Woes From An Apple Retail Store

I am an Apple fan-boy. I have two iPods, an iPhone 3g (that my son uses) an iPhone 4, an old Apple TV and a new Apple TV, an iPad and an iMac. When I think of Apple I think great products followed up by great customer service, or at least i did until last month.

I bought my iMac three years ago and along with it I bought the Apple Care (3 year warranty). About 8 months ago my iMac started shutting off randomly and reseting itself 20 min. later. I didn’t take it in right away because I was unsure if my Apple Care was still good.

On April 3rd I realized I was still covered so I took my iMac into the Apple store and they said it should be ready to go in about a week. On April 11 I picked up what I thought was my computer and went home to realize the hard drive was wiped clean. Not a problem I use the time machine to backup my files so I restored everything no problem.

April 23 I get a phone call from the Apple store saying I had someone else’s computer and they realized this because they gave my computer to someone else and when they started it they saw my picture on the desktop. This was quite unsettling to hear since all my family photos, movies, and tax information is readily available on that machine. I returned the computer that was given to me that night and was told my computer wouldn’t be returned until the 25th or 26th so I had a good 3-4 nights of thinking all the bad things that could happen with my info out there.

I was reunited with my computer on the 26th and the Apple store presented me with a printout showing the machine was only turned on for 2 min, enough time to boot up and be shut down, this was a relief. Then for compensation I was given the “Mac Box Set” which is basically minor upgrades to software I already own. After having my privacy violated, my financial security put at risk, and the inconvenience and stress that went along with all that they give me software upgrades. Had my machine sans info been given away I could see this being all right but come on. Had they given my computer to someone less trustworthy and my info been used I wouldn’t be back at the Apple store, I would most likely been hiring a lawyer.

I’m not one to cause a scene so I left with my computer with the mindset of contacting the corporate offices to see how they felt about all of this. When I got home I plugged in my computer and started restoring it and after 5 hours in shut itself off again. Great.

Not wanting to deal with those people anymore I let my wife call and let them know our computer still doesn’t work, she dealt with the one person in this whole ordeal that seemed to actually give a shit to our situation. We got an appointment for 7:45 the next evening and I brought it in. I was finally seen at 8:30, gave them my computer and left.

The next day I received a call with them offering me a new computer for all the trouble I have been through, I accept.

When I go to pick up my new computer I am told that for all my inconvenience they have decided not to fix my old computer and just give me a new one. What I don’t understand is just about everything was replaced in the old one ($640 of parts and work) so what exactly were they going to fix. How much more time and money would have been sunk into this defective machine before we reached this conclusion of here is a new computer.

I was given the opportunity of getting the Apple care on the new computer which I did and payed $60 for it $100 less than what it cost. I thought maybe they were throwing in the Apple care for free but I was paying the difference on the new machine. When I got home I realized this wan’t the case. When I bought my machine I got the mid level model and the new machine I got was the low end model today. The reason I got $100 off on the Apple care was because I payed $1,300 for my old machine and this new one sells for $1,200.

I realize that this new computer I have is better in every way shape and form that my old one, but it seems like every step of the way I have been given the absolute bare minimum of customer service, and Apple is supposed to be known for it’s great customer service. Is it only great if you’re an asshole and start demanding things? Thats not me, so instead I wrote this.

Have I lost faith in Apple? No
Have I lost faith in the Apple Store? Yes
Will I ever buy anything from the Apple Store? No

So Says The Hieb

10 Responses to “Woes From An Apple Retail Store”

  1. It’s a tough one, really.

    On the one hand, I understand that your data was compromised; this is enough to legitimately worry anyone. One might argue that it’s your responsibility to ensure there’s a password set on the system, but then one may also argue that it’s Apple’s responsibility to ensure they give you the correct machine.

    But, moving onto that point, it’s also important to know how Apple works in that regard. When you pick up your computer from the Store, they should hand you some paperwork to sign, to confirm the machine is leaving the building. This will have been with the iMac in question, and, one hopes, you read it before you signed and gave it back. This document would have have the name, address, contact details and information for the machine and actual owner. Are you sure that it was in fact your name and information on that document that you signed and gave back? It is absolutely your duty to read any document before you sign; this is how most of the “mistakes” are caught at the Apple Store. It’d be good to verify what the case was with this.

    In terms of the replacement, there’s also a little more to know. Apple’s policy is to ensure that your machine is as good as the previous model, or better. And when they say better, it must be better in every single way, specification, widget, everything. It’s not about wether it’s the middle or top or bottom end model, it’s about “is this as least as good as the next system up, or better than what the customer has now” – they have, by your own admission, given you something far far better than the machine you owned.

    In the three year lifespan of the system, you’ve only “lost” a hundred dollars; that’s way less than the the depreciation the system would have gone through had you sold it and rebought a new one. Don’t forget that any outstanding AppleCare left on the old iMac can be claimed and refunded if you call AppleCare, too. So if there’s a considerable amount left, give them a call and get it credited back to your card. I’d say you made out well on the deal, frankly.

    Apple didn’t have to call you to apologize, they didn’t have to get your machine back to you as you (assumedly) signed for it and waived your rights to it, and they didn’t have to replace the system, they could have just re-repaired it… Yes, your data was available to someone else for a period of time, but you must also take some of that responsibility too. You didn’t set a password, and you must have signed to say that your machine wasn’t your machine.

    • Could not agree more. If this was a pc bought at best buy then this idiot would know bad customer service and the run around. Back up your machine and get the important data off. mistakes happen. Guess this is perfect and never errs. Would love to give this moron a slap to his face.

  2. Apple Person Says:

    I think you should be grateful for what you got. It is not easy for the store to do what they did for you. I don’t think they replaced your computer simply because they couldn’t find the problem. They replaced your computer to satisfy you as a customer. As for the replacement. If apple must replace a unity there are specific guidelines as to which ones they can give, and it’s not necessarily determined by which model you had before, more around cost you paid. As for AppleCare, i am MORE than surprised they gave you any discount on that…believe me that store took a hit by doing that for you.

  3. IHateWhiners Says:

    You sound like a complete and utter jerk. Anything is a pretext for you to whine, isn’t it? I would have loved to see you take an HP or an Acer back to a store and get the same kind of service!

    Do yourself a favor and spend your time criticizing something that’s wrong with the world, rather than what’s wrong with your luck – or lack thereof.

  4. Surprised Says:

    Wow. Sounds like the Apple Store bent over backwards to correct a small mistake and you are completely ungrateful. I have nothing but contempt for your attitude.

  5. JasperRincon Says:

    The employees at that location, The Fashion Fair Mall, take pride in their ineptitude. They relish in mocking customers, give people a hard time, and would rather replace a machine instead of do some honest repair work. You can’t criticize an Apple owner for not taking the proper steps to protect their computer because Mac products are specifically marketed to people that want simplicity and people that have a high tendency to fuck op their machines like old people, elementary school computer labs, and hipsters. I don’t think this customer is whining at all and if I do my math right he was without his only computer for more than a week which can be hard these days for anyone. Either way I don’t think Apple corporate would like that this blog is floating around. The Hieb is entitled as anyone else to complain via the internet so don’t hate Mr “I Hate Whiners”

  6. Ex Apple Says:

    As an ex store employee, I’d like to see if maybe I can fill in some details for you. Obviously, it sucks that your computer got mixed up with someone else’s. As someone mentioned above, generally the store tries to keep the computer and associated paperwork together, which is assisted by the fact that your serial number is printed on the paperwork. Unfortunately, as you discovered, I don’t recall much comparing of the serial numbers on check out, by either the employees or the customers. Now, in the 4 years that I worked there I can only recall two system mixups. In both instances, the systems actually had the right paper work on them through the entire process, but when staged in the cage where completed repairs are kept, the paperwork got switched. Obviously this doesn’t make it any better, but I provide it to illustrate that generally these are honest mix ups, not incompetence or laziness.

    As for the mac pack as an apology, generally these bits of compensation are chosen at the store level. Technically, there isn’t any policy for it at all, but obviously good customer service means the store tries to make good faith gestures in cases like this. If you had asked for more, they probably would have given you more, but they aren’t mind readers, and can only make a guess as to what would satisfy you. It’s also worth mentioning, that since they weren’t at replacing your computer at this point, and you already had Apple Care, there wasn’t much more they could have given you other than software.

    On to the replacement machine. At $640 in parts and labor, I’m going to assume that you probably had the logic board replaced and/or the power supply? If it was still shutting down at that point, the other things they likely wanted to repair would have been the fans and the graphics card (over heating issues). That said, replacement parts can fail too, sometimes because the part is just bad, and other times because something went wrong in the repair process. So there was by policy, plenty of other things to repair. In this case, I imagine that after the Genius who worked on your computer / handled the mix up saw it back, he probably asked management to jump all of the steps in between and just get you a new computer. We are human, and we understand these frustrations, and despite the popular narrative, we don’t want to piss you off. I should also mention that unless policy has changed since I was last there, the fact that they replaced your computer that same day (or as near as I can tell from your story), they again went outside of policy; nothing huge but replacements are supposed to come from Apple directly, not from the store, it’s a sort of accounting thing.

    Now the particular new computer you got appears to have followed policy exactly. Policy is that your computer is replaced with another one that is equal or better in every single way. The RAM, the HDD, the processor, graphics card, screen size, every thing. It has nothing to do with the good, better, best positioning or the price you paid, but rest assured it is better than your previous computer.

    Now I can’t say for sure without seeing your receipt from the swap, but if you got $100 off AppleCare, it’s because they were giving you $100 off AppleCare. If I recall correctly, policy is to allow you to transfer the balance of your old AppleCare to the new machine, but obviously the 2 – 3 months remaining wouldn’t do you much good.

    Overall, they did indeed go outside the bare minimum of customer service. Now I can think of places where I think I might have been more generous were I the one working on your computer, but overall they did what I would have expected them to do, and those few places of variance are attributable to either general store policy, or the limits placed by management.

    I fully understand your frustration, but I think they did do I good job trying to make things right, and if you didn’t speak up, they can’t quite read your mind. That said, if you still feel it was poor service, I highly recommend that you fill out the customer service survey at the link at the bottom of your receipt. It does all get read, and it does all go to corporate, I can speak from experience on that.

    I’m not trying to tell you you shouldn’t be upset, I know I would be, I’m just trying to shine some light on what I know is a rather opaque process.

    • Thanks fit your insight on the issue. Not knowing the ins and outs of store policy really shaped the way I was feeling. I was emotionally invested in the whole situation since it was one thing after another and that’s what came out in this post. Also this is my corner of the Internet to vent so that what I did.

      I did fill out the survey and expressed how I felt there as well.
      On the receipt it showed a refund of 1299 and a purchase of 1199 so maybe they did it a different way.

      As far as shopping there anymore I won’t. When I need a new computer I’ll get it online and if I need any other device I can get it at my local target or best buy and I won’t have to wait in line.

      • Ex Apple Says:

        Interesting. I’ve seen swaps done like that before, but it’s usually when they’re replacing current / recent model machines. Sorry, it’s been years since I was in this, so my memory is hazy. Interestingly you might have actually paid more for your original iMac years ago, but that’s the current price in the system. Not that it makes a difference over all, the prices are sort of irrelevant as far as policy is concerned, the replacement happens on the hardware, not price.

        Anyway, like I said, filling out that survey was the best thing you could have done after the fact to improve the future. I know every store in the world has those things now, but Apple runs it themselves (as opposed to a third party survey company) and really do take the feedback seriously.

        Good luck in the future, hopefully you’ll never need that new AppleCare 🙂

  7. Loved your blog, couldn’t stop reading, I’ll be back for more so keep it going.

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