Wednesday, February 08, 2006

an apple a day

did i go too far?

i received this e-mail from apple:

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Your post titled i can't use my new powerbook has been removed from Apple Discussions. A copy of this message can be found below. This area is intended to address technical issues about Apple products. Posts that do not conform to the Apple Discussions Use Agreement are inappropriate.

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Sometimes you have comments or concerns for which there is no technical response. If you need the kind of help that a troubleshooting expert can't provide, you can call Apple's Customer Relations group.


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A copy of your message for reference:
hey there steve jobs. if you bought a new computer, how many hours would you be willing to spend to fix it? five? ten? i bet you would expect a brand new computer to work properly. SO DO YOUR CUSTOMERS. you have nice tech support people. they try to help. why should they have to help a customer fix a, not to belabor the point, NEW COMPUTER. what sort of "word of mouth" do you suppose apple will get from a customer who buys a new computer, finds it to be faulty, and is expected to live with it? YOU HAVE MY MONEY. GIVE ME A WORKING MACHINE. excuse the yelling, but no one at apple seems to care that a brand new machine doesn't work.

i was willing to spend time on one (1) phone call, following the support person's instructions to change this or tweak that. that's it for me. and when the machine wouldn't read the backup discs that's where i wanted a different new machine. the techie assured me that new discs would arrive in two days. close. they were SHIPPED in two days and arrived in five (5) days. machine won't read these either. more hours on hold and then various restarts and retries. a long period on hold again. and finally apple decides that i should send my brand new machine in to be fixed. not replaced. brand new never used non-working machine. some warranty. so your support person tells me a box is on the way for me to send in my new, never used computer. gives me a tracking number. assures me the box will arrive "tomorrow." so i try the tracking number tomorrow. dhl has no record of that number. i call apple. a nice person tries to track down my box. puts me on hold. line goes dead. no call back. i call apple again. this time i am told "we don't ship on saturday." i guess the memo didn't reach the person who, on friday, assured me that my box would arrive "tomorrow."

apple's "policy" is to replace machines that come back for repairs three times in a year. even a new machine that doesn't work right out of the box. i am so screwed. what sort of customer approval is such a policy designed to elicit? a new computer that doesn't work right and i am left responsible for it's repair. oh, apple will give me hours of support time. but apple doesn't care that a, to reiterate, brand new computer is unusable.
end of e-mail. apple did not use red text. i changed that to highlight my deathless prose.

i left my comment on the powerbook section of apple's discussion forum. check it out some time, the forum, not my comment, which is gone. if even ten percent of the problems described there are true, apple has pushed quality control off on its customers. one comment suggested that "customer relations" at apple is more reasonable about replacing dud machines. i called "customer relations" and "they" agreed right away that i should get a new new machine. after being switched from pillar to post, with everyone along the way agreeing that my request is reasonable, i was connected to the person who could make it happen. she e-mailed me a fedex shipping label to put on the original box with my bad machine in it. i do so and take it to the fedex place and wave buh bye to it. i get an apple e-mail the same day giving me the sales order number of my replacement machine. the next day i call apple to confirm the reality of the situation. it only took an hour plus a demand to speak to a supervisor to work it all out. as of 2/8/06 i have not received anything, but i do have a fedex tracking number that is valid.

here's my take on the whole phone help, tech support thing, customer contact whatever. i'll go on using the current example. change the name to your own nemesis or employer as you wish. some human(s) at apple, by design or ineptitude, have created "policies and procedures" that jerk the customer around. then they hire other humans to deal with the customers, using the "policies and procedures" that screw us. we tend to be nice to tech support or customer relations or whatever folks. or at least pretend to be nice so we can have a better chance at a proper resolution. we will never get to speak to the the people responsible for the rules that screw us. i begin with a good attitude, but after enough runaround i become brisk and businesslike. i am not chatty, nor am i profane or obscene, nor do i abuse anyone personally, but i refuse to feign goodwill. if my voice conveys anger and frustration, good. feel my pain, apple. let it percolate upwards in the hierarchy. i told the person who finally worked this out that i know she is not responsible for my difficulty, but that from my side apple (tech support) lied to me and gave me ten days of weirdness and frustration. and if i don't speak up how will that ever get resolved so other customers are directed to the proper place. i'll confess that that is a big step up for me from "get an honest job!!!!" and a hangup, which i did some years ago. not to an apple rep.

to disastrously mix metaphors, i will not plead "thank you sir, may i have another?" while apple, writ large and effectively, is screwing me.

update: fedex tracking sez my new machine is on the local delivery truck and due for delivery today--2/9/06.

double super update!!!: it's here. arrived about 10 am. started ok. hasn't frozen yet. it wants about a gig or two of software update. i'll start it and we're outta here to walk in the sun.

bonus extra update: hello, hello, from the new machine. so far so good. iccccu& 8127347888$%......

just kidding. it is working.

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