Worst Customer Service - Columbia MD Apple Store


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 28, 2012
I've been a Mac owner for 18 years now and for the first time I had a computer issue that I could not resolve myself. My iMac began freezing at the end of July after upgrading to Snow Leopard. I ran every diagnostic test I could get my hands on and even tried a fresh clean install with still the same issues. My computer would only run for about 10 to 15 minutes and then freeze.

After weeks of frustration, I decided to take it to the Apple store in Columbia. I dropped off my computer on 7/17. They had it for 6 days before they called me to tell me the problem was the hard drive and that it needed to be replaced. In those 6 days, I called the store on 7/21, 7/22 & 7/23 to check on the status and each time I was told that they were still running “tests”.

I picked up my iMac (with new hard drive and new super drive) on day 7 and with in 5 minutes of turning it on (fresh clean re-installed Snow leopard) it froze up. There is no way someone tested the machine before they gave it back to me. I didn't even transfer any files or apps yet! It was a clean machine! They charged my $350 and now it is worse than before.

So, back to the apple store. I dropped off my computer for the 2nd time on 8/2/12 (Columbia is about a 45 minute drive from my house). I personally gave my machine to Steve Thompson (a store manager) and we discussed the issue in length and detail. I told him that I worked from home and I really needed my machine back as soon as possible. I also explained that the machine froze within 5 minutes of having it on and that I had not put anything on my machine yet. It was a clean install. I called on 8/5 (2:56 pm) to check on the status and was told they were still running tests and couldn’t reproduce the problem. On 8/6 (11:02 am), Steve called me to tell me that they believe the issue was with the video card or the logic board but they couldn’t be sure. I asked his opinion and he was reluctant to give me one. He said that they really didn’t know what the problem was and they could replace the video card or the logic board, it was up to me!!!!!!! He said the video card was about 150 to 200 dollars and the logic board was around 500 dollars. So, I told him to replace the video card. They didn’t finish with my computer until 8/18/12. I picked it up on the evening of 8/20 (the wanted to charge me an additional $170.82 but I got them to take that off).

On 8/21 I turned it on and within 20 minutes it froze – clean install, nothing on the machine yet.

I left a message with the store on Wednesday 8/22 and explained my situation. I was told that Steve was with a customer and he would call me back. It has now been a week and no return call yet.

I feel like I have been more than patient and I just want my computer fixed. I have already shelled out $322.18 and my computer is worse than it was before.

This certainly is not the Apple Service I had heard about and I don’t feel like I am being treated like a loyal Mac customer.


macrumors regular
Dec 21, 2009
You should try the following:


It was the first thing Apple did when I took in my imac. Beyond that, or any obvious visible signs of damage, I don't think they have any magical ability to diagnose hardware failures. The experience you mention doesn't sound like bad customer service, rather slow perhaps, but you are frustrated (very understandably so) with your broken computer and it may just not be obvious to Apple as to how to fix it.


macrumors 6502
Jan 14, 2003
California, USA
If you live a long distance from the store, why didn't you try out your 'fixed' computer while Still at the store... and not until you got home???


macrumors regular
Jun 12, 2012
Frederick Maryland
Ive used that store many many times in the past with apple care - took in a mac book with two keys not working on the computer - got it back 2 days later - they replaced the battery, case, screen and keyboard - the first three because the apple care was up in 30 days and they felt the computer needed these replaced.



macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 28, 2012
ECUpirate44 - Tim? As in the CEO? Does that work?

MacVibe - I tried every trick in the book - including that one.

macking104 - good question!!! I wish I had! Steve personally told me that they had tested it and it was working. I guess I should have doubted him!


macrumors 6502a
Apr 23, 2012
I wouldn't have opted to replace the video card since they couldn't guarantee that was the problem.


macrumors 68020
Jan 14, 2008
Take a drive .....

Up Interstate 95 ...

Apple Store in Christiana Delaware has given me nothing but the BEST of Service.

I had an iMac there for service. One day after I brought it home they gave me a follow-up call to make sure all was well.

I live in Harford County and it's about 40 minutes from me!

I buy up there as well ..... well because 6% is 6%! ;)

Next Time -

TRUST BUY VERIFY .... set the thing up and play with it IN THE STORE for about an hour or so before you leave !!!!



macrumors 6502
Nov 27, 2011
Long Island/North Jersey
Upgraded to Snow Leopard?! You need a new machine, not a repaired one! But yeah the Apple store is either a hit or a miss I've had some bad experiences but theres one 5 minutes from me that has done nothing but help


macrumors 6502a
May 8, 2010
If you use this for your business ... I agree with BeeJee. You just need a new machine. You can't afford to be dicking around with this thing.

I would talk to the manager calmly and tell him you've been in several times already, spent a lot of money on repairs and still have not gotten a repaired machine. Tell him you want to apply the $322.18 you've already given them toward the purchase of a new machine.


macrumors 68020
Mar 10, 2011
Totally agree. The manager was a complete jerk and the workers were so rude!!!

This thread is 2 years old...

Besides, there are a ton of Apple stores in the area, you can avoid the Columbia store by going to others in the area.
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