Raj: So you've now removed the hard drive, sir?
Me: Yes. Now what?
Raj: Very good, sir. OK. Now put the hard drive back and close up the computer.
Me: What?! Why?
Raj: Well, you'll need the hard drive to test out the computer when the plug comes.
Me: Then why did you make me remove it right now?
Well, I wanted to make sure you know how to remove it for when you have to.
Raj then took another 10 minutes to give me an ID number for the plug repair, an ID number for the hinge repair, an ID number for our call and his personal extension should I need further care. In total, the call lasted 58 minutes.Two days later I received the plug (yes, Raj, turns out the plug was the culprit. Rest easy). Oddly enough, the Dell mailing box also included mailing instructions which specified that I should include both my plug and hard drive -- completely contrary to Raj's suggestions. I decided to split the difference: kept the hard drive and mailed the plug with the computer. What could happen to a plug? That was five days ago. I have not seen my Dell since.
I never had much of a problem with the Mac. I always thought it was a sturdy little guy. And with my Dell in the shop I started using it for all my needs whether they be updating my Twitter account, Facebook account or latest Cracked offering. And then I dropped it. Mind you it was closed and only fell about two feet to the carpeted floor, but that's all it took. Complete hard drive failure. Also, like my Dell, I'd noticed some plug problems with intermittent charging in the days leading up to the fall.
The Call To Customer ServiceI called Apple's customer service and was pleased to see that their support had not been outsourced to a foreign country. Ever resourceful, however, Apple found a way to make extra money even without Dell's "racists pay more" angle...
Chip: Hi this is Chip. I see you are not registered for our warranty plan that would allow you to have repairs made free. Would you like to join?
Me: But this Mac is six months old. Isn't it still under warranty?
Me: So the repair is already free?
Chip: Yes. So would you like to purchase and additional warranty?
Me: No. After failing to accomplish that attempted financial rape, Chip advised that it sounded like my Mac was suffering complete hard drive failure. He recommended I take it to the Apple store, and so, last Sunday at 10:30 a.m., I hit my local mall. I was pleased to see almost no line for the Genius Bar. Three modern day wisemen ready to help me.
But before I reached salvation I was intercepted by an Apple concierge who informed me that the store was only open for service calls.
Me: Oh, that's OK. That's what I'm here for. I called the help line and they told me to come in.
Concierge: Did they make an appointment for you?
Me: I don't think so.
Concierge: I'm sorry. Appointment only. You'll have to leave your computer and someone will call you in 24 hours. Is that OK?
I consented and filed out some paperwork, including a provision where I agreed to a $100 diagnostic fee.
Me: Why do I have to pay a diagnostic fee if it's under warranty?
Concierge: You don't. We never charge that, but we have to put it.
Concierge: So that your order gets processed, but I promise you won't be charged.
Me: But I'm signing a piece of paper giving you permission to?
Concierge: Yes. You have to give us permission to charge you so we can service it without charge. I knew that didn't sound right, but I was tired and the concierge had really bad breath so I didn't feel like arguing. Accordingly, I took my revenge by converting my last name to Scottish before signing the paperwork.
The Follow UpDespite the promised 24-hour contact time, I did not receive my call from Apple for another 36 hours. Sure, they claimed there was some mix up with differing names on the account (Gladstone vs. MacSucks) but that's hardly an excuse. The phone rep predicted full hard-drive and plug repair in three to five days. Yesterday at 2 P.M., I received a call that the Mac was fixed. I drove to the mall and picked my bad boy up, but realized (just before leaving) that they had neglected to return my plug. Apparently the tech guys had lost that. And after just 10 more minutes of waiting they found a new one for me.
I'm not going to pick a winner. I mean, yeah, Apple has more repair outlets so I avoided the mail and their turnaround time was pretty impressive--a total of three business days. But both Dell and Apple tried to screw me out of money. Both were bogged down in bureaucratic procedure. And most importantly, both manufactured a laptop that fell to pieces in under a year. Like I said at the start, I'm no expert. Just a man who lived through the cataclysmic events of dual laptop failure. I've waded through the morass of customer service and lived to tell the tale. Does that make me a hero? In a way. Yes.
Learn more about Gladstone at Kafka Lives in Maine
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