Computer insurance repair fiasco - The Laptop Guy
The following is a post I posted on another Mac Site. I am also posting it here because I would like to advise the wider Mac community about an insurance/repair (actually mostly repair) issue I recently had, in hopes that it may help others in the future.
I am posting this because I know that many people here use Safeware to insure their laptops. I have been using Safeware since at least 2002 and have been pleased...BUT I never had to make a claim until last month.
The issue is that Safeware uses a company called The Laptop Guy based out of Columbus, Ohio to do thier repairs. I have seen Toff Feit (The founder's) posts here on MacNN defending his company. However, I would like to share my experience and urge anyone who has a Safeware Claim to demand that Safeware NOT use The Laptop Guy for their repairs.
I sent in my computer after having accidentally dropped it. I was pretty certain the issue was the Hard Drive was damaged. I say this because I could boot from an OS 10.4 DVD but could not see a hard drive to reinstall the OS on to. I filed a Safeware claim and the computer was sent to The Laptop Guy.
The Laptop Gut took a long time to diagnose the problem (They received it on 9/11/07 and did not complete diagnosis until 9/18/07. They repaired the machine on 9/27/07 sent it through their QC process on 9/27/07. I received the computer the next day 9/28/07. When I opened the box the computer was there, along with a physically broken power adapter and an extra part (a hard drive bracket). I happened to open this in a classroom full of Catholic Seminarians (of which I am one), who also witnessed me open the box. In fact we were even joking about the extra part being in the box. The box was also lacking my 2 DVD ROMS (the OEM Software that came with my Powerbook G4).
I immediately talked with a seminarian who is a Lawyer and he advised me to make written note of all the issues and fax it to Safeware. In so doing, I also noted that the Computer had been chipped by a blunt instrument (probably a screwdriver).
I then proceeded to restore my data from my backup drive (using my 10.4 DVD to reinstall the OS as not only did The Laptop Guy not return my DVD's (which contain 10.3) but did not install any OS on the system. When I did this I noted two things. 1) The computer only had 256MB of RAM and 2) The hard drive had a S.M.A.R.T. Status of failing. Furthermore, I was pretty certain that the Toshiba serial number on the hard drive was the same (gathered from System Profile). I looked at the invoice that came with the computer and noticed the work done listed a new 80GB hard drive had been installed and that 512MB of PC2700 had been installed. I immediately sent another letter by Fax and mail to Safeware.
I then contacted Apple via an Apple Retail Store to see if they could trace the serial number of the hard drive to the one originally installed in my Mac. The Apple Genius told me that the hard drive matched the serial number range originally installed on my computer. I also had him confirm the bracket that was in the box returned to me belonged in the machine (in fact he offered to put it in for free, but I told him not to b/c I needed to being this to the attention of my insurer).
The response I received was amazing. Safeware talked to the Laptop Guy. The Laptop Guy claimed:
1. A new hard drive was installed in the machine (and that Apple cannot track serial numbers to machines anyway)
2. They installed 512MB of memory in the machine (despite the fact that the chip itself is labeled PC2700 256MB).
3. The extra part was an extra that accidentally was placed in the box, and that it did not belong in the computer (despite the fact that the Apple Genius informed me that the bracket was missing from the computer and showed me the place where it belongs (and I have pictures of this).
4. The DVD-ROM's were in the box when they shipped it to me (of which I have about 20 seminarians who can testify to the fact that when I opened the box in class there was an extra part and no DVD's.
5. That the power adapter was damaged when they received the computer.
6. The cosmetic damage was caused by someone else (implicitly me) despite the fact that I have pictures showing the computer before I sent it in, and after I received it, and I have witnesses who can testify to the damage being on the computer when I received it.
I have been back and forth with the insurance company, Safeware, who has been good albeit a little slow in the process and they are having Apple repair the damage caused by The Laptop Guy. Today I spoke with the garage manager of the Laptop Guy (his name is Jeremy). Jeremy insisted that the hard drive was replaced. I asked him why the orange Apple seal/tape was still on the computer and why the hard drive had a 3 year old serial number. He told me that they replaced it with a hard drive from another Powerbook G4 (I used to be a tech person, and I can say I would never replace a bad hard drive with a three year old used hard drive). Then I asked him why his Quality Control did not catch the fact that it's SMART status was failing. He then told me it was not failing when it left The Laptop Guy. I then asked him about the RAM, he insists that The Laptop Guy installed 512 MB of RAM despite the fact that I have pictures of the RAM, the chip says 256MB on it and that the system profiler says 256mb of RAM. I then asked about my DVD's and from this point on in our conversation all his answers to any of my questions is Safeware is dealing with this. Finally I asked to speak to the owner, after a lengthy conversation about whether or not the owner had a phone (at one point he told me the owner did not have a phone), he told me I could send an email to email@example.com. I asked for the owner (Todd Feit's) name, and he refused to give it to me. I then asked for his name, and he said Jeremy. I asked if he had a last name and he refused to give that to me. I then asked him if Todd Feit was the owner (a google search will show he is the founder and presumably owner) and he said he would not confirm or deny that information.
Anway, I have a lot of documentation on this, from photos to records of conversations with Apple, if anyone would like to question me, I would be happy to provide more info. I am also hoping I will get a call from Todd Feit. I would like to give him a chance to respond to this, and I will post the results of any conversation I have with him. In the meantime I advise anyone who has a Safeware claim to insist on not having their machine sent to The Laptop Guy. A google search will show that another MacNN poster had a similar frustrations with this company.
Please pass this information along to anyone.
And because I am trying to hold Mr. Feit accountable, I will proudly use my own name.
I added some pictures for people to see
I added photos of my computer and the hard drive bracket on flickr. You can view them here:
An Update -
I did finally receive my DVD-ROMs back in a package from UPS. I guess despite the Laptop Guy's insistence that this was included with the original package, they were able to find the DVD-ROM's still in their shop (Note: these are not new replacement DVD's as they are clearly in used condition with minor scratches (I am not accusing the Laptop Guy of causing the scratches, as I am sure that these discs had minor scratches when I sent them, they still work)). I guess despite the fact that the company assured me that their QC could not have possibly allowed them to send back the computer without the DVD-ROMs, they must have done so, as I just received them in a separate box on Friday.
Maybe, just maybe, this means that the same QC that claimed to have put the DVD-ROMs in my original box, also did not notice the hard drive was not replaced or that the bracket was not put back into the computer or that the wrong amount of RAM was installed or that the case was scratched.
I did take the Computer to an Apple Store for estimate to repair the damage to my computer. It is over $1003.69.
I just received some good news. Safeware informed me that they have issued a check to me so that I can get the computer repaired. No I only hope it does not turn into one of these check is in the mail situations.
Safeware's new Apple repair center
I know I have had issues with Apple service before at Safeware. But they switched almost all of their Apple repairs to CTS ( Complete Tablet Solutions ). I have had great service ever since.
They are quicker and do a better quality service.
Hopefully you got your check for your laptop by now !
for your troubles...
I suggest you take that check and buy a new laptop. You deserve it for all the pain. Even if you have to spend a little pocket money. Youve earned it.
Sorry to hear about this really. I was considering SafeWare until i saw this.
Not anymore. They have lost my money, and business, for at least 10 laptops. Its a shame that they had to drag someone through this crap that is good in forums. A real shame.
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