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?