μολὼν Λαβέ. (antisora) wrote in bad_service,
μολὼν Λαβέ.
antisora
bad_service

Fun with computer repairs (and by fun, I mean, let's gouge our eyes out).

Here's some background information. I own an iBook G4 that, unfortunately, happened to have a rather noisy CD drive. The drive worked, it was just noisy. I thought maybe it might be a good idea to get the CD drive replaced. Little did I know that this would launch a long, epic saga of absolutely abysmal service.

TIMELINE: JULY 7.
I place a tech support call to Apple describing that my CD drive is rather noisy. The customer service rep is on the ball and quick, informing me that a box to send the computer to Apple for repair will be at my house the next day, and estimated repair time is 3-5 business days.


TIMELINE: JULY 8.
The box arrives. My information is backed up on Eric's mighty machine in case something goes wrong (ha, ha). I pack up the laptop as instructed and send it out via DHL at OfficeMax, for next-day delivery.


TIMELINE: JULY 12.
The weekend is over. The computer is recieved and goes straight to repair. The CD drive in the computer is replaced by an Apple technician. Apparently, however, this guy is new and doesn't know quite how to take precautions against static, which may damage other sensitive electronics and chips inside the computer.


TIMELINE: JULY 13.
The computer is shipped back out, and I recieve it at approximately 11:30 AM. Everything seems fine. The CD drive is now quiet and no longer skips. I'm happy, as this means I have my laptop working in pristine condition (or so I think) in time to go on a vacation to California on the 19th.

Oh, I am so wrong. I close the computer and put it to sleep to go take a shower in the evening. When I come back, I attempt to wake the computer up and it doesn't respond. Sometimes it takes a minute or just the right prompt to wake the computer up, so I try what I know: clicking the space bar, clicking on the track pad, attempting to eject the CD, pressing the power button. Nothing works. I hold down the power button to try and turn off the computer - nothing. I attempt the 'force restart' and 'force shutdown' key commands - nothing. During this episode, my 'sleep indicator' light, which regularly oscillates, has been stuck in the same position. The caps lock and num lock lights have turned on, and the internal fan is going wild. My monitor is still blank and no signs of the computer working can be heard.

It's too late to call Apple at this point, as they're only open until 9 PM EST, so I unplug the laptop from the power source, close the lid, and let it sit there until I can call in the morning.

In short? Apparently the idiot at the repair center did not take the correct precautions and has fried the logic board in my laptop, meaning I will have to send it in for repair again. I still need the computer by the time I leave for CA on the 19th at 7:30 AM. It has been less then twelve hours since I recieved my computer back from Apple.


TIMELINE: JULY 14.
Assisted by my more tech-savvy boyfriend, I call Apple as soon as I wake up, in hopes that a quick repair can be arranged.

We spend about 40 minutes on the line with Tier 1 tech support, who takes down the symptoms of the computer and takes us through a few steps of repair. First, all of those same shutdown commands I tried last night, to which the computer is unresponsive. Then a couple of commands that I didn't know. Holding down the power button for an insane amount of time.

Then, we detach the battery from the computer and reattatch it, which just causes everything to stop and then the same thing to come back. We are transferred to Tier 2 support, who has up recap the problem again and try a couple of those same steps before saying that the computer will, indeed, need to be sent in for repair. Again.

At this point in time, I inform the tech support guy that it's their employee who caused this problem, and that I need my computer back by 7:30 AM on the 19th for a trip to California. He has us wait for a few minutes while he types some stuff out, then gives up Apple's DHL account number for billing and tells us to ship the computer back out, right away, and I'll have it back Tuesday evening.

My boyfriend and I quickly provide the necessary information and signature on a piece of paper that we pack in the box with the laptop, then immediately run out to OfficeMax, fill out a DHL ticket for 10:30 AM next day delivery, billed to Apple, and leave the computer in the hands of shipping and repair with the assurance that I will have it in time for my trip.


TIMELINE: JULY 17.
I have not recieved any word from either Apple or DHL, at this point, that the computer has even reached the right place. Fearful that maybe the tech guy gave us the wrong address, I take out my copy of the DHL ticket and look up the status of the delivery. The laptop has been delivered to the correct address and signed for... but I haven't gotten any word from Apple, even saying that the computer's gotten there. For Apple's usually impeccable customer service, this is highly unusual, and I figure I should give them a call.

I call tech support, as I've misplaced the dispatch number, to inquire after the laptop. I'm on hold for less than ten minutes before a rep answers me. I explain the situation to him, and he confirms that the laptop has been recieved.

However, the repair status is listed as 'on hold - not enough info'. I tell him I can give him whatever info he needs right now. He tells me just a moment, does some typing, and then says he's going to have to place me on hold for a bit while he gets someone from the repair department.

I am on hold for approximately 40 minutes before the tech guy picks up again, says he's sorry for the lengthy wait, and transferrs me directly to a nice woman named Jennifer in repair. She tells me that our tech guy, who had so nicely arranged the speedy repair for me, had forgotten to put what was actually wrong with the computer on the case ticket.

At which I obviously go "Wait, what?" My mind is totally boggled. Not only did the tech guy forget the most important bit of information on the ticket... no one thought to contact him, no one thought to open the logs of the case and find out the steps that had been taken and the recorded symptoms, and no one had thought to contact me on the status of my repair, when I could have easily recapped the situation for them.

I take Jennifer through all of the steps tech support had put me through, everything I'd done, and the exact circumstances of what had happened, down to my taking a shower. She says okay and that the repair can now go through.

Which brings up the question of whether I will have my laptop back in time to depart for CA on the 19th.

The quick answer is 'no'. She explains to me that it was wrong of our friendly tech support guy to guarantee me a repair by this date when the very earliest my computer could have been back at my house is 11:30 AM on the 19th - by which time I would already be at my layover in Chicago - and she apologizes. I tell her it wasn't her mistake, so she shouldn't be sorry, and she apologizes agian, saying that this is definitely not the kind of service the company wants their customers to recieve. I am thinking 'No shit'. Jennifer then explains to me that there are three options at this point: they can change the shipping address and ship the computer to me in California. I tell them that I know the hotel I will be at, but not the room number, so that's out. The second option is that they can pack the computer back up, right now, how it is, and I'll have it tomorrow. Which wouldn't do me any good, because it would still be busted. Which leaves the third option: going through the repair at a normal schedule and taking away any chances of me having my laptop in California.
I tell Jennifer thanks for her time and hang up.


Here's a quick synopsis of the situation. I sent my laptop in on July 8 with a noisy CD drive. Due SOLELY to a stupid repair technician, I will not have my laptop with me when I leave for California on the 19th. Due to a stupid guy in tech support, I had been guaranteed that I would.

Additionally, had I not called inquiring after the status of my laptop, it would have sat in the repair center for a few days under 'not enough info' - again, due to our friendly stupid tech guy - before being shipped back to me, unfixed. And no one thought to look into the case or, heaven forbid, call me to get said info.

The compensation for my inconvenience? I called Apple yet again and got a customer relations dude, who gave me $100 off on a future $300 purchase. Which, while it allows me to buy a new iPod video for my boyfriend at a discounted rate, does not give me my laptop in time for my trip. That, and we got the assurance that the idiot tech guy will be bitched out by probably four different people.

DISCLAIMER: Apple's service is usually quite excellent. I have never had problems with my other dealings with them. I think this experience has filled their shitty quota for quite some time.
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