Warranty repair rejected due to "liquid damage"

lisambp

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 1, 2014
4
0
Hi all,

I am hoping someone will be able to offer some advice on what I should do next.

I bought a MBP in Sep 2013 for $2500 with full AppleCare.
In March 2014 one day the screen started to flicker and fade and then died totally. I called Apple and they suggested that I take it into an Apple store. I took it in and the technicians took my mac into the backroom and came back later saying that there was evidence of liquid damage and it will cost $900 to fix since this is not covered by warranty. They took a picture of the 'corrosion' and showed me on their phone, but I couldn't see what they were referring to. I have never spilled any liquid onto my Macbook so I was really upset and I just walked out the store.

I have been able to still use the mac with an external screen.
A few weeks later, I decided to go to a different Apple store and explain my situation and get a second opinion and see for myself what they are talking about. The genius bar technician insisted that there was evidence of corrosion and a short-circuit on the connector between the logicboard and the screen cable and he thus concluded that this was liquid damage. He did the inspection in front of me and he had to use a microscope type thing to actually see any evidence of 'corrosion' I struggled to see what he was referring to, other than a tiny black/green spec less than a millimeter across.
I complained but the technician insisted that this was corrosion and thus must have been caused by liquid and so is not covered by warranty.
Eventually I got a manager involved who was a lot more friendly, but still wasn't able to help me understand how this is not covered by my warranty nor my applecare when I have not spilled any liquid on the machine and I can barely see what they are talking about. I then asked if any of the liquid sensors have been activated and they told me that they don't know. I asked if they could please check. They took the machine into the back room and came back out saying that the liquid sensors have not been activated but this does not prove that it is not liquid damage.

I then asked if they were able to send me the picture which had been taken by the first store so that I can escalate this somehow. they said that they were not allowed to send me the picture, but that it would be ok for me to take my own picture. they opened the machine again and allowed me to take my own pictures (see attached).

So, my question is.. can apple unilaterally make a decision/conclusion that this was caused by liquid damage with so little evidence (no tripped sensors and a millimeter-sized spec/short-circuit). Could this have been caused by normal operating conditions and no abuse/accient, or a latent defect?

I am based in BC, Canada and I am not sure what I should do next. I cannot afford a $918 repair bill when I just spent $2500 on this machine 7 months ago... I don't understand why people would pay 4 times the price for a Mac when they can break so easily under normal use and not be covered - even with AppleCare.

Do I try contact apple HQ? do I contact my local consumer protection?

Thanks,
Lisa
 

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thundersteele

macrumors 68030
Oct 19, 2011
2,984
7
Switzerland
I'm a bit confused. The pictures show a 13'' unibody (non-retina) MBP. When and where did you buy it, and why did it cost $2.5k?

You could try to contact AppleCare. That is all advice I can give you. The pictures are rather blurry unfortunately, so it is had to see anything.
 

citivolus

macrumors 6502a
Sep 19, 2008
763
85
I would get a statement from the Genius Bar at the Apple store that confirms that the liquid sensors have not been tripped. The fact that they have not been tripped is the strongest evidence you have that it is not liquid damage. The corrosion they refer to could possibly have been caused by something else, whereas the liquid sensors are definitive.

Email that statement and your summary of the situation to Tim Cook and hopefully the Apple executive team will help you out. Good luck!
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,853
30,369
Boston
So, my question is.. can apple unilaterally make a decision/conclusion that this was caused by liquid damage with so little evidence (no tripped sensors and a millimeter-sized spec/short-circuit). Could this have been caused by normal operating conditions and no abuse/accient, or a latent defect?
Unfortunately yes, apple can deny any warranty work if there is evidence of neglect by the owner. I'm not saying you were negligent but rather pointing out there position.

tbh, from the pictures being shown, its hard to see if its a full blown short or corrosion but then I'm not an expert in this field.

Good luck :(
 
Last edited:

diggy33

macrumors 6502a
Aug 13, 2011
557
577
I've never understood why Apple doesnt offer accidental damage coverage on their machines.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,853
30,369
Boston
I've never understood why Apple doesnt offer accidental damage coverage on their machines.
There are others that do, such as square trade. Speaking out of ignorance, but do other makers offer such coverage, i.e., Dell, HP, Lenovo?
 

saturnotaku

macrumors 68000
Mar 4, 2013
1,924
51
There are others that do, such as square trade. Speaking out of ignorance, but do other makers offer such coverage, i.e., Dell, HP, Lenovo?

They do on both their consumer and business machines. A couple, including Asus and MSI, include it as standard.

Lack of ADP and on-site support are two major complaints I have about Apple's laptops.
 

hallux

macrumors 68030
Apr 25, 2012
2,774
485
Maflynn, Dell does ("build" a system on their site, it's an option in plain sight), HP does as well, through their CarePack protection available when shopping for accessories on their web page (similar to AppleCare in that it's a factory-backed extended warranty, one option is accidental damage protection). Lenovo appears to offer it as well.

As for the OP's damage, it's hard to tell as the pictures are blurry. There may be something there, if you google "logic board corrosion" you can see some image examples and compare to what you saw. If we had a crisper picture I could say for sure, but with the visuals we have there is a possibility there's some corrosion there.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,853
30,369
Boston
Maflynn, Dell does ("build" a system on their site, it's an option in plain sight), HP does as well, through their CarePack protection available when shopping for accessories on their web page (similar to AppleCare in that it's a factory-backed extended warranty, one option is accidental damage protection). Lenovo appears to offer it as well.
Thanks, I was unaware of how others handled this and it looks like they do - Apple needs to step up to the plate but I don't think they will.
 

diggy33

macrumors 6502a
Aug 13, 2011
557
577
There are others that do, such as square trade. Speaking out of ignorance, but do other makers offer such coverage, i.e., Dell, HP, Lenovo?
True, and for the machines that we order at work, we use the warranty that our vendor offers, which covers physical damage, liquid, etc. The only drawback is we have to send the machine out to their repair facility, and the turnaround time is usually 7 to 10 business days, depending on parts availability. Whereas for issues that are covered by AppleCare, we would typically have gotten the machine turned around in 3 to 5 business days.
 

pricej636

macrumors 6502
Mar 30, 2010
385
0
Colorado
I'm a bit confused. The pictures show a 13'' unibody (non-retina) MBP. When and where did you buy it, and why did it cost $2.5k?

You could try to contact AppleCare. That is all advice I can give you. The pictures are rather blurry unfortunately, so it is had to see anything.
You can max out a 13" Pro and with applecare it would come to about $2500. I seriously hope the OP didn't do that, but to each their own.


To the OP, You might be out of luck. Any company has the right to refuse warranty service if there is evidence of user damage or tampering. I dont see anything significant, but if they see corrosion then it had to have been caused by some sort of moisture. Call applecare and plead your case, or contact your credit card company to see if there is any protection there. Im not sure what programs you have at your disposal in Canada, I know in Europe there are options for filing a complaint regarding warranty service.
 

thundersteele

macrumors 68030
Oct 19, 2011
2,984
7
Switzerland
You can max out a 13" Pro and with applecare it would come to about $2500. I seriously hope the OP didn't do that, but to each their own.
Well I'm also surprised that a screen repair would cost $900 on the cMBP... even a logic board replacement should be cheaper, since that is almost the cost of a new one. Actually you can get one for $999 in the education store and then transfer the (highly overpaid for) SSD and RAM from the other machine ;)

Anyways if this is really a 13'' non-retina MBP it might be possible to get a cheaper repair from an authorized repair shop.
 

john123

macrumors 68020
Jul 20, 2001
2,475
1,223
OP, I ran into a moisture problem once before having used my laptop outside in a very humid environment and then having brought it into (excellent) air conditioning. Condensation occurred on the keyboard, shorting out some stuff there. In my case, Apple replaced it without throwing up a fuss, but then again it was the keyboard.

So, while I fully believe you didn't spill anything on your machine, you might evaluate whether you've used your computer in the manner I described. Rapid cooling can lead to some pretty severe condensation. Whether you can convince anyone at Apple that such use ought to fall within the tolerances—well, that's a separate issue, given that they certify usage up to only 90% relative humidity. But it might give you a leg to stand on.

Good luck!
 

barnettgs

macrumors member
Dec 12, 2006
93
0
Northern Ireland
This is a bit unusual as it is a very tiny area. If there was a spill, it would be easy to see and also bigger than this? It is not even a solid evidence to support that it was spilled over.

On the photos, it looks like they have to peel back the plastic cover to show you this?
 

midwestfisherma

macrumors 6502
Jul 25, 2012
426
60
S.E. Mich
Sounds like a bvllsh|t excuse by the "genius" to deny your warranty claim. I'd pursue it as far up the chain as possible! Don't take no for an answer.
 

MrGimper

macrumors 603
Sep 22, 2012
6,101
6,384
Andover, UK
This is a bit unusual as it is a very tiny area. If there was a spill, it would be easy to see and also bigger than this? It is not even a solid evidence to support that it was spilled over.

On the photos, it looks like they have to peel back the plastic cover to show you this?
I was thinking the same ... surely a spill would show more evidence than the tiny spot that is evident here.

Get another genius to look at it, sounds like they are trying to avoid the repair.
 

Hieveryone

macrumors 601
Apr 11, 2014
4,152
1,476
USA
This is so OBVIOUSLY a load of you bull you know what by the Genius. Those pictures look fine. He was just looking for something to deny you. I'd give em hell Lisa. It seems like you are being wronged here :mad::mad::mad:

___________________________

EDIT: I'd call and talk to them over the phone. And don't give up. Don't accept no. Say something's got to be done to resolve this. I paid 2500 and I didn't do anything wrong.
 

saturnotaku

macrumors 68000
Mar 4, 2013
1,924
51
True, and for the machines that we order at work, we use the warranty that our vendor offers, which covers physical damage, liquid, etc. The only drawback is we have to send the machine out to their repair facility, and the turnaround time is usually 7 to 10 business days, depending on parts availability.
If your work machines are from an OEM's business line (HP ProBook/EliteBook, Dell Latitude/Precision/Vostro, Lenovo ThinkPad), your warranty should include next-business day on-site service.
 

ashman70

macrumors 6502a
Dec 20, 2010
916
0
What seems odd is that they claim a liquid spill, but the damage it solely confined to one tine area, that doesn't make sense to me. Surely a liquid spill as they claim, would damage a larger area or at least leave traces. Why would such a tiny area show corrosion but no where else nearby?
 

AUS76K12

macrumors newbie
Nov 6, 2013
4
0
Australia
Im an Apple Tech myself and I would repair that if it came into my service centre, from the images presented that looks to be a short circuit on the board rather than corrosion...
 

lisambp

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 1, 2014
4
0
Hey all,

Thanks so much for the advice.

Here are some answers to your questions:

1. As some people guessed, this machine is maxed out from Apple, i.e. 512gb SSD, 3 year applecare, etc.., you would think after buying apple's overpriced upgrades that they would be a bit more reasonable.
2. The repair costs ($918) are for a new Logicboard, and entire new screen assembly (screen, glass, back) ... all because of a tiny short on the connector cable! it is INSANE this seems like a form of planned obsolescence.. make a machine such that a single point of failure requires and entirely new machine. A new MBP (without upgrades and applecare only cost about $1200.. why on earth would I pay $918 for a repair?!)
3. Although the pictures are fuzzy, take my word for it... the ONLY evidence of corrosion is a 1mm blackish/greenish spot on the screen connector, which the genius assures me is corrosion, and he had to use a special magnifying microscope thingie to see it clearly.. With the naked eye, it is not easy to clearly see the corrosion. Yes, the tech had to lift the plastic flap to see the spot and for me to take the photo.

So, assuming this is corrosion, my question is.. how poorly are these machines built that usual everyday use caused this to happen. I have owned many PC laptops over the years and never had an issue like this.. We pay 5 times the price for a MBP because of supposed build quality.. this machine is 6 months old has catastrophically failed. I have not ever spilled any liquid on my machine.. if moisture did somehow get in, and magically avoided all the sensors, and magically only corroded one tiny area of the machine and amazingly left no trace anywhere else.. how is this possible ... this is clearly not a liquid spill incident!, it was through normal use and hence should be covered under warranty.

The thing is .. I was a huge apple fan.. I have always told everyone how amazing their products and customer service is... but this is a game changer for me.... If I was planning to buy my daughter a macbook when she is older.. that will no longer be the case.

One of the employees at the store even suggested that I now buy a macbook air becase it is stronger than the MBP because of fewer "moving parts"... what a joke.. do they honestly think I will buy another apple anything after this treatment?

So dissapointed....

----------

What seems odd is that they claim a liquid spill, but the damage it solely confined to one tine area, that doesn't make sense to me. Surely a liquid spill as they claim, would damage a larger area or at least leave traces. Why would such a tiny area show corrosion but no where else nearby?
The tech says all smugly ... 'one drop is all it takes' ...
 

bigeasy_uk

macrumors 6502
Sep 8, 2005
272
5
Leamington Spa, England
Is there another apple store or authorised reseller local to you? It'd be worth taking it to one of them for a second opinion.

I can't see this being caused my liquid damage, how could it get there without showing evidence elsewhere?

I hope you get it sorted and apple restores your faith in them!