I recently saw this post on TUAW about why the author stays with Apple gear even when it annoys him. I thought I’d add my voice to the chorus by relating my recent experience dealing with Apple customer service and describe why it is just so damn awesome.
In 2009 my father had a very bad accident and was in hospital and rehab for months. As such he wanted a laptop computer to use. So I bought him a MacBook Pro 15″. I kitted this Mac out with a few options making it quite an expensive purchase.
A few months after purchase my father returned home with this laptop and we discovered that the Airport Express card in the laptop was unreliable. My parents live in a small town in New Zealand and there is no local Apple store. There is however a reseller and authorised service provider. We handed the Mac over to them for them to replace the Airport Express card which they did under Applecare for no cost.
Unfortunately after the Mac was returned to my father it became less and less reliable. My father though, not being the complaining type, didn’t express exactly how bad the problem was to me. It wasn’t until this Christmas when I was visiting my parents that I discovered how bad the problem with the MacBook had become. It was locking up very regularly.
Unfortunately by this time the MacBook was out of AppleCare. So I just bought my father a new MacBook Air and took away the MacBook Pro. The MacBook Pro was only two years old but I was not hopeful about getting the problem with it solved.
With that in mind I visited the Apple Store in Chadstone to talk to them about getting the MacBook fixed. Fortunately for me I could demonstrate the problem with the laptop in front of the Apple Genius I spoke to and he was more than happy to make an exception and accept the MacBook for repair at no cost to me. Keep in mind that I did not have AppleCare for this MacBook anymore.
About a week later I was telephoned by the Apple Genius doing the repair work and informed that they had discovered what the problem was. It all stemmed from the original AirPort Express card “repair”. It had been completely botched. When they disassembled the MacBook for this original repair they had broken the connector between the mother board and the hard disk drive.
Because of this botched repair the Genius had decided to investigate further and had discovered more problems. The original “repairer” had also damaged the connector between the LCD panel and the motherboard. They had also not applied the thermal grease that should have been on the AirPort Express card to improve heat dissipation.
While these parts where not at present “broken”, the Genius, realising that this repair was all covered for no cost even outside of AppleCare, decided that the LCD panel and AirPort Express should be replaced “in case they failed in future”.
So today I’m going to pick up my dad’s old MacBook Pro that has had nearly its entire guts replaced. The only thing left of the old unit is the case, keyboard and optical drive. All of this outside of an AppleCare warranty and at no cost to me. This is real customer service.
In contrast to this, my 18 month old PlayStation 3’s power supply recently failed. To get this fixed I had to fork out $250 to Sony for a replacement refurbished PS3.
Also, my brother’s HP laptop (again only 18 months old) keyboard failed. HP would not cover this $45 replacement part or do the 10 minute repair job to replace the keyboard.