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Thursday, 10 April 2003

Why my laptop isn't on my lap

I've become incredibly anal about dealing with customer service just so I could present to you (well, okay, not just you) this epic: Why My Laptop Isn't On My Lap.

26 February
Airport stops working for no apparent reason: won't find the D-Link WAP automatically, if I enter an SSID manually it picks up the WAP's MAC address but refuses to play. Won't even create an ad-hoc network. Reboot lots. Repair permissions lots. Furrow brow. Call Applecare. Applecare closed. Don't feel cared for.

27 February
Call Applecare, on hold for eight minutes, get a case ID. They refuse to believe it's a problem with anything in the laptop, and tell me to go to one of two authorised service centres in my general vicinity, both of which are at least an hour's drive away so I can have it tested with an Apple base station. One of the two authorised service centres isn't, in fact, an authorised service centre and gets quite stroppy, the other is apparently deciding not to answer the phone. Remember that there's a third authorised service centre that I nearly bought my laptop from, and call them, instead.

28 February
Take laptop to authorised service centre. They play with it for about half an hour, ask me for my password (No, you can't have it, I'll create a separate user for you) and pronounce the airport card dead. I ask them if they can give me a replacement. They say they don't have any. I point at the boxes with airport cards in. They say that they can't give me one, I have to call Applecare and they'll sort it out. Still not feeling particularly cared for.

28 Februrary
Call Applecare, get through to an airport specialist who admits that they'll have to ship me a replacement card. They will need the serial number of the card that's in there. I do not have the serial number of the card that's in there. There is no way for me to get the serial number of the card that's in there without opening the machine up. I do not have a Torx T-9 screwdriver. Order a Torx T-9 screwdriver. Wait.

March 7
Torx T-9 screwdriver arrives. Open laptop. Marvel at lots of small things packed inside it. Take down serial number, wonder if I should get the serial number of anything else while I'm at it. Call Applecare. Get put through to an airport specialist. Get put through to an actual airport specialist. Airport specialist fails to read casenotes, so have to explain what's going on again. Airport specialist decides that I should be shipped a replacement card, it should arrive within five business days.

March 13
No replacement card. Call Applecare. Ponder renaming Applecare just "Apple" as care is severely lacking. Get put through to airport specialist. Airport specialist puts me through to some sort of repairs department. Repairs admits that they never actually sent the replacement card because the other airport specialist never asked for my credit card number. Why do they need my credit card number? In case I don't return the broken card. Give them my credit card number. They promise to send a replacement card.

March 18
Replacement card arrives, no note inside apologising from Apple, nor, say, a slice of cake. Have sinking feeling that replacement card will not work, either. Install replacement card. Not surprised at all when replacement card fails to work. Call Applecare. Put through to most knowledgeable airport specialist yet (Thomas is now my favourite), who not only had read casenote when I got put through, but also suggested a whole bunch of stuff that no one else had suggested (but that I had already tried: reseating aerials by pressing inside battery compartment, resetting PMU, etc.). Thomas very sorry that I will have to return the laptop. Asks when will be the most convenient: most convenient will be when this semester ends. Reformat and reinstall 10.2 in the meantime in the hope that this will fix things. Doesn't work. Buy lots of CDRs and learn joys of backing up to iPod instead.

April 4
Call Applecare. First tier puts me through to an airport specialist. Airport specialist has clearly not read casenote as tries to explain to me how it's not their problem because I'm using a D-Link WAP. Patiently explain to airport specialist that no, it's entirely their problem. Am told that they will have to collect the laptop. Ask for it to be collected on April 10. They book the collection and tell me to call back on April 8 to confirm.

April 8
Call Applecare. First tier attempts to put me through to airport specialist, but head him off at the pass. Inform him to read my casenote and he admits that they never actually put through the order to do the pickup on the 10th. Decides to put through the order for the pickup on the 10th, and contacts the third party authorised repair people, since Apple won't actually be repairing it. Speak to third party repair people, they say the laptop will be collected on the 9th in the afternoon. This is good, it's earlier than the 10th.

April 9
Laptop not collected. Call third party repair people. Third party repair people tell me to call local courier depot. Local courier depot never received pickup order. Call third party repair people, they say they sent it at 9am, and decide to call depot. Third party people call back, tell me that they're going to fax through an order to pickup tomorrow (the 10th), and that they will call the depot to confirm, as well.

April 10
1:05pm: Laptop gone.

Update: Other things about Applecare
It was nice in the US. I walked into an Apple store (fine, I was near one at the time), said "Oi, my battery life isn't very good", they thought about it, asked me to try some power saving settings, then gave me a new battery as soon as they were in stock. Unfortunately, the Applecare I bought was the old non-global kind, which means I can't do this again. Also, Apple people in the US are weird: walking around in a mall after buying an iPod some woman came up to me and said "Ah! An Apple user!" and walked off. Weird.

Oh, and my replacement card was shipped from the Netherlands, and my broken card was also shipped back to the Netherlands. My laptop, though, is being sent to London. Where they probably have replacement cards.

5 comments and trackbacks

2lmc spool Apr 10, 2003 2:34 PM
Dan loses his iBook to the ravages of applecare
Read more in 2003/04/10 14:58 »

oliyoungdotcom Apr 10, 2003 11:51 PM
Dan's story seems oh-so-familiar. Those of you who read (both past tense and current tense) dotcom will wonder about the
Read more in There's an echo around here .. »

oliyoungdotcom Apr 11, 2003 12:51 AM
<a href="http://danhon.com/ec/mtarchives/000490.shtml#000490">Dan's story</a> seems oh-so-familiar. Those of you who read (both past tense and current tense) dotcom will wonder about
Read more in There's an echo around here .. »

oliyoungdotcom Apr 11, 2003 12:56 AM
Dan's story seems oh-so-familiar. Those of you who read (both past tense and current tense) dotcom will wonder about the
Read more in There's an echo around here .. »

This sucks so much. It doesn't sound like Applecare so much as rent-a-random-support-guy. From not reading case notes to not bothering to chase you up when they've dropped the ball, it's as if they've read Support 101 and thought it was sarcastic.

I've never had to deal with Applecare myself, only John Lewis, who I bought my previous mac from just because of the extended warranty; when my modem got fried, they promptly replaced the motherboard. being able to track them down within a physical store probably helped.

From extensive reading of ArsTechnica, your kind of case is the rule as opposed to the exception. Machines regularly get shipped off to Belgium or the Netherlands, which you could kinda understand, but the whole rigamarole is horrific.

So, who do we hassle to get this improved?

Posted by: Rowan on April 16, 2003 09:49 AM

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