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January 25, 2007

A Sad Mac Tale

Way back in August (many months ago), my powerbook decided that it no longer wanted to read DVDs. It could read (and write) CDs but DVDs were completely ignored (or caused things to crash). This is a common problem (alignment of the lasers) and the powerbook was under AppleCare so I took it to the nearest friendly Apple reseller to get it fixed.

They noted the dents on the side of the screen and claimed that the damage was caused by dropping it. I explained that it had been dropped way back in 2004 (just after WWDC) and that it had been inspected and repaired, at my expense, afterwards. The dents in the side of the LCD panel were not repaired because Apple (at the time) did not sell replacement bezels - you had to buy the whole screen ($AU1,000).

After about three weeks of nothing happening, I got in touch to be told that they had replaced the hard drive and a drive cable....

A few more weeks and I got the machine back, I fired up the installer and noticed that the internal hard disk was dead. That's right, the new hard disk that replaced the one that had been working perfectly.

Back to the shop we go. Time passes. They can't get an 80Gb hard disk (apparently they don't make them any more). I collect the machine and use it with an external drive for a couple of weeks until a disk comes in. Back to the shop again.

This time when I collect the machine there is some sort of crap between the LCD pixels and the screen itself. Like dead pixels but they move around, covering the top menu on the screen.

I complain. Nothing happens.

I complain more. Nothing happens.

I complain to a friend who works for Apple direct.

Note that up until this point in time, I have only complained as an individual (and part time developer). My friend at Apple points out who I work for and how much influence I have when it comes to purchasing computer equipment. Now I get some response. Apple themselves suggest another apple reseller. I take my machine there and a week later I get an SMS to pick up the machine. The screen looks perfect (I suspect it is an entirely new display) but the machine won't power up any more. Back we go, this time for a new logic board.

I wait ten days and then call up. They don't know how long it will take. It is not high priority. I email my new contact at Apple. I get an SMS to pick up my machine - apparently it suddenly became high priority.

I now have my powerbook back (I think). It is installing a test environment as I write. In total, I was without a working machine for close to six months. In all that time, the only people to contact me were from Apple. There were no calls from resellers. No calls from tech support. No apologies for stuffing things up. No apologies for keeping my machine for almost six months.

Had it not been under warranty, I could have complained and refused to pay. But it was under AppleCare. Do you think I will buy AppleCare on my next computer? Do you think I will buy another Mac?

Posted by Ozguru at January 25, 2007 08:00 AM


Oh... that doesn't sound too good. Am about to take my G4 to Apple for repair (it's already received the diagnostic test by one of the geniuses) -- and I go without the AppleCare net. *sigh* Well, we'll see what happens.

Meanwhile, you should submit your tale to The Consumerist - they love stuff like that. http://consumerist.com

Posted by: Cindy at January 25, 2007 10:21 AM