Monday, May 11, 2009

Apple Customer Support

At 5 o'clock this afternoon I called Apple Support merely to inquire if I might be eligible for a replacement battery for my black MacBook. The battery began to lose capacity a few months ago. When I first got the computer in February 2007, I was able to use it for 4-5 hours on a fully-charged battery. Lately it's been lasting between an hour and 90 minutes.

I take good care of this computer. It was a gift from Captain Outrageous shortly before he died. I maintain it according to Apple's recommendations, install software updates when offered, and back it up regularly. I neglected to buy AppleCare, Apple's extended warranty, in February 2008, but (thankfully) I haven't needed it.

I went to the local Apple-authorized reseller on Saturday to buy a new battery for it. When I found out that they wanted $159 for the same battery that Apple charges $129 for, I decided instead to order one on-line, avoid the sales tax, and maybe get free shipping too. I tried Amazon first, but they didn't have any of the black batteries in stock. Neither did Small Dog in Vermont, another of my favored resellers, and neither did MacConnection.

At that point, I was ready to go ahead and order one from the Apple Store, but I said (to myself), "self, let's give Apple Support a call and see what happens."

I had previously done the research on "MacBook, battery, bulging" and found a notice from Apple of a warranty extension on MacBook batteries with problems identical to my own:

• Battery exhibits low charge capacity/runtime when using a fully charged battery with a battery cycle count (as shown in System Profiler) of less than 300 (Mine was 260).

• Battery pack is visibly deformed.


I also knew that the warranty extension for Intel-based MacBooks was limited to two years from the date of purchase.

Long story short, after ten minutes on the phone, first with a support person, then a product specialist, they offered to replace the battery at no charge. Wow, thought I, that's teriffic, I just saved myself $129 + shipping + sales tax with a ten-minute phone call, not bad.

At ten o'clock tonight, I was reading e-mail and spotted one from Apple. It was about the battery, confirmed the no-cost replacement, and had a link to the Fed Ex tracking number for the shipment. It had already gone out and was promised for delivery before noon tomorrow, Tuesday, less than 19 hours from the time I placed the call.

Now I'm blown away. Maybe I shouldn't be, it's always been my experience that Apple absolutely offers the best customer support available anywhere, for any product. This incident reconfirms that for me once again.

Am I a satisfied Apple customer? Damn straight I am.

2 comments:

Scott said...

My next computer will be a Mac. My last PC was purchased in 2006 for a big 3k. I got everything on it and didn't mind spending that much to get the best PC for the video and image editing I do. I got screwed by Dell as the machine has been a piece of junk. I should have sent it back early but I didn't for various reasons.
I spent about 9 hours on the phone with Dell's tech support in the first couple of months of owning the PC. The odd thing about all those hours is that only about 1 was spent talking to humans - I'm not kidding.
I won't own another PC computer unless it is provided by work. I'll buy Macs for my personal use from now on. PCs are nothing more than faster versions of the same junk they were 15 years ago - simply faster junk.

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