Seattle Rex writes about being forced to take Apple to court to in order to get the company to honour a commitment to replace a known defect in its laptops. This whole sobering tale is especially essential reading for anyone who naively believes Apple customer service can do no wrong, and will always be there to put a bad situation right:
A few years ago, Apple sold me a $4,000 computer with a defective graphics chip/logic board. The defective part was the Nvidia 8600M GT GPU, and when it was discovered that the machine was defective, Apple refused to take it back and issue me a refund. Instead, they promised to replace the 8600M GT boards when they failed, up to 4 years from the date of purchase.
Three years later, the board failed, and predictably, Apple refused to replace it. Instead, they used the fact that the machine wouldn’t boot (due to the failed logic board) to deny the repair. Not only that, but in addition, they tried to charge me a hefty sum of money to have it replaced, knowing full well that Nvidia pays for the full repair cost.
Three and a half months ago, after having my repair denied, I announced on this very site that I was going to sue Apple. Reading these lawsuit threats often, many people assumed that I was bluffing or blowing off steam, but true to my word, I did exactly what I said I was going to do. I sued Apple.
These defective parts were in Dell machines too. Based on my limited knowledge of the issue, I believe Dell did a pretty good job of taking care of customers whose systems failed as a result. I’ve certainly never heard of them using spurious arguments about CPUs to deny the replacement service. And apparently this is not an isolated incident:
Wow, this article really set off a firestorm. I’ve received scores of emails from people who were given the same “it won’t boot so we won’t repair it” explanation that I was, and were forced to pay for the repair out of their own pocket.
I also ran into an issue many years ago with defective display panels in laptops from several large manufacturers. A fault was identified that resulted in horizontal lines showing up on certain display panels from a single manufacturer, usually around 15-18 months after purchase. Both Apple and Dell had laptops that suffered from this problem. Dell eventually instituted a replacement program for effected laptops out-of-warranty, and replaced the display in a couple of my laptops without debate once the policy was implemented. Apple gained a reputation for denial, and I’m not aware of them ever implementing a wide-scale replacement program for the displays.
Moral of this story, Apple is far from perfect – no matter much the most ardent Cupertino-loving zealot will try to convince you otherwise.