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Apple Care Efficiency When Macs Break?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the what-has-been-your-experience dept.

Businesses 232

cyber-dragon.net asks: "I have long been a staunch supporter of Apple and Macs, however my recent experience with trying to bring them into my department, at work, has been disappointing. We had a Mac Pro (the big quad processor monster) die after four days. Of course, this kind of stuff happens, and everything else has worked flawlessly. I even dealt with the inevitable teasing about the shiny new Mac being a lemon. Almost four hours dealing with Apple Care, three hours dropping off and picking up my computer at different stores, as per their instructions, trying to get this done quickly — I am beginning to wonder if Apple really wants business customers to rely on these machines. Much as I may dislike Dell, when my Linux box died it was fixed in four hours, and I spent maybe 20 minutes of my time setting up the repair. I have spent seven hours of my time so far on this Mac, and it still will not power up. Is this just me or have other people lost critical business machines to the depths of Apple Care inefficiency and lack of business level support?"

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232 comments

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AppleCare is great... (5, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263218)

...for consumer support. It sounds like the problem you're having is that you're demanding the type of turnaround that many business-level plans provide. Yet Apple doesn't have a standard business-level plan in place.

The normal process is that you drop the computer off, wait a week or two, and pick it up to find it in spectacular condition. (Usually better than when you dropped it off; above and beyond fixing whatever you brought it in for.) The key is that you have to show a modicum of patience, something which businesses often can't afford to do.

Now that's not to say that Apple doesn't want your business. In fact, I imagine that Apple would love to provide corporate support. But you're not going to find it in their stores. What you need to do is contact Apple Corporate and explain the situation. Tell them that you've been tasked to covert your business from an all-Windows platform to an all-Mac platform. Explain that the AppleCare store plans appear to be insufficient for your needs, and also explain the exact issues you've had with them.

I would be very much suprised if Apple didn't assign you an account representative to take care of your needs. It might require a bit of FexExing back and forth, but you'll get support handled a lot better than if you try and take your needs to the geniuses (pun intended) at the Apple Store.

Good luck!

Re:AppleCare is great... (-1, Troll)

flitty (981864) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263236)

Mac's break? Who knew!
http://maddox.xmission.com/ [xmission.com]

Re:AppleCare is great... (3, Informative)

caldaan (583572) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263306)

Actually if you purchase Apple Care they are suppose to come to your business and fix it there. The G5 we have had a bad logic board when I bought it. They wanted me to take it in, and I told them that their service required them to come out and fix it on site. When we got it down to either a logic board or a CPU they eventually has someone come out and replace the logic board. My only complaint was they default to telling you to bring in the system yourself.

Re:AppleCare is great... (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263352)

Actually if you purchase Apple Care they are suppose to come to your business and fix it there.

Interesting. Is that supposed to be part of the same AppleCare plan, or is that a different level of support? Because I've spent a bit of time (admittedly, not too much) digging through Apple's support website. While they can refer you to Apple consultants, they don't really advertise any "AppleCare for Business" plans.

Re:AppleCare is great... (5, Informative)

caldaan (583572) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263710)

From http://www.apple.com/support/products/proplan.html [apple.com]

Convenient repair options

The AppleCare Protection Plan ensures that Apple-authorized technicians will perform repairs using genuine Apple parts(2). With this plan, parts and labor will be covered for three years from your computer's purchase date. The plan includes onsite service for desktop computers and global repair coverage, which can be very important if you travel abroad.

(1) Onsite service is not available in all locations.
(2) Repair service may include onsite, carry-in, and direct mail-in; specific availability of each option depends on product type and location of Apple Authorized Service Provider. Apple may also request that the customer replace components with readily installable parts.

Now they can't swap out LCD screens on site, they can't typically even do that in their shop. But pretty much anything related to the Computer they can do. The biggest problem would be if you live too far from a service provider that does on site repairs. And technically this isn't a "business" plan per se. If you bought one for your own personal use and get the Apple Care Protection Plan they are suppose to come out to your house and fix it.

Re:AppleCare is great... (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263764)

So it's really just a SOHO plan? Still, that's a rather sweet deal if you're willing to shell out the dough. I just don't think it's going to help this fellow much. He should still get ahold of corporate and wring a few necks until he gets a support plan that works for him. :)

Swapping LCD screens (1)

klubar (591384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263868)

One of our dell laptops had a screen go bad (lines were appearing on the screen). A 5 minute call (including hold times) with a customer rep confirmed the problem and scheduled the tech. The next day the part arrived in the morning and the tech arrived in the afternoon. It probably took him 20 minute to replace the screen. Total lost time less than a day.

The same event with an apple product would have required a minimum of 2 hours on the phone and probably a week or more of lost time.
Apple=Stuff you use at home
Major brand PC=Stuff you use at work.

Re:Swapping LCD screens (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265368)

One of our dell laptops had a screen go bad (lines were appearing on the screen). A 5 minute call (including hold times) with a customer rep confirmed the problem and scheduled the tech. The next day the part arrived in the morning and the tech arrived in the afternoon. It probably took him 20 minute to replace the screen. Total lost time less than a day.

The same event with an apple product would have required a minimum of 2 hours on the phone and probably a week or more of lost time.
Apple=Stuff you use at home
Major brand PC=Stuff you use at work.
Suuure. Unless you live in one of the places where the on-site service Dell sold you isn't actually available. That is after you talked for hours to the guys in India.

Re:Swapping LCD screens (3, Informative)

Sandbags (964742) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265864)

OK, I work in Disaster Recovery, so this hits home... First, the service plan is designed to fix your hardware only. If on site service is available from someone who is actually a trained, reliable, rep for a company (ie, you live/work in one of the 150 largest towns in America), then you are lucky and can usually get good service. Most people have to ship their hardware off or deal with some outsourced local company for repairs that take days. You hardly ever get your machine back in any good shape unless it's repaired at the factory, in which case they normally come back looking new or even better, but you have extended down time. Second, If you run a business, and downtime is critical, you have spare systems... 1 spare for every 20 functional machines of each specific model is a good rule of thumb. Image a copy of the machine to a clean box and restore the user's files. If you prepared, this means 30-60 minutes of downtime for the user. The repaired machine becomes your replacement spare. If your a growing company, you will have even more spare systems because you order in bulk for more staff than you currently have, and rotate new machines in as employees come online. If you're a really small business and only have a few machines you still need at least 1 spare at all times (even if you only have 1 working PC!). This is the cost of doing business vs the cost of downtime. Depending on the nature of your business, there are likely regulations from HIPPA, Baynes Oxley, or some other agency or legal requirement that you don't even know about. I've got a local doctor here in my town I service who is bound by law to have nearly 20K in systems and backups just to power his patient administration workstation for 1 simple secretary. It sounds rediculous, but it really isn't if he's going to be able to access those records anytime 24 hours a day if one of his patients is hospitalized and the hospital needs access to their history. I've also seen cases even with $20k servers where a part failure has kept a system down for 6-7 days as the tech orders and replaces a dozen parts trying to find out which one is causing the others to fail. Sure, he was on site with parts in 4 hours, but downtime can still be crippling regardless of the quality of your service contract. If you don't have a plan to be back up and running in 1 hour or less, then you just plan for downtime. Again, it's the cost of doing business. You need spare systems. Apple's repair policy is not a bad one. Sure they could focus more on large business and offer next day 2 way shipping or same day on site services for more money, but large businesses have spares, so what's the rush? This is one of the reasons Apple can provide such quality for the price, and that they made more profit last year than Dell while selling almost 20 times fewer machines.

Re:AppleCare is great... (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264310)

"My only complaint was they default to telling you to bring in the system yourself."

Well, maybe it is because I've lived in areas where there was NO Apple Store...they just sent me postage paid shipping package to mail it to them.

I've only had one experience with Apple repairs...but, I have an older iBook 800Mhz I got off eBay. No Apple Care.

The screen fizzled and went out, after some research I found this model had had a motherboard problem, I called Apple, and even with no Apple care...and the recall pretty much over with, they sent me DLH postage paid shipping container. I mailed it to them, and they had it fixed, and sent back to me..all within about 3 days.

I was pretty impressed.

Re:AppleCare is great... (3, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263316)

...for consumer support.

Unless the problem is so widespread that they don't want to acknowledge it even exists until a class action lawsuit is brought against them. I love Macs and have used them for a long time, but I'll think seriously about buying another one after the hell I went through with the last one...

Re:AppleCare is great... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263340)

The normal process is that you drop the computer off, wait a week or two, and pick it up to find it in spectacular condition. [...] Now that's not to say that Apple doesn't want your business.

Apple also offers on-site service, although they do not offer it for laptops. If he needed it fixed right away and without hassle, perhaps he should have considered that option... although I don't know how quickly they actually show up.

However, I quoted you in the way I did because obviously Apple doesn't want my business either. Because I'm not waiting any two fucking weeks, and the closest Apple store to me is two hours away at that.

If I buy a clone from the local PC shop, they will have it fixed for me within a day or two in almost every case. And that's a two-man show. Why is Apple unable to turn around hardware within a reasonable time?

Re:AppleCare is great... (1)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263840)

With two guys, it's easy to figure out whether something is profitable. "Hey, did we make money by fixing that dude's computer? Yeah? Cool, let's keep doing that."

With Apple, though, any profitable venture has to go through massive marketing, advertising, and financial analysis because it's on a national/global scale, not a few square miles of a single city. Will it be profitable in Milwaukee? Chicago? New York? Miami? Why or why not? What can we do to ensure it is profitable everywhere? Can we offer the same service everywhere? Do we hire out like GeekSquad used to or do we only hire through our Apple stores? If you've noticed, too, Apple rarely does something without KNOWING it will work. They, compared to other technology companies, have very few product release failures, at least in recent years.

I've been considering migrating my company to Mac. However, they have a high price point and I really do like the service we get from Dell. We had a problem with a new system being DOA. Dell overnighted a brand new one to us for free even before we had sent the old one back. (I realize that may not be standard operating procedure, but was still damned cool.) I highly doubt Apple would ever do that, except maybe for some huge contracts that they have with large design studios that rely on the very pricey Macs for design work.

Re:AppleCare is great... (1)

pianophile (181111) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266166)

Dell overnighted a brand new one to us for free even before we had sent the old one back. [...] I highly doubt Apple would ever do that,[...]

Usually if Apple is going to send you a replacement part or system they will send the new one prior to receiving the old one back, though they do take your CC number to which they will charge the price of the replacement if they don't receive the old one. This has worked out well in my experience.

Re:AppleCare is great... (1)

Incongruity (70416) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263392)

The above suggestions are great -- another option is to find a Apple Authorized Service provider that has been around for a while. For example, when I was in Minneapolis and working for a small business (that was all mac shop at the time), I found FirstTech and they were fantastic about getting machines turned around quickly for me with a minimum of hassle. They made business customers a priority and it showed... I'm sure there have to be similar places in other major metro areas...

Re:AppleCare is great... (1)

n2art2 (945661) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265514)

That's what I was gonna say. I got to give it to the guys at FirstTech. They do some phone support for free. . . even if you are not a current/past customer. Then if you bring the unit in, or get a care plan (for your business, or personal) they go the extra mile to support you.

As for a business situation. If you don't have the IT staff on hand to do the repairs, then get the AppleCare, or better yet, look around town for an autorized service vendor for the computers that you have.

As with anything else. . . If you are a big fish. . . you get big bait, if you are a little fish. . . . you get corn.

Re:AppleCare is great... (4, Interesting)

tsnee (139546) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263428)

Usually better than when you dropped it off
Depends on which Apple Store. The one in Durham, NC always returned my laptop in worse condition. I would sit in the store for six hours to tell someone my DVD drive was broken, wait three or four weeks to get my computer back, then find that its wireless networking no longer worked. Take it back, wait a few weeks, find that the sound no longer worked. The last time I bothered to take it in, they didn't even put all the screws back in the case! After six months of this, my extended warranty finally expired, and now I am no longer a customer.

Re:AppleCare is great... (1)

Dan Hayes (212400) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264530)

Not quite as bad as my gf's experience, but similar in its time-frame, including the endless waiting in store and the delays in getting the thing back. Oh, and of course as it had just gone out of warranty the several hundred pounds to replace the screen.

Re:AppleCare is great... (3, Interesting)

linuxpng (314861) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265610)

AMEN! I had a powermac I dropped off at that same store that was suffering from the sudden shutdown issue you'll find on some mac boards. (replacement systemboard + powersupply)I came back after 3 weeks to find it had looked like it had been dragged across a circuit board (you know that sharp soldier joints on the back) and for them to tell me "it couldn't possibly have happened in repair".

Just the last straw. I've had a powerbook (my first mac the old Ti) die right out of the box that kept going back to service for 6 months because when they fixed something, they broke something else. They eventually replaced it with the next level Ti powerbook that had the paint flaking issue. That powermac also had it's powersupply replaced once because they use cheap fans and they used to get loud after a perioud of time. Also still have a 12inch powerbook that had 3 hard drive replacements and has a slight wobble. You should look at their forums for the replacement batteries they sent out on the recall.. See how many people got batteries that don't even fit(mine too).

http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID= 636886&tstart=0 [apple.com]

The problem is when a product is old Apple wants to forget the ever made it. Oh sure when there is a class action lawsuit.

Sorry for the rant, I've given apple waaay too much money.

Re:AppleCare is great... (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263576)

Wow, that sounds like a bunch of that stuffed-shirt/John Hodgeman/PC stuff. Surely a hipster like Apple would never lower themselves to such uncool depths as "assigning an account representative from Apple Corporate." They're more the free-wheeling, outside the box, creative types.

"Service your broken Apple? No way, man. The problem is YOU, not the computer! You're just not cool enough to use it. If you had listened to REM *BEFORE* they hit MTV, then maybe you wouldn't NEED it serviced. Did you ever even attend a SINGLE Phish concert in college? No? That's what we thought. You have the nerve to think that Nickelback and Fallout Boy are cutting edge and then you think we're going to service your computer? Forget it. Apple just works man, it doesn't break. And, if it does break, you've got to to be all creative about it. Have you even TRIED healing crystals? Did you consult a Shaman? No? Sounds like YOU'RE the one who's broken, dude. Now call us back when you're actually worthy of owning an Apple--which will probably be never."

-Eric

Re:AppleCare is great... (5, Informative)

ktappe (747125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264220)

Wow, that sounds like a bunch of that stuffed-shirt/John Hodgeman/PC stuff. Surely a hipster like Apple would never lower themselves to such uncool depths as "assigning an account representative from Apple Corporate." They're more the free-wheeling, outside the box, creative types.
I know you were being funny, but fact is that we do have an assigned account representative at Apple Computer. I speak with him at least once per week. He gets us custom quotes and takes care of any issues we have (though he is not our first call if we need hardware service--we call AppleCare for that.) And yes, we do get on-site hardware service. I recommend the original poster call Apple Enterprise support at 866-752-7753 and see if they can help him out.

Re:AppleCare is great... (0, Troll)

rizzo420 (136707) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264598)

interesting... we have no affiliation with apple and are just starting to get them here. apple doesn't seem to have any interest in starting up some sort of communication with us for budgeting and pricing and all that. they just don't seem to care. as far as we're concerned, there's no reason to go with them until they can work with a business the way other companies work with us. we have no problems getting possible pricing from our other vendors, but apple won't do that for us. so we can't budget them in, and if we can't budget them in, we don't buy a lot of apple computers. it's fine by me. everyone i know who has one has had some sort of hardware issue that apple took their sweet time to fix. it was only fixed after sending it back to apple 3 or 4 times. that's bad service if you ask me.

Re:AppleCare is great... (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264308)

I think Charlie Booker said it best in this hilarious piece from the guardian. [guardian.co.uk]

Re:AppleCare is great... (1)

XsX (1071820) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263620)

When my first macbook hard drive was DOA. I called them up they emailed me a shipping label I printed it and shipped it back. 4 days latter I had a new macbook.

Re:AppleCare is great... (4, Informative)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264252)

We have a couple of macs at work. One imac g5 died. This is how apple operates.

Call AppleCare. Long Wait. Do all the diagnostics I've already done. Support says its a bad mobo or ps. I ask to send it in, he stammers and tells me to call the local apple store for mail-in service.

I call the Apple Store. They tell me they can't accept anything mailed in or messengered over. They tell me to call applecare again and that applecare will take in mail-ins.

I call apple care again. Seriously long wait. I explain everything again. The guy puts me on hold for literally 15 minutes while he goes and finds out about "mailing in a computer." He then tells me that Apple no longer accepts desktops mailed in.

I call the Apple Store again. I finally get a manager. He tells me I have to get off my ass, leave work for god knows how long, lug this beast down michigan ave in chicago, and drop it off with one of his geniuses.

This is crap, by now Dell or whoever would already be repairing the machine I sent them with the standard warranty.

Apple is doing its best to piss off corprate customers and keep macs out of business. There's no microsoft conspiracy here, Apple is pretty competent at shooting itself in the foot.

Re:AppleCare is great... (2, Informative)

DarkVader (121278) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264868)

Call your local Apple Authorized Service Provider, not Apple.

Seriously, the dealers are happy to get service business. I'm the onsite guy for a dealer (Knoxville, TN) and most days I can schedule you in the same day. If you've got AppleCare, and it's a hardware problem, the onsite repair is free.

Re:AppleCare is great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18265324)

have an imac g5. a few days ago it wouldn't fully turn on, no display, no os; just a power light and fans blowing at full speed. did the diagnostic routine the website outlined at home. led #3 on the lb didn't illuminate.

brought it in to the local apple store the next morning. logic board and power supply replaced free of charge and computer in hand that evening despite the unit being out of warranty. and the emc # on my imac didn't match that of the recall's.

Re:AppleCare is great... (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265310)

The normal process is that you drop the computer off, wait a week or two, and pick it up to find it in spectacular condition. (Usually better than when you dropped it off; above and beyond fixing whatever you brought it in for.) The key is that you have to show a modicum of patience, something which businesses often can't afford to do.
If that's your problem, the answer is ProCare [apple.com] . "ProCare is your ticket to priority repairs", or so they say.

Re:AppleCare is great... (1)

philipgar (595691) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265446)

In the fall my MacBook started experiencing random shutdowns. I called up apple. On a Thursday afternoon a prepaid box arrived at my door. I put the apple in shipped it off to apple either thursday or Friday (can't remember offhand). I had to go a whole weekend without my computer, and I almost missed the laptop when it was attempted to be delivered to my house on Monday. However a call to the delivery person and they delivered it to where I worked instead a few hours later (I only work a few miles from my home). All in all, I really can't complain. Sure something went wrong with the computer, but my machine was back in my hands 3 days later, even though it was the weekend! Sure this likely wasn't the response in the past, and it was a hassle to go through, but my machine works great now.

As for older out of warranty macs . . . You're in trouble when parts fail. Also, I have no idea about any enterprise level care, I do know they have special business versions of applecare that cost more. Did you purchase one of those plans?

Phil

Plural of anecdote != data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18265764)

But I've had essentially the same experience as you.

Problem #1: a PowerBook at work stopped recognizing the second RAM slot. Called AppleCare on Monday, they shipped out an empty box. Box arrived on Tuesday, I sent it back with the PowerBook inside. Fixed PowerBook came on Thursday. 3-day turnaround.

Problem #2: MacBook hard drive died. Click of death. Brought it in to the nearest Apple Store. They had a replacement in stock, swapped it out in about 5 minutes. Came home with a working machine (had to reinstall and restore backups of course).

Problem #3: MacBook hard drive died again. WTF? Do Seagate laptop drives suck or am I supremely unlucky? The first drive lasted 2 months, the second drive lasted 7 months. Brought it in to the Apple Store again. They didn't have the replacement in stock but called another store nearby which did have it. Even though there were no more genius bar appointments left that day, the other store let me come over and did the replacement for me anyway. Came home with a working machine (reinstall/restore required).

At work, we have a couple of Xserve RAIDs that we got the enterprise level support (whatever Apple calls it) for. I've only called once when a drive light went red -- it ended up fixing itself when I pulled it out and put it back in (and the RAID rebuilt it on the fly, nice). They give you a super secret phone number with a passcode and were very helpful.

My only gripe about the "enterprise" support is that it only lasts 3 years and they won't provide support for equipment that's older than that. Our first Xserve RAID just passed its 3 year mark, so it is now officially unsupported. We have good backups of course, but if it goes down catastrophically, looks like we'll have to purchase a new unit.

Re:AppleCare is great... (1)

Edoko (267461) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265606)

Hmmmm. I'm surprised to hear your complaint. I've had Apples since the early 1980's and never had a problem like this. However, I always use the Apple Care service: they send out a box, I pack up, and they return it fixed. Usually takes a few days. I'm unsure of the situation with local Apple stores. There, one finds somewhat lengthy waiting periods [especially in NYC], and more uncertainty. I tried that once with my wife's laptop, and the waiting and commute to the store took more than 45 minutes, so I reverted back to using the online service and the box-ship-return method. Does anyone have a good understanding of the field support business? These usually are sub-contractors...

Re:AppleCare is great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18266128)

I've NEVER had to wait more than a week to get my PowerBook repaired and it has gone in 4 times. I just call them up and they overnight me a box. I have DHL pick that up and I get my computer back better than new 1-2 days later.

Re:AppleCare is great... (1)

ThousandStars (556222) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266234)

Your post describes why Apple is unlikely to find many enterprise customers [slashdot.org] , despite some of the rah-rah posters in the linked thread. The bigger problem is that getting business-class support on the level of HP or Dell is almost impossible for small- to mid-sized businesses; until you're upgrading hundreds of Macs at a time, Apple isn't likely to give you the time of day. If you buy one computer a month from Dell, they'll assign you a rep and give you a customized store and all kinds of other stuff.

In fact, I imagine that Apple would love to provide corporate support.

I doubt it. See my posts in the above thread for more on this problem.

You should try (2, Interesting)

Nick Fury (624480) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263258)

You should try getting them to take back a whining 1st gen Macbook Pro. It took me over 6 weeks to get them to do anything about it. I think the turning point was when I told them "your tech support is worse than Dell". The good news was that I finally ended up replacing the machine with one of their newer systems that has a Core 2 Duo chip. I'm happy with the new system. It's quiet and it runs cooler as well. Apple's tech support is awful though.

Re:You should try (1)

RFaulder (1016762) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263430)

Apple now considers the whine to be a defect, even though it causes no performance loss. I took mine to a local reseller (no Apple Stores in Edmonton, AB) and he replaced the entire motherboard. Also, some of the finish near the keyboard was chipping off. Applecare replaced it without a hiccup, again a cosmetic defect. Of course, a business machine owner would not find this to be satisfactory, as having to wait about 5 days is not an option. As a consumer I find Apple's tech support top notch. They even replaced my iPod by mail when I brought it in the pool with me (of course not telling them that it was in the pool), and I didn't even have to call them. You just email them from apple.com/support and they do everything.

Re:You should try (2, Informative)

Nick Fury (624480) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263608)

Sorry bud, I tried that approach. They replaced the motherboard once and managed to make the whine noticebly louder. They then asked that I send it off again after it took them three weeks to replace the motherboard the first time. I refused and told them that I would not send it off for another three weeks unless they were going to replace it. This took place after a lengthy conversation with an idiot at the aptly named genius bar that told me he could not replace it. I asked him why if he could replace a broken ipod he could not replace a broken system and got a "because we said so" reply.

Finally they agreed to replace the system if a second motherboard replacement did not solve the problem. Needless to say it did not solve the problem and now I have my new system.

For anyone interested some handy tips are to write down any people you talk to, their Apple ID numbers and apple email address, and when you talk with them. It's also helpful to get them to write down anything they say to you in the record for the support incident. If they promise you a new system then get them to write it in the report.

Re:You should try (1)

RFaulder (1016762) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263740)

So they wanted to send the machine away? As in out of the city? That seems greatly inefficient. My repairs were always done by them ordering the part in from Apple and repairing in-store, not the other way around.

Re:You should try (1)

Nick Fury (624480) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263856)

You know the first time they replaced the motherboard I still don't know if they sent it off or repaired it in the store. I got different responses to each of the people I talked to every time I called and asked about it. Keep in mind it took them three weeks the first time to replace it so I think I ened up talking to 5 or 6 different people about it.

I will never take an apple machine (unless it's a ipod) into a store to have it fixed again. The phone support was much quicker about it though it still took them forever to get stuff done.

Re:You should try (2, Informative)

OAB_X (818333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263746)

Yes, and the reason why it takes 5 days is basically this:

1 day to diagnose it and order the part
2-3 days to get the part (shipped by DHL from California)
1 day to install it.

Which when the math is done, 4-5 days.

(I work in the service dept. for an apple reseller/repair centre in Toronto)

Re:You should try (1)

Balthisar (649688) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264034)

I'm from the States, but working in the GTA. When I had a problem with my iMac 17" under US warranty, without AppleCare, they simply directed me to their list of authorized dealers. The one I found was a guy working out of his house. I brought him iMac, we went to his basement, and he swapped out the failing drive. (It also showed me how to do the job, so when I upgraded to a 250 Gb a bit later, it was a piece of cake.)

When I was talking about the SMART problem to Apple, they wanted me to purchase AppleCare or pay a troubleshooting fee before talking any further. I asked "what if it's a hardware problem." At that point the tech/salesperson asked me what was wrong, and (astoundingly) took my word for it (rare thing these days!). I'd fully expected the DHL mailer deal like we do in the States, i.e., they send an empty box with return postage paid; I'd drop it off; and I'd have it back in a couple of days. I was kind of peeved when the Apple rep told me it didn't work that way in Canada, and was directed to the aforementioned list of servicers. But looking back on it, I got this thing fixed the same day. I'm most pleased.

In the past I took my PowerBook to the local (US) Apple Store. That was a longer process than the DHL process, plus I had to go all the way back and forth to the Apple Store. Prior to that with a different PowerBook, I'd used the DHL service and was mostly happy with the turnaround time.

I'm a non-business user, FWIW (Windows and Solaris all day at work).

Re:You should try (1)

DarkVader (121278) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264968)

Well, here in the states it takes 1 day to diagnose and order the part, it ships DHL overnight, and we install it the next morning.

Most repairs are less than 24 hour turnaround.

After sales care is important (1)

NinjaTariq (1034260) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263272)

After sales care or your computers should be an important aspect of business machines. If apples sucks, then perhaps you should go with Dell...

I find Dell's after sales better than before. I would rather order online and get almost what i want than speak to a sales rep and try to get exactly what i want.

If i want an exact spec then i would go elsewhere or build it myself.

Let me save the Apple Fanboys some time. (2, Funny)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263276)

User error!

More details? (2, Interesting)

Zaurus (674150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263280)

What, exactly, are the symptoms of your problems and what have you tried?

Anecdotally...

In my experience, I had to spend 11 hours on the phone with Dell (about 90% of that time on hold) talking to four different people during ONE DAY to convince them to RMA a DVD drive that wouldn't read DVD's. Thank heavens for speaker-phones. Of course, that was as a home user in 2001.

In contrast, as a home user of an Apple keyboard that had problems last year, I called Apple and got to a real person in about a minute (including the phone tree), who had an RMA sent out immediately. Total time on phone? Less that 10 minutes.

Re:More details? (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263960)

I agree that Dell's home user support sucks, with long hold times, heavily accented people walking through standard scripts, etc. (first, ensure the computer is plugged in, press the big button on the front, ...) However, I must say that their Enterprise support rocks. I have never been on hold more than 30 seconds, and have seldom been on the phone for more than 5 minutes total. I tell them, "A hard drive died in a workstation, the diagnostic tests report this error ." They say, "Ok, let me send you a new one" The majority of the 5 minute call is them getting all the shipping setup, to ensure I have a new HD the next day.

"Pro Care" (2, Interesting)

isaac (2852) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263294)

Apple's enterprise support is indeed a joke. They're just not set up for that market. 4 hour on-site? Dream on.

In this case (line-ups at stores), your only option is "ProCare" which for $100/yr lets you schedule appointments in advance and jump the support queue at the store. No idea whether it's well-honored at busy stores like SoHo (NYC), though. One would hope, but can never assume.

-Isaac

when my dell died (3, Insightful)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263296)

I had to wait 3 days for them to get a tech out there.

When my roommates apple laptop died, he took it to an apple store and they took care of it for him. I guess it really depends on the apple store, as I would think that like any other chain, YMMV.

Re:when my dell died (1)

Andrew_T366 (759304) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263494)

Part of the problem with Apple's repair policies is that they're too centered around their own retail stores as a hub of action.

If you DON'T have an Apple Store anywhere nearby, you have to juggle phone calls and shipping cartons to the nth degree for days on end when your Mac breaks, which was exactly what happened when my iBook G4 broke without explanation three weeks in.

Re:when my dell died (1)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263560)

My roommate was sent a box, when his apple was recalled and postage page he was able to send it in. The other time it died, he just took it to the apple store. He's had it about 4 years now.

Yeah, you kind of need an apple store to take it to, but how many dell stores are there?

Re:when my dell died (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264012)

Nearest apple store to my house, 265 miles, over a snow covered mountain range in the winter, so figure 7-8 hour drive in winter, 5 hours in summer.

Nearest Dell store: Fedex is a block away!

Re:when my dell died (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264610)

hehe, that sounded close so i checked and it is 283 miles for me too.

Bah, 4 stores near Seattle but none on entire east side of WA (or south or central for that matter)

Re:when my dell died (1)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264362)

When my powerbook showed up with a slot drive that wouldn't burn CDs, Apple sent a new one and a prepaid shipping slip to send back the old one. When the logic board fried a year later, I called apple support and then I took it over to an authorized dealer. Two days later, the logic board had been swapped and the laptop was as good as new.

Contrast this with my experience with Dell, one PC we ordered from them showed up with none of the software installed (including windows). The replacement drive they sent out showed up only partially formatted. After that, they sent out a service tech. The service tech had to come out twice in order to replace the drive and then install all the needed software. Total time, about a month. What a joke. That laptop from Apple is still running after five years, all that Dell crap we bought had bit the dust long before that. So yeah, Macs are by no means perfect, but its certainly not any worse than most of PCs, and my experience is that their service is just fine.

well (1)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263332)

Almost four hours dealing with Apple Care, three hours dropping off and picking up my computer at different stores, as per their instructions, trying to get this done quickly

Stores or computer repair shops? You should only have to bring it to one repair shop.

made up story for sure (1)

mtjs (918147) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263334)

this is a made - up story to make Apple look bad an Dell look good, for investers to LONG Dell some more and SHORT apple some more. ;)

Apple's Are Flaky (1, Informative)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263360)

I have had at least 20-30 computers in the span of about 17 years. Apple is not that great. I had a Powerbook that had a faulty motherboard. Apple promptly and kindly fixed the computer, no complaints. Though now I can only run Linux on the Powerbook because when I reformatted the machine and installed OSX I have periodic lockouts. I have tried the utilities that people have recommended (eg memory stress test, etc, etc) yet no avail. Sure I could get Apple to fix it, but that would mean spending money.

If the Apple computer were a cheap box then I would not care, but Apples are expensive! To this day I have IBM's that are 10 years old and they are still running as if they were unpacked from a box. I cannot even complain about Dell since all my Dell's have survived at least five years.

My worst computers thus far: Sony, Apple, and a clone maker from the UK

My best computers thus far: IBM, Dell, HP/Compaq, Samsung, Toshiba, and clone makers.

Re:Apple's Are Flaky (0)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263822)

My worst computers thus far: Sony, Apple,
You have had some horrible luck, as those two brands are historically #1 and #2 in initial quality, reliability and customer satisfaction. Just to counter your anecdotal evidence with more anecdotal evidence; I've owned three mac portables, two top end towers, two destop models and now own two Intel macs, and I've never had anything fail other than wear and tear items like mice and cables. I bent the pin on my ethernet port once, but it was my fault. Do my 9 macs and 15 years of ownership trump your bad experience? Probably not, but it is one small comfort to know that I can keep buying their machines and not worry about build quality (sans the occassional flaming batteries).

Re:Apple's Are Flaky (4, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264040)

The plural of "anecdote" is not "data." Whatever your personal experiences, they are not really useful data for a person objectively trying to determine the reliability of systems. People here can trade anecdotes all day and tell you how two different Samsung laptops lit on fire killing family members or whatever. What is useful, however, is actually looking at the independent reviews by manufacturer and support/computer type and seeing how they actually do with large sample sets and documented methodologies. It is not like there is even a lot of debate among said studies. Apple and Lenovo (IBM is long gone neighbor) consistently rank at the top of the heap. Historically, Dell has been near or at the bottom, although they have improved a lot for laptops last year. One of your "best picks," HP has consistently ranked as the worst in the industry for many years running.

You might want to consider in future posting titles more like "My Apples are flakey." That at least is true. Objectively speaking all the evidence indicates Apple machines are among the least "flakey" in the industry and claiming otherwise is simply your own subjective opinion based upon not enough data to count.

Not impressed (2, Informative)

sprag (38460) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263380)

We've had a couple of problems with our XServe and its been hit or miss. We bought the spare parts kit, and it hasn't been the pancea its made out to be. For a bad XServe RAID drive its just fine, but when we had one of the system disks fail on the XServe, it was a nightmare.

When the drive failed we looked in the spare parts kit but there wasn't one. When we called them about it, the rep kept claiming that we bought the wrong spare parts kit. Only after pestering him for the part number for the "right" kit did he admit that there wasn't a kit with the spare part. The 4 hour response time basically amounts to how fast you'll get someone to tell you that they'll ship one sometime. For this particular drive, they didn't have any in stock and it took 5 days to get one to our site (and the delivery people tried to postpone it over the weekend because it was Friday afternoon). When it did arrive, it was slightly smaller than the old, so I had to fight with the mirror config to make it work again.

Not a pleasant experience.

On the other hand, last night I had a scsi raid card die on an IBM pSeries machine. The machine died and after doing diagnostics and sending a report in (at 10:45) I spoke to a rep at 11 and because it was in the middle of the night it took a little longer, but the card was at our site by 4am and we up and running by 5:30.

Re:Not impressed (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263526)

It's enough to make you wonder if it isn't still a good idea for Apple and Sun to merge. Or at least develop a synergistic partnership (*snicker*) that plays up the strengths of both companies. Apple could provide the glitz and Sun the raw hardware support and software scalability. With a little bit of technology sharing, they could develop into a new (and incredibly powerful) force in the business computer industry.

Mac OS X on a Sun Ray? I'm drooling already.

Macs for business use are still silly (2, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263418)

It's still a silly decision to try to use Macs for mission-critical business machines for just this reason. In my business, if I have a machine go down, I either run down to my local parts store to get the part I need, or I run down to the thrift store and pick up another used beige box for $50. Having a machine down for weeks in not an option. Having a machine down for days, even, is unacceptable in my small business.

Now, if you have some fancy design business, where deadlines are measured in weeks or months, as opposed to minutes as they are in retail, then sure, you can probably afford to ship off a box and wait for a few weeks until it gets fixed. Unfortunately, that's not a luxury that many smaller businesses can afford.

This is what true "lock-in" (hardware AND software) looks like in the IT industry, and it's not pretty.

Re:Macs for business use are still silly (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263736)

if you have some fancy design business, where deadlines are measured in weeks or months, as opposed to minutes as they are in retail
Based on this statement, you underestimate how the creative industry (print, video, image, publishing, layout, color, sound & audio, etc.) works.

Re:Macs for business use are still silly (4, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263780)

It's still a silly decision to try to use Macs for mission-critical business machines for just this reason. In my business, if I have a machine go down, I either run down to my local parts store to get the part I need, or I run down to the thrift store and pick up another used beige box for $50.

What is silly is trying to run a business that way. Every place I've ever worked (even on a shoestring budget start-up companies) has done the same thing while dealing with Dell and Apple and Lenovo and our other suppliers of workstations. You standardize on a few suppliers (where I work now we have Apple and Lenovo). You keep a couple of spare machines as backups for when one breaks and give it to the user so they have no down time and ship off the machine to be fixed. When it is fixed you test it then it becomes one of the spares. When we had consumer Dell machine we had to keep a significant number of spares (10-20%) because failures were so common. With both Lenovo and Apple we have more like 2% extra to serve as spares. Even a day of downtime for a professional is about the same as the cost of a laptop when you figure how many tasks suddenly were derailed and waiting for some IT guy to try to swap parts and get something working again is absurd compared to a ten minute restore from backup. The cost evaluation of doing business some other way seems really high compared to the cost of having a few spare machines on hand.

This is what true "lock-in" (hardware AND software) looks like in the IT industry, and it's not pretty.

In real business it is common to standardize on a few suppliers so "lock in" the way you describe it is standard operating procedure and results in fewer problems for IT and better prices. Its also a lot easier to buy 50 extra power supplies for each manufacturer and leave them in all the conference rooms, rather than try to manage them from a dozen different vendors.

Re:Macs for business use are still silly (4, Interesting)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264722)

Now, if you have some fancy design business, where deadlines are measured in weeks or months, as opposed to minutes as they are in retail, then sure, you can probably afford to ship off a box and wait for a few weeks until it gets fixed.

Sigh. My G5 under my desk has all of the sound effects for a certain arachnid-Stan Lee-related movie on it. If it dies and it can't get fixed, my dubbing stage will stop working within about an hour or two, and the dubbing stage is booked for around $1000/hour. "Fancy Design businesses" like advertising, commercial art and film production, have hideously short turnarounds and are ruinously expensive on a minutes and hours basis.

AppleCare ain't great, good for home, but bad for what I do professionally. So how do we do it? Our tech support people take Macs seriously, they have a small inventory of spares for when they need to send one back, and they know enough to fix small things themselves. I've never needed mine replaced for anything, FWIW. Any large organization could handle supporting Macs, having IT people who take them seriously and keep up to date on their issues is the real problem.

Oh and having a spare machines on site helps too ;)

Re:Macs for business use are still silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18266142)

My G5 under my desk has all of the sound effects for a certain arachnid-Stan Lee-related movie on it. If it dies and it can't get fixed, my dubbing stage will stop working within about an hour or two, and the dubbing stage is booked for around $1000/hour.

Why are you storing on a local machine instead of a network redudant server something that could block a $1000/hour project? That's just crazy.

My experience at work wasn't good (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263464)

Preamble: I've no qualms with outsourced tech support, that's /not/ the problem I'm complaining about here... I'm complainging about all the errors made in the handling of the issue.

I was at work, a few years ago, and someone needed their Mac desktop serviced. I call up the Mac store at the local mall as my boss told me to.

After a few rings, the rep picks up. I tell her my issue, stating that we want to bring the computer in, do we need to pay before hand, and can they take [payment type]. Her response? "Sorry, I don't know, let me transfer you to the tech bench".

I get a couple clicks and am at some automated voice thing, with options of "sales" or "tech support". I chose tech support

click. static. At this point, I know I'm on a different continent.

Sure enough, after 20+ minutes of hold, a guy with an Indian (as in subcontinent, not native american) accent answers.
Him: "Hello [standard greetings stuff], Can I have your product serial number please?"
Me: "Is this the Apple store at [mall name]"
Him: "Yes, yes it is. Can I have your serial number please?"
Me: "Well, I'm just asking if you take [payment type], and do you need it in avance for repairs."
Him: "Sir, I need your serial number."
Me: "I don't have the computer right here, and I'm not asking for assistance in diagnosing the problem or repairing it, I'm asking about paymet."

this goes on for a couple more exchanges, finally he realizes the serial number is irrelevant to the issue.

Him: "let me check the database"
My mind: "wtf?"
Him: "Sorry, we don't have that information, please contact the local store."
(we hang up).

5 minutes later when I calm down a bit. I call the apple store again.
Rep: "Hello, this is the Apple store at [mall name]"
Me: "Hi, I'm calling to see if you take [payment type] and if it is needed in advance."
Rep: "Let me transfer you-"
Me: "Don't transfer me off continent this time."
Rep: "Sorry, we don't have the ability, all transfers are in building."
Me: "I called half an hour ago, and someone tried transfering me to the tech bench. I got India."
Rep: "That's not possible."
Me: "Sorry, but that's what happened."
Rep: *sigh* "Alright I'll /walk/ over there and ask for you."

a couple minutes later I get my answer. They didn't take that particular payment method, which didn't suprise me, so we used the company credit card instead (we didn't want to, too much of a hassle with paper work).

Re:My experience at work wasn't good (1)

RFaulder (1016762) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263544)

I'm pretty sure Apple doesn't use out-sourced India tech support... are you sure you just didn't have a guy with an Indian accent?

Re:My experience at work wasn't good (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263772)

with all the extra static on the line? They could have had a call center with bad lines, but it struck me as being shipped to another continent.

Still, that is possible. Regardless that wasn't the issue, as I initially stated. The issue was how it was handled.

The lady transfered me some place that put me out of the building.
The individual I talked to said he was at that location. He then proceded to check for the information, after much hassle, and said he couldn't get, and said I had to call the local store (which he earlier said he was at).
The lday, when I called back, said that she couldn't even transfer me out of building, which had happened in the earlier call. After stating that this is what happened, she argued with me that that couldn't happen, rather than just accepting it and finding another method to resolve the situation.

Re:My experience at work wasn't good (1)

RFaulder (1016762) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263928)

So you don't really know if it was transferred out of the building... you just assume it was because there was static on the line.
You know, when you assume, you make an ass out of u and me.

Re:My experience at work wasn't good (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265698)

So, the fact that the guy told me I needed to call the store itself doesn't count as evidence that I was transferred out of the store?

news to me.

Re:My experience at work wasn't good (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263944)

Honestly, it sounds like an answering service to me. Companies that need to screen for emergency calls (apartment complexes being a big one) often use them to cover non-business hours. The answering service is then put in the position of either telling the customer to call back later or paging the appropriate emergency staff.

This being computer-related, it doesn't surprise me that it would have been outsourced to India. It seems like the standard panacea for all ills these days. :-/

Re:My experience at work wasn't good (1)

the grace of R'hllor (530051) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264112)

How do you know you were transferred to India? Your only proof is someone with an Indian accent. It's not like there aren't any Indian-Americans or anything.

You didn't provide the requested serial number? Are you aware that tech support desks typically are required to log all calls, so that when YOU call back saying "You transferred me to another sub-continent" they can actually see what happened and that you're not one of the many *lying* customers just trying to get extra-free super service? (there are many of those). With out-sourced tech support especially, such procedures are important, as they provide one of the bases for payment.

I can understand the 'sigh' of the Rep. I probably would've told you that if you are unwilling or unable to follow directions, we cannot direct you to a solution, so please call back when you have the required information handy, and have a nice day. After which you would be precisely the customer I'd gripe about at the water cooler.

God I'm glad to be out of fucking tech support.

Re:My experience at work wasn't good (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265730)

Did you even read the whole post? OK, fine, maybe it wasn't india, I really could care less if it was or not, other than it wasn't in the building of the store, as the guy said at the end of the conversation (and he lied to me about it at the beginning!)

And why should I have to give a serial number to find out if they take a certain payment method, and if they need it before or after the service is rendered?

I wasn't asking for ANYTHING except those two questions. Most companys don't charge for that kind of question.

Feel lucky at your response times (1)

compunut (105677) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263590)

It really does matter where you are. Next day on-site support from both HP and Dell take 2-3 business days for me (HP usually is faster than Dell). Four hour response time support from every vender I've used has been next day at the fastest. Most vendors flat out tell me I can't have 4 hour response. It was like pulling teeth to get a 6 hour response contract from Cisco for a $25,000 router. When I call anyone at HP workstation or reseller support, I end up in India with people who don't speak English. That is frequently true of Dell also, although their Gold support occasionally gets me to someone who speaks English.

Heck, I had an HP laptop with an extended on-site service contract that was down SIX WEEKS for repair and ended up going to depot repair after about 15 hours on the phone with HP and 2 on-site support visits. That is a business grade support contract.

I've never dealt with AppleCare support, but I can tell you that where you are DOES matter!

AppleCare more like AppleNinjaTraining (1, Offtopic)

Sciros (986030) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263722)

My experience was actually quite similar. I was tasked with replacing everything in our IT department with Apple stuff, down to the pens and notebooks. The general policy was if it wasn't Apple it wasn't up to the task. Well, three days after one of our big Mac Pros came in, a friggin ninja crawled out of it and started giving us major grief. At first he was just being a nuisance, taking all of the paper cups out of the cappucino machines, covering elevator buttons with engine grease, stuff like that. But over time he started slicing up monitors, breaking fluorescent bulbs over people's heads, and eventually got into the usual ninja habit of killing people and setting things on fire.

I contacted AppleCare about the issue, and their response was I had clearly ordered the Mac Pro with the "trojan horse" option turned on. Friggin liars. Well, no matter what I said, they refused to take the ninja back.

Eventually we started running out of equipment thanks to that jerk. Unable to be productive typing on half a keyboard and a cordless-by-way-of-sword mouse, I was left with no option other than contacting Apple's Business support and informing them that AppleCare was being uncooperative. These guys sent me Chuck Norris within 3 business days and now I'm back in full productivity mode. Though our floor's cappucino machine is messed up after eating one of Chuck's nickels and taking a roundhouse in the gut for it.

Re:AppleCare more like AppleNinjaTraining (1)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264520)

If none of the 14 yo slashdotters have mod points today, you are out of luck my friend.

Re:AppleCare more like AppleNinjaTraining (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264970)

Well, they're just not back from school yet. So, there's still hope.

Not a good experience for me either (2, Interesting)

huguley (87575) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263880)

I had a dual proc g5 tower that never really worked quite right and would lock up now and then. We bought 3 of them at once and the other 2 never had a problem. It took close to 8 months to get the problem solved and in the meantime I had to go out and buy another one as having people try to do work on a flaky machine is pretty hard to do.

They pretty much replaced everything by the time they were done with it. One of the last techs just happened to have a new verision of the diagnostic disks that identified a bad cpu or something. After that the machine was flawless.

But 8 months of back and forth with the local store not being able to find the problem and apple saying there is nothing wrong with it was pretty annoying. Something like that with dell would have take a couple of trips best case before they just replaced it.

For what an apple costs compared to a PC they should be more responsive.

AppleCare Support is NOT for business (4, Insightful)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264022)

I was previously the CTO of a small marketing agency in NYC. We were an all-Mac shop. When we had serious trouble, calling Apple was not helpful. We came to rely on local companies like TekServe [tekserve.com] for business-critical support (though it's not cheap). Consider this free advertising for them: they were great.

If you use Macs in business, I strongly advise you to find a local shop of Mac experts and rely on them.

Lack of spare parts (2, Interesting)

klubar (591384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264036)

Apple seems to be particularly bad about inventorying spare parts. Spares allocated to repairs are "unproductive" assets. Everytime I've had anything break on a Mac I first have to go through the painful consumer-type customer service, then argue for at least 20 minutes that we have paid for on-site service. Finally, they indicate that the parts are back ordered and it might be week or more before we can get a replacement.

Maybe if it was some obscure part (xraid motherboard or old hardware) I could understand. But we got the same response when it was a standard MacPro diskdrive and on another occasion a power supply.

Basically I would say that apple support is NOT ACCEPTABLE for busines use.

I've had the opposite (3, Informative)

real gumby (11516) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264114)

But of course everybody's MMV. But over the past 15 years I've had to call apple for support and it's always been great (note: I only buy Applecare for portables). With two exceptions, within a few minutes I've been scheduled for a box to be sent out (or a replacement part, e.g. a power adaptor). Painless. The two exceptions were, well, exceptional:

1 - I spilled tea into my 2400c while in Japan. Luckily I was in Tokyo and the machine had been built in Japan (at that time most were still built in the USA) and Applecare called over and then sent me over to somewhere in the Akihabara where someone fixed my machine as I watched.

2 - My machine went completely bonkers because the PCI bridge fried. How do I know? Err, a friend in Apple's hardware group diagnosed it for me (and cloned my disk for me!). Then I called, described only the symptoms, and politely went through the "fixit" script with the guy on the phone (try to restart, try a reset, etc etc). That was my longest call and still not incredibly long.

Enterprisesupport has been different. I've only called for support on my Xserve three or four times but each time I got a phone call (or once mail) from someone in the engineering group. In fact one time I was on hold for a while because the tech at the other end went into a machine room, reconfigured a machine and duped the problem while I was on the phone (it was a booting problem when the a homedir was on a SAN disk). Pretty good.

IBM's support has been quite good too, but they're about the only other one.

Of course ideally the machines would never break and then support could be crappy or nonexistant...but nobody would know!

Re:I've had the opposite (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264534)

2 - My machine went completely bonkers because the PCI bridge fried. How do I know? Err, a friend in Apple's hardware group diagnosed it for me (and cloned my disk for me!). Then I called, described only the symptoms, and politely went through the "fixit" script with the guy on the phone (try to restart, try a reset, etc etc). That was my longest call and still not incredibly long.

What are users who don't have a man inside Apple supposed to do in this instance?

P.S. You didn't actually say what the outcome of that call was.

Re:I've had the opposite (1)

real gumby (11516) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265842)

Well, I only mentioned this example to say the one time my machine was really acting strangely the guy reading the script to me at Applecare was nevertheless able to converge quickly.

The "solution" was to replace the logic board. The main reason I went to see my friend was to get the bits off. I was worried about sending in any un-backed-up bits into apple as I've heard stories -- which I believe -- of machines with unrelated problems (e.g. power connector failures) having the disk pointlessly reformatted. Luckily this has never happened to me.

Lousy support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18264192)

Apple seems not to care about providing speedy support since they know their fans will keep coming back anyhow.

When the Sony battery recall was going on I had to return one from my (personal) ibook and one from my (work) Dell.
My Dell replacement arrived the next day.
Apple took two months.

That's going to make me think twice when I buy my next machine.

Apple Service vs User Understanding of Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18264264)

OK, first things first... Service levels of repair are of course dependant on numerous variables, to include accessibility to service center, availability of said service centers, user expectation, user knowledge of key information in describing the problem, comparisons to other repairs that are not the same. Going further, one may say service levels suck if they live in the country and the only service center is in the city and is a scaled down Apple Store, or they have to go to the city to Fed-Ex something. They may also say service is poor based upon them not having enough knowledge of the equipment or how it is intended on running, to accurately describe the problem. My hard drive is bad does not suffice. In addition, service levels could be rated poorly if they coompare a previous repair of a defecive keyboard with an intermittant USB port problem. It is subjective.

Now for my experiences with Apple and their service levels:

1). Apple 5300c laptop, costing $5K when first released. 1.5 years after my warranty expired and I admitedly blew the motherboard on the machine installing memory on a static filled carpet. Apple sent me a box the next day, shipping paid, and replaced the entire machine (with the exception of my hard drive). Everything wa brand new and had it back in my hands 3 days later. I was more than willing to chalk it up to experience and purchase a new machine, as the motherboard was $1500. Cost to me upfront, 4 days total. No out of pocket monies. Now that is service.

2). One month after purchasing a Titanium Powerbook, we had a little accident (yes, my fault) involving a Mountain Dew spilling in the center of the keyboard. I quickly powered off the machine, removed the keyboard and rinsed thoroughly under warm water. Yes, in water, but the keyboard could not stay working. I was oout of town and called Apple. I explained what happened honestly and they Fed-Exed a new keyboard to me, for next morning delivery. Now that's service!

3). I had an obscure problem with my Powerbook hard drive after a while, where the SMART tests would fail and the drive stopped working. Apple replaced quick enough, but after another 4-5 months, it happened again. I then replaced again. The new drive did the same thing after a year, so honestly it must not have been the hard drives after all. It must have been a drive controller in my machine, but recognizing this, Apple suggested this - which blew me away. For $1000, 3 years after my original purchase, they would give me a new MacBook Pro fuly loaded with the all the bells and whistles (2 Gb RAM, 100 Gb HD, 2 GHz dual processor). This machine was barely on the market and they were going to give it to me for $1000. It ws time to upgrade anyway, so it was a no brainer. Another stellar service performance.

So, yes there are bound to be bad service stories and they are probably more vocal than those that are successes.

My experience mirrors everyone else's (1)

halo1982 (679554) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264272)

I had my Gen1 MacBook Pro serviced 4 times...I bought it in August. Each time for the screen. It had spent about a third of its life in a repair depot. In January I just went apeshit after getting the computer back to find they had bent the display bezel. I got escalated up to Apple customer relations where a nice young man was able to replace my computer, but only after I sucked his dick. Yeah Apple's support is somewhat lacking...

Applecare Support (1)

JeepFanatic (993244) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264294)

I've always been impressed with Apple's tech support. As part of my duties at the University I work for, I maintain about 50 iMacs. I've dealt with Apple about a half dozen times for various problems we've had. Each time I've had hardware problems I've been able to have them send a technician to my location without having to bring the computers to an Apple store. We did have one technician once who took 4 hours just to figure out how to open the iMac to replace a bad hard drive but he was the exception and not the rule.

Former Mac Genius here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18264422)

Plus I've worked in the enterprise and dealt with Compaq, HP, Dell, Sun, and IBM support at one time or another, and plenty of software companies as well.

Apple DOES have enterprise AppleCare plans available, mostly pitched towards education and XServe customers.

If you are using Macs on the desktop, two suggestions-

1. Have spares and a plan to deploy them. Actually, this applies to any vendor. There is no way to GUARANTEE that your "four-hour" support contract will actually get you a four-hour fix, no matter how much you paid. I've seen a bad processor in a Sun Ultra Enterprise that took months for Sun to finally diagnose and fix. The tens of thousands the company paid for a Sun Gold support contract got the techs onsite right away, but it didn't get things fixed any faster. If a machine is mission-critical, you should have a disaster recovery plan to migrate your backup from the dead machine (or just switch over to the hot spare) and keep on working.

2. Get a good relationship with a local dealer or Apple Store. Dealers know where their income is derived- business customers. They will generally offer round-the-clock emergency service, all sorts of custom setup, and so on. If you are working with an Apple Store, pay the $100/year for ProCare so you can get "head-of-the-line" service. Either way, as long as you implement suggestion 1 AND you know how long repairs under suggestion 2 will take you should be fine.

If you don't have a backup plan, well, don't bother calling yourself a professional administrator. You are just a wannabe.

I am an Apple certified hardware tech.... (4, Informative)

Snowtide (989191) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264438)

To quash any "Apple Fanboy" comments let me clarify. I work on both Macs and Windows machines, primarily Dells, I also have OSX client and server, 2003 Server, XP and Linux computers in my office at home.

I spent the summer I earned my hardware certifications working as a university Mac hardware tech in the same room as a university Windows hardware tech. The thing I noticed is Dell's corporate support is on average much better than Apple corporate support, especiallya bouts ending out techs to your location, and that Apple's personal computer support is much better on average than Dell's.

I watched the Window's hardware guy get his Dell hardware certifications to try and make his job dealing with Dell easier and still he got jacked around, lied to and screwed with. Make no mistake, this guy is a good hardware tech and has good people skills. But Dell's personal computer service support is just plain bad. On the other hand when I talk to Dell corporate support they are most often helpful and quick to send out parts. The Nebraska Federation for the Blind, as an example, figured this out long ago, let their members buy Dell computers through them so their members get corporate support.

With Apple they usually only send parts to Apple certified techs so most people have to take their Macs to a Mac certified tech. Then you are at the mercy of the quality of the tech, this usually good but can be bad unfortunately.

I think scale applies here, Dell sells a lot more computers than Apple, they can afford to set up techs employed directly by Dell to do service calls. Apple sells fewer computers so until the last few years most hardware repair guys who were Mac certified repaired Mac and other hardware as well in shops or as freelancers. That being said, it often comes down to the quality of the techs you are dealing with, no matter what company supports your computer. I make extra money by doing support/repair work for a variety of desktop hardware and much of my business comes from people frustrated with their current tech support. You have the right or people with the right, experience, knowledge and connections and you are in good shape. You don't and you can have problems. No mater what hardware you have.

Apple in the corporate environment? Heck yes, some of my customers, print shops, publication shops and engineering firms, are on majority or all Mac environments, but like any hardware you need to have look ahead and know what your support options are. One thing I do for my customers is document who to call to get real and useful help in case I can't be reached. Otherwise, Apple, Dell, Gateway whatever you can end up getting jerked around and really frustrated as you lose time and money. Knowing who to call in a company gets you those parts overnighted to your location and connected to a good tech. Yes, I am a Mac user. No I don't hate Bill Gates, he keeps me in business as a tech support guy. Vista? You see problems, I smell billable hours.

i don't think that is it at all (1)

Cassie (19732) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264448)

I have had great experiences with apple care for my business. I had an old laptop that was no longer under warranty go in for a screen replacement. They had it for over a month, which was frustrating, but in the end they sent me a new macbook pro for the cost of the repair. Now mind you, I did have to wait almost a month, but I always got phone calls and updates and they did send me a loaner while waiting for replacement. I was working with a supervisor, which probably did help The thing is they have processes you have to go through to get to what you need from them, just like any other company. They don't have the market share to be as quick and efficient as a Dell, but for what they have to work with, they do pretty well in my book.

Some suggestions for OS X in businesses (4, Informative)

singularity (2031) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264772)

You might try contacting Apple Enterprise Sales at (877) 412-7753.

I would suggest any company looking into OS X solutions contact them. I believe they even have a separate support line you can reach.

In addition, as other have mentioned, look at Apple Authorized Service Providers [apple.com] who can provide more personalized service.

Also look at the Self-Servicing Account Program [apple.com] .

There are definitely resources out there for businesses to use. Going through the consumer support system obviously can be frustrating.

Apple Protection Plan is amazing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18264796)

I am a tech admin at a small school in NJ. I am posting as ac cause I can't remember my nick, nor want to register again!

We purchase an Apple Protection Plan with every machine, and aside from a few minutes on the phone, it is unbelievable service.

I can send a macbook out on a monday and have it back on a wednesday, without ever going anywhere. It's not always that fast, but mostly it is.

The best is getting the service sheet on the repaired machines, It will tell me they replaced logic board, case, processor, memory, processor. All this done in less then 48 hours AND they didn't lose my data. They get thumbs up from me.

Re:Apple Protection Plan is amazing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18265740)

I am a tech admin at a small school in NJ. I am posting as ac cause I can't remember my nick, nor want to register again!

sounds like astroturf to me.

Apples and Oranges... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18265032)

You can't compare one repair on a Dell with another on a Mac any more than one repair on a Dell with another Dell when what broke is a different repair all-together. Some repairs take longer than others, period. When a computer won't power up, it must be sent in for power supply replacement.. spending your own time trying to fix what you can't fix without the replacement parts is simply spinning your own wheels needlessly.

Apple Stores versus Resellers (5, Informative)

Gybrwe666 (1007849) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265036)

As a disclaimer, I spent a large chunk of the 90's working for several large Apple Ressellers.

However, I think the basic problem here is one of approach, rather than Apple's response.

Let us put this in another way, altogether:

You run a small business, and you use HP/Compaq machines.

Who do you buy it from?

Most small businesses will probably go to either a large VAR (CDW, etc.) or find a local reseller of HP, who also provide support.

However, I suspect that it is safe to say that you probably aren't going to trundle down to Best Buy and purchase all of your hardware for you business from them.

When you purchase a computer (including support) from someone who understands the needs of the business community, your response to any problem will be significantly different than purchasing from a consumer-oriented store.

This is the same situation with Apple. Apple Stores (at least where I live) are in shopping malls. They are pandering to people who think that every computer should come with a free IPod, because that is their market.

However, again, at least where I live, there are at least two Apple resellers that specialize in business and know perfectly how to support a business customer.

At the time I was a tech, working for one of these companies, we supported every Fortune 1000 company in 40 miles who had a Mac in the office (which was most of them). When they called, we understood the difference between business support and everything else. When a marketing department for a Fortune 500 calls because their server died, it needs to be fixed now, not next week.

Not only that, but we were properly equipped and trained to support the business community. At the time I did this, I knew virtually everything there was to know about upgrades, patches, memory fixes, and hardware that Apple sold. Not only that, but I knew the same thing about every 3rd party product that my customers used. This included Quark, Adobe's full line, Macromedia, and hundreds of other programs, including business support software such as 3270 emulators and 3rd party software to connect Mac's (this was mid-90's) to Windows networks and servers, as well as mainframes.

The reality is that if you are purchasing your business hardware from a mall-store, you've made a serious error in the first place. Find a local reseller, preferably one who sells Mac's to businesses.

The other support issue is one of being able to determine software versus hardware errors. I can't tell you how many times some bizarre piece of shareware that some idiot long-haired birkenstock wearing graphic artist installed that caused problems with memory. A less savvy tech could very well have spent a day or two RMA'ing the memory to Apple, rather than knowing enough about the systems to properly diagnose.

In order to get business class support, you need to find a business class reseller. Relying on the home user support mechanisms won't buy you anything.

My advice: get out a phonebook and find a few Apple resellers nearby. Call them up and maybe meet with them. If you have a decent number of machines (which when I did this was usually about >2) and agree to buy through them, I'll bet money they will assist you with issues. The other place they will be able to assist is in working with Apple's AppleCare process. They do this every day. They know how to get through the system, and have done it countless times.

Bill

The advantage goes to business expansion (1)

GregPK (991973) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265194)

Apple with its ever increasing popularity is going through some growing pains. Dell, HP, IBM, and lenovo are rather large companies. They have a support structure thats geared worldwide to be quick and responsive to the needs of thier clients of which 60 percent of thier profits come from. They have more volume and more easily available parts to support it. Making contracts to be no more than 24 hours of downtime isn't impossible with them. However, Apple despite thier current size and brand recongition isn't large enough to adequatly cover the needs of mission critical businesses yet. Every tech in the world can fix a PC pretty quick as problems are common among parts and usually parts needed are on the shelf somewhere accessible within hours Vs Apple which has a centralised system of parts which may or may not be on backorder at the time of repair. Thus, its not a far stretch to argue that it would be very benefitial if Apple where to decisively license out thier OS. With restrictions on certain throughly tested high quality parts only would ease any reliability problems they might have. Dell, HP, IBM doing this would make them a killing. They could even create thier own Apple certified logo selling it only to parts suppliers who meet spec and pay in. Sure, it keeps the price higher; but so long as Apple keeps the quality high do you think the mainstream is going to care much about the price if the downtime and support cost is half of the cheaper windows machine?

Experience with Mac Book Pro and Repair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18265468)

My iSight stopped working about a month after buying a nice new $3000+ Mac Book Pro, seeing that I spent this much even though I didn't use the iSight all that much i brought it in for repairs.

They first said it would only take a week because they needed to send it out for repairs.

3 weeks later I made my first call to Apple Care, the rep said that they would look into it and it should be back by the end of the week. A week later I called again they gave me the same run around and I asked to talk to a manager. The manager said hey we will get it back to you by monday of the following week and just to make sure thats the time frame we are looking at I will give you a call tomorrow after I hear back from our people repairing it. No call, so I called, after spending more then 3 hours on the phone and getting the run around I drove to the Apple Store an hour away where I dropped it off and demanded that if they couldn't give me a time frame or with in the week that they needed to supply me with a new computer with the same specs. They said hey we have one at another store 2 hour away but its the 17 inch I said great ill even pay the difference and go pick it up tonight. The rep then stepped into the back room and came back well the one they have doesn't have the 10k rpm drive, I said well ok I want that.

They finally ordered me a new laptop, a week later it came in I picked it up. A day later they called me and said that my repaired computer came in and was ready for pick up. I should have gone in a picked it up but at that point I didn't want to see the apple reps for a while so I told them I had already received a replacement.

What a logistical mess and horrible way to treat a customer by giving them the run around.

Any how I got a nice new computer, sweet, congrats Apple. But you should have taken care of this a lot better.

AppleCare is a ripoff joke (1)

skuzz03 (970606) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265582)

I've had nothing but bad experiences with that overpriced warranty. I had an iBook that I received with stuck-on pixels, a lot of them, sent it into repair, came back with the same display even though they claimed they replaced it. They did a good job scratching it up though. I had a PowerBook G4 that I sent in for the same issue, it came back with the display replaced, however their replacement display had a piece of the display actually CHIPPED OUT of the display surface, so there was this pitted hole in it that somehow still allowed the pixels around it to function. This one came back with nicks all over the metal. (These were both brand new-out-of-box machines from store.apple.com) My brother had a refurb iBook also from store.apple.com, his first time sending it back for the defective motherboard display video chip issue, they sent it back with the back of the display casing all scratched up with giant gashes through it. The display died 2 months later and he had to again send it back to them, they claiming it was the keyboard this time, replaced the keyboard. It came back again, and broke again 2 weeks later. He sent it back, they repaired it again. This time it worked until his AppleCare ran out, about 2 months after AppleCare ran out (about 4 months after the last time he had sent it in again) the display died, Apple wouldn't do anything because the repair was only warranted for 90 days, and without their warranty he was SOL, even though it was all caused - come to find out - by their defective video chip iBook bug, ta da! Apple didn't care though! We ended up having to take his iBook apart and put a piece of metal on the video chip to hold it on place, and that magically fixed the problem that Apple replaced 2 displays and a keyboard to fix! I have no confidence whatsoever in their ability to repair Macs and will never purchase AppleCare ever again. You're better off doing a flat return/exchange or fixing it yourself.

Apple care service centers are a joke (1)

scoser (780371) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265748)

When I worked at the college computer service center (1.5-3 years ago), we had several problems when we sent Apple laptops (both Powerbooks and iBooks) into their service center to be worked on. About 1 in 10 machines we sent in would come back with either the same problem (only worse) or would have some new issue crop up when we ran diagnostics on it to see if it was safe to return to the customer. With these machines, we'd have to mail them back to the Apple service center and hope they didn't mess things up a 2nd or 3rd time (they occassionally did). This could go on for a few weeks or up to a month in some cases and resulted in cranky students and faculty.

However, when we could service the Apple machines (desktops and minor laptop work) ourselves and order the parts from Apple, we received the parts parts promptly and could usually get the machines back to the customer in a few days to a week or so. If you can do the work yourself, try and do so if at all possible so you don't have to worry about dealing with their service centers.

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