And, We’re Back to Customer Dis-service - Apple and Best Buy’s Geek Squad!

Hubert Joly, CEO of Best Buy - You will now experience the wrath of Stone!

Yes, Tim Cook, you are way too familiar with my anger!

My late-2010 27” Mac desktop computer was a sweetheart of a computer. Unlike the other Apple electronics I purchased over the decade which required constant repairs, this product only had one hard drive recall. And that was it.

Until last week. I use this desktop to watch movies in between examining graphics for my books. To those not in the know, I write very good novels - satires in different genres - which have won awards in national book contests.

At any rate, the display monitor turned black, but the operating system kept on going. Since the warranty was no longer effective, I chatted to Applecare support techies on my 11” Macbook Air. Mind you, I had to use my Serial Number for the iMac. Meaning they knew the precise product. After an hour of turning on and off the Mac, pressing all sorts of keys with no success, this is what the person suggested:

Ok so Maura in that case my recommendation would be to have your iMac taking into an apple store or authorized service provider so they can do a physical inspection of it.

I then made an appointment with the closest Apple store, 1 hr 36 minutes by back roads at the genius bar headed by geniuses. Again, I had to let them know the serial number and the problem so they won’t be surprised.

The morning of my appointment, I placed my 27” Mac into the original box. I learned the hard way that with Apple products, you NEVER throw out the boxes as you will need them to cart the products back and forth, back and forth, back and forth to get repaired. I put the box on a tote carrier because it’s too heavy for me. Since my cottage is at the bottom of a steep hill and my car is at the top, I lugged the damn thing. Not to get too descriptive, mind you, but due to a brain tumor, I suffer from dizziness, vertigo and balance issues. This was not a cake walk to say the least - it was an ordeal.

Then, I drove through New York and Pennsylvania to New Jersey to the mall. By the time I made it to the Apple store, I shook like a leaf from exertion, fatigue and pain from their loud music (I also suffer from hyperacusis, a rare neurological audiological symptom.)

The guy at the genius-challenged bar opened the box, adjusted the Mac, added a monitor to it and said, “Oh, it’ll cost you $600 to replace the monitor.”

“$600?” I cried out in disbelief.

“Yeah. You don’t have a warranty.”

“Forget it,” I said. “Any other solutions?”

“None,” he said.

I asked him to hold my computer while I relax at the mall to get my gumption going for the return trip. When I retrieved the computer, another guy sold me HDTV wires so I can hook it up to my HDTV.

Needless to say, going downhill with the damn computer nearly annihilated me.

The tv screen worked, but the clarity was gone, rendering the original purpose of the computer null and void. Still upset about the trip, the cost and the energy spent, I called up the Executive Customer Service and spoke with a Kirsten.

“Let me call you back to research this further,” she suggested.

A little while later, she phoned. “Well, I spoke to the Store Manager and the guy who waited on you will have to be trained again.”

“Why is that?”

“Because your computer has been declared obsolete the past six months and we no longer carry those parts. In fact, you will not void any warranty and can have anyone open it up.”

My mouth dropped. “You mean to tell me that your online chat support and genius bar didn’t know this and I shlepped almost 4 hours round trip for naught?”

“Sorry,” she said. “It was a mistake.”

MISTAKE?! I dealt with at least 3 individuals prior to arranging the genius bar appointment and they didn’t know the product was obsolete? And, at the genius bar, they didn’t know as well?

Tim Cook - what the fuck’s going on with your company?

“I guess, Kirsten, you’ll give no offer to reimburse me the expense for gas and time and lugging the damn thing.” I was met by silence. “Incidentally, what is wrong with my computer?”

“It’s the monitor display.”

I hung up and researched under “late model 2010 27” Mac black display” and guess what? On Apple’s website under discussion boards, there are TONS, literally TONS of references.

Turns out that this is a glitch that Apple knew about. As well as overcharged, $500-600, to repair. The repair entailed soldering a loose wire.

I picked up the phone and dialed Kirsten. Of course, I got her voice mail. I left a detailed message about how, on the APPLE website, the black monitor display is a known problem.

Returning to the thread, someone wrote that Best Buy’s Geek Squad repaired his Mac. So, I phoned them and described my computer and what needs to be done.

“We can do it right there!” extolled the Geek guy.

“Terrific. How much will it cost?”

“Between $49.99 and $99.99.”

I made a reservation for the closest Best Buy, only 50 minutes away for the following day. (OMG - I rhymed!)

Now, I have bad history with Best Buy when they pulled a bait and switch on me. Yet, I was desperate and put aside my dubious and distrustful intuition. Besides, they sent me an email with the title: You’re close to Tech Bliss.

So, here we go again - lugging the damn computer up the hill, driving for almost an hour, dragging the computer indoors and standing in line, only to be told by the one guy there, a strange old man who never shut up.

“Miss, you’re 25 minutes early for your reservation. Come back then.”

I looked around me. There was no one else there.

“What’s wrong with now?”

“Someone else may have an appointment before you.”

There were echoes in the store from emptiness. Fucking cobwebs from the ceiling.

Realizing to argue with a jerk is to make me a jerk as well, I left the computer there and took off. I had to get something else done at another store nearby.

When I returned, the place was packed and, of course, I was NOT given any priority for my reservation. Finally, it was my turn and another geek guy asked, “So what is the problem?”

“I need to have the monitor display soldered...”

He interrupted me. “Oh, we have to send it to Apple.”

“No, I was told by your office that you can make the repairs here.”

Snootily, the piece of shit said, “Hell no.”

“Apple said the computer is obsolete and can’t make any repairs.”

“We can’t as well.”

“Wait a sec, if you can’t make repairs, why did your people set up the reservation? Also, the estimate was between $49.99 and $99.99.”

He laughed. “You’re lying.”

“Yeah, sure. Now, is there a computer repair place in this town?”

All of the Geek squad and Best Buy people stared at each other. “Nope,” they said in unison.

After I made them put the computer in my car, I drove away and then thought, “I bet there is a computer repair place in town.”

I drove around and in 5 minutes spotted a store with a massive sign: WE REPAIR MAC DESKTOPS.

“How did you hear of me?” asked the owner.

“I drove around,” and then I recounted my troubles with the Geek squad.

“You mean to tell me they didn’t give you my name?”

“Nope. They told me they were the ONLY ones!”

His face fell.

While driving back home, I missed Kirsten’s phone call.

“Miss Stone, I haven’t heard from you...”

I went ballistic and sent her an email when I settled in the cottage. “I left you a voice mail at 3:49pm...”

I doubt that I’ll ever hear from her again.

At present, there’s no resolution to the situation. To be continued... stay tuned...

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