Home > Apple > Apple Service Price Structure… and the 459 USD Plastic Clip Apple Service Price Structure… and the 459 USD Plastic Clip Eugenia Loli 2003-04-10 Apple 29 Comments OSNews’ sister web site NewMobileComputing posted the experiences of a reader with Apple’s service department over the support of an iBook. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 29 Comments 2003-04-10 2:20 am $459 for anything *they* considered not covered by the warranty. i was on the fence on being practical vs. being hip and antiestablishment. i’m going practical. which means no ibook/powerbook for me. insane story. 2003-04-10 2:20 am After OS X came out I felt the same way…. A company with an OS based on unix and from what I had read where a very good hardware company. Then small things started happening. My screen would black out, a key fell off, and the power adapter fell off… I spent $1500 on this blasted laptop (to switch to apple) and all I have gotten is a broken keyboard, a broken monitor (apple kept the laptop for a week, but because they couldn’t reproduce the problem with consistancy they couldn’t repair it!!!! and they wouldn’t send me another model — less than 3 months old at this time!) I since paid $120 for a new adapter and live with the fact that the back lighting on the lcd sometimes goes off (no it isn’t powersaving … it goes off and stays off until I power off and then power on) I am afraid to ask apple how much a new “option” key is. It happened 1 week after my 1 year warrenty quit. As a result my wife is not going to be getting a powerbook when we get her a new laptop this year… I am switching away from APPLE for good! 2003-04-10 2:38 am What is this bullshit story? If I follow the logic of the story then I’ll never buy Peecee’s anymore? Only Peecee’s have caused me trouble. My Macs have a perfect track record. Broken/flacky Asus and Abit motherboards. Guess I’ll never buy a Peecee again!!! Time to switch away from Peecee’s to Macs for good! After all they are all gonna fail me. Get a life! This story (aka pathetic rant) reminds me of the linux fanatics and their Windows XP crashes idiocies! 2003-04-10 2:45 am Ok first of, if you’d read the whole article, I actually said I’m not saying to boycot Apple. I like the ibook, i just want it to work, i don’t think that’s too much to ask. The power supply died within four months of owning the computer, that’s definatly not right. I like apple, I’m just trying to let people know about this so if they ever run into a problem like this they make stink about it too so that maybe apple will change this ridiculous policy. Wouldn’t you rather have people like me share their stories, so that it’s known and hopefully apple will get the picture, than have them charge $459 just to replace a tiny little part the next time ur older mac needs service. The story is 100% true, I really don’t know why someone would make up something like this. I wish it hadn’t happened. 2003-04-10 2:47 am “The explanation he gave me was that, they used to charge for every individual screw, piece of plastic, etc. However, apparently giving quotes with this price system was too much work, and they couldn’t give accurate price quotes. So what they decide was that if something isn’t covered under warranty, then there is a flat repair cost. Guess how much that is? Yep, $459. I couldn’t believe it. I argued with the guy a little bit more explaining how insanely ridiculous that was and asked that my complaint got to whoever makes service pricing decisions.” Ummm…excuse me? Too much work? Inaccurate price quotes? I’m not buying it? Try “This is a better way for the company to make the most, while doing the least”. And no Apple isn’t by far the only company that does things like this. 2003-04-10 3:01 am Speaking of logic. If we follow yours then Apple doesn’t have a repair services department. So what’s that about fanatics again? 2003-04-10 3:04 am I have a Canon DV camcorder, and 3 weeks after the warranty expired, the LCD screen went *kaput*. Even though the camera was now out of warranty, Canon agreed to fix it for free. They made not only one happy customer (me), but I keep on telling everyone (inluding whoever is reading this post) about how nice Canon are to deal with. My next camera will definately be another Canon because of this. In the short term, companies with policies like this might be ‘out of pocket’, but in the long term, they’ll definately benefit. Unfortunately, companies like this are rare. The world is being ruined by ‘current quarter’ managers and accountants, they should open their eyes and look at the bigger (long-term) picture. 2003-04-10 3:15 am Yay, let’s all make assumptions based on one story. I’ve got hundreds of success stories for Apple support, many of them my own. There’s a reason Apple consistently places high – or first – in customer support. 2003-04-10 3:39 am So in conclusion, if you break anything on your iBook, and it’s not under warranty it will cost you a minimum of $459. By anything I mean that stupid little piece of plastic, a couple of keys fall off, your hard drive bombs, or I’m assuming pretty much anything else. I had exactly one of these happen to me… one of the keys on my iBook popped off. However, I soon discovered that there’s a right way and a wrong way to replace the keys. iBook keys are held on by two clips at the top of the key (the side facing the LCD) and two hinge-like clips on the bottom. (So keep in mind… if something gets trapped under a key and you need to remove it, pull from the top of the key) I simply placed the key squarely upon the little bracket underneath and pushed. Big mistake. After hearing a crushing noise I examined the bottom of the key to discover I had broken the frail barrier of plastic on the bottom of the keys. I had also bent the tabs on the bracket. I tried supergluing the little hinges. The key still wouldn’t stay on the bracket. So I removed a nearby bracket from another key and switched it with the broken key. All better… for a few months… One day the key popped off again, and it just wouldn’t stay on. I called Apple and explained the situation (including the part about how I was the one who actually physically damaged the key) I was hoping Apple could simply send me a new keycap and bracket. After all, this must happen all the time, right? Well, as it turns out, Apple replaced the entire keyboard, which was nice. It was also done under warranty, and furthermore I didn’t have to return the original keyboard. I just gave them a street address and in a few days a brand new keyboard showed up at my door. These sort of warranty experiences are common with any company. Whether or not a particular repair falls under warranty is always a highly arbitrary decision. Certainly if you’ve abused your laptop and it breaks the company isn’t going to feel obligated to repair it under warranty, whereas if you do accidently break it but do so in a manner which shouldn’t cause permanent damage (i.e. you aggrivate shoddy construction) then you feel the company is oblighated to repair the damage under warranty. Regarding the $459 statement for an out-of-warranty iBook, you could simply order a replacement keyboard from Apple yourself if it’s broken. I believe the price quoted me was $220. Unless you’ve caused serious damage and it isn’t a part that’s easily user replacable (like all the parts quoted in the original statement), there’s no need to send it in. 2003-04-10 3:59 am Had this happened on a Mac Desktop and they tried something like that, I would be able to understand being really upset at just Apple and the whole “what a horrible company, etc…” because you know that on a PeeCee desktop (most of them anyway, not sure about OEMs like Voodoo or Alienware) everything is interchangable. With laptops though, I get the impression most vendors would be pulling the same type of stunt because the way they’re built makes them expensive to fix for even the smallest stupid things that would be laughable otherwise. If anyone has a story like that, please post it. Just looking at the Fujitsu models, I can see something like that happening. 2003-04-10 4:52 am I have heard the exact oposite from people with regards to apple service. Less then 48 hours for motherboard replacement on a laptop with original laptop and disk returned! Try getting your disk back from dell. 2003-04-10 5:25 am I bought my iBook 800 a few weeks back from Macwarehouse, first off the Macwarehouse scratched the top of the case when installing the free memory, which the free memory stop working after a few days. I couldn’t send the laptop back because it would cost more then just buying a new stick of ram. Next my laptop got really really hot!… This was due to the ram being broken but I didn’t know that the time, and Macwarehouse said they dont fix anything anyways, I even complained about the case, and they said you have to complain with Apple and send it to them and maybe get it back in 6 weeks if that! I fixed the heat and memory problem for the time being, but I’m still not happy with how hot these laptops get, I can actually heat up a sandwidth on the lower left hand corner easily. And also I lost a rubber foot on the bottom of my laptop… I saw them online going for 50 bucks for a set… 2003-04-10 5:44 am First of all, there is no such thing as a 15″ iBook. I have never had any problem like this with Apple. of course, I almost always get the extended AppleCare. That’s what Apple wants me to do, I know, but it has come in handy a few times. At any rate, these companies have these policies so that you will buy an extended warranty. And, usually, that’s okay with me. However, I think Jobs is starting to screw up. This business about Apple’s new restrictions for resellers is ridiculous. Now Dell and Target won’t sell iPods anymore. Nice going, Steve! And these outrageous prices for little parts is on that same level – it’s completely over the top. 2003-04-10 6:17 am I stand corrected, we got the 12″. I don’t know why I typed 15. It’s great people have had good experiences with apple’s service, I wish I had. I’m just saying what happened in my case, not trying to make a broad generalization about Apple. I like Apple, and I hope that they fix policys like this, that in the short run probably look appealing to their accountants, but in the long run they’re going to end up losing customers. 2003-04-10 6:29 am I just wanted to add something. I just remembered when the battery ring actually broke. We’d had the computer around a week and aim crashed. I killed the process (or whatever the equivilent is in osx) and the computer still wasn’t responding. I turn it off, turn it back on and it comes on, but then hard crashes, completely freezes. I turn it off, turn it back on and all i get is a blue screen (I guess windows isn’t the only one w/ BSOD’s). Anyways, so that’s actually when I took the battery out for the first time really and that’s when it cracked. I ended up having to call apple and they had to walk me through reinstalling OSX after having the computer for a week. I dont know why I didn’t remember this originally for the article, but I should have put it in. Once again I’m not bashing apple, I’m just simply requesting their product work for me. If it hadn’t have completly died w/ in the first week of me owning the computer, maybe the ring would have never been broken I dontknow. It’s possible it got knocked around in shipping or somethign who knows, but it’s good to see everyone else’s comments. 2003-04-10 6:55 am When I spilled some clear sugary flavored water stuff on my keyboard (not much! it sort of exploded when I opened it…), it voided my warranty and I had to get a replacement keyboard on my dime. This was a Compaq Presario, and the keyboard cost around $350 iirc. My own clumsiness aside, that’s pretty steep, but I paid it, and now it works again. I have no idea how they justify the cost, but I guess if the part isn’t covered under warranty, they can charge pretty much whatever they want. 2003-04-10 7:54 am I’m sorry you’ve had these problems, Charles, but what’s the point of the article? Has OSNews degenerated into a tech support horror-story forum? This isn’t an article, this is just a blurb about some guy with a broken computer and his hassles with some tech support morons. Anyone could write an article like that about any company. Apple isn’t really much better or worse than any other company. I wonder if OSNews/New Mobile Computing would have published this article if it weren’t about Apple. I’ve heard plenty of horror stories about Dell (and witnessed a few personally). Is Dell also a legitmate target for negative publicity? Jared 2003-04-10 8:50 am I know what you mean. As soon as I read OSNews’ sister web site NewMobileComputing posted the experiences of a reader with Apple’s service department over the support of an iBook. I knew that it would be a horror story without any indication. This site never publishes anything positive about apple, while I read other sites which are praising apple and say how well they are doing. We either get basic news or a negative opinion. BTW, I don’t own a mac. 2003-04-10 9:42 am I have heard along the grapevine that if you buy and apple branded computer and any hardware falts that happen within 10 days of you buying the computer you can take it back and get a brand new replacement. I’m not sure if it is applicable in the USA, but it is applicable in Australia I think. 2003-04-10 9:49 am A Compaq support engineer talked me through (via the phone) replacing an ATAPI/IDE cable in my Compaq Prosignia laptop a couple of years back. After discussing what the problem was, he felt I knew enough about what I was doing. It was a recorded call (and an expensive one at that) and I agreed that anything that went wrong would be my fault from that point onwards, since it was me that was messing with it. The Compaq guy was happy about doing it this way. I don’t know what his name was, but that was the best level of service I’ve ever recieved form a computer company. I only wish more comanies treated customers in this way. The machine’s about 5 years old now and has had no other problems since then, other than the battery dying a couple of months ago, but that’s to be expected when a laptop gets old. I’d quite like to own a new 12″ PowerBook (more portable than the larger ones), but I’d be wary of buying something that expensive from a company with service policies like this. Still, when they work, they are very nice machines. 2003-04-10 11:37 am Apple make an enormous amount of money on support and repairs. In Ireland what used to be a huge Apple production facility supplying most of Europe is now an international call centre and guess what profits are HUGE. Staff are on commission to sell support packages, keep customers on the phone for days before finally admitting a repair is needed. Apple prides itself on providing a ‘complete package’ an operates the marketing strategy but in reality this ‘complete package’ is an engine to eeek every last bit of money out of the customer. Now this would not be a bad thing if they were passing the benefits of their guaranteed market onto the customer but they are doing quite the opposite and screwing them instead. All I can say is thank god for Ebay because there’s no way I’d be going to Apple for and LCD or a keyboard 2003-04-10 12:08 pm Seriously and I would call one of those local TV stations that love stories like this so they can embarass companies on prime time news. I wouldn’t let apple slide. 2003-04-10 12:34 pm what in the world is this rubbish? Some guy griping about his bad suuport experience? Even this sort of thing qualifies as an article? I’ve got some bad experience with compaq too … can i post something up here? How bout the half a million other computer related complaints … truly toilet form of jounalism 2003-04-10 1:42 pm Charles, when I said, “…there is no such thing as a 15″ iBook”, it looks to me now like I was taking a shot at you…I didn’t mean it to look like that, I was just tired 🙂 If you buy a Mac, even if you don’t buy the three year extended coverage, you still get 90 days of full AppleCare. In some ways, that is good enough – it seems to me, the vast majority of big problems happen or show up by then. But, with either, if you open the machine up and do upgrades yourself and mess something up, it is all null and void. 2003-04-10 2:39 pm I have just bought an iBook 12″ 800 and i think its the best computer i have ever owned. I cannot understand how one story puts people off from buying a product (noted from a comment made here), how many thousands of iBooks have Apple shipped? Its not even about the laptop itself, its about how apple charge for replacement items. I think the iBook is great, perfect for my needs. But that story is worrying but then again, ANY electrical device is prone to failure. But my iBook has shipped with a bad Power Management Unit (PMU), this machine cannot keep the time, it resets itself once turned off. I have phoned Apple support and they know about the problem and they think it is fixed (i’ve got an RMA) but it would take 2 weeks for it to be repaired because i do not have applecare (if i had applecare it would be fixed in days), at the moment this isn’t possible since i need it for college, so i am waiting a while until i can afford to send it off. Its covered by the warranty btw. The only issue i have is with the timeframe they have given me on the repair ofthe system, surely they must know an iBook would be a vital object for a student and would need it sooner rather than later, its no reason to buy Applecare either. Anyway, i might have to fit the repair inside a holiday break from college or after college when it finishes. 2003-04-10 2:47 pm First rule for purchasing laptops: BUY THE GODDAMN WARRANTY! Second rule: BUY THE GODDAMN WARRANTY NOW! First rule for purchasing Apple laptops: wait until at least the second revision of the laptop before purchasing it. Sure you have to wait 6 months more, but honestly, it’s worth it because they tend to fix a lot of the problems after the first revision has been released. By the way, it is not a flat fee of $459 for all repairs. There is a fellow in my office who did not get the warranty (GET THE GODDAMN WARRANTY!) and had problems and had to send it back twice. Each time it cost him $250. But hey, he sent it in on a Thu/Fri and it was back on Monday, so that’s pretty good service. 2003-04-10 3:24 pm I have had 2 apples have problems My beige G3 (HD went out) and my 600 white ibook(ethernet port clip and latch) Both times apple was right on top of it and did nt cost me a dime. 2003-04-10 4:26 pm “I have a Canon DV camcorder, and 3 weeks after the warranty expired, the LCD screen went *kaput*. Even though the camera was now out of warranty, Canon agreed to fix it for free. They made not only one happy customer (me), but I keep on telling everyone (inluding whoever is reading this post) about how nice Canon are to deal with. My next camera will definately be another Canon because of this. In the short term, companies with policies like this might be ‘out of pocket’, but in the long term, they’ll definately benefit. Unfortunately, companies like this are rare. The world is being ruined by ‘current quarter’ managers and accountants, they should open their eyes and look at the bigger (long-term) picture.” I had the exact opposite experience with canon. I have a canon printer that broke a week after the warranty ran out. In fact, I had only used it to print about 25 pages TOTAL over the course of the year I had it. I called canon and they told me I should just buy a new printer because they wouldn’t fix it. So, yeah, I’m not buying anything from canon anymore. I have an epson printer now which I’m very happy with. I don’t like how companies do this either. In the past, I had bought 3 separate canon printers. I would have continued to buy them, but they refused to fix a problem that was obviously their fault. They lost a lifetime customer (I’m very loyal to companies that treat me right – even if their prices are higher). 2003-04-11 3:45 pm I posted this also on the sister site; After I read the story I was a bit upset, because I’m waiting (to come out) for the new 15″ powerbook. So I called my brother who works for Apple stores and dealers in Holland and has experiences with this. I told the story and the first thing he said was; they probably replaced the bottom! And the little ring is included in this ‘bottom part’. Some guys at repair shops he knows, keep their own little stock of laptop parts (from broken laptops etc). So I asked whether I should buy the Apple care contract when I buy the powerbook. His answer was that in Europe you have 5 years warranty for all products you buy but you need to contact the consumer organisations to put pressure on companies like in this case. When things break after the first year there is a formula that you only have to pay (say 10%, 20%, 30% of the repair after the first year). His friend had a little problem with a 3 year old powerbook, same story… Apple charged way too much and my brother advised him to contact the consumer organisation. They called Apple a few times and finally Apple send him a ***BRAND NEW MODEL*** Powerbook. So they are a bit afraid of these organisations. The consumer organisations advice NOT to buy extended warranties on products because your rights are protected very well. However from personal experience laptops are maybe the only exception, the change is big that something breaks (fragile machines) and the hassle you have by fighting for your rights is sometimes not worth the money you save with not buying the extended warranty. I don’t know yet what to do, for the money of the Apple care I can buy an airport base station. Anyway good luck to all the people on this forum and keep fighting for your rights!!!