Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Apple Rant: AppleCare = Shoddy Service - Apple Arrogance?

Posted by Tom Foremski - July 24, 2009

On the one occasion I've had to use AppleCare, the Apple extended warranty, abut 5 years ago, I had a good result. This time I had a very bad experience and I'm wondering if Apple is getting way too arrogant in its dealings with customers.

First let me explain that I'm not a "fanboy" I use both PCs and Macs but lately have used Macs more than PCs because I'm processing more video.

Before I left for my trip to London in July my Macbook Pro developed a screen problem. Much of the screen was blank and there were horizontal and vertical lines across it like a multicolored weave. I have no idea what caused this, the system sits on my desk, I use a Macbook Air for travel.

I called into AppleCare, described my problem, they said they would fix it and I sent it in. On my return from the UK they sent it back without the repair. They said it wasn't covered. AppleCare only covers manufacturing faults and this was a cracked screen caused by excessive pressure on the screen. Apple designed the Macbook to withstand normal pressure therefore it is my fault.

I explained that the Macbook Pro sits on my desk, it had no excessive pressure put on it. The caller went off to check and said that excessive temperature changes could have cracked the screen.

I explained that it sat in my San Francisco apartment, on my desk, we have no excessive temperature changes here. It gets mildly chilly in the winter and mildly warm in the summer - often vice-versa - but we never get wild temperature swings.

Again, he went off to check and came back and refused to repair it unless I paid $1295!

I already paid several hundred dollars for the worthless AppleCare service.

If AppleCare only covers manufacturing defects then it covers nothing. By definition if the system performed as advertised when I got it, any subsequent failure must be due to something that happened to the system after the manufacture. Therefore not covered!

You've got to love this kind of arrogant logic. Apple has more than $25 billion in cash and treats its customers as if they had nothing to do with generating that cash for them.

I looked on the Internet and I can fix the screen myself for $225. My advice is that it's better to save the several hundred dollars on AppleCare and insure it yourself. That's what I should have done. AppleCare sucks - don't use it is my advice.

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