The Apple Laptop, Refurbed

A long rant about a broken laptop
So, my iBook died in January. Went to the Apple store, dropped it off, got it back three weeks later with a new logic board. The employee told me "they lost my phone number", and the phone number... was on the receipt they gave me back.

Went home, turned it on, and noted it was dead as a doornail, but in a different way. They told me that there had been a defective batch of logic boards, I got one, and apparently no one thought to even power on the laptop after it had the hardware repaired. Mailed this one back, and got it back in the mail, as I didn't want another "telephone number" snafu.

Went home, turned it on, no wireless. Tried it on several different networks, tried powering it off, tried IPv6. Frustration. Back to the Apple store, it turned out to be dead hardware. Back to the service depot, and back in my hands a week later.

Took home, turned it on, fine. An hour later, no wireless. Another hour tinkering, back to Apple store, and it wouldn't do it again for them. Leaving looking embarrassed, got home, and it was broken again. Took it to several different networks, again, broken. The next morning, it wouldn't even boot.

Took it back to the store, dropped it off, signed a waiver that if they found nothing wrong, I owed $100. They found the power management was preventing it from booting (?). I then asked them to leave it on overnight, and try the wireless. It made it about an hour, and then the hardware died. They asked if I wanted it to be fixed, I said yes.

I called back a week later, to see if it was done, and they said, "it's here, come get it". After going in, they realized that no one had remembered to send it in to be fixed. I'd love to say the employee was helpful, but they just kept saying "I understand, that's terrible", which doesn't really help if you're not acting to address the issue. They then dug up my previous tickets, saw I was telling the truth, and told me they're going to give me a refurbished MacBook to replace my defective iBook.

Whew.

I didn't even realize how annoyed this whole transaction made me until I got to typing. I should have my newer laptop in a week or so, and am trying to figure out whether to install Vista or XP under Parallels. I'm hoping the new laptop has a better track record than the old laptop did, but I'm pretty confident that'll be the case.

Lessons learned, when dealing with an Apple product:

  • If it's a laptop or desktop machine, it's definitely broken, and it requires a part to be fixed, call Apple, and do it through the mail. The speed of their mail repairs was *stunning*, maybe 36 hours to get me a box, send them the box, perform the repairs, and have the laptop back in my hands.
  • From previous experience, if it's something they can replace at the store (iPod, iPhone, etc), go to the store. Be nice. I went through three or four 3G iPods one year, as they had a batch that didn't play well with USB 1.1 on my Windows desktop machine, and they kept getting fried until I figured out what was doing it.
  • They hire slackers and geeks that fit the Apple image. None of the ever friendly employees at the Apple store will ever officially take ownership of any problem you have. If one manager offers to leave a note for another manager, call back to make sure the original manager actually got the message. ("I'll leave a note" fell through for me at least three times.)
  • If you have an issue that requires multiple visits, you might want to convince an employee to take some ownership of the issue and meet back up with them specifically. From my experience, it's much preferable to do it through the mail.
Or, a shorter summary: if it's going to require multiple visits, handle it through their mail service.