Monday, November 19, 2007

Apple Warranty's aren't so hot

I feel like every time I open my mouth about Apple something negative comes out. I try to be positive, I really do, but the reality is that experience after experience, I just don't have anything good today.

I came into my office today to find my MacBook revving its fan's at high speed displaying a folder with a question mark.  Rebooting only yielded a "click-click-click," classic HD failure symptom. Luckily nothing is important on this machine.  This raises the first myth I'd like to dispel: "Apple hardware is of higher quality than others."  FALSE! The truth is, Apple, Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc., all use pretty much the same hardware.  At the end of the day, they all have Intel processors, ATI/NVidia/Intel video cards, and Maxtor/Segate/WD hard drives, and they all share the same failure rates.

I was actually somewhat excited about this failure as it'd let me test Apple's support first hand.

My initial call was answered by a routing agent within a few rings, but upon routing, I waited on hold for 20 minutes.  I rarely wait more then 5 minutes with Dell.  Upon reaching a tech, I was asked for my first name, phone number, and serial number.  I was advised that I have a 1yr hardware warranty and that my 90 phone support warrantee had expired. "It's definitely a hardware issue," I said.  The Apple rep kindly replied "OK, well what I can do then is start a support incident [requiring your credit card], and if it turns out to be hardware, we'll refund your money."  I then asked what the next step would be and it turned out that for MacBooks, Apple does not offer advanced replacements or on-site technicians, rather you have to take it to an authorized depot.  This regardless of warranty type.

My experience at the depot (MIAD) wasn't much better - A tech came to take my computer, but upon trying to enter in the information into his system, he was unable to do so because of a system problem.  I waited for 20 minutes only to be told that "we'll enter it in later and send you the info."  Not wanted to leave my laptop without any type of receipt, I had the tech write down all his info on a business card. I'm told I they will have a part within 24-72 hours, and fixed within 48 hours after that, depending on their volume (ie: it could be longer).

So all in all, I'm not overly impressed.  Just for the sake of it, let's take a look at a "standard" warranty on a MacBook Pro versus a Dell Latitude:

Standard Features Dell Latitude Apple MacBook Pro
Phone Support Lifetime 90 days
Hardware Warranty 3yrs 1yr
Hardware Replacement Next Business Day advanced swap, 4hr and 2yr available 24-72 hours for parts + 24-72 hours for replacement, return to depot, no advanced swap available
Onsite Technician For parts deemed not "customer replaceable units" (CRU) Not offered

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