Apple trouble… a customer experience.

As indicated a few posts back I would write about my customer service experience with Apple and one of their Authorized Service Centers (ASC).

Eventually it took up to almost 3 weeks before my Apple Mac Pro was returned to me for just the replacement of an Nvidia Geforce 8800 GT video card and a Super Drive check.

Here is the story.

On a Saturday morning my screen stayed black while my Mac Pro was booting and a fan could be heard spinning continuously on full speed. When I opened the side of the machine it was clear and obvious the video card was the problem.

My Apple Care Protection Plan was still a few months valid so I called Apple Care. It was a delight to call and get someone on the phone within a minute, unlike many other customer service desks. Within a few more minutes and after some minor tests we concluded that indeed the video card was likely the problem. I received a few addresses of Stockholm based ASC’s and a trouble ticket number. An hour later I was on my way to bring her in.

Without waiting too long at the Service Desk I could describe the problem and received a receipt with the message it was going to take 3-5 days. Since I also have had problems with both the Super Drives I reported this as well.

After 3 days I received the message the video card was broken and needed to be replaced. The spare part was ordered. Apple had told me they guarantee delivery of spare parts to their ASC’s within one day.

One day later I received the message that the video card was not in stock. It would take another 2 weeks for it to arrive. As this was unacceptable for me I called Apple Care again and explained the situation. A friendly and helpful man heard me out and stated he was going to look into it, as he could see the video card was not out of stock.

A week (!) passed by before my Apple Care contact person returned to me with the message that the information in the system appeared wrong, the video card was indeed out of stock and it would take another week for it to arrive.

4 hours (!) after the Apple Care telephone call I received confirmation from the ASC that the video card had arrived and was installed in my machine…

It did take another week however before the Super Drives where tested and the file structure on my HD was corrected, which appeared to be the problem for the Super Drives not working. I could finally collect my machine after 19 days of service.

In my final phone call with Apple Care I asked them what they thought about the course of things. They confirmed it was unfortunately neither as they had wanted it, nor representative of their service. I was compensated.

What I had expected from a company like Apple was some kind of alternative solution instead of waiting a few weeks for a spare part to arrive. The more since they knew my machine is business critical to me.

Why did they not contact me with either a temporary replacement of my video card with another type while waiting for the right card to arrive or offer me an upgrade to an available video card for a payment of the additional value? It would have been my choice to accept or decline, but at least I could have continued working with my machine.

On a positive note I have to express that I am very impressed by the persons I have dealt with during the service process. All have been very reachable, responsive, friendly and helpful. Unfortunately it seems however that Apple has some serious issues with the accuracy of information and service assurance processes.

Will I continue to buy Apple products? Absolutely! I love Apple and their products; I love the design and the ease of use. I just hope that my recent service experience will not be repeated.