(Thanks to Nik for those links.)
Here’s a Story I Feel Inclned to share:
Has there been a more successful product than the iPod over the past few years. Every time I leave the house, I feel like I am entering a sea of music listeners grooving along to their own beats. Apple has created a product that may end up helping them to gain much sought after market share in the home computer market. Most Mac users swear by their computers, and why not. Macs look cool, the MAC OS Operating System is far superior to Windows, and once you start actually using one, going back to Windows is like stepping back into the late 90s.
I admit to have fallen prey to the lure of Macintosh’s aggressive and impressive marketing campaign. I had been the proud owner of a Powerbook G4 and an iPod and I purchased one of the impressively designed iMac G5s in preparation for going back to school to do a $10,000 per term MBA at the Schulich School of Business in Toronto. I bought a G5 to assist me in design graphics, which I had hoped would help me to pay for school, as well as to use for my numerous school assignments. This plan would not come to fruition, however. Shortly after I arrived at school, I became unable to turn the iMac on. After discussing the matter with Apple’s technical support, or I should say, after being on hold for 15 minutes and then discussing the matter with Apple’s technical support, I found that I needed to bring a computer not more than 10 weeks old into the shop for repairs. From here, I will keep this story short; I think the details speak for themselves:
October 2005 – I bring the new computer into Data Integrity Computer, an authorized service center on the York University Campus
10 days later – I have heard nothing and so I call the shop, only to find out that the Motherboard needed replacing and that the repairman was waiting for the part. He suggests I call Apple to expedite the part. When I call Apple, they tell me that they have no such order! Confused, I call Data Integrity again, only to discover that the repairman made a mistake and ordered a part using the wrong serial number. I call Apple again, and they tell me they will ship the part immediately.
5 days after that – Again, I have heard nothing. I call the dealer. He tells me that he received the part, but can’t look at the computer for another couple days.
6 days later – I had now been without my computer for three weeks! Finally, the repairs are finished. I take the 45-pound computer home on the bus. Start it up and find that it works. At last, my troubles are over.
1 day after bringing my computer home – Broken again! Little do I know, my troubles are only beginning! I call Apple, they tell me that my tech support has expired and that I need to take the computer into the shop. Fine, I do that, I didn’t think tech support could help me anyway. I bring the 45-pound computer back on the bus and back to the shop. I am thinking to myself how fortunate it is that I lift weights and can actually lift this thing around for 10 minutes at a time. Not an easy task! The repairman tells me that he thinks he may have damaged the power supply when replacing the motherboard.
3 days later – The computer is ready again. I am a little amazed that I still can’t get the guy to help me the day I bring the machine in! I take the machine home, but can’t find the power cord, and the shop has closed for the day.
1 day later – I go back to the shop and sure enough, they forgot to put the power cord back in the box. Anyway, I get home with the cord and the computer works and continues to work for a couple months. Oh, and I forgot to mention that the Hard Drive on my lap top stopped working during this whole ordeal. That took five days to fix, so I am trying doing a $40,000 degree without a computer for five days. At this point, I am thankful to have my computers working again. The $6000 I spent on both machines hasn’t seemed like a good investment to date.
3 MONTHS LATER – I begin to notice that the computer has trouble restarting. Sometimes, I have to restart the computer 20 times before I get it to turn on? I am in the middle of a difficult term and have so much work to do that I can’t afford to bring the computer into the shop because I need to use it everyday. Thankfully, I spent the extra money on memory when I first bought the computer and so I keep the thing on for the next 45 days straight.
After 45 days – I am nearing the end of the term, but I have to move and so I’ll need to turn the computer off. I take the risk and do it. Sure enough, I get the same error when I try to turn it back on. I call Apple again. Apple’s customer relations puts me on hold for the customary 10 minutes and then tells me that I need to take the computer to the shop again. I try to get them to replace the machine because I feel that I the computer has something inherently wrong with it and I think it’s a lemon! I argue to no avail. Then I ask them to recommend a good repair person. Apparently, Apple has no concept of good and bad. The girl I speak with simply lists off all the dealers in the area. I decide to bring the computer to the main Apple store at Yorkdale Mall in Toronto. This is not a short journey for me to make with a 45-pound computer, but I decide that bringing the 45-pound computer to the main store will be worth it because I feel that this has to be the best place to take the computer. This seems like good logic does it not? So I set the 45-pound computer up on the repairman’s desk and tell him the history of the computer and describe the current problem. He tells me in a very unsympathetic voice that I am having a software problem and that I should take the computer home and re-install the operating system. Exhausted and quite unwilling to carry the 45-pound computer back home, I ask him to look at it anyway and he tells unhappily tells me that he will run a FULL diagnostics check over night and that he will call me the next day. He won’t even let me leave the computer box there and says I need to take it with me!
The Next day – I am waiting for the call. By 5 o’clock, after hearing nothing, I decide to call them. The girl on the phone tells me that my computer is ready. I go to the store, have to wait 10 minutes before I can leave with the 45-pound computer because the service guy doesn’t have time to perform the simple action of removing the repair tag from the 45-pound computer. Apparently, the computer is fine. I can take it home and re-install the Operating System. I take the computer home, go to plug it in and can’t find the plug! Unbelievable! I call the store and sure enough they have the plug. I have no further comment on this matter, though I am sure you understand how angry this made me, and I don’t usually get angry.
The next day – I go back to the mall, which is a 45-minute subway ride, to get the cord, take it home, re-install the software, restart the computer, and, well, can you guess what happened…Error! You must restart your computer! Nothing works! So I call Apple’s Customer Relations and they tell me that they still can’t replace the 45-pound computer and that I would have to take the 45-pound computer to a different shop because the main Apple store is usually busy and that diagnostics need to be run for a couple days. “Really!?!”, I ask, wondering how this lady at customer relations knows more about repairs than the main guy in the main Apple repair shop.
So this matter is still unresolved. To be honest I am sick of talking about it but felt it my duty to tell this tale to anyone thinking about buying a Mac. A computer is a service. Mac has very poor, near non-existent, customer service. Buying a computer from Mac is not a good use of your money. I know I will never do it again.
Good afternoon. This is Adam, from Data Integrity replying to your story. I discovered this comment and felt it was worthwhile to reply to the facts that have been stated with regard to the service that you obtained at our service centre.
The iMac G5 was originally brought in on September 26, 2005 according to the paperwork filled out. The order for the part was placed on September 30. This is just about right considering the backlogs that we tend to face in the early stages of the school year.
The record of the part order indicates that it was ordered on the correct serial number. This is based on Apple’s records, not simply our own. The logic board for this machine was seriously backordered, and did not arrive until October 17, at which point it was installed in the machine. The iMac was picked up on October 27, 10 days after the part had arrived.
The power supply was also faulty, though the technician would never state that he had damaged it during the installation of the logic board. Having performed that particular surgery, I can say that it is very difficult to actually damage the power supply while changing the logic board, or at all, in fact. The power supply was not backordered, and thus was received on November 7.
I cannot speak as to whether the power cord had been mistakenly left out of the box.
As for your opinion of the quality of customer service that is provided by Apple (Mac is not the company name, only a colloquial term for their computers), I can only say that anecdotal evidence only carries so much weight. That is, I can understand that your singular experience with them was less than stellar, but that is a poor basis on which to judge all dealings with the company. It is a generalization based on a single instance, that all such instances will yield the same results. None of the 4 new Apple computers which I have purchased have had any problems, nor have I ever felt unsatisfied in dealing with Apple as an institution.
Over the course of 3 years, and 4 new Apple machines, I have had to undergo a single repair, which took 3 days, and was of minimal inconvenience. In short, my subjective opinion is that Apple machines are the most reliable. However, this is held up objectively by considering the amount of machines that enter the service department here.
In conclusion, I understand that you have had some less than satisfactory dealings with Apple and Data Integrity, but that is a poor basis on which to advise others to steer clear of Apple products as a whole. As an educated individual, you should be well aware of the minimal weight which anecdotal evidence carries. It may be informative, but it is no basis upon which to class an Apple product as “not a good use of your money.”
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