(RANT) Worst customer service EVER - good luck getting an advance replacement!

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by potentpotable, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. potentpotable macrumors regular


    Oct 22, 2010
    As some of you know, I was one of the first to report on the display issue plaguing certain MacBook Airs.

    I ordered my BTO 11.6" Ultimate at Apple.com (Canada) on the day it came out, and received the unit on Oct 28. By Oct 30, I already experienced flickering and freezing of my screen.

    I called Applecare asking for a replacement because I thought it was a hardware defect, and they recommended "waiting for it to happen again" because they had never heard of the issue.

    I called again after a week, after the issue blew up on forums and tech websites and after many of you reported easily getting replacement units, and was still rebuffed; I was told to do hardware tests, which came up with zero errors.

    Recently, I experienced the issue twice in one day, with each instance increasingly worse. So I called Applecare for the third time, and was told to visit Genius Bar ASAP.

    The Geniuses took a quick look yesterday and simply declared that a repair was impossible. I asked to connect to an external monitor to attempt provoking the issue and they said, "No, there's no point - your unit is worse than that...it's considered DOA (dead on arrival)." I was instructed to go home (after spending 45mins getting there, no biggie) and call Applecare to order specifically an advance replacement, because Yorkdale Apple doesn't carry non-stock MBAs. Finally, some progress, right?

    Well, as soon as I get home, I call Applecare and yet again explain the issue and how Applecare has already stalled me thrice for something which I asked of them from the start, back in October. Of course, they said that they're sorry and they'll get me a replacement ASAP. Little did I know...

    After spending 15-20 minutes with a frontline rep (mostly on hold), I was directed to a Senior Advisor to begin processing an advance replacement - this is my primary computer, and going a week without it during papers and exams is not cool. The SA put me on hold for another 20 mins to process with Sales this advance replacement order, and when I was finally patched through, the Sales rep told me he never received proper authorization for an advance replacement. Worse, he couldn't call Applecare again because they shut down for the night! So basically, I was delayed by that stupid SA until she could get off her shift and disappear. However this Sales rep was actually competent, and made sure to take detailed notes of everything I've been through so that when I called again, I wouldn't have to jump through hoops again.

    Well, I called Applecare today and the first thing the rep decided to do was to start a new Case ID, despite me giving him my existing one. Another 10-15 mins of holding, and he got an SA. Another 10-15 mins of holding, and the SA ensured me he was getting me an advance replacement with Sales. Patched over to Sales, who simply said "You want a what? An advance replacement?? Please hold..." Next thing I knew, the friendly automated Applecare guy was asking me for my basic info - back to Square One for me, woohoo! Another 20 mins of frontline rep to SA, and finally another phone chat with Sales

    The result? After three hours on the phone, plus almost two hours of traveling, plus a date with Genius Bar, Antoine at Sales regretfully informed me that Apple does not allow advance replacement units for MacBooks, MacBook Pros, and MacBook Airs (anyone care to confirm or refute this?). I was ready to mash some gory applesauce.

    Antoine and I ended up working out an alternative to advance replacement - I've spent another $1,500 on a BTO 11.6", and Antoine will send me custom post-14-day return labels for the DOA unit within 24 hours so I can get a full refund once I send it back. Plus, I'm getting a credit on my Magic Mouse.

    I am sothoroughly exhausted with dealing with such incompetent *******s at Apple support, I'm not even mad anymore. I just want what everyone else easily got: a non-defective MacBook Air.

    I'm currently praying to God that I'm not $3,000 in the hole.
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    If you were in the store why didn't you leave it there? I realize you need your computer but did you not have a computer before they released the new Airs?
  3. potentpotable thread starter macrumors regular


    Oct 22, 2010
    Lucky for me (or unlucky?), my VAIO was just about on its deathbed as the Air came out - I've been holding out for a while, struggling to keep the Sony alive, waiting for something like the Air to come out.

    Also, the store refused to do a replacement, or even provide me with a temp unit. Apparently, stock-BTO trades are not allowed even temporarily.

    The point is, I didn't pay $1,500 to have to get bounced around disrespectfully for weeks by none other than Apple, who prides themselves on excellent customer service, especially while others were getting replacements.
  4. jeffg819 macrumors regular

    Dec 25, 2006
    Wow, that sounds like something you'd expect from (fill in the blank with the biggest SOB you've experienced to date on such things) and totally unlike Apple, at least in my experience.

    I sure hope this is not a sign of things to come. You're a brave soul taking the reps word they'd give you a full refund on the returned unit. Given all the blown calls, mis handoffs, etc., I'm not sure I'd be able to trust anything they told me on the phone.

    Good luck and I hope all works out for you.
  5. i7QuadCoreMania macrumors 6502

    Nov 10, 2009
    it's a shame they put you through all the inconvenience, but really? in the end they are providing a solution and a free magic mouse despite the incompetent phone reps.

    I mean it's good to let people know about your experience, but I'm sure what all the ranting does when they are providing you a solution.

    I've had my share of run-ins with them, for some reason their newest gadgets always gets plagued by some flaw or another. Could be that other manufacturers have the same problem but just not as publicized. lol.
  6. Dammit Cubs macrumors 68000

    Dammit Cubs

    Jul 31, 2007
    I showed them the issue when I had my display issue. they saw it, they confirmed and they didn't hesitate. They got me a new ULTIMATE 11.6 right away.
  7. alau0115 macrumors regular

    Sep 12, 2009
    Markham, ON, Canada
    Sorry to hear that. If I were you, I would have just simply returned the defective one right away and received the full refund without bothering to take the chance to order another one online. For ultimate 11"MBA, just try another Apple Store in GTA area.

    They normally carry the ultimate 11" MBA (128Gb Flash, 4GB memory, 1.6Ghz) in stock as I bought mine in store recently.

    At times, there is an extra hurdle to get replacement right away from the Apple Store if the order is BTO from the factory and the unit is defective.

    Every time when I placed a BTO from them, I have to pray that the unit is not defective.

    In any case, try to resolve any issues within 14 days. The sooner the better. Never get convinced by them it is not a problem if you believe it is.
  8. potentpotable thread starter macrumors regular


    Oct 22, 2010
    Yeah I guess I've learned my lesson. Well, that's if Apple doesn't screw me with refusing to refund the DOA one (I still haven't gotten those promised return labels by email yet). I wish I didn't have to buy another one, but the Apple store closest to me doesn't carry non-stock MBAs.

    While I greatly appreciate getting credit on my Magic Mouse, it still doesn't excuse three weeks of unnecessary and unfair stalling in trying to avoid giving me a properly-working MBA. I literally have to Command-S every five seconds now in my work to avoid losing it because my screen goes kaput more and more often, and I'm not confident that it will last until my new one arrives on Monday or Tuesday. Ugh.
  9. eawmp1 macrumors 601


    Feb 19, 2008
    Sorry you had a bad experience. This is not the norm for a company with such an excellent customer service record and good return policy. They must be getting worn down from all the OCD'ers trying to return slightly scratched iPhones.
  10. AppleGoddess, Nov 19, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2010

    AppleGoddess macrumors 6502a


    Sep 30, 2010
    I never had a problem with that:

    Dear Mr. or Ms. XXXXXXXX,

    We understand that the product you purchased from Apple did not meet your expectations. Apple is willing to ship you a replacement product if you review and agree to the following terms:

    1) You must return the MACBOOK AIR within seven days after you receive your replacement (we will provide return shipping labels to cover return costs); and

    2) If Apple neither receives the product nor has a shipping tracking number from you within seven days, Apple will debit your original payment card ending 6061 in the amount of $999.00

    Please reply to this email to confirm that you understand and accept these so that we may begin to process your replacement MACBOOK AIR


    George Pack
    Apple Online Store Sales & Service
    Management Representative

    The Apple Online Store Sales & Support Team

    I just agree to the above terms and it ships.this one was one i bought for my son.
  11. Pressure macrumors 68040


    May 30, 2006
    This has always been the case with build to order computers from Apple.
  12. potentpotable thread starter macrumors regular


    Oct 22, 2010
    Well this certainly flies in the face of "Sorry you spent three hours on the phone with us, but we can't do advance replacement for MacBooks", doesn't it?

    Software update does nothing. Just earlier, my screen crashed again, turning to black.

    It's been 24hours and I still haven't received my return labels for my DOA Air...I'm starting to get a bit worried.
  13. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Write a letter (a proper snail mail type) with details and the two case IDs and send it to Apple Corporate HQ in Canada, with a cc to Apple Corporate in Cupertino. At this point there isn't much you can expect to get from Apple, but tell them what you want is some assurance that they work out the kinks in their customer care.

    What you have gone through is inexcusable. It also won't make you feel better, but it is more of the exception than the rule at Apple. Which is why I think if you take the time to write the letter.... keep it professional ... you will hear back from them. My experience is that Apple cares about their customer service, and when it screws up - and boy did it mess it big time with you - they want to know about it.

    Good Luck. Hopefully you will get up and running soon, and painlessly.
  14. robby818 macrumors 6502a

    May 2, 2007
    I'm in the U.S. and Apple did an advance replacement for me once, but it was a PIA to get it. There was more than one phone call and lots of call backs before I got someone to do it. And after all that I think all he did was create a new order for me and ship it w/o charging my card yet. I had to return my old computer w/i xx days or else i would be charged for two laptops.

    I recall him explaining that the way it normally works is that once you hand over your return to FedEx using Apple's return label, Apple receives a notification that the return is on its way, and at that point Apple ships the replacement to you. It is a pretty fast process even if you go about it the normal way..they don't wait for your old one to arrive before they ship you a replacement. BTO could change things though.
  15. hcho3 macrumors 68030

    May 13, 2010
    Time to send some nasty emails to corporate offices to show them that customers deserve the best service. That's what I would do and I always go as far as suing them. I also file a complain to FCC.
  16. simply stunning macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2010
    I agree with this whole heartedly! It would take some time, but I can tell you that not only would you get a response, but more then likely you would get some reimbursement for your time spent... Just my thoughts anyways.
  17. FuNGi macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2010
    After my fourth repair request for the infamous defective NVIDIA8600GT in aan early 2008 MBP, i got an advance replacement sent out to me with the idea that if I didn't return the original within XXX days I'd get charged for it. It was pretty sweet to get a unibody upgrade but the four repairs, cumulative days without it, and general hassle was hard to bear. I now have two macs to absorb such unlikely possibilities (that and I really wanted the new AIR).
    Sorry you've had such a hard time. I would like to second the idea to craft a professional letter and send it around to corporate Apple. Try to include as much detail and dates as possible. Enjoy your replacement and I hope you get Applecare ;).
  18. treynolds macrumors regular


    Feb 17, 2010
    This thread is one of the reasons why I ended up getting a 13" MBA Ultimate from a brick-and-mortar Apple store, even though it wasn't exactly the configuration I was looking for.

    I figured (perhaps rightly) that any problems I might have with a BTO would make things more difficult if I wanted to deal with the store. I paid extra for the maxed-out version, knowing that it was a build that the store was stocking so that in the (hopefully unlikely) event that something went south I would be able to quickly resolve it locally.

    Best of luck getting this resolved...
  19. jksu macrumors regular

    Nov 26, 2009
    i'm going through similar issues with my macbook air 11.6" CTO 1.6/4/128...

    i noticed a overbright area in the lower edge of my display upon arrival, waited to 1-2 weeks to see if it would work itself out - it did not.

    i took it to my local apple store(santa monica, ca), where the genius tech comfirmed it was a defect, but due to it being CTO from apple.com, i had to call apple. he put a note in the system that the defect was confirmed by them at the local apple store. i should've asked them to look in the back to check if they had one in stock and that could've saved a lot of hassle...

    so i go home and contact apple support, who initially offered to do an advanced replacement (i didn't mind them charging my credit card as long as it was credited once they received my defective one)... i just wanted a working computer asap.

    but the support person called me back a couple hours later to say he made a mistake and he would be able to do so. i had to send it to "engineering" for them to evaluate -- they said since it's a new model, they want to learn everything possible about the defect (and probably fix the production runs...ah, the joys of being an early adopter). but that i would be getting a new one as soon as they recieved mine. fine i think, i just want a working computer, i don't care where they want me to send it.

    print out the fedex slips and make a trip to the local fedex place...

    3 days later, no word/email. online status says "no status available." i call again, ask when my new mba would arrive. they confirmed mine had been received, but since it was CTO, that it would be shipping "in the next day or two". fine.

    3 days later, no word/email -- i called back to ask for at least an ETA/delivery notice. This time, the service person (who seemed fairly clueless) said that the system showed my mba was being repaired and would be shipped to my local store and would arrive in 1 week (11/24).

    at this point i don't know what to expect. i was expecting a replacement MBA when i walked into that store.

    then i was told a replacment would be mailed. now it sounds like it's getting repaired... so are they replacing the entire screen?

    i just want what i paid for, a working/non-defective MBA... i've been an apple fan for years, but this is annoying for sure...


  20. dmelgar macrumors 68000

    Apr 29, 2005
    Your convincing me that buying at a retail store is the way to go. Buying from the online store doesn't seem like such a good experience.

    I ordered a 4GB 13" online while at a store. The person there thought it would show up pretty soon. Instead its scheduled to show up 8 days after ordering. Meanwhile, if i had ordered it from Macmall, they discount it, could have received it overnight and they have the free HP printer deal. But alas, there are no returns to Macmall, so that's not an option for me.
  21. wirelessmacuser macrumors 68000


    Dec 20, 2009
    I've purchased more than ten new Apple laptops using the online store and had great experiences. Even when two were defective, Apple had replacements sent overnight to me. Once it took less than twelve hours between the phone call and receiving the replacement via FedEx.

    As unfortunate as the OP's experience is, I can assure you it's an aberration. Apple is one of the very best when it comes to making things right.
  22. AppleGoddess macrumors 6502a


    Sep 30, 2010
    I have to agree with you, Apple has the BEST service.
  23. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    That's not entirely true. MacMall doesn't take returns of Apple products, but the Apple Store does. Apple is responsible for warranties of its products. I purchased my "Ultimate 13" from MacMall and it had the wake from sleep issue. I had registered the product online, and was easily able to exchange it at the Apple Store after the Genius Bar confirmed the problem.
  24. tdfreeman macrumors member

    Nov 13, 2010
    I had a very similar situation happen to me. I ordered a max config MBA 13" online (day of announcement). When I opened the box and turned it on, the screen was "starred" (see pic). The glass itself wasn't scratched, but underneath was the issue. I called sales and they said I had to go through applecare and hung up on me (another issue). I then called applecare directly and they seemed surprised, but worked with me on the issue. I was transferred to a manager to get the exchange processed. After over an hour, I theoretically had everything set up. I expressed concern on shipping of my new laptop several times through this process as I had already sold my MBP15" (next time I'll wait, but never had hardware issues from Apple before) and I need a computer. At least 5 times, I was assured that as soon as FedEx received the package, my new computer would be shipped overnight. I sent the package at 9am Monday morning, but waited until Tues for a shipping email. When I received nothing on Tue, I called and they "had not been notified" of the package return. I gave them the tracking info that they sent me to verify, but nothing. Wed, same call, same result. Thu, no dice, manager is checking into it. By Friday, I was fairly irate. After the manager checking into it, they figured out they sent me a return shipping label and not an exchange shipping label (really???). Their solution? I should see a credit within 5-7 business days and I should order a new one. Nothing else.

    Luckily, Apple hardware is normally great so dealing with support isn't an issue. However, support is 0 for 2 as the previous time I called on my MBP13, they were worthless then too.

    Attached Files:

Share This Page