Ugh. Applecare refused me service...

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by bassism, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. bassism macrumors member

    Dec 22, 2004
    I've had good experiences for years with Applecare on ipods, so when I bought my mbp, it seemed like a no-brainer.

    When I bought it, a little over three years ago, there were a few minor problems. A line of pixels were white going all the way across the screen near the top and the superdrive made all kinds of weird clunking noises. Since everything still worked, I decided that I would live with the issues and get them taken care of someday if anything ever went wrong.

    A few months ago, that superdrive started refusing to burn discs. At first it was intermittent, then eventually just quit altogether. At this point, I considered sending it in for repair, but I generally need the computer and rarely need to burn a disc, so I lived with that as well.

    Then finally last week, my hard drive gave out. Slowdowns, freezes, and finally refusing to boot up altogether. I managed to notice it going and get a fair bit of my data that wasn't backed up off the drive before it went. (Oddly enough, SMART never noticed the drive was going, while my G4 server ran on a "failing" drive for months with no ill effect. Go figure...)

    Anyhow, since the computer was completely useless at this point, I figured it was finally time to bring it in. I took it to Carbon Computing in Ottawa, pointed out the issues. The tech noted the two small dents on the back of the display and one dent roughly above the hard drive, and also that the lid was crooked (It's been crooked since it was new, and really I had forgotten about that entirely). He said they might not be able to do anything about the display, which I thought was fair.

    Today, I was informed that all the things I mentioned were broken, as well as the hinge needed to be replaced. Because of the dents and a "dried substance" inside the machine, Apple refused to cover anything. If I would like to have the machine repaired, the bill will come to somewhere around 2100 dollars.

    Now, I'm not overly rough on my stuff. It gets used in professional environments as a tool. so certainly is not babied, but I do exercise as much care as you would treat any piece of technology. Furthermore, one of my reasons for choosing the mbp is because it has a reputation as a tough machine (which it is. It has suffered a number of dents with no issues) and Apple's reputation for service.

    I could understand them not wanting to cover the display, since there are two dents on the back of the panel. I could understand them not wanting to do the hard drive, since it looks like I dropped something right on top of it. I suppose you could extrapolate from the dents on the machine that I've swung it around by the hinges and refuse to cover that. I have no idea what the deal is with the superdrive. And I fully understand why a dried substance inside the machine is a bad thing and entirely not the manufacturer's fault, but unless it covers every part in the computer, I think it's pretty extreme to refuse to cover anything. Since I don't remember ever spilling anything on it, I doubt it's a large enough spill to cover the hard drive, superdrive, hinges, AND display.

    I don't know... I doubt that there's anything I can do to refute this. Their refusal to touch the thing does technically fall under their TOS. It's just frustrating to know that the dents have nothing to do with the problems. I would be happy if they would cover even just one issue, to let me know that I actually have an expensive warranty that was worth buying. The screen and superdrive have had issues from day one, and the dents have been there for literally years. I highly doubt it's taken that long for shock trauma to kill a hard drive. A few dents on an aluminum computer that is over three years old doesn't scream of maltreatment to me.

    I suppose the lesson here is twofold. First of all, get all minor problems taken care of right away, just in case. Secondly, don't expect to receive Applecare if you haven't babied your computer.

    As for me, I guess I'll go buy a hard drive and void my warranty so I can keep using the computer. The warranty is apparently useless anyway, unless I want to call and ask where the internets are on my computer. I highly doubt that I'll ever be buying Applecare again though. Bit of a waste of 400 bucks if you ask me.
  2. J.Genius macrumors newbie

    Mar 5, 2009
  3. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    You see you have to understand something. AppleCare is a business like insurance companies. Sure they cover and all, but they always try to weed out those possibly fake claims. So its their job to check your machine has received proper care (exterior cleaning, maintenance if part goes wrong, etc). Also, dried liquid could be anything, from thermal paste from factory to something else, its a bit random.

    Yes, its your fault in a sense since you have to promptly notify Apple of problems with parts even though you don't use it, like your SuperDrive. AppleCare is a good investment, its just some people have bad luck with stuff.

    I do feel bad that you got your warranty voided; however, one bad experience shouldn't make you think its going to be an utter waste to re-invest in AppleCare. You do mention having good experience before, so I guess this was a just an unlucky case.
  4. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    The thing is, they have no way of determining when the dent took place and if the drop damaged the harddrive.

    Without dent (or other issues that might be user damage) they would cover your harddrive.
  5. pdxflint macrumors 68020


    Aug 25, 2006
    Oregon coast
    How did you get a warranty that lasts over three years? Mine is only good for 1 year, or up to three years with Applecare. Maybe you mean you bought it slightly less than 3 years ago... that would make sense...

    I kind of agree with getting issues dealt with early as a general rule, but unless there are signs of serious abuse, general wear and tear shouldn't invalidate Applecare, but it then winds up open to interpretation. Like so much else in life, it then becomes about creating positive relationships.

    It seems to me that if all you're really dealing with at this point is the optical drive, and you're prepared to acknowledge and accept the other stuff (hd, display, etc) then maybe it's not worth actually spending too much time trying to convince them. I'd tend to go along with the idea of doing the hard drive replacement yourself, and just get a fast DVD burner at Frys/BestBuy/, etc. as an external unit. Far less than $2100, and you still have a usable MBP.

    I've been seriously debating with myself the idea of springing for Applecare, as my warranty is close to being up. Problem is, I want to do my own hard drive replacement, and even if I have it done 'officially,' an Apple certified service guy from a third-party company told me that if the hard drive was replaced, it would become the scapegoat for anything else going wrong, at least at first. He seemed a bit cynical, but I had to consider the cost vs. the potential benefit. I guess it's all about risk, and how much we're willing to take.

    Anyway, get the drive, crack that baby open, and let us know how it goes.,2845,2119528,00.asp
  6. The Samurai macrumors 68000

    The Samurai

    Dec 29, 2007
    Worth a shot giving Customer Relations a call or a letter explaining your situation.

    It's better than doing nothing about it - or forgetting about it.
  7. iLog.Genius macrumors 601


    Feb 24, 2009
    Toronto, Ontario
    This goes to prove to all those people who say don't worry about the little problems. Those little problems could prove to be the factor that determines whether or not AppleCare applies or not.

    To the OP, rather than going to 3rd party service provider, I would contact AppleCare through phone and setup a mail-in-repair. Once the repair depot has your portable, they will survey the problem and will consider the external damage. If they feel it may have caused it, they will notify you and will let you choose which course of action you want to proceed in.

    There are a few shady 3rd party resellers/service providers that refuse to do things and just want to make an extra buck. I always recommend to customers to either go to an Apple Retail Store or deal with us over the phone unless you really need your to have your computer near you to have it checked on occasionally.
  8. crazylegsmurphy macrumors 6502

    Sep 18, 2008
    I would get it to be on the safe side...but I would keep the old drive. Then if you need to bring it in, swap out the new drive for the old while it's in their possession.

    I heard that HD's and RAM were considered user replaceable anyway however.
  9. bassism thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 22, 2004
    Pdxflint: The complimentary Applecare is valid for one year, then when you buy Applecare proper it extends it for another three years, leaving you with four years in total.

    Hard drives on the early MBPs were not user serviceable, so if I do put a new drive in, it would void the warranty. I would keep the old one just in case the logic board goes or something.

    iLog: Once I have the machine in my possession again, I might try giving Apple a call. However, when my friend had an issue and I tried to set up a mail-in, I was told by the guy on the phone that Apple Canada does not do mail-ins on computers anymore. But in any case, the tech at the store said he was on the phone with Apple, and this was their conclusion. I feel like even if I was able to mail it in they would probably come to the same conclusion.

    The display and the superdrive aren't huge issues for me. The display hasn't gotten any worse over the years, and I don't expect it will. The superdrive generally still reads discs fine, and the rare occasions I need to burn something, I can do it on my G4.

    Putting a new hard drive in myself is also no big deal. I've taken many Mac laptops apart in the past, so I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty. And, obviously voiding the warranty isn't much of an issue.

    And yes, of course it all comes down to the fact that I can't prove that I didn't drop bricks on the thing until parts stopped working. But I honestly don't believe that any of the damage to the computer goes beyond reasonable wear and tear. I can't help but think that if I'd saved myself 1000 dollars in the first place and bought a Macbook instead, there would be no dents showing, and probably no problems getting it serviced.

    I don't think I'll buy Applecare on a laptop again though. My laptops will probably all be used in the same conditions as this one, and I can't guarantee that I won't dent another one. In my experience most major issues crop up during the first year. On the off chance that I have problems after that, I can find parts for little if any more than the cost of Applecare in the first place and do the work myself.

    My issue here is simply one of principle. I bought an expensive warranty that was proven to be void the first time I tried to use it. The phone support is useless to me since I can find a solution to any problems I have much faster than a phone agent can. Techtool is useful, but I could always buy that separately.
  10. RexTraverse macrumors 6502

    Feb 10, 2008
    Unless it's different with Apple Canada, that is incorrect.

    AppleCare Support site

    AppleCare extends your existing warranty to three years for a total of three years. It does NOT add 3 years onto an existing warranty.
  11. MuDPHuDStudent macrumors member

    Feb 8, 2009
    Hanover, NH
    Not so much. Applecare extends the 1 year warranty (and 90 days of phone support) to a TOTAL of 3 years for both. To confirm when your Applecare ends, put your serial number into here.
  12. brop52 macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2007
    No. It leaves you with three years from the time of computer purchase regardless of when you actually buy AppleCare within the first year.

    From Apple:

    "Three years of security

    Every Mac comes with 90 days of telephone technical support and one year of service coverage at an Apple-authorized repair center. By purchasing the AppleCare Protection Plan with your Mac, you can extend your coverage to three years from the computer’s purchase date."
  13. bassism thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 22, 2004
    I stand corrected :)

    I could have sworn I've had it for three years, but I guess it must be two then.
  14. deboni macrumors member


    Jun 9, 2007
    Oakland, CA
    AppleCare IS worth the cost

    I've had a number of Macs, including several laptops, over the past 24 years, and I can truthfully say that AppleCare has proven to be worth the cost. The one accident I had with a laptop - inadvertently letting it fall off a lift-top desk onto a hard floor, breaking the display hinge - I had to pay for repairs, naturally. But in all other cases, when something failed in the machines themselves, Apple has repaired them readily, with free shipping, and speedy, friendly service. If you depend on the machine, sacrifice the week it'll cost to get it back, and send it right in as soon as it starts malfunctioning. It's the path of least hassle.
  15. pdxflint macrumors 68020


    Aug 25, 2006
    Oregon coast
    I've definitely thought about keeping the original drive to be able to re-install it before dealing with any possible non-hd issues under warranty/Applecare, but then I can't use it as an additional external storage drive... which sort of sucks, since I'd have to leave it intact. Also, since the prior version of the MBP (which I have) isn't considered owner-serviceable as far as the hd is concerned, the fees for having it done 'officially' run from $75-$90, which would mean before I could deal with a warranty issue on, let say... my display, or something else, I'd have to once again pay a certified shop to swap the drives back out again... just to eliminate the scapegoat issue. That could get expensive.

    So, I have to either keep the existing drive throughout my Applecare period, and always empty it out as it fills up (not what I want to do) or do the above, with all the extra labor issues, or just forget Applecare, and do the install of the new drive myself once the warranty runs out. I don't think it will affect the issue of Apple covering the display/gpu for the additional second year on my model, but I'll have to do some serious inquiring to feel like I really have a handle on this dilemma.

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