I know that I promised that I’d be talking about recovering files from data disasters this weekend, but I’ve had to postpone that for at least a day.
Last night, when I came home, my laptop was acting odd. The battery wouldn’t stay charged, and the network access kept cutting out. I figured I’d better check the warranty to see if it was in order and found that I hadn’t even installed the extended warranty software that I’d purchased back when we bought the laptop.
So I tried to install it. It didn’t work. I tried three or four times and finally filled out the form for requesting help with the warranty.
I got things stabilized and left my laptop running with the data recovery program on the 320 GB drive as I slept. When I awoke, I found that my laptop had died overnight. I tried turning it on. Nothing. I checked to make sure that it was plugged in (it was) and that it was charging or done charging. (It wasn’t.)
I was bummed, but I wasn’t about to just sit around doing nothing all day. Instead, I ran into school and did some work there. After a few hours, Mr. Grump called and said that he got the computer to turn on and that everything seemed fine.
When I got home, I checked my mail and found a message from Apple stating that the data that I’d submitted for the warranty was incorrect and that I’d have to call them.
Much to my surprise, Apple actually had people working at the help desk. I spent several minutes on hold but was told I’d have to wait even longer to speak to someone in the warranty department. So I waited some more.
Eventually, I was connected with a “specialist”. When she pulled up my case, she said, “Oh, I see the problem. You purchased the extended warranty for the Mac Pro, and you have a MacBook Pro.”
I don’t know how that happened. For one thing, I purchased the package from a link in an email that I received from Apple. It was one of those, “Your chance to buy the extended warranty at this low price is running out. Click here to buy it now!” things. The product that I purchased should have been right. For another, Apple knew that I didn’t have a Mac Pro because I hadn’t ever registered one. What did they think I was buying it for? They should have caught it before it was even shipped to me. But no.
I was quite pleased when the “specialist” said, “Here’s what we can do. We’ll issue you a new extended warranty back-dated to the date that the one you purchased was issued.”
That sounded fine.
But then she said, “So we will refund the $249 that you paid for the Mac Pro extended warranty and then bill you for the MacBook Pro extended warranty.”
She said the next part really fast. It took my brain a moment to parse it. “Youunderstandthatwecannotrefundtaxandshippingandwewillhavetochargeyoutherightcostfortherightwarranty.”
Say what? I asked her to repeat it again slowly.
Basically, the state of Texas charges tax. I’d already paid tax on the previous purchase, and I’d have to pay tax again on the “new” purchase. AND (it gets better!) the cost of the “new” warranty is $1oo more than the one that I’d previously invited to purchase. So unless I was willing to swallow the $250+ I’d already spent, I’d have to spend $100 more (plus tax, of course).
Once I figured that out, I wondered, “So Apple will just bill me for the difference, right?”
Um… no. Apple can’t just credit the card that I’d used to purchase the original warranty because someone stole my Apple account months ago, which forced me to cancel the card. So because of Apple’s incompetence, I have to wait approximately six WEEKS to receive my refund. However, if I want the right extended warranty, I had to pay for the right warranty NOW.
Does your brain hurt yet? Mine did!
I tried to explain to the “specialist” why this was WRONG on so many levels. I already knew that Apple had absolutely no concept of real customer service, and this just confirmed my feelings.
As I was giving the “specialist” my credit card number, I started to giggle at the ludicrous situation. I begged her not to store my card information with my Apple account and why. She said that was fine, but of course, I’m going to have to check to make sure. I don’t think I trust Apple all that much right now.
As I told the “specialist”, I tend to love Apple products. They are easy to use, they’re cool, and they’re fairly reliable. However, their customer support stinks! They could care less if they inconvenience a user. They don’t care if their customer loses money due to their incompetence. In their book, it’s not whether the customer is right. It’s all the same to them… They have their money, and that’s all that matters.
That will be their downfall eventually. They may have had the market on “cool” cornered for the past few years, but others are catching up fast. What they need to start asking themselves is “How is Apple going to keep their customers?” People will tolerate their arrogance for a time, but as Microsoft has found out, there’s only so much that people will overlook.
My patience with Apple is wearing thin. I was contemplating buying an iPhone, but now I’m not so sure. For one thing, half the sum I would have spent on an iPhone has now been sucked up to get the warranty that I thought I’d purchased a year ago. For another, I don’t think I can stand being told, in not so many words, “Yeah, we know it’s Apple’s fault, but Apple expects you to pay for it!”