macrumors 65816

    GfulDedFan

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Location:
    Indiana
    #2
    First I would check your warranty status Here
    and then make an appointment at the store before you take it in. This can be done online after locating the store.

    If you have more questions, look Here.
     
  3. phoobo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2008
    #3
    stop using that battery right away!

    This could be very dangerous, and there is danger of explosion. Take it in to a recycler to have it disposed of properly.

    Unfortunately, I doubt Apple care will cover the other stuff.
     
  4. umiwangu thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Location:
    Malawi
    #4
    As in, not safe enough to carry on an airplane? I do kind of have to take it back to get it replaced though.... and they don't have recyclers here. :)

    Good call. So take it into a store instead of mailing it in?

    I forgot to mention one other major issue. The screen flickers when it's on the lowest brightness setting and on battery (all the time). It also does it sometimes on full brightness and on A/C.
     
  5. GfulDedFan macrumors 65816

    GfulDedFan

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Location:
    Indiana
    #5
    Mailing it in is always an option but I like to take it in so that I can be involved with the diagnosis part of my claim(s). Also an advantage to taking it in would be that you may be able to walk out with a fixed notebook instead of doing without for a period of time. If after you do take it in and it needs to be mailed, the store will handle that for you.
     
  6. umiwangu thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #6
    Sounds like a plan. Thanks very much for the help.

    Seth
     
  7. acfusion29 macrumors 68040

    acfusion29

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2007
    Location:
    Toronto
    #7
    what? Apple SHOULD repair most of his problems, and even replace the battery. As you said... it's very dangerous, and it's under 3 years of use...

    Should be repaired.

    If this is what I think it is, then it will be covered.

    Should be repaired.

    Just bring it in with you, the least they can say is no.
     
  8. umiwangu thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Malawi
    #8
    Thanks.
     
  9. fluffyx macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    #9
    Adding my one-and-a-half cents:

    Issue #1: White spots on an LCD are generally caused by pressure. It doesn't hurt to ask, but don't expect this to be covered.

    Issue #2: Near your MacBook's palm rests, you will see shiny plastic (part of the bottom case, the part that wraps around to the bottom of the computer. You will also see non-shiny plastic where your palms actually rest (on the top side of the computer, on the same plane as the keyboard). If the cracks are on the bottom case (shiny part), Apple has specific instructions NOT to cover this. Again, it doesn't hurt to ask.

    Issue #3: Battery will be replaced no questions asked.

    Issue #4: Sounds like a faulty display inverter. It usually takes a while for an Apple Store to replace this part.

    Issue #5: Good luck!
     
  10. umiwangu thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
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    Malawi
    #10
    I think I know what kind of white 'pressure' spots you mean, and these are not that kind. These spots are beneath the surface and elongated (not corresponding with raised areas on the upper surface of the MB). I've also seen these same types of spots on my dad's Dell flatscreen, so I'm pretty sure it's not pressure.

    Yes, it's the shiny part. I've been lucky and don't have any cracks on the matte bits. I know Apple hadn't been covering this type of thing, but didn't they change their minds earlier this year? (http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/09/04/08/apple_addressing_cracks_on_white_macbooks_casings.html). It's mainly just cosmetic.

    I'll only be back in the US for two months. Would this give them enough time?
     
  11. fluffyx macrumors 6502

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    Oct 25, 2007
    #11
    #4: Yes, two months will be more than enough. By "a while," I meant 3-5 days :).

    Enjoy!
     
  12. umiwangu thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Cool. Thanks!
     
  13. btbrossard macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 25, 2008
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #13
    Damaged Lithium Ion Batteries are not supposed to be loaded onto an airplane, cargo or passenger.

    The chance of a problem are slim, but then again I wouldn't risk it.
     
  14. umiwangu thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #14
    And how would I get it replaced then?
     
  15. phoobo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2008
    #15
    Just take a pic of it

    Just take a picture of it and show it to the Apple people. Explain to them that you didn't want to be in the same room with it anymore. They will understand. If not, write me a private msg and I'll arrange it. This is risky stuff, as such batteries could leak or even explode.
     
  16. acfusion29 macrumors 68040

    acfusion29

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    Toronto
    #16
    wtf.. they won't understand. Anyone can take a picture...
     
  17. umiwangu thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Malawi
    #17
    :)

    I took it on the plane anyway. Good thing it didn't explode. I'll be going into the Apple Store later this week. I'll let you all know what happens.
     
  18. acfusion29 macrumors 68040

    acfusion29

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2007
    Location:
    Toronto
    #18
    lol.. I think people really need to think before they come up with theories. Such as using your phone on a plane...

    but ya.. keep us updated!
     
  19. btbrossard macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #19
    Has using a phone in flight ever caused any problem with anything? Probably not.

    Has a damaged LithiumIon Battery ever exploded? Yes. Is the chance of a problem very slim? Absolutely.

    Good luck at the Apple Store. I hope they can fix everything up for you.
     

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  20. umiwangu thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #20
    I should mention that I didn't actually use it on the plane. I just carried it in my hand luggage.
     
  21. umiwangu thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Location:
    Malawi
    #21
    Not quite what I expected...

    I went to the Apple store on the 30th, and I got some answers. I admit, my expectations may have been a bit high, but I thought I would get a bit more.

    So, the battery was obviously bulging. It was replaced after the Genius checked the battery with his little bootable iPod Nano (what's wrong with a $5 flash drive?). The batt had something like 280 cycles, but it was replaced anyway.

    On to the flickering... The stupid MacBook screen refusing to flicker, no matter what I tried. So obviously he didn't do anything there. And when I got back to the house later that day, it was doing the flickering!

    The Genius also said the cracks in the glossy (body) plastic was not covered by Apple, so he couldn't do anything like that. I brought up that advisory article from back in June, but he said something about it not applying.

    Any advice here? Should I just give Apple a call by phone and see if the flickering at least can be taken care of? I've got about 5 weeks left of AppleCare (extended already), so it would be good to get this sorted sooner rather than later.

    And what's the final word on this plastic casing? Is it just the cracks in the palmrest which were covered? As I said, it's mainly cosmetic, but if this has been admitted to be a flaw by Apple, then I want it replaced.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  22. acfusion29 macrumors 68040

    acfusion29

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2007
    Location:
    Toronto
    #22
    Next time it flickers, record it and show the genius bar.

    I think you need to go back and ask to speak to a manager. The cracking in the casing is a known issue and people out of warranty have had their top cases replaced.

    I suggest calling Apple and have them open a case for you there... hopefully you'll talk to someone that knows what they're talking about. Then if you go to the Genius Bar, they'll be able to pull up your case. Or perhaps even emailing Steve Jobs about your issues.
     
  23. umiwangu thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Location:
    Malawi
    #23
    So record the flickering on a camera or something... good idea. I'll give Apple a call as well and see what they say about the plastic.

    Thanks.
     
  24. fluffyx macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    #24
    Only palmrest cracks (on the non-glossy plastic) are covered.

    If you call 800-APL-CARE and request a mail-in repair, the technicians at the central repair facility will read your symptoms (intermittently flickering backlight) and know exactly what part to replace—the inverter.

    I'm sorry to hear your local Apple Store didn't know what to do about the flickering screen—that seemed a little unprofessional, as not all tech problems can be easily reproduced.
     
  25. umiwangu thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Location:
    Malawi
    #25
    Right. I'll give them a call. I'm much more concerned about the flickering than the cracks, so that's good.

    Any ideas on what to use to clean the cracks? They're full of black dirt right now, so it's pretty unsightly.
     

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