I was told a courier would pick up the laptop on 22 May between 2pm and 5pm because I'd already completed four return journeys to the Apple store for repairs. I rushed back from work to hand it over, only to find a helpful note telling me they came at 1.30pm and no one was in. I called Apple again and asked to speak to a supervisor. We arranged for a pick up the next day between 9am and 5pm.
I waited in all day and by 4.45pm I got a feeling something had gone wrong. I called Apple and told them this is the second time my computer hadn't been picked up at the correct time and I can't wait in all the time. I told him my computer has been working for three days already and it hasn't even got to the repairer yet. I said it was hardly rocket science to arrange a courier to pick up a laptop. The man got angry and told me it was, indeed, rocket science and arranging a courier was difficult.
My head hurt. I started to cry with frustration. I was a broken woman. He arranged a courier for a third time but I didn't trust Apple anymore and called the repair company direct. They arranged a pick up for the next day. I wrote an email to Apple Customer Service drawing attention to the fire risk and the fact that no one had asked detailed questions about what had happened. I warned that it needed investigation before there were tragic consequences.
The offending MagSafe cable
The laptop was finally picked up on 24 May and I was told the logic board was faulty and needed to be replaced. Sadly, none were in stock and there were unsure when they were coming in. I felt like pulling out every hair on my body and posting them to Steve Jobs so he could understand the pain I was going through.
On 5 June my laptop was delivered fixed. I called customer services about compensation. I was offered the £54 voucher against a £180 purchase and something worth £49, such as an iPod shuffle. I told her I had been without a computer for 26.5 days and I had been burned too. She refused to budge. I felt £49 was not adequate compensation and contacted Apple UK's head of PR. She looked at the photos of the burn and melted cord and got executive relations to call me.
Executive relations called on 6 June and we went through the health and safety protocol. No one from Apple asked to see the power cord. On 8 June my computer shut down in the middle of writing an article. Later on that night it refused to wake from sleep. After a forced quit it took five goes to reboot. My heart sunk. Over the weekend it got worse. I called Apple on 11 June and an engineer said it sounded like the logic board had gone. How can that be, I asked, just four days after a new one was put in?
Executive relations offered me a replacement MacBook as compensation if I agreed to drop any other compensation claim. I was so desperate for a machine that works that I agreed. I was told I would have to sign an agreement form. I waited until 20 June for the form to be posted to me. I contacted the head of PR again for help and a new person from executive relations called on 21 June and upgraded the machine to a MacBook Pro. I signed the form and on 30 June my new machine arrived.
While I have got a £1,200 machine instead of a £700 laptop, it is little compensation for the stress of trying to get a working Apple laptop. I've been without a functioning computer for 55.5 days in the last 12 months, I've had to refuse work, I've been burned by a power cord, I've lost three CDs, DVD movies and all the data on a hard drive. I've driven to Bluewater four times (around 400 miles). But, worst of all, I've spent hours on the phone to Apple trying to sort out this enormous mess.
Had I known this while talking to executive relations I would have pushed the issue of health and safety much further. Instead, I've asked Apple why there hasn't been a product recall and what it takes to agree to one. They have said...well, nothing.
So, I'll say this. Until there is a product recall, do not charge up your MacBooks unattended and never near flammable materials. ®
Apple Airheads / Fanboys / blah blah
"It is only fashion concious airheads that like apple because they dumb everything down for them and look "different"."
Oh I wish I was fashion conscious, or had air in my head rather than 2 computing degrees (BSc + PhD) ... instead I buy Apple computers for Mac OS X as I've been using/administrating/programming with Unix (BSD+SysV) for more than 20 years and its nice to have the best of both GUI and command line worlds. I also prefer BSD based Unix to Linux's SysV roots.
The hardware looks good yes and generally the build quality is excellent. I've had the occasional problem over the years but Apple directly, or my local independent Apple service centre, has always come up trumps. I have a 4 year old iBook G3 which suffered from a motherboard + case issue and was covered by an extended repair programme and had its board replaced 3 times [almost a lemon then], no problem. It still works a treat and gets used regularly for various things including as a backup for when my MacBook needs charging 8-)
I had an iMac G5 suffer from an LCD screen issue in the first two weeks of having it, Apple sent me a completely new one under their DOA part of the one year warranty, years latter it still runs with no more hardware issues.
The battery in my 16 month old (out of warranty) MacBook refused to charge and Apple just replaced it no questions asked under its battery replacement programme. I don't bother with paid-for extended warranties as I personally don't have a need for them and I'd rather put the extra £200 towards a new laptop or server when I need it in a few years time.
My G3 "clamshell" ibook that is over 5 years old still works fine (the battery is long dead but the yoyo main adapter powers it) and so is the equally old and beautiful G4 Cube used in another room, which has only needed one replacement hard drive. The G3 iMac I bought from eBay came with a few months of its original warranty which Apple honoured when the analogue video board went phut but 5+ years later still works with no probs and still gets software updates for 10.3. Finally the G4 MacMini sits under the TV as a PVR and just works for years on end. Oh and yes the G4 Powermac is still quite happy as another server in the garage and has been for 4 years.
All computers go wrong, whether you build them yourself or someone puts them together on a far-eastern production line. You should allow for failures and have a DR plan regardless of whether the computer is for your business or for personal use. I have 2TB of RAID 5 and RAID 1 on my file-server and DVD, CD, zip-drive and tape backup plus stuff stored in "cyberspace" ... and all that is just for personal data, not business use!
I don't understand people who argue that macs rubbish because they're not user serviceable. If you want a user serviceable machine then build one, If you can service one your self then you can build one yourself.
It seems that people go soft when they try and get h/w repaired, push for same day repair, if they don't have an item in stock then push for a free rental of a new machine. Work your way up to the manager, kick up a fuss and they'll give you what you want just to get rid of you!
Its not just apple that will attempt to fob you off with slow repair times it seems every manufacturer does it dell wanted 8 weeks to repair a new inspiron
Fanboy wars aside
There seem to be three primary issues being addressed here.
First, the author claims to have had crap customer service from Apple. That's a legitimate concern, and should be dealt with as such. Whether we've seen worse, personally, or prefer $PLATFORM, shoddy customer service is just that: Shoddy.
Second, there is the question of how much the author contributed to her own problems with the machine, and with customer service. Leaving a notebook to charge, unattended, in a poorly ventilated area (in this case atop carpet and under a sofa) is likely to cause problems for the machine at best, a house fire at worst. Claiming that she does so as an argument to the manufacturer that their products are dodgy strikes me as appallingly ignorant. This is not blaming the victim for manufacturers' defects. It's acknowledgment that all machines, computers included, can be dangerous if not operated in an intelligent manner.
Along with that, it would appear that the author hasn't done much planning for contingencies such as equipment failure and disaster recovery. This, also, is not the manufacturer's fault. Having made my living as a free-lance writer and consultant, I would never run my business as a single-threaded environment - depending upon one computer which, regardless of platform, would be likely to fail at a potentially critical moment. The idea of turning away days' worth of work because of a laptop failure strikes me as amateurish and stupid. (FWIW, I used two computers for work - a Windows notebook and a Linux desktop, with the bulk of work being done on the Linux box. Each had its strengths and its drawbacks.)
Third and finally, there's the issue of professionalism. The parent article is obviously an opinion piece, and is presented as one. However, even op-ed pieces, when written by journalists, are commonly expected to adhere to minimal standards of professionalism. The idea that the parent article somehow establishes, or presents an informed opinion that one cannot run a business using a MacBook is ludicrous. Op-ed piece or not, anyone who presents herself as a journalist should, at a minimum, demonstrate enough objectivity to separate their own errors and culpability from that of the company they're harranguing. In this case, her article read like something written by a child at school rather than by a professional journalist.