Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Does AppleCare?

I've bought a MacBook Pro in March after it was released in February and I totally fell in love with it. It's screaming fast, looks great and MacOS is simply the best desktop OS I've ever seen.

But every love brings some pain... and I have experienced this as well. I was warned about revision A of any Apple computers, but at that time I really needed a new notebook so I was not listening.

So even though I was in love with this computer I started noticing problems with it. I don't want to post list of all of them because it would be quite a long list, but among others, I had heat problems, battery life problems, and noises coming from LCD and CPU.

I made an extensive search for these issues on the Web and I found out that I was not alone. Many users tried to have these problems fixed right away, but most of them were just wasting time by shipping their notebooks to be repaired and getting them back with most of the issues still present.

After approximately 6 weeks of using the notebook, I got to the point where I called AppleCare and let them know about my problems, hoping that they would have already had solutions to most of the problems.

Most of the people at the AppleCare call center I dealt with were really friendly and put effort in helping me. The opposite is true of the so called "Mac Geniuses" at the Valley Fair AppleStore in Santa Clara, whose main interest was to get me out of their sight after doing as little as possible.

To my surprise most of the problems were unresolved after the first repair. So right after the time when Apple finally acknowledged the "CPU Whine" problem I had the notebook fixed again. A couple of issues were resolved this time, but new problems were added as a free bonus, so another repair followed. This one took extremely long (almost a month) due to delays in repair docks as well as shipping problems, but worst of the notebook came back as I sent it, unrepaired, because Apple "could not reproduce the problems".

When even after the 3rd repair the problems were still present and I "reproduced" terrible noise one of the fans was making to a AppleCare representative over the phone, I was given an option of getting a brand new replacement, which I happily took thinking that my nightmares were over.

To my great surprise the replacement had problems of its own: SuperDrive problems, system crashes and a problem with the trackpad button.

This whole crusade for getting a notebook that "works as advertised" has been going on for months now.. and I'm getting yet another replacement in the next few days. Hopefully this time it will be a notebook that has no major issues.

Does all of this mean that Apple products are not what I used to hear about them or am I being just plain unlucky?

And regarding the question: "Does AppleCare?", my feelings are mixed. I think the answer is that yeah they do, if you make sure they know about your problems, you are persistent and you manage to talk to the right people. But considering the money you pay for a premium product and support, I think that Mac Geniuses, the product QA team and repair technicians have a lot of room for improvement. I hope that Apple's growing market share doesn't mean decreasing quality of their products and services.

No comments: