Apple treats their customers right

If you look around online, there’s no shortage of horror stories about people having problems with their Macs and other Apple products. The bad stuff always outweighs the good stuff around companies like this. If for no other reason, most people don’t post on message boards and blogs about their good experiences. If I’m satisfied with a product, I generally don’t write anything about it. Having said that, I just had a pretty incredible experience with Apple that I wanted to share.

At some point earlier this year I sent my MacBook back to Apple because the finish was flaking off around the edge of the bottom and top housing. It took some pushing for them to agree to even look at it, but when I sent it back, they promptly replaced the bottom housing and sent it back. I didn’t want to be without it anymore, so I put off sending it back to them again for the top housing.

Flash forward several months. My original Apple warranty was about to expire, so it was time to buy AppleCare for the machine. I then called Apple support again to arrange to have the computer sent back in to take care of the top housing they didn’t take care of the last time. The issue was immediately elevated to a product specialist who apologized that it wasn’t done right the first time. They sent me a box in which to return the computer for repairs. I checked the status online through the Apple site and there was a hold on the machine and it said that I needed to call Apple for further information. As it turned out, there was a mistake and everything was fine. A few hours later I received a call from a product specialist that wanted to go over my repair. I was pleasantly surprised by the call. In all the years that I’ve owned Apple products and sent them in to be repaired, I’ve never had someone follow up with me. He told me that while I had sent it in for the finish peeling off from the machine, they wanted to make sure the computer was in working order. They noticed that the computer was running a little hot, so they replaced the logic board and heat sink. While they were running the final tests, they noticed that my hard drive was damaged. The problem is that I replaced the hard drive with a larger drive and in order for them to cover it, the original drive has to be in the machine. I explained that I just needed a bigger drive and to not worry about it. I had backed the machine up, so I wasn’t concerned about losing anything. I asked the product specialist to send me an email documenting their findings, so I could return the drive and get it replaced. He said that wouldn’t be a problem. He thanked me for my patience and said the machine would be back to me on Monday.

Monday comes and the computer is waiting for me at the office when I get in. I open the box and inspect the machine and immediately notice that the lid isn’t sitting evenly with the bottom of the machine. I turn the machine around and in the back it looks as though someone had pried the bottom and top housing off with a screw driver, damaging the plastic in the process. I’ve done this before on other plastic gadgets, so I know what it looks like. As if that weren’t a big enough deal, when I opened the lid, there were disgusting finger prints all over the LCD. My blood was boiling at this point and I called to leave a calm, but very strong voicemail for the product specialist that was handling my case. I wasn’t going to wait for him to call me back, so I called the main Apple support number and once again, my case was immediately escalated and they apologized profusely and asked that I give them another chance to repair the computer. I certainly wasn’t excited about being without my MacBook for another couple of days, but wasn’t about to keep it in this condition. They overnighted a box to me to send it in again. That was on Monday. Tuesday, on my way in to work the product specialist called me back and was very concerned about the shape in which my computer was sent back to me. He assured me that he would watch the progress and make sure that a senior technician worked on my machine. As an added bonus, he also said they would put in a new 80GB hard drive and send me back the old one as well. He knew I was just going to get the drive replaced, but I could use it for an extra drive. He thanked me for my patience and said he would follow up with me. I got to the office, packed the computer up and sent it back to Apple again.

When I got to the office this morning, my computer was waiting for me. I was pretty excited to have it back. Having to work on a desktop machine is kind of a pain in the ass when you’re used to the mobility. I opened the box and pulled my computer out. It looked brand new and then I turned it around and realized it was still damaged. While they had replaced the bottom housing (again), the lid had pretty significant damage and was not replaced. I called the product specialist back to let him know that the repair had not been done properly. Within an hour he returned my call. Again, he apologized up and down, told me how embarrassed he was about the repair center’s quality and said it just wasn’t how Apple likes to do things. He then explained that they would like to send me a brand new computer as a way to not only do right by me, but to show how much they appreciated my patience throughout this ordeal. He explained they would send me a 2.16 GHz MacBook with 1GB of RAM, 160GB hard drive, 8X SuperDrive, Airport Extreme and Bluetooth. He asked if that would be ok. I asked if I could pay the difference to upgrade the machine’s RAM to 2GB and he said while this was normally something they would charge me for, he would waive the fee and make sure it had 2GB when it arrived. He took down my shipping info and explained that as soon as I shipped the old machine back to Apple, that would generate the release and they would overnight the new machine to me.

Needless to say, I couldn’t be more satisfied with my experience (in the end). There are many reasons that I use Apple products and swear by them and this experience just reinforces my affinity for all things Apple. I don’t know of another company that does things like Apple does. It’s rare to find a company that owns up to their mistakes and tries to make things good with their customers. I appreciate that as a consumer and can’t wait for my new machine to arrive.