View Full Version : My first Apple hardware failure and repair experience

06-21-2005, 02:31 AM
Woke up to the Click Of Death(tm) and a question mark boot screen on the dual G5 2.5 today. Great timing, the Windows bigot I live with was going to take it to work and see if she could adapt to it this week. I had started to put a spare drive in it to mirror, then we thought...what are the odds of this one failing at such a young age...? :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Walked it into the local Apple store at the mall. Note: This is one heavy computer, and carrying it on my shoulder through a mall is not something I'll likely do again. Got the usual cheerful service, and then I asked the hard question... Can I just leave the dead drive and keep the machine since I have a spare drive on the shelf to get it up and running? I was surprised when she said yes without any hesitation.

While I was there I asked about a BT module, and they brought one out. I asked where it went, and she said they do the install free, but pointed to the general area. While she did the service ticket, I installed it with my pocket screwdriver. They thought that was cool, and we chatted about several design features (I just noticed the temp sensor over the drive bays, for example).

Nice visit to the Apple store as always, and my Windows bigot was surprised at how simple and cheerful the process was. Most Wintel dealers ask 20 questions on hardware failures because it's usually user-induced, not a real hardware failure.

06-21-2005, 03:00 AM
When my Mac mini's ram bit the dust it took apple 2 days to fix it for me. half a day to arrange pick up, one day to deliver and install new ram and half a day to deliver it back.

I thought that was pretty good as the nearest apple repair centre was 30 miles away, and I am far to lazy and cheap to drive there and pay for it myself.

My boss was impressed too. When his PC goes wrong it usually spends a week or two in the computer shop across the road being brought back to life! (we are buying him a mac mini today!)

06-25-2005, 08:52 AM
Neat tale, Carlos. It's so refreshing to see how well the Apple store guys look after their own. One question:

... I asked about a BT module, and they brought one out...

What's a BT unit?

06-25-2005, 09:15 AM

06-25-2005, 11:19 AM


06-25-2005, 07:54 PM
Sadly, I haven't had the same experiences here. Things in Japan are a little more bureaucratic. (Let me tell you about the driver's licence bureau one day - 4 half-day visits and the license isn't renewed yet :eek: )

2 weeks ago I needed 2 batteries for CRT iMacs. The right batteries are a bit tricky to find but if anyone's got them it will be the Apple Store, right? After waiting 20 minutes at the counter for service they quoted me about 100 to change it!!!! 6 for the batttery and the rest for service, and please drag your 20kg machine to Ginza to replace a 10 gram part and leave it with us for a day. Debating with the english-speaking manager, which last year managed to lever an iBook foot out of them, didn't go anywhere.
After tromping around Akihabara (electronics Mecca)for a while a used Mac shop had a bunch, 6 each and no hassles. 2 minutes work per machine back at the office and we're all done. I'm no longer going to the Apple store here, but it sounds like it's a country, rather than a company phenomenon.

07-25-2005, 10:16 AM
I just had my first Apple "support" experience as well. Here's what happened:

I bought a new (discontrinued) dual 2.5 G5 from CompUSA. It came with 10.3.7 installed and a Tiger upgrade disc in the box. I bought an extra HDD with the computer to run a RAID config. I installed the extra disc, formatted the array, and went to install 10.3.... NO BOOT! Defective discs! The discs wouldn't boot on any of my machines... the 10.4 disc booted fine, but it requires 10.3 to be installed first. I called CompUSA to talk to the Apple store reps (for those of you who don't know... Apple has a mini-store inside CompUSA... staffed by Apple employees - not CompUSA employees). None of the Apple reps were in, so I had to talk to the CompUSA guys... they gave me this runaround about... I'd have to bring the machine in, drop it off, they'd test it... blah blah blah... I explained to them that I'm A+ certified (among others) and I work on computers all day long, and I'm absolutely positive it's defective discs. Then they told me they'd have to swap out the entire machine... transfer the warranty... may take 2 to 3 days... blah blah blah... I hung up.

The next day, I walked into the store, went to the Apple "store", talked to one of the Apple reps, and explained the problem. He apologized, took the discs out of a another machine's box and made copies of them for me. He sent me home with a new set of discs and a free issue of MacWorld. He even let me test the discs out on one of their machines to make sure they were bootable. He didn't ask for the other discs back... or even ask to see them.

This is turning into a long story, but the point here is that CompUSA reps answer was the typical Wintel PC answer... the Apple reps answer was much more reasonable.

07-26-2005, 10:23 AM
Thats cool, I know for my clientel we often let them keep the machine while we order the part and if they want to install the part themselves I don't really care, but I let them know if they botch the install the warranty won't cover it and I will charge them to properly do it. I only require the defective part from a client because of the core exchange every company requires for warranty parts.

My biggest pet peave with applecare and apple phone support is that they give people case numbers and then give them the location of my company and tell them to bring in their mac b/c it has obvious hardware failure. 9 times out of 10 its not hardware its software related and applecare does not cover any software related issues under warranty. So, then I get one angry client yelling at me to do it for free b/c there is a warranty and apple gave them a case number, which honestly case numbers from apple mean squat to me. I can't look them up, and I can't bill apple with one. I need a CS code to bill apple anything thats not normally covered under warranty. Also, apple machine specialists sometimes have their heads firmly placed up their @sses. Then again its never perfect with any company, and I will come out and say that on the service side, apple does have a really nice web based support site with all the images to ASD, parts matrixes, service manuals, training material, etc. Their web based support is one of the better ones out there.

Hey cameranerd, I liked your sig, but I must add my own tidbit-

- I am apple certified and use a PC, what does that tell you...

07-26-2005, 12:45 PM
Yeah, I have to say that so far I'm 100% disappointed with calling Apple for support. They've never fixed anything on a call, and when I reported an OS bug it was later fixed but they didn't bother to let me know, though they promised they would. Actually there are two such things that they never updated me on.

The phone support answer has always been to reinstall the OS.

Phil St. Romain
07-26-2005, 01:52 PM
My wife's iBook display went out. It's still under Apple Care coverage, so we called in and were asked to try to boot from a CD and run Tech Tool Deluxe -- not easy to do on a blank screen. They understood ;) and made arrangements to have it picked up and repaired; this was mid-morning. By late afternoon, the box had arrived, so we packed it up and called to have it picked up the next day. No problem. Two days later, the iBook returned with a new display and logic board. No problem.

Out Monday afternoon, returned Thursday afternoon. No too shabby! :D

07-26-2005, 02:26 PM
Out Monday afternoon, returned Thursday afternoon. No too shabby! :D
Yeah, that's good. Unless you're a pc owner. Then it's unacceptable.

I hate to start a platform war (aaargh, not again) - especially with the site admin! - but the long repair times are the price we pay for Apple ownership. There simply is nowhere else to go to.

If a component of one of my pcs burns out, I just bimble up the road to PCWorld, buy another, fit it and away. Within the hour.

And before you all start frothing & reaching for the "reply" button, I'm NOT NOT NOT saying that PCs are better. Just that the repairs are generally a lot faster to effect.

Phil St. Romain
07-26-2005, 02:56 PM
I hear you, Dave, but I didn't have to pay anything! And I don't think a PC extended warranty would reimburse you for doing your own repair. I've brought a few PCs for repair at CompUSA and the turnaround is usually 2-3 days, depending on the problem.

07-26-2005, 02:57 PM
If a component of one of my pcs burns out, I just bimble up the road to PCWorld, buy another...
(emphasis mine)

Different story than going through AppleCare. I've had friends try to go through the warranty claims for their PCs through numerous companies, none have been as fast or efficient as Apple. My friends' experiences are anecdotal evidence, should not be taken as any sort of claim for a general rule, et cetera et cetera.

But yes, if you're paying for your own parts, then with a PC it may be faster.

07-26-2005, 03:13 PM
I've had two HP laptop repairs. In one case they overnighted the part to me and allowed me to install it myself. In the other case they had me print an overnight shipping label online and ship it on Monday, the machine was in my hands Wednesday morning. Even that was rough; I depend on my notebook to work every day. In some cases, I'd be completely unable to work without it.

While the original reason I posted this thread was positive, it did concern me that it took over a week to get the replacement drive. So...what if I didn't have a spare drive around? I'd have been without a computer for a week. Scary. This may be fine with someone's "play" iMac or something, but who buys a dual G5 without an important business need? And apparently my Pro Care membership was not applicable for rushing parts which are not in stock. Pro Care will put you in front of the line for in-stock replacements only.

I'm lucky I've always got spare computers around since its my business. I can't imagine being the typical user and having to go without a computer for a few days if your entire business requires it.

This is why I don't buy Applecare. I'll just replace the PB before the warranty is up for peach of mind. The last time I bought a new PB and sold mine on eBay, the price difference was less than the cost of Applecare.

07-26-2005, 03:20 PM
I agree Dave......... I know this is stating the obvious...... but 90% of the world use Wintel and 90% of the support and shops are for wintel... transversly for macs!
I had amazing same day service in London, Birmingham and Oxford coz they are big places with loads of apple shops and support.
I guess Warwick is like East Anglia..... not an apple shop for miles, hence much less support...

fingers crossed my cat doesn't pee in my powerbook or I could have a long wait for it to be fixed! :D

07-26-2005, 03:30 PM
In one case they overnighted the part to me and allowed me to install it myself.
Just out of curiosity, did they know that you were capable of installing the part yourself? I just had a vision of someone's grandmother holding her laptop in one hand, the part in the other, trying to figure out how to smoosh them together...

I'm guessing that they did in fact know you were capable, otherwise they would have done the overnight label thing. But it was an amusing mental image.

07-26-2005, 04:21 PM
Since I am hp, compaq, apple, etc certified technically I can web order any warranty part I want for myself and have it shipped and fix it myself no problem with out voiding any warranty, however I'd rather just do it through my work. Since my work already has ASP accounts with all the vendors we support, which makes it easier.

The worst part of repairing an apple out of warranty is the obvious ridiculous pricing. I just ordered a super drive for a G4 MDD and the cost from apple in my system was $600.00! Its like a 4x pioneer drive! Apple hardware is ridiculously over priced. If you own an apple and plan on using it for more than one year and do not buy apple care then you are missing out on a good investment. The minute you have it break down once out of warranty the plan pays for itself.

For those of you who depend on having a computer everyday and use laptops you need to have a back up computer. I tell my bosses and my clients this all the time. These things break down and if they did not I would not have a job. Yes, almost all laptops will be shipped out for warranty repair, thats for all vendors. For example I went out and got my portable computer apple cert a few years ago, and even though I was certified under warranty apple required I ship the laptop back to them. Which made my certification completely useless. It just meant I can get parts for apple laptops out of warranty, well when its out of warranty I never get parts from apple, its way too expensive. I get them from somebody else for a better price. I have seen horror stories of laptops that are down and out for repair for over 4 weeks at a time. Because the part is back ordered, or they had to ship it to another place that had the right staff on hand, or whatever. Bottom line if you depend on a computer you need to have a back up computer. If you don't in my view its your own fault when your system goes down and you cannot do any work because you do not have another system. Take the time and buy an additional notebook or an additional desktop so when your main machine goes down you have an instant back up.

This is why every mac user who can't afford to have more than one mac should also get a PC. Hate it or not, they are way cheaper and easily just as dependable. I have my first computer I ever built from ground up and it still runs, and I built it back in 1997. It has all the original parts and it still boots and runs the applications on it. You don't have to run windows either, run linux or run unix, or whatever. Infact the sales side of my company was selling entry level linux boxes at like $300.00 at one time. It even had a P4 processor in it. If you can afford to have more than one mac then have at least two, thats the only way you will ever have no down time.

Let me break down ordering parts from apple for you guys. Machine is dead, or has defective part, etc. I diagnose it and hop on apples service exchange website. From there I can place a web order for any part that goes to the said machine in repair as long as its in warranty. The part request is then put into an electronic queue at apple. Once its filled by the staff at apple they over night me the part (average 2 to 5 days depending on how busy they are and if the part is available) then I install it and ship the defective back to them. I mean if everything goes as smoothly as it possibly could you are looking at probably minimum 3 days with out your system for defective parts, and that almost never happens, its usually more like 3 to 4 business days. Occasionaly, things will go 100% smoothly and Ill get the part next day or day after, but that doesn't happen all the time.

So, if you need to have a computer every day for work make sure you have a back up system just incase. Otherwise when it breaks you will have down time. Also, make sure you keep back ups of your data. Whats nice about OS X is all the data for that user is in that user's directory. So always just back up your whole home directory if you are not sure what to back up.

Btw, this is true with pretty much every major computer company not just apple. No service provider stocks parts, because its too expensive to.

07-26-2005, 05:17 PM
I agree with Apple's call in service being terrible. I shipped my new Powerbook in last week for repair because of a bad DC-in or Logic Board problem where the battery was taking 12+ hours to charge full. They had it in and out and back to me within one day, but they didn't fix anything. They just re-seated the DC-in board and didn't bother to check whether the battery charge times were still 10+ hours til full (which it was when I received it). So yes, it can be a nice turnaround when you send it in ... but this is the 2nd time this year I've had to send something in and then have it sent back to me where it was supposedly "fixed" and the original problem was still exactly the same when I got it back from them. A major waste of my time ...

07-26-2005, 11:30 PM
Just out of curiosity, did they know that you were capable of installing the part yourself?
She asked me if I would be comfortable with it. They also have complete machine service manuals on their site. This was a consumer call, I have no professional relationship with HP. I was in a hotel desperate for the modem, and that was the dead part. They shipped it to the hotel directly. This is one of the reasons I recommend HP over other Wintel brands.

07-27-2005, 09:50 AM
She asked me if I would be comfortable with it. They also have complete machine service manuals on their site. This was a consumer call, I have no professional relationship with HP. I was in a hotel desperate for the modem, and that was the dead part. They shipped it to the hotel directly. This is one of the reasons I recommend HP over other Wintel brands.

Actually, this makes a ton more sense now, a modem on an HP laptop is a FRU (field replaceable unit) part, which means end users can replace it. Also, almost every HP laptop has one or two screws to an access panel on the bottom of the machine which accesses the mini pci modem card. So its cake to change out, I mean anyone can do it. I wish apple laptops had access panels :( Toshiba laptops have a similiar setup along with compaqs. Usually the ram, the modem, and the HD are all accessable from access panels on the bottom or side of the laptop.

Phil St. Romain
07-27-2005, 09:57 AM
. . .I just had a vision of someone's grandmother holding her laptop in one hand, the part in the other, trying to figure out how to smoosh them together...

LOL! Precisely. :D

Most people don't know how to fix their computer when it breaks down, so they have to take it somewhere or send it off, and then they have to wait awhile before it's fixed, and if it's not covered by some kind of warranty, they have to pay an exorbitant fee. This is as true for PC users as for Apple customers, the difference being (as noted above) that Apple parts are much more expensive and since PCs are so cheap it's often more feasible to just buy a new one.

07-27-2005, 10:24 AM
Alright. Someone needs to call Steve and tell him to get with the times and offer accidental damage for all there machines.

I bought my first Mac almost 12 months ago. I was so excited because I now belonged to a elite group of computer users. So everything worked great. Like a week after a got it, we took our family vacation to North Carolina. Had lots of fun. Naturally a took my iBook.

One night, it got kinda of windy, and my sister, then 13, being the baby see is, was scared and wanted to watch a movie on my iBook. Now I knew she wouldn't take care of it, because she never take care of anything.

So then she complained to my mom, and of course, she got her way.

So the next morning, I get my iBook from her room, go into the living room, and start importing music that I had just bought. Soon after, I think I was told to do something, so I closed my iBook, did what I had to do, went back to my computer. After I was done, I shut it down and closed it.

At that point, I noticed it wouldn't not stay closed. So after fiddling with for a few minutes, I turn to my dad and said, "Guess what? Nora broke my computer."

After he fiddled with it for a few a minutes, he turned to my mom and said, "He's absolutley right."

When we get back to the city, we go to the Apple store. The guy at the genius bar looks at it for a few minutes, then tells me we are going to need to send it away for repairs. He then hands me a piece of paper that says it will cost some $400.00 to fix it.

Long story short: I still have a broken iBook that won't shut properly. It turns out my sister fell asleep and my $1395 iBook slipped out of her hands.:mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:

So the moral of the story is never let your sister use anything that you value. And that Apple needs accidental damage coverage. :mad: