Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Customer service

I have a 2007 model 15 inch Macbook Pro. This has served me extremely well, and it withstood rough treatment: it has been carried round South America (and other places) in a backpack; it was dropped once during an airport security screen, and a child once pushed it off a coffee table in a hotel on the Costa Brava, amongst other, lesser things. Its hard drive had to be replaced after the Costa Brava incident, but apart from that it has kept working just fine. So really tough, rugged construction.

However, in recent times it has not always been terribly willing to wake from sleep mode, and yesterday I found that it would not boot at all. When I pressed the power button, the hard drive and fans would spin and the power light would come on, but that was as far as it would go. No classic Mac startup sound, and nothing on the screen.

If the computer was beyond simple repair, well, it didn't owe me anything. I don't really want to spend the money on a new laptop now, but on the other hand, those new 13 inch Macbook Airs look awfully nice. But there was no harm in taking the laptop into the Apple Store to ask someone to look at it.

So, I did this. The guy at the genius bar commented that my laptop looked particularly "well used". (The words I would use are "beaten up"). He attached a diagnostic tool to my USB ports, and looked at his screen intently as he typed things into his computer. After doing this for a couple of minutes, he observed that this was one of the more interesting cases he has seen in a while, and told me that there were known faults with this model and that as a consequence the logic board would have to be replaced. As this was a known fault and Apple's suppliers had provided sometimes faulty parts for this model, there would be no charge to me for the repair. I was asked to sign a form, which amongst other things stated that there was a £600 charge for this repair which in my case would be waived.

There are known issues with the graphics card on my particular model, but these are not the precise symptoms I was seeing.

Still, though. They are doing a major repair on a seriously beaten up three and a half year old laptop that never had Applecare and they are not charging me for it? I once had an IBM Thinkpad that failed three months out of warranty and that was that, even though I later discovered that it was common for that particular model to fail in that particular way. I have to say that Apple are being particularly awesome, here. Not only are they doing an expensive repair, but if they had shaken their heads and simply said that they could do nothing, I would not have been upset and I would have probably gone downstairs to look at new models, so they also possibly cost themselves an immediate sale. I am rather awed.

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