No use crying over Coke spilt on a MacBook Air
Posted on 9 Jul 2012 at 09:22
They may be stiflingly religious at times, but Apple Store support is second to none, says Jon Honeyball
My MacBook Air was displaying problems with a dodgy trackpad, which sometimes – for no obvious reason – would just generate random clicks.
It didn’t seem to matter whether the “touch to click” option was turned off in the settings. I could be scrolling around a web page and suddenly, boom, I’d clicked through to another website because of a phantom click. This was happening often enough to be annoying, so I booked an appointment at the Apple Store's "Genius Bar" in Cambridge so somebody could take a look at it. After all, it was only six months old and still under warranty.
Name another vendor that would replace a laptop with a brand-new model within an hour, with all applications and data seamlessly transferred from the old machine to the new one?
The appointment had been made for mid-afternoon on a Sunday. My partner and I turned up with the MacBook Air at the appointed time and talked through the problem with an Apple employee. "No problem," he said, "we’ll fit a new trackpad for you, which should clear up the problem. Come back in 30 minutes."
After a large coffee, we returned to be told that the new trackpad had been fitted, but that there were still some problems with the motherboard and keyboard – it looked like maybe some fizzy drink had been spilled on the keyboard and trackpad at some point?
I answered quite honestly that I wasn’t aware of any such event, but I wasn’t the sole user of the laptop. "No problem," he said, "have you got time for us to transfer all the SSD contents to another machine?" Time for another large, frothy coffee. Upon return, we were presented with a brand-new MacBook Air and a repair receipt detailing the work, with an invoice total of zero pounds.
Now answer this for me, if you please. Name another vendor that would replace a laptop with a brand-new model within an hour, with all applications and data seamlessly transferred from the old machine to the new one? Where it was possible that the damage was user-inflicted? And to offer this level of support on a Sunday afternoon?
And before you assume I was waving a press card to receive special treatment, this appointment was made in the name of my partner, who has never bought anything from that particular Apple Store in the past. It isn’t hard to see why people flock to these shops for a standard of care and attention that, while a little stiflingly religious at times, can’t be faulted for real-world performance.
It is nice to receive such excellent service, although I would suggest you are already paying for this in advance with the high buying price of Mac hardware.
By Gogster on 9 Jul 2012
Ipad replaced no hassle
I had an IPad which one of my children dropped down the stairs.It still worked fine but was not charging.
Went to the apple store and told them exactly what happened and within 5 minutes i walked out with a brand new IPad.
They said the damage wasn't covered in the warrenty but done it as a once off replacement. Thanks Apple !
By CathalG on 9 Jul 2012
Considering Apple are a premium brand this is the level of service which I expect as standard. I recently had a part break on a premium brand item which was over 7 years old. Called the manufacturer and a replacement part was posted out immediately. No receipt, no warranty, just a phone call. If they hadn't replaced your laptop without question I would be more suprised. Pay the high bucks, get the high service.
By stephen_d_morris on 9 Jul 2012
The lack of Apple stores here, Germany, mean that we have to put up with Apple specialists in T-Mobile shops or Saturn, MediaMarkt etc.
When I got my iPhone it would randomly "die", it couldn't be switched on at all. I took it back to T-Mobile and they sent it off to Apple for repair, 2 weeks later it was sent back as "no fault found."
The next day, I brought it back with the same fault, it was sent to Apple and came back 2 weeks later as "no fault found."
The next day, I brought it back to the store with the same fault and this time I spoke very loudly, which got other customers in the shop looking at the assistant and him feeling very uneasy. I insisted on a replacement this time.
Magically, the Apple engineer found a fault this time and after 2 weeks, I had a replacement phone...
A total of 6 weeks without a phone in the first 2 months of ownership!
Now my 4 year old iMacs motherboard is playing up and I will have to replace it. After that experience of customer service, I am not that inclined to buy another, unless it is directly from an Apple store, but the nearest one is several hours drive away, so I will probably be looking elsewhere.
By big_D on 9 Jul 2012
My experience with Apple has been hit or miss.
It seems that you HAVE to go to the Apple Store to get decent service as twice when I sent a couple of things to them (once a nano 2g and another my brother's touch 2g) Argos ended up vetoing what Apple had said when returned because of either some minor issues or failure to find the fault.
Which obviously may be a problem depending on if you can get to a store.
The other issue can be cost, for example, my iphone 4 home button stopped working and cost £120 to replace at a store where as the part itself was only £10-20 and it's possible to get it done third party for £50 (In the end I only went with Apple because the battery was also playing up a bit).
By tech3475 on 9 Jul 2012
Can't complain too much about service.
My Macbook Pro suffered trackpad problems after I spilt a tiny bit of beer on the trackpad. It was well out of warranty. At first I cursed that the trackpad was that susceptible to damage (It was hardly any liquid).
After months of making do by enabling tap to click to click, I took it into an Apple store where they replaced the trackpad in ten minutes for £70. I can't see any other company being able to repair a three year old laptop.
By ronwatson71 on 9 Jul 2012
HP might not offer the 1 hour service, as they don't have an actual store that you can visit, but you if purchase an ADP warranty they'll visit you next day (depending on parts) and fix the machine for you.
There will STILL be horror stories on either side and I'm honestly amazed that they fixed it for you especially due to liquid damage!
By rhythm on 9 Jul 2012
Proof of Ownership
Did the Apple store personnel ask you for proof of ownership? If not, then I would be very worried about their supposed quality if service. This is because it has been reported that Apple stores have been swapping out broken iPhones without any questions asked - a "service" used by thieves who trade in stolen iPhones for refurbished ones.
By ParimalKumar on 9 Jul 2012
My 4 year old Dell XPS M1330 has been playing up recently. Apparently the NVidia graphics card was overheating. Rang them, told them the problem and it is now being repaired free of charge for me :-)
By baripollard on 9 Jul 2012
Ummm, possibly they recognised Jon at the counter ? But nevertheless, Macbook's are great.
By stevenaaus on 10 Jul 2012
This happened to my sister in law. Her iPhone 4 was stolen from her in Cambridge (possibly left behind accidentally and someone walked off with it is more likely) and although she went to the Apple store the next day to report it stolen they already had it logged as having been replaced the day before due to it being faulty. So whoever walked off with her phone ended up with a brand new one within a few hours of walking off with hers without requiring proof of purchase.
By skarlock on 10 Jul 2012
Not the service I received
I had an 8 month old iPhone 4. The button on it became unreliable so I booked an appointment (needed to take a day off work because here in Reading, weekends were not available). I got there, waited 45 minutes, politely explained the problem and was told "oh yes, that's a pretty common experience". He then asked me to reproduce it and as is always the case in such situations, it worked ok. A couple of minutes later, he just got up and said "Ok, well make another appointment once you can reproduce it". I asked if there was nothing he could do as it was a known problem and he said "no, sorry", with that, he was gone.
Having a number of Apple devices in the house (6 at the last count), I can't say I was impressed by the level of service.
By SupersonicCow on 10 Jul 2012
I'd taken my original receipt in as well, just in case they were interested. Made no difference.
Maybe I should have got stroppy and asked to see a manager.
By SupersonicCow on 10 Jul 2012
Did you get your original phone back as it was a stolen item they replaced so could claim your property back.
By curiousclive on 11 Jul 2012
Compared to another major manufacturer
I purchased a top of the range VAIO laptop for about £1700 then messed up Windows 7 by rebooting with an USB caddy HDD from an old PC still plugged in.
Looked in the box for recovery media, none included as standard. Apparently the option was there to generate them when I first got the machine. Obviously saving them tens of valuable pennies.
Called the *0900 number for technical support. Spoke to infuriating, unsympathetic 'assistant'. She started me on a recovery process then casually mentioned this would wipe all my data. I expressed my 'displeasure' and she offered me recovery media. For the princely sum of £50. Which I refused.
The moral is that all that money does NOT buy service. Apple products are a total rip off (£45 for a 5m HDMI to display port cable anyone?) But they are deservedly brilliant at the consumer experience.
By r0bert0 on 11 Jul 2012
In the past I have taken an iPhone 4 back to the Reading Apple Store for a home button issue. Although they could replicate it at the time they took my word for it and replaced it with a new one.
Another time my Wife put her iPhone 4 in the washing machine. I took it to the same store and they said unsurprisingly that it was user damage. That said they replaced it with a new one for just £129 which when compared to the price of a new one I felt was pretty good. After your experience though Jon I feel like they should have given her one for nothing. I wonder what makes your user damage less chargeable that my Wife's?
By Bozwell on 11 Jul 2012
AppleCare the key?
I recently posted on another blog that I recently had my iPhone 4 replaced almost 2 years after I bought it.
It was during a hot period and the screen was starting to produce yellow "spots" in 2 areas (and getting very hot when charging). I booked a Genius appointment, they took one look at it and replaced it immediately with a brand new handset (not reconditioned).
Have to say I was *very* impressed... Bearing in mind I got the phone in September 2010, I did buy the AppleCare warranty at the time (for about £60) to extend it to 2 years. I probably had about 2-3 months left on it but they swapped it without question.
I was really pleased as I was thinking of upgrading my handset later this year. However now that I have effectively a new one with a brand new battery, I will probably hang onto this for a while longer, certainly until all the excitement over the next iPhone calms down.
However I think the moral of the story is you get a significantly better service if you have AppleCare - they seem to replace the hardware without too many questions, so from a peace-of-mind point of view, I think it's worth it.
Having dealt with other manufacturers such as Dell (average), HP (good), Acer (dreadful), I would say this is fairly close to the top level of service one could expect.
By mrmmm on 31 Jul 2012
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