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Summary:

I was reading a list on CrunchGear a couple days ago about “The Eight Ways The Tech Industry Tries To Screw Us”. Apple’s name appeared once, but I think they fit into a couple other spots as well. At number 2, the obvious item was DRM. […]

I was reading a list on CrunchGear a couple days ago about “The Eight Ways The Tech Industry Tries To Screw Us”. Apple’s name appeared once, but I think they fit into a couple other spots as well.

At number 2, the obvious item was DRM. Apple was named explicitly on this point. Placing restrictions on digital media seems to put a poor taste in many a consumer’s mouth. Apple was one of the most visible that dropped a program like this on the mass consumer base. Does this mean they’re screwing us? I see DRM as a necessary evil. I tend to shy away from absolute statements when I write, but I think it’s safe to say we wouldn’t have digital media distribution with such a wide-reaching availability – and it goes without saying, legally speaking – unless DRM was a part of the picture. I say if you make yourself a slave to digital media collection, then you need to accept this, and not feel like you’re being screwed here. After all, Apple’s DRM tends to be one of the more lenient out there.

Number 4 complains about Customer Service. I’ve dealt with my fair share of Apple Care. For the most part it’s been fairly quick, and the people have been knowledgeable and helpful. But there was the one time that I was handled by someone who clearly didn’t care to be helping me. I’m fairly competent and explained the issue in detail without making assumptions. Yet I was made to feel like the things I was experiencing were incorrect and blah blah blah. Whatever. Everyone has a bad day – and I’d expect that’s pretty often the case in Customer Service. So the fact that I’ve only had one such experience with Apple is a testament to their staff. However I’m only a single customer and I know there have been many others around the internet who have posted poor experiences with Apple Care of the Genius Bar.

Finally Number 8. Pushing Warranties and Extended Protection Plans. Best Buy was obviously the worst offender here. I worked there a brief stint back in high school, and I can personally attest to this annoying practice. Apple sells their Apple Care – as mentioned above – for extended coverage of your Apple hardware. In my opinion, this is one of the best warranties you can choose to buy. I think that buying an Apple without an Apple Care plan is a bad move. I’ve had a 17″ LCD replaced, no questions asked. I’ve had a 12″ PowerBook sent in for a dead logic board, and it came back minus some of the scuffs and markings and small dents that had previously been evident in the outer casing. They’ve been good on their word, and worth the extra money as far as I’m concerned.

The one thing that wasn’t specifically mentioned was the habit of up-selling and tacking-on extras at sale time. This is just a business thing, not really a ‘screwing the consumer’ sort of thing. Even still, I can’t say enough about how annoying it is being constantly bombarded with the offer to pick up .Mac services for a year. I DON’T WANT IT. No means no. I was taught that in high school.

All in all, I agree with the majority of the points that CrunchGear makes. Apple’s name only came up with DRM – the rest were my own observations. But I think it’s safe to say that Apple’s doing right by its customers. Do you have experiences that prove otherwise?

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  1. FUDsucker Proxy Saturday, December 16, 2006

    Blaming Apple for DRM that the music industry insisted upon is nothing but an anti-Apple FUD campaign, its a total non-issue, the DRM on music from iTunes has never stopped me from doing what I want with it. I guess only show up if you tried to install the music directly onto something other than an iPod, You have to burn a CD in iTunes then transfer. One extra step! BIG F’ING DEAL!

    Can’t comment on Customer Service as there is no Apple Store here, but the Apple Resellers have generally been pretty good.

    I buy AppleCare (currently have it for my iMac G5) can’t tell you how good the service is because I have never had to use it. (touch wood, no not that wood!) ; )

  2. FUDsucker Proxy Saturday, December 16, 2006

    I buy AppleCare but I have never had to use it. That may sound unremarkable but I have owned Macs for 15 years and have never had to contact Apple.

  3. Here in Norway we have far stronger consumer law and rights. Apple has taken a lot of beating from the consumer protection agency and the press for practicing US warranty and consumer rights standards.

  4. When my PB 12″s Superdrive went broke, my Apple Care wasn’t worth all the money anymore. I was complaining about strange noises, slight problems of ejecting CDs/DVDs and getting media out and putting it back again before the Drive would actually read it. So I lived with the problems and didn’t bother anymore. 2 weeks after Apple Care expired the Superdrive gave up totally.
    One friend of mine is waiting for his MacBook Pro for 4 weeks now… O.K. not an Apple Care issue, but another friend of mine as been keeping returning his MacBook Pros for about 6 weeks until he got one with minor problems like broken speakers etc. he was willing to live with just to get started working again.

    Apple products are hugely expensive in Germany compared to prices in America or Switzerland (!!!). And what really makes me think is this one example of 6 weeks returning I whitnessed and it’s still not working the way it should for that price.

  5. I was a consultant in the PC world for years and I have had my fair share of abuse from most PC vendors.

    I switched 2 years ago and my only few times dealing with the Genius Bar and Apple tech support has been brilliant. If you compare Apple customer care with, say Dell, Compaq or HP then it is sterling silver service. Of course, if I was in Norway, things would be different but we are in a country where consumers are second class citizens only good enough to pay and suffer. Apple is much better than it’s PC counterparts in general. Everyone has bad days though, I just try to stay away from them ;)

  6. Ditto on the poor attitude and knowledge of the so called Apple Care of the Genius Bar. I wanted to know the part number for the my G5 internal modem option. (Seached apple.com extensively, and could not find it.)

    First, I was told it didn’t exist. After I informed them and showed in the manual reference to this option, I was told, this was now offered as an external solution in the Air Port. Already have an older Airport, don’t need to spend $200 on a new one to get a modem. Finally, they offered an option for an external USB modem.

    All this was provided with an aditude, as if I didn’t know what I was talking about, and was a bother. As a Mac user of almost 20 years I couldn’t believe their attitude. I simply wanted the part number so I could purchase a used one from e-Bay or where ever.

    Horrible. I never buy from the Apple Store, even though they are only 1/2 mile from my house. :)

  7. After going through a really difficult time getting my apple care extended warranty honored, and having techtools trash my G5, and speaking to more than a few other individuals that also experienced problems, I created a website to document user problems with the extended warranty products.

    The site is new, so the reporting won’t be up until mid Feb

    If you, or someone you know has experienced a problem applecare, please have them complete the survey at: http://www.applecarecenter.com

    Note: Not associated with apple.com or apple computer.

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