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Schweb's Lounge Forum for general conversation, chit chat, or most topics that don't fit in another forum.

terrible customer service


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Byoung
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Just 2 days ago - that was my frustration day one - while I was working at the hospital, I accidentally dropped my Powerbook on the floor. I was devastated to find out that the right bottom corner of it had an ugly dent with the plastic frame also being slightly damaged. I could not even cover the top completely without a gap, maybe because the hinge was also slight damaged. However, fortunately enough there seemed to be no functional damage. I ran many applications, checked firewire, screen, etc. Everything worked fine. After having a moment of helpless desperation, I called Applecare to discuss how I can have my computer fixed. After about 20 minutes of long wait, I finally could talk to one of the representatives, who kindly told me that I had to pay at most around 600 dollars to have the case replaced. I was surprised initially with the colossal price of replacing mere of the aluminum case. I enquired any other alternate way of fixing it. I also asked him if I could open the case, and just push that dent out, but he discouraged that mentioning I would loose my warranty completely if I opened it by myself. Later, the representative told me to visit Apple retail store to show my damaged computer and get estimation for the repair. He also told me that the estimation might be less than $600, because the price was set for the maximum damage, and it covers top, bottom and hinge… virtually all outside parts of the laptop. He also gave me two different phone numbers I could contact.
On day two, Sunday afternoon, I visited Apple retail store in the Westchester in White Plains NY where I bought my laptop before. I luckily met the sales person who helped me before. But, he told me that the tech guys could not help me because I did not make an appointment. I was very frustrated, because nobody told me to do so, also it was not written anywhere. I drove more than 30 minutes to get there, paying unnecessary parking fee, and wasting my time. But at least, he was kind. He told me with nice smile. And I came home with just a little frustration.
On day three, I called the store to make an appointment just to learn that
I could not do so with telephone. Later in the afternoon, I had a chance to use Internet, and I made an appointment finally at 6:20 pm. Again, after thirty minutes of driving in the rain, and paying three dollars of parking fee, I went to the Apple store at the Westchester WP. I confirmed my appointment time and waited until one of the Geniuses was available for me. After a while, I could see a Genius. He was already aware of my problem, because I listed that in my problem list when I made the appointment.
Initially one of the Geniuses, Mr. Matthew C. Rivman and the manager of the Genius bar, Mr. Joe DiGiovanni, attended me together. Before they saw my computer yet, they told me that it was going to be expensive to fix a dropped computer. I was already aware of that since I talked to the apple care rep the day before. So, that was no problem. But I was hoping that the cost would go down, once they see my computer, since it was just mere a cosmetic problem involving only the case of the laptop. So, anyway, I opened my bag and showed my computer to them. Both of them told me that this kind of damage would cost me $800 to $900. I immediately wore a perplexed look, because I could not understand how the cost even increased, against my expectation and the explanation of the representative from Apple care. Anyway, the manager soon left, and Mr. Matthew (Genius) started discussing the case with me by multiple questions includint “Do you have a digital camera? If you drop it, do they fix it for free? Do you have a Honda, If you hit a tree, do they fix it for free?” ... and maybe several more similar questions. I did not want to hear any one of the questions, because I was willing to pay for the repair, if it was reasonably priced. And who don’t know that they have to pay for such damages? He did not deliver any logical explanations regarding, why the cost is so high, and why this was not covered by the regular or extended Apple warrenty, which I paid more than $200. Or any reasonable explanations why they just could not open and push the small dent out.
After a while, Mr.Rivman checked their price list and told me that the total cost would be around $650. I told him that I could not afford it, because I thought it was extremely overpriced for such a small dent and over all damage, and also because he still did not give me any explanations about the details of the cost and why they just could not fix the dent, seemingly simple procedure even for me, a doctor without any tech training.
Still not convinced and satisfied enough, I had to question about those issues I mentioned before. I asked how much is the labor fee, and he said it’s about $150. Then automatically the price of case is about $500, a simple math. I could not believe my ear. I had to ask him again, how the $1500 computer had $500 case, I did not have any logical answer what so ever. He finally explained to me that the price of repair followed tier system. So, regardless of the degree of damage, any non-functional, cosmetic damage repair would be $650. Now, after spending ample amount of time listening unnecessary tape-recorded type of answers, I had some explanations regarding the repair cost policy of the Apple Computer, which is perfectly not customer oriented, also seemingly giving an impression that they don’t care about customers after they sell the products. I saw some ads in the web, which sells the same aluminum case about 250 dollars, which is still unbelievably overpriced to me even at the half of the price from Apple computer.
For my question regarding fixing the aluminum case, he kept telling me the same answers over and over, that Apple simply could not do that. He also told me if I wanted to hammer the dent out I could go ahead and do it by myself. But, that answer was very irrelevant and also at certain level, insulting to me, because to my understanding I could not open the case, because in that case I would loose the warranty permanently. After I questioned him regarding loosing warranty, then he told me the truth, which was really inappropriate and illegitimate for a person who is supposed to help a customer. How dare he said that to me. His intention was sorely to ridicule me, or to finish my case quickly, without properly guiding me. He later told me to bring the computer to “Texor… or Taxor…” one of the third party mac repair companies. He told me they might help me. He was unsure if they can open the computer and push the dent out. I was very unsatisfied with his referring me to a place he was even unsure if my problem could be solved. I cannot even spell the place correctly because I don’t know who they are.
While Mr.Rivman and me were discussing the case, the Genius bar manager, Mr. DiGiovanni came to us. He told me in an angry voice “I told you that we cannot fix your computer. You dropped it and it is out of warranty, so you take it back with you and use it as it is. You are holding this Genius too long, that he cannot help other customers.”
Obviously Mr.Rivman was trying to explain things at least, even though he was very unwilling to do that. Why the manager had to treat me as if I was wasting the precious time of the Genius. Is it waste of time, if they spend time explaining to a customer, who are not willing to pay $600 to them for repair, who seeks alternative way of repairing, who ALREADY PAID $2700 for the whole package of computer, printer, ipod and extended warrenty? I DO NOT THINK SO!!
More embarrassingly, the manager, Mr. DiGiovanni, came later and started talking to me angrily the same things again. While he was telling so, he mentioned that I needed to speak like an adult. OK… that’s fine. English is my second language, so I might not have good pronunciation or phrase to sound like well-educated adult, but he still cannot say that to a customer, who wants their help, who needs them. And I am an ADULT, and he knows that. That is a serious insult. That moment I pointed him that he was being rude. And I also pointed that he interrupted Mr. Rivman and my conversation rudely once already before, while Mr. Rivman was answering my questions regarding the details of repair cost. I told him that I was discussing the case with Mr. Rivman. Also, Mr. Rivman told him that he was giving me answers for my questions, not just saying same things again. I clearly mentioned him that Mr. Rivman was helping me, and my case with him was’t over when we were interrupted previously. Mr. Digiovanni answered me “I told you enough, you will have to leave here, If you don’t I will ask you to leave, I can do that”. Again, I felt very insulted and offended. I warned him for his being rude to a customer, and told him that I would report this case. He said, “I hope you spell my name correctly”. I left the store with anger and enrage, and with both sadness of keeping that ugly dent in my powerbook and frustration of being mistreated by a help desk manager, who obviously misunderstood that he is a manager of even customers.
I think Mr.DiGiovanni at the Westchester WP should be removed from his position immediately. He insults and offends customers without having any compassion or actual help. He had angry face and vocal tone to me throughout my presence there, made me feel insulted. He also ridiculed me saying, “I hope you spell my name correctly”. Considering I am a foreigner, and he knows that I cannot fully address my issues in an embellished English, that is an absolutely serious, race involved insult. At least I felt that why. He simply does not qualify for that job.
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OK firstly, warranties do not cover accidents. They cover errors in production or other material issues in the manufacturing process. You dropping your PowerBook is not covered any more by a warranty than if you crashed your car would be under its warranty.

Warranties protect you against manufacturing issues, not accidental damage due to carelessness. Your expectations of what should be covered under a warranty are unrealistic and for you to be upset with Apple regarding that is ridiculous.

Apple did give you a price to repair it and you weren't satisfied with that. On top of that, for you to expect anyone from an official Apple Store to give you advice on how to unofficially get it fixed for cheaper is unrealistic. You've already mentioned that you've found other places where it's cheaper or where you could buy the piece you need, why not just do that.

It seems to me you're simply taking your misunderstanding of warranties and product support and are mixing it with the anger you feel at yourself for dropping your PowerBook and directing it at Apple.

If your story is correct regarding how the manager treated you then you need to report it to Apple. But to be honest with you I find it hard to believe anyone would just suddenly get that upset without any provocation from you on the issue.

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