NEED ADVICE: Apple Support & A Powerbook "Lemon"


macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 20, 2002
Hey everyone,

Here is my situation:

I am an avid Mac user, and about two years ago I convinced a friend of mine to get a 667mhz TiBook, which he bought from a certified reseller. Since then, the following has occurred:

LCD went out (replaced by Apple Store techs--Milwaukee location)

LCD went out again (again, replaced by Apple Store techs)

ComboDrive fried (Apple Store techs were supposed to replace it with the LCD screen repair--forgot to do it--then replaced it on another drop-off)

ComboDrive fried again (again replaced by Apple Store techs)

ComboDrive fried (Apple Store response: "it's your disks" [which work fine in any other system])

ComboDrive still fried--out of utter frustration, took to BestBuy for repair

A week later, ComboDrive fried yet again

The initial LCD & ComboDrive failures occurred before the end of the 1 year warranty. Since then, my friend has spent $900 on repair attempts on the ComboDrive to no avail.

This is not a "SuperDrive meltdown" issue--it's a ComboDrive, which he only uses once a week for back-ups of critical documents or occasionally for installing new software. He would not even be using a Mac if it weren't for me--the software he uses most is a PC-only title and he actually runs it in the VirtualPC environment.

This machine is pristine in condition--this guy is Monk-like anal retentive--and it has never been used anywhere but in his home or at his workplace.

He is coming over to my place and I am going to try to help him resolve these issues via 800-SOS-Apple. He has invoices detailing every single assertion I have listed above, which I plan to scan and upload to my web site--in hopes that the Apple tech we speak to on the phone can immediately download them and see what we are referencing.

It is my hope that they will apologize and offer a TRUE remedy--either having us ship it to Cupertino for a complete overhaul, or replacing it with an entry-level iBook or something. My friend does not need GBE, a Cardbus slot, SuperDrive, or a huge screen--he just needs something that actually works.

Here is the advice I need:

1) What is the best approach when talking to the Apple rep? Are there any tips to communicating in such a way as to get the best possible resolution?

2) What can I reasonably expect them to do? Are there any stories out there in cyberspace of Apple shipping a new replacement system, or a refurb, for a "demon-seed" PBook that can't seem to be fixed?

Thanks for you assistance.


macrumors 601
Aug 19, 2003
Sorry for your friend's unfortunate problems. However, I'm assuming the Powerbook is no longer under warranty? If so, I wouldn't expect Apple to repair the Powerbook. Your friend should have purchased AppleCare, especially since the Powerbook was prone to many problems early on.

Your only real hope is to email, with a complete detailed history of the problems and procedures that occured, and hope a member of the upper-level customer relations team feels sorry for your friend and his Powerbook. It's a stretch, but customer relations has been known to resolve issues under extraordinary circumstances.

Your friend may also call Customer Relations at (800) 767-2775.


macrumors Core
Jan 6, 2004
well since it is out of warranty im not sure what apple will do

just remember these things when talking to the reps:

1. be polite
2. be firm
3. do not yell (its not the reps fault)
4. try to get as high up in the chain of managers as you can
5. be polite
6. dont give in quickly, you may get somewhere

good luck!!!!


macrumors 603
Jul 23, 2002
Fuquay Varina, NC
My prediction is

No warranty = No replacement.

This is a great story for those who think they don't need applecare.

Also curious how many of those listed repairs happened in the first year? If it was more than 2, perhaps you might have an argument toward a replacement.


macrumors 6502
Jun 1, 2004
California Coast
I agree with the "be nice" advice - it is not the Rep's fault.
I also agree with "be firm" - don't let up until you are satisfied. You may not get exactly what you want, but you need to be satisfied.

What strikes me as significant is the number of time this machine broke down while still under warrantly. It seems to me THIS is the one bit of information that might bet your friend some relief.

I think you said the machine was initially purchased from a reseller. You might take extra care in looking over all the serial numbers and packaging to see that Apple did not ship the reseller a used or reconditioned machine and try to pass it off as brand new. There is litigation pending against Apple claiming they've done just that in other circumstances. Yet to be proven, but nonetheless curious as it relates to your friend's situation.
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.