We usually love our Apple (s aapl) products. They work well, are easy to understand and when we have a problem, Apple works quickly to resolve it. Most of the time. What happens when Apple simply won’t play ball? Read on and find out how to work Apple’s system.
Step 1: AASP and Geniuses
For many people, their first interaction is with the Apple store, however some will go to an Apple Authorized Service provider (AASP). AASP determinations can be overridden by an Apple store, so going to the Apple store would be your first escalation if you are not satisfied by the AASP. Typically a Genius determines you have a problem, but alas, you may be out of warranty. Maybe they are claiming the item was abused or tampered with and you disagree. Often you are just barely out of warranty or fall right outside a Repair Extension. Be sure to keep careful notes of the dates and times of your conversations and with whom you’ve spoken. All is not lost.
Step 2: The CS Code
Your next step can be to call the general number for Apple technical support (800-275-2273). Explain your situation and ask for an accommodation; usually you want a repair at no charge to you. Your ultimate goal is to get a “CS code.” A CS code acts like a coupon. Give the CS code to the AASP and the cost of the repair will be discounted by the amount the CS Code authorizes. Apple tech support is based in North America, so you’ll unlikely have the communication barriers you face with other brands. Again, keep careful notes.
Step 3: Customer Relations
What if tech support won’t play ball? Your next step is to call technical support, or pretty much any Apple number, and ask for “Customer Relations.” That’s the magic phrasing that gets you talking with people who can override the decisions of any AASP. They’ll usually be the one to issue a CS code.
When talking with Customer Relations, always be polite, fair and accommodating. These are human beings who will often rise or fall to the level of politeness and aggressiveness they receive. Having learned from others’ success with Customer Relations, it’s best to focus on the fact that you are a loyal Mac user. Briefly tell them about your love of all things Apple. Be enthusiastic and authentic.
Next, tell them about your problem and your frustration that Apple didn’t cover it but you think they should. It may be that your Mac or iPod is just barely out of warranty, or maybe it’s been in for similar problems before and Apple didn’t fix it right the first time. Often it’s related to a known defect that Apple hasn’t quite admitted yet. Mention places you’ve read about others having the same problem you have.
In a previous article, I talked about reading Apple’s Annual Report to determine what issues Apple could be facing lawsuits about. Focus on the fact that you want to be an Apple supporter, but its actions in this particular matter that have shaken your confidence. You might playfully mention some of the ads you’ve seen and how much you are a believer.
Ask the Apple representative for something reasonable and fair — usually the repair of the item under warranty. Frequently Apple will meet you half-way by agreeing to cover the parts, but not the labor. Consider that a win. If you don’t get the answer you want the first time, don’t be afraid to call back and speak with another rep. Don’t get into an argument. Thank them for their time and try again.
Step 4: Bring in The Steve
What if even Customer Relations isn’t appearing to be fair with you? Now it’s time to bring in Steve. No, not the Woz, but rather Mr. Steve Jobs. Write him at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Your email will be read by a member of his staff (and even Steve himself on occasion). Make the same case you made to Customer Relations in the same fair, accommodating and professional way. They’ll often find you a solution. Maybe it’s not a CS code, but usually a fair deal that protects Apple’s financial interest, yet goes the extra mile to keep you as a Mac user.
Alternatively, and in addition to contacting Steve, if you are an Apple investor, contact investor relations (408-974-3123). You can mention all the things you mentioned to Customer Relations, but add the fact that this experience has tainted not just your technology buying experience but your confidence in Apple as an investor. If you’ve posted your woes on Twitter, stock boards, or on your blog, you can mention that. Be honest and direct. These people will get you in contact with people in the “Exec” team, who are usually the same people who handle the email@example.com email.
Still no dice? Well, I think you are out of luck. Sometimes it just happens. At least now you know the escalation methods and at least have a fighting chance with Apple.
Do you have a successful Apple war story?