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AppleCare, support, and repair issues

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I reported earlier that my client's iMac had died while still under AppleCare. Apple would not arrange for a pickup of the iMac because it was too large. The closest Apple repair depot is a 5-hour drive halfway across Texas. Apple then advised she take the unit in to the local BestBuy and closed the AppleCare case.

BestBuy reports that if she drops off the iMac, it will take about six weeks to get it repaired.

Totally unacceptable behavior from AppleCare, and it shows that your AppleCare contract isn't worth the paper it's written on.

#appleabuse
 


I wonder why Amazon's support people can't work from home. My guess is they don't have a way to forward phone calls and web chats to people at home. Does anyone know details?
My only guess is that most of these lower-wage workers don't have company laptops but work on desktop systems in a call center. Amazon can't buy them all computers (and headsets and any other required devices) on short notice. It would also be unreasonable to expect them to work from home using their personal computers - even if everybody had suitable computers.
 


I wonder why Amazon's support people can't work from home. My guess is they don't have a way to forward phone calls and web chats to people at home. Does anyone know details?
I have used the Web Chat feature with Amazon folks at least five times since the COVID-19 virus hit. Worked well with minimal wait.
 


I wonder why Amazon's support people can't work from home.
My experience with Amazon Customer Service and as a former retailer points to a few possible causes.

First, a lot of Amazon's Customer Service reps are in S. Asian and SE Asian countries that don't have pervasive and high bandwidth residential connectivity.

Second, turnover in Customer Service jobs is extremely high. A lot of laptops and mobile phones issued to workers would never be returned to Amazon.

Third, Amazon doesn't seem to have a unified Customer Service function. For example, if you have a problem with Amazon Locker, you have to telephone a separate Amazon Locker Customer Service office. The Customer Service reps that are accessed via the main website cannot do anything related to Amazon Locker.

Finally, and this may be the most important factor, Amazon might not want many Customer Service functions to take place away from a call center for security and privacy reasons.

(My experience with Amazon Customer Service is only as a paying customer. I have never been employed by Amazon. I have worked for other retailers, both offline and online.)
 


I reported earlier that my client's iMac had died while still under AppleCare. Apple would not arrange for a pickup of the iMac because it was too large. The closest Apple repair depot is a 5-hour drive halfway across Texas. Apple then advised she take the unit in to the local BestBuy and closed the AppleCare case. BestBuy reports that if she drops off the iMac, it will take about six weeks to get it repaired.
Totally unacceptable behavior from AppleCare, and it shows that your AppleCare contract isn't worth the paper it's written on.
I had a chat with AppleCare today. Apparently, the script is engraved in stone during this time. What I did discern, however (based upon our chat), is that the US Apple repair depots are closed due to COVID and, with the Apple Stores mostly closed, no repair work is getting done. That's pretty ballsy of Apple to sell products they can't repair.

No matter how insistent I was about wanting to speak with Customer Relations, I could not make that connection. I'd say my client deserves a little special compensation from Apple due to this situation. The smart manager uses initiative to resolve conflict with customers; the stupid ones quote from the script. Let's remember that a satisfied customer tells a dozen people while a dissatisfied customer will tell a hundred. That pretty much sums up the debacle.
 


... That pretty much sums up the debacle.
If I was in your position, I would find some ways to go public now. Maybe first try posting to one of Apple's social media pages. If nothing happens, see if any of your client's local TV stations or newspapers have a "Consumer Desk" or a "Channel {insert local broadcaster} On Your Side" segment.

A personal experience: a family member was having a lot of problems getting their local energy utility to hook up a newly constructed building. The utility continually stonewalled them no matter what they tried. Then they contacted a local TV news program's consumer hotline. The utility instantly responded after a single phone call from the TV station. My family member's story never even made it on the air, the utility acted so quickly!
 


It's another argument for the likes of Louis Rossmann and similar independent repair shops. Relying on Apple repairs and its network of replacement parts means being subject to a single-point failure system. Granted, a pandemic is a pretty rare event, but they do happen. Thank goodness for iFixit, eBay, backups, and some computer disassembly and re-assembly skills.
 



I had a chat with AppleCare today. Apparently, the script is engraved in stone during this time. What I did discern, however (based upon our chat), is that the US Apple repair depots are closed due to COVID and, with the Apple Stores mostly closed, no repair work is getting done. That's pretty ballsy of Apple to sell products they can't repair.
I don't know to whom you spoke or what the message they conveyed was, but it certainly appears that the Apple repair depots are open. Last week my daughter sent in her MacBook Air with a broken screen. They called on Saturday, the box was at their apartment Monday morning, FedEx picked up the computer Monday evening, the computer went to Tennessee (she didn't know the specific location) and it was back at their apartment in NYC Wednesday morning. Less then 48 hours turn around. And it is working perfectly. While it was not covered under AppleCare (broken screen is physical damage), the service was excellent and met (or exceeded) all exectations.
 


I don't know to whom you spoke or what the message they conveyed was, but it certainly appears that the Apple repair depots are open. Last week my daughter sent in her MacBook Air with a broken screen. They called on Saturday, the box was at their apartment Monday morning, FedEx picked up the computer Monday evening, the computer went to Tennessee (she didn't know the specific location) and it was back at their apartment in NYC Wednesday morning. Less then 48 hours turn around. And it is working perfectly. While it was not covered under AppleCare (broken screen is physical damage), the service was excellent and met (or exceeded) all exectations.
Same experience here - my Apple Watch and iPad have both been sent off to (and returned from) an Apple Service Center since the start of COVID-19 quarantining.
 


Same experience here - my Apple Watch and iPad have both been sent off to (and returned from) an Apple Service Center since the start of COVID-19 quarantining.
I checked back with AppleCare and they clarified they were "only" talking about not picking up the iMac to repair it because it's too large of an item. But all the iMacs I've bought in the last 5 years (at least) have been shipped directly to me or my clients, so this is apparently Tim Cook being a cheap bastard bean-counter.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I checked back with AppleCare and they clarified they were "only" talking about not picking up the iMac to repair it because it's too large of an item. But all the iMacs I've bought in the last 5 years (at least) have been shipped directly to me or my clients...
Yep. I'm looking at a huge box with a lot of styrofoam that held the big, heavy, 27-inch refurb iMac I bought last year, which was shipped to my office by Apple. Let's just check that invoice...
Apple Store said:
...
ShippingFREE
...
 


I checked back with AppleCare and they clarified they were "only" talking about not picking up the iMac to repair it because it's too large of an item. But all the iMacs I've bought in the last 5 years (at least) have been shipped directly to me or my clients, so this is apparently Tim Cook being a cheap bastard bean-counter.
Compare, too:

In 1996 I bought a Power Mac and a 17" NEC MultiSync display from catalog retailer Mac Zone. The display was dead on arrival; it did not display all three RGB channels.

I contacted Mac Zone, and they immediately cross shipped a replacement display, which means they sent me a brand-new display before receiving the malfunctioning display from me. They paid for shipping both ways.

That was pretty good service, especially considering that a) they weren't the manufacturer, just the mail order company, and b) there was nothing at all wrong with the first display.

In the old days the computer couldn't tell what resolution a display supported (or resolutions, in the case of a MultiSync display). Apple invented a way for an Apple display to signal the supported resolutions to the computer. PCs in 1996 either couldn't do it at all or used an incompatible method. So a dongle was needed to connect a PC display to a Mac computer.

It turned out that the dongle that Mac Zone sent with the first order was defective. They cross-shipped an $800 display when it was just a bad $1 adapter!

In appreciation for Mac Zone's service I spent several thousand more dollars with them over the years.
 


If anyone is wondering what happens to a company that doesn't consider every single day as "Day One", listen to Jeff Bezos in his 2016 Letter to Shareholders. I sent this link to Sony's CEO when their repair depot couldn't fix my camera after three attempts and refused to send me a new camera. Within 24 hours, I received a call from a Sony Customer Relations employee who arranged for the replacement.

With Apple, however, Tim has successfully insulated himself from the real world of his customers. When I tell my clients they can't trust Apple to do the right thing, and they start buying PCs and Android devices (just as I have), I imagine a call will eventually come from someone Tim directs to address the issue. My answer: Go pound sand, Tim.
 


If anyone is wondering what happens to a company that doesn't consider every single day as "Day One", listen to Jeff Bezos in his 2016 Letter to Shareholders.
I've owned shares of AMZN for long enough to have read many Bezos annual letters. Yes, he loves to talk about his Day One concept year after year. But as an Amazon customer, it often feels like Day Two arrived three or four years ago. I think Amazon's customer service practices have become a lot more cost conscious and a great deal less "Earth’s most customer-centric company". Or here maybe we should say more Bean Counter and less Insanely Great?

Either way, I believe both APPL and AMZN provide a much different customer experience than they did even five years ago. That's not to say I haven't received really good service from the companies recently. But the extremely satisfying occasions have become infrequent enough to stand out in my mind rather than being the norm.
 


On April 27, that is almost a month ago and counting, I contacted Apple support because my systems, whether my iMac running Catalina 10.15.4 or iOS 13.4.1, would not accept a perfectly valid Apple ID password and would instead either ignore the password and ask me to re-insert password over and over or else go into a screen with a cog wheel spinning endlessly.

The call to support went through the usual procedure at a lower level but was ultimately escalated to a senior advisor, the highest tier short of engeneering. This senior advisor shared my screen, asked a few questions, then told me the case would be further elevated to the engineers because, she said, it seemed to be an issue with a wider problem they were having – no further information about the nature or type of issue, but she gave me a specific appointment for a phone call the following day after she consulted engineers.

That day I waited for an hour past the appointment time, but no call ever came. Enter yet another another senior advisor. He, too, shared my screen and proceeded to talk me through the recording of considerable data, which he said he needed to send the engineers. Trouble was, he had to take several days off, in addition to his regular schedule, and more weeks went by without a resolution.

At this point yet another senior advisor enters the picture, but she is no more informative than previous agents, claiming only that the engineers were "studying the issue". I tried to reset the password, but in order to do so I have to enter the existing password, which, of course, is not accepted. At some point I was warned not to try to do any troubleshooting myself, as this could create further problems.

What is clear is that, weeks on, I still do not have full use of my devices, am constantly bugged by requests to sign in again and have spent many hours re-constituting my Safari key chain so I could access my banking information, etc. In the meantime the engineers presumably are still studying the issue. My best guess is, and it's only a guess, they are all busy getting ready the next update of buggy Catalina. And all the while the constant reminders to enter my password proliferate.
 


On April 27, that is almost a month ago and counting, I contacted Apple support because my systems, whether my iMac running Catalina 10.15.4 or iOS 13.4.1, would not accept a perfectly valid Apple ID password and would instead either ignore the password and ask me to re-insert password over and over or else go into a screen with a cog wheel spinning endlessly.
I once had a similar problem. I seem to recall that the solution was to use Keychain Access to delete everything related to iCloud and then reboot.

While the worst that can happen should be that you have to re-type a few passwords, who knows what might occur. I'd recommend you do a full system back beforehand, just in case.
 


Trouble is, keychain access is also inoperative. I've spent hours redoing passwords for needed applications, such as banking, etc. Since posting my original post I have had confirmed that the problem lies not in my devices or their OS, but with Apple and most likely with iCloud software, and told that a fix would have to wait the forthcoming upgrade to macOS 10.15.5.
 


Just to follow up: being thoroughly p*ssed, I sent Tim Cook an email with the details. Yesterday the Catalina macOS upgrade was released, but it solved nothing as regards my problem.

Then, a little while ago, I got a phone call from someone identified as "Executive Liaison" who said she was responding to my message to Mr. Cook. Henceforth my case is known as an "Apple Executive Relations Case" and I was told a specific engineering team was being put on the case. I'll soon see if this was for real or just PR fluff.
 


More follow up: An Apple 'Senior Advisor' shared my screen yesterday and talked me through acquiring and sending various logs from the systems of all three of my devices (Mac, iPad, iPhone), which, he said, the engineers needed to solve my case. All these logs had already been provided once before in exactly the same manner, but no fix had been forthcoming.

My guess is that it was earlier assumed that the Catalina upgrade would solve the problem and they stalled until the upgrade was released. According to the official Apple announcement for the Catalina upgrade, one of the fixes was given as "Addresses an issue that may prevent password entry on the login screen". But, as the upgrade failed to solve the problem, we are now back at square one.
 


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