Open Thread: Are You Happy With Apple Support?

28 Comments

[qi:022] Earlier this evening, Apple sent out an email to Mobile Me subscribers, giving us free 60-days of service in acknowledgement of outages and poor performance that had plagued the service earlier this summer, leading to a lot of complaints. Earlier, the company had offered a free 30-day extension to MobileMe subscribers. In some ways I was a tad mollified by this latest offer.

The offer, ironically came hours after I asked people who follow me on Twitter if they were frustrated with Apple’s support. What prompted me to ask that question was that a couple of friends emailed complaining about long wait times on the phone to get help with their iPhones. One of them is a life-long Apple user and his anger was quite telling. Anyway, the replies on Twitter came thick and fast. A few had no complaints, some were willing to put up, but there were quite few who were not shy about their dissatisfaction with the support service.

These problems shouldn’t be a surprise: the company has gone from making just computers to a slew of devices, including the iPhone, a mass-market product. It has increased the number of problems that crop up with various devices, putting a lot of stress on Apple’s support system. For me personally, a visit to the Apple store typically solves all the problem — or they replace the device (iPod for example) itself. Anyway, I wanted to take a poll and get your read on Apple’s support system.

28 Comments

BobbyT

More and more people are leaning towards online DVD rentals due to the fact that you can order the DVDs of your choice form your office or home computer and get them delivered right at your door step. No need to make a trip to the local video store in the rain, winter, or snow!

However, out of so many online DVD rental sites in UK, which one meets your need and expectation? It is wise to compare the top online DVD rental sites before you can make a decision.

For more information visit: http://online-dvd-rental-reviews.co.uk/

Craig

I am very impressed with apple support. I had dropped my phone last week,and when i originally called apple support, i spoke with a guy who said ” unfortunately apple doesnt cover accidental ussage of your iphone. i barely dropped it,and the screen went all gray and had horizontal lines on it. It still accepted calls, and text messages, but i could not read the screen. The guy explained to me my options, including sending it to a 3rd party for repair.And said it would be 299.99 for a refurbished unit. i was very upset. So i called back later and spoke to an awesome guy named Neil who listened to my problem and was very helpful. He understood that the iphones slippery and that accidents happen, and sent me out a box so they could diagnose the problem. Just today, i get an email saying apple has shipped my replacement. Its customer service like this that makes me want to continue buying apple products, I have gotten the best service. I guess if you dont get the answer your looking for,there are other people out there who care that will satisfy your needs. That email sure made my day, as apple had no obligation to replace my phone since it was my fault,but did anyways. They freakin Rock!

Hmmm

I’m on the phone right with Apple support in the USA and a woman who doesn’t understand me is my customer support rep. She has a strong Asian accent. Did they move their support staff overseas now, because if they did, what’s the point of getting apple support?

michael

My battery on my 17″ MB Pro started growing. It was getting fatter. It grew out of its holder, and started leaking over my desk. I called apple, and they asked if the computer still worked. Well, it did, despite a growth on the bottom so rocky that I had to put the machine on a towel, and so leaky that it rotted the towel.

But the machine still worked, it was over 1 year old, so no warranty replacement.

139 euro for a new battery.

That’s what I call service.

Later, I found out that if I had used the term ‘lawyer’, they would have sent for free.

Moral : Lie to apple. It is the only way to get what you are entitled to.

Yuvamani

Apple support sucks after the warranty expires or you are left with something which is not covered in the warranty. It is a good idea to buy Apple Care because if you do not you are going to be left with a huge bill.

My first macbook died within 1 week of buying it. It was replaced quite quickly I might add. I was amazed at their support.

However when something went wrong with my ipod after a year (connector slot had broken wires), The expected service cost was 250 bucks ! The support suggested buying a new iPod. I mean Apple be a little bit more reasonable here.

Also when the same replaced macbook ran into some hardware issues after 1 year Apple suggested using a 200 dollar flat rate service option for a 1000 dollar year old notebook. Also they never told me what the problem was before I had to say yes/ no to the service option. That drove me a little mad.

As you can see from these examples, maybe Apples support is a lot better than the industry, But then some of their service costs are ripoffs: Again thats not a lot worse than the industry. Apples support is still better than dell. But its far far from perfect.

Bob Jones

I haven’t had to deal with Apple support for years. The only negative experiences I’ve ever had were with third party Apple authorized places.

Shenzhov

@surfnturf

Wow! $975.00 to repair a Mac mini that costs $599.00 or $799.00 at the high end new. Wow, I feel your pain.

I once had a copy of Microsoft Vista on my desk that reached out and ate my small dog Bungie. I sent it in to Microsoft and even though the dog collar and a small furry foot was sticking out from under the label, they assured me that Vista had not eaten Bungie. They told me that all copies of Vista were vegetarians and would never under any circumstance eat meat.

I miss my dog, but as a side benefit, my Windows media player will now only play old reruns of Lassie.

As for Apple support, having 4 Macs in the last 3 years I can happily say I’ve been lucky and have never had to use Apple support. Knock on wood. :)

Treehouse

My dealings with Apple have varied considerably.

The main thing is that there are not enough support agents available by phone and NOT enough geniuses.

Stephen

I think Apple’s support is the best in the industry. I have taken Macs into an Apple Store with dead hard drives and they have turned them around in less than 24 hours, even in very busy mall stores. The Genius Bar is one of the ONLY places you can still get personal service.

Try going to a Dell, HP, or Gateway store for help. Oh yeah, they do not really have any! OK try out the Best Buy, PC Richard, or Sony Style stores, they are no comparison. AppleCare is one of the only extended service contracts worth buying. The Genius Bar concept has even been attempted to be copied by Sony, Micro Centers and others.

Everyone can find fault in any service provided, but Apple remains the best in this area. Not to mention the free training, tech help and VERY inexpensive One-on-One training they provide. A list of complaints is easy to generate for anything, but finding a “BETTER” one is NOT!

MikeInAZ

While Apple like any other large company is not perfect, I feel they will always be reasonable with you. All my interactions with their support have been very good. They replaced my iPhone twice for issues that weren’t that big of a deal (I thought battery didn’t last as long as it should). My MacBook Pro had some dirt-like matter under the screen (only visible on light backgrounds) and they replaced it (took about 3 days).

Compare Apple and HP and it is night and day. I’ve had nothing but problems with Carly era printers and their support is no help. Issues that are widespread and known (failing printers due to design flaws) are never resolved (printers failed out of warranty but I rarely used the printers). I wouldn’t have bought a $500 printer if I knew HP viewed them as disposable printers. I will never buy HP again.

Bob

I had an iMac G5 with a bad logic board and power supply and because I was overseas in the Middle East, could not get it to Apple in time to meet the 3 year deadline of my AppleCare agreement. Months later, when I explained it had failed much earlier but that i didn’t have access to Apple support (shipping it from Saudi Arabia was NOT an option), they replaced both without a moment of hesitation. Unbelievable! Also, you get somebody on the phone in person very quickly when calling and that person is an American with at least a little bit of tech savvy. Compared to other companies, Apple absolutely rocks (though I realize they aren’t perfect).

Jim Parsons

Sales and Service channels are rarely perfect but Apple’s decision to open their own stores and essentially ignore / screw their existing (and formerly passionate) channel partners might be coming home to roost.

After they opened, most Apple stores were great for newbies but In most metros (as new users mature into experienced ones) frustration levels are growing with long lines at Genius bars.

If you’ll pardon the pun, this may open new ‘vistas’ for Apple dealers worldwide.

Spencer Fry

I’ve had excellent support at the Genius Bar. Just remember to make a reservation online and not just to show up unannounced. I live in New York and if you simply show up, there’s no way you’ll be able to see someone that day.

Tom Mitchell

Regarding this whole MobileMe mess: As a “power-user” of Apple’s .Mac service since the beginning, it was easy to see the trouble coming. I was of two minds about iPhone and MobileMe: First, the rebranding was great for us .Mac users because it meant that our service would hopefully be getting much needed attention and upgrades from Apple. But secondly, .Mac had always been a bit rickety. So if there weren’t infrastructure upgrades on the back end, I was wondering how Apple was going to support the sudden addition of hundreds of thousands of new users. Surely, they were throwing a lot more time and server iron into to it to get ready?

As it turns out, no, they didn’t. Quite shocking. It was all just rebranding and interface polish.

I had always been a little surprised that Apple never used .Mac as a showpiece of what their XServe systems could do. I mean, it seemed like a no-brainer. But they never did.

Besides dropping a couple things and interface polish, MobileMe isn’t really any different from .Mac other than catering to connectivity to the iPhone and Windows users. (I loved it when Steve Jobs demonstrated MobileMe’s Web mail on stage, wowing the crowd with a functional drag-and-drop GUI mail on a web page. The only thing was it wasn’t new. That version of web mail had been in .Mac for a year.)

That said, I’ve really loved my iDisk server rental and Apple Mail service over the past several years! And the synching between my Macs and iPods has been great. So for me, the price of the service has been worth it. My MobileMe account is filled to the max. I pay over $200 a year, and I find it worth it.

But Apple, damn it! Well, I guess thanks to amazingly wrong-headed expectations on Apple’s part and fantastic industry embarrassment, we .Mac’ers WILL finally be getting the attention from Apple we’ve craved for so long. Heh.

Apple, if you really wanna say you’re sorry, bring back iCards. I mean, come on! Why was that axed? iCards from the iPhone would be a slick and friendly feature!

If you really need marketing and service design plan help with this service, give me a call.

///Tom///

David

Very. I’ve gotten 4 iPhones replaced and a free DVD drive for my out of warranty MacBook with little to no hassle.

Posted from GigaOM Mobile, using MoFuse.

Duane Storey

I don’t think their shoddy service is understandable at all. If you make products, you should provide adequate support for them. Apple’s profit margins are some of the biggest in the business, so there’s no excuse in my mind for having terrible service and support. Even Apple Care doesn’t guarantee you great service anymore, and they charge hundreds of dollars on a new machine for it. My LCD died in my laptop at around the 14 month point. I asked at the Apple store, and they wanted $1000 to replace it. Instead, I ordered a new one off of eBay for $200 and fixed it myself in about 45 minutes.

surfnturf

My 13 year old daughter used her own money and bought a mini mac. 60 days later it was dead. Took it to genius bar. They said water damage void the warrantee, but could not show me the damage, trust me its because it wasn’t there. They wanted $975 to fix it and would not budge. My daughter cried then called 13 year friend who fixed it in 20 mins. Me and my daughter don’t think there are any geniuses at the genius bar just arrogant people who are out done by 13 year olds.

My advice when buying apple products: know a real genius.

Cruxwork

I have had the occasion to use their support once, an overheating Macbook Pro (first generation Intel Macintosh), I called, they sent me a packing box, they fixed mine and returned it in 5 days, issue resolved. Then called about 3 days later with a follow up to make sure the machine was working.

Eideard

I’m a switcher – 3 years ago, after 22 years in MSoft-land.

Two experiences with Apple warranties: replacing a screen with dying backlight – Apple’s side was done in 24 hours; but, the local yokel took 10 days to get my critter back to me.

A few months back, the second was my shiny new 24″ iMac which had HD problems practically out of the box and the folks I bought it from [Powermax] had a replacement on the way to me the day I called! Didn’t wait for me to get the original to them first. They said Apple would back them up and they weren’t worried.

Neither am I.

PXLated

Of course, I was the first to vote:-)
I’ve never had a bad Apple experience.

PXLated

Right now the poll is 100% “Absolutely” – Twitter must just be a bunch of Silicon Valley whiners ;-)

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