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06 July 2007 @ 10:09 pm
Rotten Apples. Attn: Mr. Steve Jobs.  

Dear Mr. Jobs:

My experience with Apple began very well. I purchased a MacBook Pro on May 29th, and was very happy with it for a week. A week after I purchased it, however, new MacBook Pro hardware was released, and I was informed by a sales associate at one of the Apple Stores here in St. Louis that all I needed to do to get the new hardware was to pay a restocking fee on my old computer and I'd have the new state-of-the-art equipment in my hands. It was recommended to me from a number of different sources that I do this. In my fields of both work and study, it is important that I have the best, most up to date equipment I can get. So I paid the restocking fee and got the new computer.

I took that computer home and started setting it up the way I'd configured the previous one; however, I noticed that this one was acting strangely. Upon restart, it would not save my settings, and the entire computer just seemed very sluggish. This was unacceptable for a computer less than 24 hours old. I had to leave work early the next day because I was unable to use my computer. I called AppleCare and they recommended I take it into the Apple Store for a Genius appointment. So I took it in, and after running hardware tests on it, the Genius determined it was probably a RAM problem, or something on that vein. They replaced the computer for me there, without question.

After I brought the replacement home, I set all my preferences, installed my files, and ran the Apple updates. It then started disconnecting me from my wireless network, then proceeded to give me repeated kernel panics each time I restarted the computer and attempted to reconnect to the wireless network. This all happened the night I got it. AppleCare was closed when I tried to call, so I ran my own hardware diagnostic with the CD provided, and did a simple Archive and Install of the OS. I had to miss work the next day to sort everything out. I called AppleCare that morning and they had me do a complete re-install. After I reinstalled the OS, I continued to get disconnected from the internet and was having kernel panics as soon as I tried to connect to the network. I called AppleCare again, and they gave me two options: They could send me a box, and I could send it in for two weeks to be "repaired," or I could go to the Apple Store and they could see what they could do. Sending back a computer that I had not yet had for 24 hours to be "repaired" was NOT an option, and frankly, I was very upset that this option was even considered acceptable. So I took the computer back to the Apple Store, where they played with it for a while and determined that there was a hardware problem with the AirPort card. They once again replaced my hardware, guaranteeing me that there would be no problem with this new (the fourth) computer, and apologizing to me for all of the inconvenience.

Up to this point, with the exception of the AppleCare technician suggesting I send a brand new computer in to be repaired, I had been having a fairly good experience with the support I was receiving.

The fourth computer worked fine for the night I got it, and part of the next day. That evening, it, however, proceeded to disconnect me from my wireless network, then kernel panicked, the same way the last one had done. I restarted it, then it panicked again mere minutes after the OS loaded. I was forced to miss work the next day so that I could once again call AppleCare to try to get everything sorted out, and the technician didn't know what to tell me. They put me on the phone with an Apple representative from Customer Service, who told me that I was going to need to go back to the Apple store and return not only my MacBook Pro, but also the iPod that I purchased as a part of a rebate deal, as well as the printer that I purchased as a part of a rebate deal. He told me that he would give me a refund on everything, and would do his best to find me a working computer. I asked if I could just get the older model MacBook Pro (which I was sure at least worked), and he assured me that would not be necessary. He told me that once the refund came through on the credit card, we could once again put in an order for another MacBook Pro, this time shipped directly from Apple Headquarters, based on the supposition that the St. Louis Apple store might have received a shipment of faulty machines. He also told me, from what I understood, that he would be able to give me a $100 discount on my order, and he would send me a complimentary gift for my troubles. I didn't argue. The refund came through on the credit card several days later, but when I tried to get in contact with my representative to put in the order for the replacement, he was not in the office. I was called and told that he would not be in the office for another four days. I called him finally on that Monday, when we put in the order for the new computer, the new iPod, and the new printer. When I asked him about the discount he had offered me, he informed me that my understanding of that must have been a miscommunication. He sent me the gift and placed the order for the new items.

I received the computer a week later, and it worked fine for five and a half days. I was able to use it for a week for both of my jobs and for the summer college course I'm taking. On the sixth day, however, it began to disconnect me from my wireless network. I knew what would happen next - kernel panic. And it did. I immediately called AppleCare, and after explaining my issue to the technician, I was put on the phone with a product specialist who had me log all the information on the router in my home. He essentially told me there was nothing I could do, but asked me to tell him if it panicked again, either at home or in the office.

The next morning, Apple posted an update for MacBook Pros, which I downloaded and installed. However, the day after that, I had another kernel panic prefaced by a disconnection. I called Apple back, and discovered that my representative was again not in the office for yet another four days. The next day, I had another kernel panic. I tried to call, but Apple was closed for Independence Day. The next day, I had a kernel panic at home before work, I took it into work, and had a kernel panic at work for the first time. I called Apple and was put on the phone with a Wireless specialist, who assured me it was probably a compatibility issue, and that "state of the art equipment just sometimes has a problem with compatibility with older equipment. That's how technology works." My routers are not dinosaurs. This is not acceptable.

This technician told me to take my computer into the Apple Store and have a hardware diagnostic run on it to make sure it's not a hardware problem. So, the next morning, I tried to make an appointment to meet with a Genius at my local Store, when, surprise surprise, my computer panicked in the middle of trying to make an appointment. I went to work and was able to make an appointment on one of the computers there. When I got to the Apple store, I told my "Genius" that I had a case ID, and that he might want to look at it for an idea of what was going on. He shrugged me off and asked me to summarize. He then simply turned on my computer, commented about how fast the wireless was running, and went to the back of the store to talk to someone else. When he returned, he told me that my problem was that I was running OS 10.4.10. He told me that I would have to run an archive and install and not run Apple updates. When I asked him to run the hardware diagnostic that my AppleCare specialist had asked me to have them do, he told me I'd probably rather not have them do that, because "I wouldn't want to lose my computer for a couple of days." I queried as to what he meant by this, and he told me that it takes several hours for their hardware scans to complete. A couple of days and several hours are two entirely different time frames. Either way, he told me it was best if I run my own with the provided CD's, and sent me on my way.

I am very disappointed in everything Apple has put me through, from being told that it was definitely a hardware problem to being told that it is definitely NOT a hardware problem, and that it is the fault of my router, or that it is the fault of my OS version. I have been run in circles, and forced to reinstall my files and preferences more times than I wish to think about. I have had to miss several days of work, it has jeopardized several work deadlines, I have been forced to postpone a freelancing job, and I have been unable to do assignments for my digital photo class all because of untrustworthy equipment and the time required to try to straighten out these seemingly endless problems. It’s not fun to work on time-consuming and complicated projects with the constant fear of an imminent computer panic.

If this was a hardware problem, it should have been taken care of. If this was a software problem, it should have been taken care of. There is no excuse for Apple’s having put me through as many hoops and as much trouble, anguish, and frustration as I have experienced. All I ask is for a functional computer that I can feel confident using at not only both of my jobs, but also at school and home. And I cannot be sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for it to crash on me yet again.

This entire experience has been extremely frustrating for me. Not only have I become disenchanted with Apple products and service, but friends, family, and co-workers who have stood beside me through this experience have as well.


Carolyn Mertz
Feeling : draineddrained