One Down, One to Go

After an hour and a half on the fone with Apple this morning, I now know some interesting bits of information.

First and foremost, one of these is in my very near future, courtesy of Apple and AppleCare.

Second, it seems that there is a “magic threshold” that initiates this process. If you have X repairs in Y months, your case automatically gets escalated to the Product Support Specialists, who are authorised to issue you an equivalent brand-new retail machine as a replacement. I suspect X to be either four or five and Y to be 12 based on the discussions I had with two different specialists. This may vary by product; I’ve been told that X for the logic board problems in iBooks is three.

Third, and I can’t stress this enough: Get AppleCare! This goes double for any product containing an LCD, as LCDs are extremely expensive to repair or replace, and it’s much more difficult to do the work yourself. I have more than recouped my $300 investment in AppleCare; essentially, I got a $2000 laptop, four new hard drives, a new fan, a new LCD backlight, and free shipping on all of it for $300. Problems like this, especially one after another, are very rare, but any one of those six major issues would have been more than $300 to have repaired on my own. Extended warranties from your credit card company and the like are wonderful, and in some cases much cheaper than AppleCare, but if you get a lemon that’s constantly in for repairs as Ti Cobb has been over the last three months, your credit card company (probably) isn’t going to buy you a new computer.

Fourth: the AppleCare that you get with a new Mac is great, but in my experience, nearly worthless. I can count on one hand the number of problems I and friends of mine have had with Mac hardware in the first year of ownership that were not eventually covered by a massive REA program. (Side note: never buy the first revision of anything, from anybody.) Of course, you don’t pay for it, either. The point here is that the argument “But Macs are really reliable, so I don’t need AppleCare past what Apple gives me” is specious at best. See “Third,” above. Problems crop up after that first year runs out, and they get more and more likely the closer you get to the three-year limit.

Finally, it absolutely sucks to live in the state of Florida, where AppleCare is illegal thanks to a boneheaded law intended to protect Granny’s savings from unscrupulous extended-warranty salesdroids. If you live in Florida, I feel very sorry for you.

Now, off to call Asanté. Let’s see if I can go two-for-two.

posted by Chris on 09 February 2005 at 1407 in computing


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Comment by Eric Blair

So you’d suggest trickling out the repairs I want to get done on my TiBook instead of building one massive repair order prior to my AppleCare’s expiration?

posted at 1407 on 09 February 2005

Comment by Chris Lawson

That depends. They test computers that come in fairly thoroughly, so if there are several minor hardware problems, they’ll probably find ‘em all the first time. That’s how they decided my hard drive needed replacing back in December — it went in for a new backlight, and it came back with a new backlight and a new (and immediately defective) hard drive. I think the big thing they want to compensate you for is recurring problems, where something fails multiple times, or a string of semi-major problems befalls a computer.


posted at 1407 on 09 February 2005

Comment by Lee Bennett

From us Florida residents:

Quit rubbing it in!

posted at 1407 on 09 February 2005

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