Monday, March 9, 2009

Crapple Care

Almost 2 years ago, I bought myself the nicest laptop possible for my birthday.  I hadn't purchased any computer equipment for 5 years, and previously, I had constantly upgraded my desktop machines.  I originally purchased a 17" Dell, but Vista had too many issues (mostly bluetooth), and Dell claimed my video card would have 256MB of RAM and I only got a 128MB card.  I was tired of fighting Dell, and Apple had just released a new Macbook Pro with a 1920x1200 17" screen.  I spent $3000 on the Macbook Pro and a 3 year AppleCare plan.

Today, I took my Macbook Pro to the Apple store in the St. Louis Galleria because the sound died on me.  Up until I got to the Apple store, Apple had an experience that far surpassed Dell.  When my bluetooth didn't work with the mouse I purchased from Dell, I had to spend almost 4 hours on the phone before I could talk with a native-english-speaking high level technical support person.  When my sound died on my Macbook Pro, I waited about 5 minutes to talk to a native-english-speaker.  He seemed more knowledgeable than the Dell tier-1 tech support.  He had me wait another 10 minutes while he asked higher-level technical support about my issue, and when he came back he scheduled me for an appointment at the Apple Store's genius bar for the same night.  So far, so good.

Once, I got to the Apple store, Apple began giving its lead in customer service back to Dell.  I arrived 5 minutes early for my 8pm appointment and waited 20 minutes without explanation.  If Apple is going to make appointments, they should at least explain when they are 15 minutes late.  After a short diagnosis, they notified me that my audio board was probably dead and that it would need to be replaced, which was covered by my Apple Care plan.  The Apple store clerk said it would take 1 week to replace the audio board.  This is total crap.  I could have almost purchased two Dell laptops for what I paid for my Macbook Pro, yet I have to wait almost 7 times as long to get my laptop back from Apple.

When I was dealing with my bluetooth and video card issues with Dell, I had terrific repair experiences.  Even though Dell had terrible phone technical support, their repair service is second to none.  Dell sent an independent contractor to my office and she repaired swapped my bluetooth card the very next day after I called technical support.  It took only two days for Dell to swap out my video card the first time, and only one day the second time.  I never had to leave my office.  The work was all done in front of me, and the repair technician was on time for all her appointments.

Even though Apple makes a vastly superior product that I'm very happy to pay for, they have lost a repeat customer today.  I'll probably buy Dells in the future and just dual-boot ubuntu.

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