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Ask Slashdot: Applecare drive data policies?

yakumo.unr (833476) writes | more than 2 years ago

Apple 10

yakumo.unr (833476) writes "Applecare (UK) took my friend's Powerbook in for servicing as his hard drive was being faulty, and incredibly slow, but was still accessible.

They swapped the drive out over three days, and once he travelled for an hour to pick it up, on asking about his old drive as it had his degree work on it he was told

'you can have your faulty hard drive back OR the fixed one, we can't let you have both'
It was also claimed they now couldn't get the data back off the old one.

At no point previously had they warned him they would not return his disk, or his data, though when he had asked about his old drive on the phone before travelling he was told the disk would not be destroyed until after the customer had picked up their machine, implying he had an option to NOT have it destroyed.

Certainly if policy is to destroy it why was he not allowed to do so himself!?

  I've certainly heard of many cases of less ethical employees saying this is far too often just to make the customer drop it and go, less work than finding the drive in question let alone going through the data recovery options available to the customer unless the customer made a real fuss.

I basically feel his data was held to ransom over a working machine, and I have been unable to find out about their drive destruction policies so also fear over the security of his lost data.

How do people feel about this? (other than the obvious 'he should have backed up everything!!', a lot of his data is on Dropbox, but he found not everything was).

What is his legal position over attempting to get his old drive back to recover or destroy himself?"

cancel ×

10 comments

wrong machine name.. :-/ (1)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 2 years ago | (#39219943)

I'm not an Apple man, it's a year old Mac Book Pro not a Powerbook.

Did he read the contract? Ever? (1)

Dragon Bait (997809) | more than 2 years ago | (#39220123)

Every place that I've visited that does computer repair has always asked the question "Can we wipe the hard drive?" This is even when the system is being brought in for something completely unrelated. Why? The liability of data damage is disproportional to the liability of hardware damage.

So, the guy brings in a bad hard drive -- without backing up the data -- and wants to blame the people who replaced the hard drive? I would love to be on that jury -- just to bitch slap him for being a total idiot.

And just for the record -- I despise Apple. Hate them and their totalitarian, control-freak ways. But they aren't the morons in this case.

Re:Did he read the contract? Ever? (1)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 2 years ago | (#39220495)

The contract signed a year ago? most average people would at best scan over it, and certainly shouldn't be expected to remember it that long after.

And as stated "At no point previously had they warned him they would not return his disk, or his data, though when he had asked about his old drive on the phone before travelling he was told the disk would not be destroyed until after the customer had picked up their machine, implying he had an option to NOT have it destroyed."

Re:Did he read the contract? Ever? (1)

Dragon Bait (997809) | more than 2 years ago | (#39220951)

The contract signed a year ago? most average people would at best scan over it, and certainly shouldn't be expected to remember it that long after.

You obviously are not a lawyer. Welcome to the big leagues. If you sign a contract you are bound by the contract. The excuse "I didn't read it before I signed it" or "I didn't remember what was in it" holds absolutely no water with the courts.

And as stated "At no point previously had they warned him they would not return his disk, or his data, though when he had asked about his old drive on the phone before travelling he was told the disk would not be destroyed until after the customer had picked up their machine, implying he had an option to NOT have it destroyed."

I will bet dollars to donuts that the fine print of the contract releases them from liability in the cases of data loss. Any inferences from oral statements aren't worth a warm bucket of spit next to a signed contract.

At this point, your friend should try and learn a valuable lesson: back up your data. I'll extend the lesson and state that it should be done even if you aren't taking your computer in for repair. Furthermore, it should be done on a regular basis even if your hard drive isn't failing. To not backup your data when you take your computer in for repair for a failing hard drive shows that you consider your data worth less than the effort to back it up (originally I was going to add "or shows you are a complete moron" but in proofing before posting I realize that it was getting repetitive in that regard -- but mainly because that message is screaming loud and clear from his (and your) actions).

The more this case is pushed, the more your friend -- and to some extent you -- are going to be perceived as a complete idiot. To have a failing hard drive and not back things up is just beyond the realm of idiocy. If his degree is in any way related to IT, if I was his professor, I'd fail him for being so utterly clueless. I would not want someone that stupid walking around with a degree from my university. For him to turn around and try and pin the loss of data on someone else shows an irresponsible nature and gross lack of maturity -- regardless of what his degree is in, I would fail him for that alone. Again, I would not someone like that representing my university.

Your friend needs to man up and accept the consequences for his own reckless behavior. If he wants to turn this into anything resembling a positive, he should actively preach -- and practice -- good backup habits. If you really care about the data, follow the 3-2-1 method: three different backups, two different media types, [at least] one copy off-site.

Re:Did he read the contract? Ever? (1)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 2 years ago | (#39221119)

I'm aware of what such a contract likely states in that regard, I was after opinions as I thought how they handled it was poor.

(I have also worked in some shops when I was much younger that treated customers the same way but there were no signed papers when machines changed hands, so I thought it would be interesting to discuss generally)

Re:Did he read the contract? Ever? (1)

Dragon Bait (997809) | more than 2 years ago | (#39221591)

I'm aware of what such a contract likely states in that regard, I was after opinions as I thought how they handled it was poor.

(I have also worked in some shops when I was much younger that treated customers the same way but there were no signed papers when machines changed hands, so I thought it would be interesting to discuss generally)

They (Apple) did not handle it poorly. You and your friend handled it poorly. The fact that you aren't man enough to admit this shows great lack of maturity on your part. Until you grow up and realize this simple fact, you are forever going to be a bewildered victim in this life. You will continue to do stupid things and wonder why the world has it in for you.

Your statement "I was after opinions" sounds painfully hollow. The overall picture painted is that after doing something painfully stupid, you're now trying to discredit Apple and their repair center. Maybe after leaving in a huff once they told you there was nothing more they could do, you decided to "show them" by trying to create an internet smear campaign. What better way to reach geeks than Slashdot. Unfortunately for you, the more you say the worse you look.

Re:Did he read the contract? Ever? (1)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 2 years ago | (#39240521)

So asking asking technically/legally competent people for their opinion is an offence now?

I had no involvement with this at all bar posting this after hearing what happened from my friend, and thinking he'd been very poorly dealt with. The fact it was Applecare was essentially incidental, it could have been anywhere and I would still have questioned it, but I did actually expect to hear of better handling of a customer from them.

  I have no direct access to anyone else that may have dealt with them under remotely similar circumstances other than asking the internet.
If this was an attempt at a smear campaign I would be posting elsewhere as well.

In some ways I found how he'd been treated similar to the (illegal) practice of garages fixing things and charging for them the customer hadn't actually approved yet that used to be quite common. He was held over a barrel with a situation he didn't understand his legal standing on, and had no way at the time to find out what his rights actually were.

Re:Did he read the contract? Ever? (1)

Dragon Bait (997809) | more than 2 years ago | (#39241621)

So asking asking technically/legally competent people for their opinion is an offence now?

No. Blaming other people for your own stupidity -- trying to smear people who acted normally as if they had some aberrant behavior is offensive.

I had no involvement with this at all bar posting this after hearing what happened from my friend, and thinking he'd been very poorly dealt with.

Your are either being disingenuous or your don't have much common sense. You claimed to have worked at this sort of break-fix repair shop and then are clueless regarding standard data liability issues.

The fact it was Applecare was essentially incidental

If it didn't make a difference then you should not have mentioned it. By mentioning "Applecare" one can legitimately question your motives. Are you trying to find out what standard industry practice is? Or are you trying to initiate a smear campaign?

it could have been anywhere and I would still have questioned it

Yes. Because you're an idiot. Neither your nor your friend are willing to take responsibility for your own stupid actions. This is why I state that you will go through life as a victim thinking that everyone is out to get you. You are your own worst enemy -- both of you want to blame others for your own mistakes and you at least are too stupid to understand this.

but I did actually expect to hear of better handling of a customer from them.

You're like the man who gives himself a vasectomy and then wants to whine to the whole world that after seeing the doctor he can't have children. As if it's all the doctor's fault. Apple acted 100% correctly. You bring in a faulty machine -- you risk losing the hard drive in the process. You bring in a machine with a faulty hard drive? You will lose the hard drive. You did this without backing it up? Sorry, your friend is a complete moron and you are a flaming idiot for not seeing it.

I had no involvement with this at all bar posting this after hearing what happened from my friend, and thinking he'd been very poorly dealt with.

You have demonstrated no evidence to date that you are capable of thinking. If you were capable of thinking, the first thing you should have said to your friend after he said "failing hard drive" and "repair" was "did you back it up?" -- skip that -- the first thing after your friend said "failing hard drive" is "did you back it up?"

Once your friend says "no" -- and you are capable of thinking (having admitted to working in break-fix facility) -- you should have replied "you've learned a valuable lesson: back up your data. Period."

Unfortunately, rather than acknowledge this lesson -- you keep trying to find excuses for your friend's moronic behavior and your idiotic behavior. You have done your friend absolutely no service at all by continuing to whine about Apple instead of telling him to learn about backups.

I have no direct access to anyone else that may have dealt with them under remotely similar circumstances

Really? But you stated "I have also worked in some shops when I was much younger". Were you lying? Or is this another symptom of you being a complete idiot? Only a moron could have worked at a break-fix place for more than a day and not realized that failing hard drives result in loss data. You can have the replaced hard drive or the old one, but not both.

In some ways I found how he'd been treated similar to the (illegal) practice of garages fixing things and charging for them the customer hadn't actually approved yet that used to be quite common.

Once again you provide ample evidence that your motives aren't pure. Not only was Applecare not "nice" but they were engaged in "illegal" practices. Not only are you behaving like an idiot -- but you are behaving like a dishonest idiot.

He was held over a barrel with a situation he didn't understand his legal standing on, and had no way at the time to find out what his rights actually were.

Bullshit! If he didn't, it was his own damn fault for not reading the contract. It was his own damn fault for not backing up his data before he knew his hard drive was failing. It was his own damn fault for not backing up his data when he knew his hard drive was failing. It was his own damn fault for not backing up the data before going to get it repaired.

Re:Did he read the contract? Ever? (1)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243871)

Indeed the first thing I said to him WAS "did you back it up"? I made it clear in the first post that was an obvious thing, as stated most of his stuff was on Dropbox as mentioned in the original post.

Where I contracted briefly eight years ago if the customers data was at risk we would contact them and offer to image the disk before any further work was undertaken (at a charge), as we recognised that that data was likely more valuable to them than the disk itself.

TBH irrespective of him attempting to restore his data, what about his right to see to the destruction of his personal data in a manner he saw fit?

Yes, legally he would not have much of a leg to stand on, and clearly YOU think that that is just a-ok,
his only options then would come if his disk turned up somewhere or his data turned up online as it so often has done in several cases from various companies.

Putting aside the legal net it's probably tied up in, do you honestly feel this situation is fair? if it was a disk you'd lost and then learned the next day that your credit card details / medical records / SSN whatever might still be recovered from it would you really not have any questions about your recourse?

Personally I find that you "trying to smear people who acted normally as if they had some aberrant behavior is offensive." All you have done here is state what you believe the legal rights are with regard to the contract, and then fall to ad hominem.

So I have found it now myself.

http://www.apple.com/r/store/applecare/APPTermsConditions.pdf [apple.com]

" APPLE IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ....THE FAILURE TO MAINTAIN THE CONFIDENTIALITY OF DATA....Apple specifically does not warrant that it will be able to ....(ii) maintain the confidentiality of data."

So they've covered their asses in their contract, and specifically state if your data confidentially is lost then... they won't be held responsible.

This is why I take the disk out of any machine I have before sending the machine anywhere, but I did not know their specific policy.
As much as I would love everyone to do this for their own sakes, I'm not going to be offensive about them for not being so aware, and some people are not able to remove their drive anyway.

No surprise. (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 2 years ago | (#39220871)

Your friend paid for a laptop with one working hard drive, so legally that's what he's entitled to; the mention that the hard drive wouldn't be destroyed only covered the prospect that he might change his mind on asking for a replacement, and that's what he's been offered. The data on it wasn't part of the original sale contract, and while it would be kind of them to salvage it for him there's no telling how long it would take, whether anyone on staff has the appropriate expertise*, or if they have a spare drive case or machine that wouldn't have to be pulled from stock or other duty (plus, offering it as a service may open them up to liability if it's done improperly).

Certainly if policy is to destroy it why was he not allowed to do so himself!?

Well, certainly nobody in the world has enough of a grudge against Apple to try to rip them off by faking a fault. Seriously though, the real reason is because Apple will probably seek a RMA from the drive's manufacturer, and to do that they need the non-functional unit's remains (mind you, "destroy" may mean "send back to manufacturer for refurbishment").

I'm not trying to be kind to Apple here, I can't think of any vendor that would do what your friend is asking for a standard consumer warranty. You can have a new one or keep the old one, not both.

*Not that it's rocket science, but we're talking Apple Geniuses here; they wear T-shirts because they're confused by more than one button...

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