Update and resolution to 4 day old coffee damaged Air

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by akm3, May 13, 2008.

  1. akm3 macrumors 68020

    Nov 15, 2007
    This is an update to the thread here: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=479545&highlight=coffee+4+day+old

    Quick summary: Our four day old Macbook Air took a coffee spill and stopped functioning. I refused to do anything unethical to 'pull one over' on Apple or Citibank or my retailer to get myself a new one.

    Before I give the details, I'd like to take one second to say how surprised I was at the outpouring of support, it was a VERY widely read thread! Many people congratulated me on 'doing the right thing', which I appreciated. There are a lot of good people in this world. I also had many on the other side (not present in the thread, but through PM's and people in 'real life' who I told the same thing who felt I should have tried to screw over others to benefit myself. The argument was 'c'mon, that's better than eating a large cost! Don't be stupid just return the laptop it's still within the period' etc. I don't think these people are bad people, but it really shows how self-absorbed many of us are.

    With all that said, here is the final results:

    The Macbook Air went back to Apple Care. They diagnosed it. Due to the coffee spill, the items that must be replaced to 'return it to Apple specifications' are a new hard drive, a new keyboard, a new logic board and a new top case. The total cost of these repairs is ~$775.

    Since this laptop is for my wife's business, we faced a tough choice. First of all, we didn't have this money. Second, this is almost the cost of a refurb Macbook. We decided it made the most sense to repair it, because once repaired it is worth ~$1400-$1500. Thus, spending $775 = a value of $1400. Versus spending $850 on a refurb macbook and still only being worth around $800. So repairing the Air 'made financial sense'.

    The tricky part is the cost. My wife is from England, and she hasn't been able to visit home for a long time. We have a new child, and were hoping to get our daughter over to England to visit her (very old) great grand mother. We had been setting aside money to do this, and have about $600 saved up. By stretching the budget and also blowing this savings, we can afford to repair the Air, and put off visiting England for at least another year.

    Ultimately, that cup of coffee will have cost us $775 outright, as well as delaying our vacation. We will certainly be more careful next time.

    The interesting end result is the 'good for sticking to your morals' people will feel sorry for us making that sacrifice, but respect our integrity. The 'screw them over' people will think we are idiots and that we should have just screwed over Apple. This seems to be one case where 'doing the right thing' means the wrong thing happens to us...(as is often the case). I'm not religious, but I have to believe that someday, somehow, maintaining integrity will pay off for us.

    So, thats the end of the story! We will definitely be much, much more careful with our repaired Macbook Air when it returns from Apple Care. Thanks for listening!

    /edit: OH I forgot one thing. I bought 12 shares of Apple stock at 120.9 after the 'big drop'. Today, that stock is worth 189.50 a share, meaning I've 'made' $832 on Apple stock. It is locked away in my Roth IRA, so I can't get it, but I'll just pretend the repair bill was actually a Roth IRA contribution, and the stock has just been flat the past few months. This will let me sleep easy at night.
    Please post "what YOU would have done"
  2. fuzzielitlpanda macrumors 6502a

    Mar 24, 2008
    i have a lot of respect for you in going with the honest route. however, if going the honest route meant having to delay a vacation for my daughter to meet a very old relative, i would have tried to get it replaced for free or returned the whole thing to get something cheaper. the mba is a wonderful machine, but not wonderful enough to make me have to eat the cost of time. in terms of productivity, i can probably be just as productive on a refurb mb as i am on the mba. i'm sure you thought long and hard on your decision, so i hope things work out for you.
  3. vanmacguy macrumors 6502a

    Aug 13, 2007
    Not where you live.
    I would have done the same as you.

    Even though it meant postponing the vacation. I admire your integrity very much.

    Good on you.

  4. ski2moro macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2007
    My homeowners insurance will cover my stupidity, but my deductable is $500. Knowing that insurance companies are notorius for raising rates after you make a claim, the difference between the repair cost and the eventual increase in my insurance is not worth it.

    Like you, I would have paid the repair costs out of pocket.

    However, I would find a way to get to England anyway. My family is important to me and if something dreadful happened and I never saw them again, I would have regrets forever.

    Suck it up and send them to England.

    No regrets.
  5. epiphany macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2004
    good on you

    I am continually amazed by the rationalization that has to occur to justify making someone else pay for our mistakes.
    As Apple didn't spill the coffee, why should they pay? In addition, surely they would have figured out what happened to the Mac.
    Depending on your Citibank card agreement, you may have gotten money towards a replacement; I think my Gold MC allows for losses and damages within a certain time period.
    The trip thing is a bummer, and, it's a decision you got to make. Apparently, you didn't just go ahead and put yourself further in debt. Probably a wise decision.

    At any rate, you did the right thing. Your integrity is worth more than $1400. It will pay regularly throughout your life.
  6. megfilmworks macrumors 68020


    Jul 1, 2007
    Sherman Oaks
    Wow, congrats on your honesty in attempts at a resolution. Too many people just lie or cheat to save money. Your AAPL investment is your karmic reward.:D
    By the was I also bought a sh*&t load of AAPL at 119 and am also reaping the benefits of a great company.
  7. ScottFitz macrumors 6502a

    Nov 3, 2007
    I would have certainly pursued the "accidental damage" policy of my favorite credit card. I once bought a very very nice Hartmann briefcase in natural leather. My housekeeper spilled furniture polish liquid on it and completely ruined it. AMEX bought me a new one. It's a BENEFIT of using their card. I did not consider it scrweing them over. I was honest about it, but they helped me buy another. Very nice.

    I just can't imagine the horror of your situation. I would only comment that if I was as financially that strapped as you indicate, the MBA was a true luxury purchase that I probably wouldn't have made, opting for something much less expensive.

    Coffee from Starbucks --- $3.28
    MacBook Air -------------$1742.00
    Gas to the Apple Store---$ 12.48

    Sleeping well at night?

  8. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    I'm not nice person, so I would have taken apart the entire computer and dried out each part separately. Removing any potential problems. Applied new tapes and everything, put it back together and see if it worked; if not go to the Apple Store and complain.

    I'm honest about most things and what I say usually, but when it comes to making the most out of what I spend, I will do everything :(

    Of course the truth is, I never and will never spill anything on my computer. I eat soup and noodles; I drink drinks next to my computer. I always place it behind my computer when I'm done with it.

    *Knocks on wood*

    I also congratulate you on your honest approach though spending one's savings is not entirely justifiable.
  9. wordy macrumors regular


    Feb 26, 2008
    Who buys an item they clearly can't afford when they have a new child to look after?

    Stop looking for congratulations on your choice to take the moral high road. What you make up for in righteousness, you clearly lack in common sense.
  10. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6
    Good for you for sticking up for your morals akm3 - you did the right thing! :)

    Personally, I would have done the same thing as you. :)

    I love it! :D :)
  11. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6
    He said they bought it for his wife's business. So the MacBook Air helps his wife bring in part of their income- so it is not like it was a wasteful or insensible purchase from that standpoint. :eek:

    Granted there are cheaper Apple laptops out there... :eek: :)
  12. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I agree. However on one note I am saddened that you somehow have only $600 for a vacation for 2.5 people (baby counts as .5) and yet you somehow mustered up the coin to buy a MB Air. I would have saved $800 more, bought a MacBook and felt good about not delaying the trip much longer. How bad will you feel if the grandmother falls ill sooner rather than later? Will your wife's new business generate less income without an ultra portable?

    There you go. Someone said it and somehow it sounded nicer. ;)

    Look kudos to you for taking the moral high ground. Something that seems to be lacking in many people today. However, I just feel sad about your computer costing you your savings for your vacation. And really I'm merely stating an opinion and you know what opinions are right? They're like *******s, everyone has one. :p
  13. swingerofbirch macrumors 68040

    Oct 24, 2003
    The Amalgamated States of Central North America
    Contractors of Apple pay their personnel wages they can't live on (including in the US). Apple contracts work to their sales and support departments to save money, not have to pay health benefits, or follow any laws that apply to an employer-employee relationship.

    Apple has throughout history given almost no money to charity, which is rare among large corporations.

    Apple executives backdated stock options to make money in a very unethical way.

    Apple creates products that cannot be upgraded over time and thus create environmental waste.

    I love Apple because of the products they come out with, but in my mind, they're not on my mind's list of ethical, conscientious companies to deal with.

    So, yes, I am a moral relatavist to a certain degree.

    But, if you believe any of my criticisms of Apple are accurate, you should feel even better about your decision to do the right thing in a world that doesn't always, and with a company with ethics lower than your own.

    I believe in balance and moderation--including about doing the right thing.
  14. akm3 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Nov 15, 2007
    To be fair, I did followup with the credit card accident protection department, and I *do* have that benefit, unfortunately it excludes liquid damage.

    We never go to Starbucks and bought from an online retailer with no shipping and no taxes in our state, so our total cost on the air was exactly $1699. (It was also $100 off).

    Yes, this was a semi-luxury purchase. It is for my wife's business and she saved up and paid for it out of profits. She travels a LOT and the 2lb difference over a base macbook was 'worth it' to her - she knew she'd regret it if she didn't get the Air.

    So, your characterization seems inaccurate, but yes like I said in the main thread, if you buy a computer like this and can't afford to immediately replace it in the case of a catasrophe that ISN'T covered by one of your protection plans; you probably shouldn't buy it.

  15. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    Who goes on forums pointing out people's problems and then kicks them when they're down? Oh right, people who get that treatment in life. :mad:

    Most people can't afford to replace a computer immediately; just be careful eh?
  16. akm3 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Nov 15, 2007
    Of course, like most things in life (Car accidents, house fires, etc) it will NEVER happen to you because you are careful.

    We never would have spilled the coffee in the air if only we'd been CAREFUL. :rolleyes:

    To summarize, the air happened to be around where my wife was walking with a cup of coffee (no one was using it) and I accidentally bumped her, sending the coffee flying like a las vegas fountain into the Air. We weren't 'drinking coffee while using the computer and whoops spilt it'.
  17. akm3 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Nov 15, 2007
    Who said we can't afford it? We saved up and paid cash, as a business expense, from my wife's profitable business. That is the definition of 'can afford it'.

    We are on a very strict financial plan, we could easily divert the ~12-13% of our income we put towards retirement for a couple months and repair this, but the opportunity cost of lost retirement isn't worth it to us.

    We take wonderful care of our child, thank you very much :)

    Also, I think I've given an impression that the $600 towards our trip is our only savings - this is clearly not the case. Our other savings is 'off the table' as an emergency fund which we didn't consider this an emergency. The trip is 'extra' savings.

    I apologize to everyone for not giving complete information, I can see why some would assume we are awful parents in a lot of credit card debt, off buying expensive computers, or paying car (or card!) payments. Yea, we don't do those things.
  18. ScottFitz macrumors 6502a

    Nov 3, 2007
    on the starbucks and priceless thing, that was a parody of the mastercard commercial... not trying to be seroius.... trying to be funny.

    I'm sorry for your bad luck. May yours be the last Air with coffee in it's guts.
  19. netddos macrumors regular

    Oct 22, 2005
  20. akm3 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Nov 15, 2007
    Well Apple did do something nice for me (Without me asking)

    When I called to pay the $775, she noticed the machine was nearly brand new and knocked off the labor and shipping charges, saving me ~$100.

    That was a nice touch!

  21. roland.g macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    One mile up and soaring
    No bathing with you MBA ;)

    Here's to hoping that your good karma comes back around.
  22. brn2ski00 macrumors 68020


    Aug 16, 2007
    I would have sold it on eBay and boughten an MB. You would have gotten at least enough for one...
  23. Mactagonist macrumors 65816

    Feb 5, 2008
    NYC - Manhattan
    While I cant say I would have done the same thing (I have a much lower regard for large corporations and their rights) I am glad you reached a solution that works for you.

    Hopefully you are able to make your trip sooner rather then later, tell you wife she needs to go out and earn even more money with that shiny new fully functional MBA!
  24. fuzzielitlpanda macrumors 6502a

    Mar 24, 2008
    just curious, but how would they be able to tell the difference between a spill and some other accident if you already cleaned up the mess? hmm if the cc had a protection plan, i would have tried to go that route first before going to apple.

    now this is shady. giving your problem to apple to fix is one thing, but giving your problem to someone else who is probably expecting a working item is just wrong.
  25. seedster2 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 16, 2007
    same here.
    No way i would have eaten that crazy 775 repair charge

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