Saturday, June 18, 2005

Screwed at the Apple Store

A while back, my 17" PowerBook mysteriously lost 512 MB of RAM. Shortly thereafter, the extra battery spontaneously conked out. My girlfriend Krista and I were at the Stonestown Galleria today, so we swung by the Apple Store to see if they could help. My laptop is almost 2 years old, no longer covered by Apple's 1 year warranty. The genius bar tech narrowed the problem down to a bad memory chip. Considering I paid twice normal price for Apple's "certified" memory in the first place, it would have been nice if they could have simply swapped the chip out. Instead they offered me 10% off their already jacked up price. Yeah, right. Edge charges half the price and backs their memory with a lifetime warranty. Fool me once... In contrast, I bought the battery less than a year ago. Unfortunately, Apple requires a receipt, no exceptions. The tech used my credit card to look up my past purchases. He disappeared for a few minutes and then came back, "unfortunately we don't have a record of your battery purchase. We only have an Airport Express and a green iPod mini." If only he could have stopped after the first sentence. Krista didn't skip a beat. Knowing full well neither she, I, nor anyone in my family or close circle of friends has a green iPod mini, she asked, "who did you buy an iPod for?" Despite my innocence (she and I weren't together at the time), I didn't know whether to shit or go blind. Thanks, genius bar tech. Needless to say, I left with a broken, overpriced RAM chip, a dead battery, and a slightly pissed off girlfriend. I think I'll shop online from now on.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is a shame...

I have had a much better experience with my local Houston Galleria Apple Store though.

8:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you bought a $3000 laptop and didn't think to spend another 10% on 3 years of warranty coverage? shame on you! everything that went wrong with your system would have been covered with an AppleCare warranty and Apple would be kissing your ass like you want them to.

you didn't get screwed by Apple, you screwed yourself. and why are you complaining about over priced memory when you knew it was over priced and bought it anyway?!? all of the on-line memory retailers offer lifetime warranty on their memory modules. most replace them without hassle (though you still have to keep your receipts).

you should take some lessons from this experience, but don't vilify Apple because of your ignorance.

8:10 PM  
Blogger Bob Lee said...

Well, the "screwed" part wasn't in reference to the memory. ;D I don't think I was treated badly at all, but the store certainly didn't go above and beyond either.

You might be right about the warranty. We'll see how much more goes wrong over the next year. As of right now, I'd still be about $200 down.

I worked at a well known electronics store as a PC tech when I was in high school. We were highly encouraged to sell "service plans" on everything, even though they were pretty much useless. I guess I assumed (perhaps wrongly) that the same applied here.

To be completely honest, I thought I'd have a new computer by now, but this one has help up surprisingly well (plus I have a newer one at work). I might even spring for a RAM upgrade. Can a 1 Ghz 17" PowerBook take 1.5 GB RAM?

8:35 PM  
Blogger Alternate Option said...

So who was the Green iPod for?

Pity about the RAM. Did the tech rule out that it was the RAM slot at fault, and not the RAM? This could be a good excuse to get a 1GB DIMM. Or any cheap 512MB DIMM. But it would be a shame if you then found out it was the slot, and not the original RAM chip at fault.

Just my 2ยข.

8:46 PM  
Blogger Bob Lee said...

Ha ha. Much to my relief, it was the chip, not the slot.

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've learned something valuable. Your "girlfriend" is self-serving and materialistic. Time to move on.

6:11 AM  
Blogger Bob Lee said...

Actually, she's far from it. She's pregnant and doesn't want me screwing around on her (I obviously don't). Her first fear was that it was a more recent purchase. She fumed quietly for a couple minutes and then laughed about it.

9:01 AM  
Blogger nate said...

I couldn't agree more with anonymous. According to Consumer Reports over 30% of all laptops have a needed repair within the first 3 years of purchase.


10:10 AM  
Blogger Bob Lee said...

Nate, Dell and Gateway must be skewing the numbers. ;)

Seriously though, 30% of laptops need repair, total. A new motherboard would be $700. A new LCD, $800. Those are probably the most significantly expensive items to replace. Excuse my naive math, but if there's a 10% chance of either failing, that puts my risk at about $150 (less than half the $300+ for a service plan). Is there a chance I might have to pay out $1500 for a new motherboard and LCD? Sure, but it's only 1%.

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Mike Shoemaker said...

Not to mention, you can take a rider out on your home owners/car insurance with a ZERO deductible for about $2 a month like I do with State Farm. That not only covers it being broken, but also stolen or lost.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Dr. Heather said...


Nice web page!!! By the way I think Mr. Anonymous is more like Mr. Annoying. How can you call someone you don't know materalistic. Get over Krista is amazing. I would have wondered the same thing.

4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oops, I am too busy for spell check

4:38 PM  

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