View Full Version : AppleCare -- Is is worth it?

03-29-2005, 01:12 AM

After having my 12" PowerBook for only a few weeks, someone knocked it off my desk in class. It fell, landed on the corner that the power adapter plugs in to. Not only did it dent it, it bent the metal shell in so that it interferes with the power adapter. Now, I have to play with it a bit to get it to stay plugged in. This has been the case for about 4 months now.

Immediatley after it happened, I called up Apple support, let them know the issue. Of course, the warranty doesn't cover "accidental damage" (what other kind of damage is there? :rolleyes: ) Then, to add insult to injury, the tech proceeded to ask if I would like to purchased an additional 3 years of AppleCare for $350. So, thinking that maybe it would cover "accidental damage", I asked, and was told "of course not". So apparently he thought that I was so satisfied with their ability to tell a brand new customer "FU", he would ask if I would like to drop an extra $350 ON TOP of the "unknown amount" it would cost replace the shell.

Dissatisfied and dejected, I hung up the phone. I fiddled with it a bit more, then called our closest Apple store. They said it would be at least $200 to fix it, probably more.

To cut my rant short, of course I don't expect Apple to cover my damages, but it sure would have been nice! But, don't ask me to spend another $350 on coverage that doesn't do me a bit of good.

So here I sit today, power adapter still in the same shape (working...barely) and wonder if I should purchase my next computer thru Apple. Lord knows Dell will replace anything ;)

03-29-2005, 01:20 AM
Another question...

Is it worth it (will it void the warranty) to use this guide (http://pbfixit.com/Guide/54.5.0.html) for disassembling the PowerBook and trying to bend the corner back in shape?

03-29-2005, 09:18 AM
So why hasn't the person responsible paid for it?

And yes, you can get a Dell service plan that covers accidental damage. Then again, you'd have to deal with Dell support. If you haven't had that pleasure yet, well, set aside a day, a few shots of tequila, and give it a try.

03-29-2005, 09:47 AM
Only a day ? :eek: Only a few shots ????? :D (Sorry guess my experience with Dell in Canada made it even worse)

03-29-2005, 09:47 AM
If you didn't have 'tards damaging your equipment, the apple care plan is still the way to go.....regardless of how well tested, put together, or designed, there are flaws in metal which can blow boards and diodes.....i believe a moderator on this board said it best "it is not a matter of IF the drive will fail but WHEN...."

I'd say the money for the plan is worth the piece of mind....but in your case you might be better leaving it in a giant bubble. :D

03-29-2005, 10:02 AM
Alvarez, the owner *is* the person responsible unless one can prove negligence or malice. Accidents happen. Otherwise, we'd all be propping our laptops on the edge of the desk as soon as the new model comes out :-).

Slyde, it depends on how comfortable you feel about taking apart electronics. They've gotten better, but can be a pain to put back together. If you do, I'd recommend you be careful about static. Do it on your kitchen table or somewhere without carpets. Invest in a cheap anti-static wrist strap you can get at most computer stores. Make sure you have right tools (Torx set, Phillips set, etc.).

Also, you might want to drop by the automotive store and check out the kits they sell to pull out dings in metal fenders. Some don't even require drilling but use a small suction cup (if you drill, take the laptop apart first - metal shavings are not good for computer guts :-).

03-29-2005, 10:08 AM
BTW, you can get computer insurance (http://www.safeware.com). Also, check apartment renter's or home-owner's insurance policies. Some cover computers (most don't), but the deductable will probably make the point moot.

03-29-2005, 10:36 AM
I think it's worth it. I find sites like these much more useful for software related problems, even many hardware ones. However, when hardware fails, well it's wonderful to be covered by AppleCare. The SuperDrive in my PowerBook failed a few months back, would have cost me just about $600, but it was replaced for free as it still has 1.5 years left on its AppleCare coverage. The AppleCare itself was $350, so it has more than paid for itself already -- and I was on the fence about getting it in the first place!

03-29-2005, 10:54 AM
unless one can prove negligence
Negligence = Dropping someone's laptop onto the floor. If someone rear-ends you with their car, are they absolved from responsibility because it was an accident?

03-29-2005, 11:44 AM
Negligence = Dropping someone's laptop onto the floor. If someone rear-ends you with their car, are they absolved from responsibility because it was an accident?

Interesting point, but an auto accident is not the same thing. The driver failed to maintain control of their vehicle. Drivers have the responsibility to "avoid accidents". Most states have a "failure to avoid an accident" ticket, although this is less frequently issued in "no-fault" states.

Negligence is when an individual fails to act in an "ordinary, reasonable" way. Here is a legal definition (http://accident-law.freeadvice.com/negligence.htm). By default, the owner is responsible for his property. If a property owner puts his property at risk and it gets damaged, he's going to have the burden of proof that the cause was somebody else's negligence or malice. The "you break it, you bought it" rule doesn't often stand up in court, despite the sign.

03-29-2005, 11:52 AM
I've had my 12" PB for 2+ years and the Applecare has more than paid for itself. Especially after the last Tech to work on it apparently had an "accident" during the repair. It appears just about everything was replaced other than the HDD and the screen.

03-29-2005, 11:54 AM
Interesting point outside of California where all accidents are "no-fault." Never confess to anything.

03-29-2005, 11:57 AM
Never confess to anything.

An old woman had her purse snatched, when they brought in a lineup the crook stepped forward and said "Yes, officer that is the woman i robbed. :D

03-29-2005, 12:03 PM
If someone rear-ends you with their car, are they absolved from responsibility because it was an accident?
In Florida they sure are, as with many other no-fault states. You would have to prove that they were doing something wrong like putting on makeup or dialing a cellphone to show negligence and win an award in the state of Florida... just my $0.02.

03-29-2005, 01:53 PM
Dell tech support :eek: More like 1-800-"sure i'll come over and hang out for a few hours and hey, lets just throw another mother board in there for the heck of it ... who knows what it'll do."

run away, run far far away ...

03-29-2005, 03:17 PM
some credit cards offer accidental damage/theft protection, provided you made the purchase with that card. check your TOS on the card. mine doesnt require any kind of pre-purchase declaration. you may be covered.

as far as applecare goes, i get it on every portable. i usually pass on tower machines. basically, if i feel comfortable making repairs i pass on the applecare. plus, portables are succeptible to a few expensive defects--LCD screens go bad, harddrives fry; by the very nature of being portable things jostle around inside and can go bzzzt in the night.

honestly, however i'd say if you only had $350 to spend, it would be best spent on a good backup system if you dont have one. (a good sized external firewire drive). you are much more likely to have a drive go bad than have another type of hardware failure, IMO. look up the specs on any HDD--notice that MTBF stat? </rhetorical> and, while the applecare would provide you another drive, the stuff on it is yours to protect.

03-29-2005, 03:53 PM
THat's a great point on the card protection. I used it once. You pay for the repair yourself, and they reimburse you. Unfortunately most only cover damage/theft for 90 days. Most will double the warranty to two years though. Which is another reason to decline Applecare...

03-30-2005, 12:12 PM
Negligence = the breach of a duty of care owed by one person to another to prevent unreasonable harm, injury or damage

Duty of Care = how would a reasonable person act under similar circumstances?

Breach = A reasonable person would not bump into another's desk when expensive computer equipment is sitting on it. Here, doofus' conduct breached his duty of care and was unreasonable because...___, resulting in thousands of dollars worth of property damage.

This is a tort case, not an auto accident, so the no-fault provisions don't apply. Bring a suit in small claims court. If you're found to have been contributorily negligent (e.g. a reasonable person would not have left an expensive notebook computer sitting at the edge of his desk), your recovery might be decreased by your percentage of fault (or eliminated, depending on the laws in your particular state/jurisdiction).

03-30-2005, 07:17 PM
Wow! Lot's of good points! Hard to read so much!

The OEM warranty is good for another 6 months or so, so I will probably purchase AppleCare right before that runs out. (The orginal 1 year warranty covers the same stuff as AppleCare right?)

As far as taking it apart...I am just going to make due right now. It's working out, no problems. If it become unbearable, I will do what I need too.

03-30-2005, 08:37 PM
For accidents and theft (IE stuff not covered by Applecare), you can often specify portable items in your Home Contents insurance, such that it is covered anywhere in your country. Costs a little more, but at least its spread out over time.

I've always thought Applecare was a little overpriced, but I think I'd follow cudaboy's advice on getting it for portables. Anything that goes wrong with them is usually way more expensive to fix than on a tower.

Aside: my sister had a Compaq laptop, had a keyboard problem: cost over $200 for Compaq to fix it. She only used it a handful of times over the couple of months after that. Wasn't until later that strange startup problems began occuring, then it stopped working altogether. Took it in for repair (not Compaq, out of warranty and too expensive and slow). They said the motherboard had a hairline crack. I strongly suspect it happened when Compaq was replacing/fixing the keyboard problem, as she barely used it, and only at home.
Spoke to Compaq about it: sorry its out of warranty, and there's no way to prove that they did it, especially as it wasn't noticed for months. :evil:

03-30-2005, 08:43 PM
For accidents and theft (IE stuff not covered by Applecare), you can often specify portable items in your Home Contents insurance, such that it is covered anywhere in your country. Costs a little more, but at least its spread out over time.
At this point, I will be graduating from college in a few months, so I have yet to purchase home owners insurance. However, very valid point about desktops. Almost anything can be swapped out from an OEM, unlike a laptop.

03-31-2005, 10:52 AM
Here's the deal: if you have accidental damage to a portable, it's going to be expensive to fix. If you contact Apple directly or go to an Apple Store, you're going to have to do a mail-in repair and pay a "tiered" flat rate. Assuming they don't need to replace any drives: just case parts ("plastics", even though they may be metal) and maybe cheap parts like the DC In board where the AC adapter plugs in, you're probably looking at about $400. What's kinda nice about these tiered repairs is that they replace anything with any evidence of damage, like a broken corner on a circuit board. Unfortunately, if you need something like the optical drive or logic board replaced you're looking at even more money.

Now, if you take it an Apple Authorized Service Provider, they are free to do the repair in-house if you want and charge you for parts and labor. With a 12" PowerBook, you're looking at a lot of labor, though the parts might not be too much.

Anyway, regardless of how you take care of the current problem, GET APPLECARE!!! Apple charges a flat rate for mail-in repairs that do not involve accidental damage, no matter what needs replacing. For PowerBooks, it's currently about $325. AppleCare pays for itself with only 1 repair. And if you have 2, well, you've saved $300.

In the end, it's like any insurance. If you can afford to take your chances, odds are in the very end you'll come out ahead if you never buy any insurance (otherwise the insurance companies wouldn't make money). However, if you are not in a position to pony up $300+ dollars at a moment's notice because your PowerBook needs to be repaired, insurance provides you with a known price to avoid that uncertainty.

03-31-2005, 02:25 PM
Personally, I'm sold on AppleCare, and I'm the type of person who NEVER buys extended warranties.

A friend had a solder joint fail on his iBook power connector (probably due to repeated flexing; it was one of those iBooks :) ). Apple sent him a prepaid shipping box the next morning, and 24 hours later he had a new (repaired? don't remember) iBook.

My Quicksilver DP G4 started flaking out, throwing kernel panics. It got worse and worse; by the time I was able to get all my files backed up it was nearly dead. The local Apple store replaced the dual CPU module(s) for free; their out-of-warranty cost was something like $800.

Either one of these incidents would have justified the cost; both machines were well beyond the standard warranty period. YMMV, but when I order my new G5 I will definitely buy AppleCare.