AppleCare compensation

Regular readers, and anyone who’ll listen, will remember the problems I had trying to get my iBook fixed through AppleCare. Once I had finally got my laptop back I wrote (a real letter on paper) to Apple to complain, quoting most of the post I had written on the subject. Despite searching the Apple site (and Googling) I couldn’t find an AppleCare Europe address to write to so I ended up sending the letter directly to Cupertino. That was on 16 February 2005.

Six weeks later I received a letter from Apple Customer Relations in Ireland. For your reference, and mine, their address is:

Apple Customer Relations

In the letter, Apple apologised for the inconvenience [resulting from the] considerable delays caused during repairs and asked me to call so that they may be able to offer some form of compensation for these delays. The phone number they provided was the technical help line but eventually I got put through to customer relations, whereupon the representative apologised and read out a list of Apple hardware compatible with my iBook. Airport Extreme card? (no thanks, got that); extra RAM? (already maxed-out); Bluetooth? (got that too); spare battery? (ooh yes please); Apple Pro speakers? (sounds good to me).

And so the next day I received my spare battery (worth £89) and a pair of lovely-looking Apple Pro speakers (worth about £40). And I was happy – a pretty generous compensation package I would say. Apart from the speakers which aren’t compatible with my iBook, and in fact only work with iMac G4 and the PowerCube because of a proprietary jack (why oh why?) Here we go again.

So I phoned up again and eventually persuaded the technical support to put me through to a customer relations representative. I eventually convinced the rep that their hardware database was wrong – Apple Pro speakers definitely don’t fit an iBook, regardless of what the computer says. So he went through the remaining list of Apple hardware of similar value to the speakers, all of which I had already (it wasn’t a long list). How about a Shuffle then? I asked hopefully. The rep said he couldn’t authorise that but would ask his supervisor and phone me back (he didn’t).

The following day I hurdled my way through the AppleCare telephone system once more (the line to Ireland via Bangalore was surprisingly good). Customer relations said that a 1Gb iPod Shuffle had indeed been approved as compensation. But they wouldn’t send it out until I posted the speakers back to Ireland (which cost me seven quid). Two weeks later and no Shuffle. Thinking maybe the speakers hadn’t made it back to Ireland I phoned to check. The speakers had arrived but TNT had failed to deliver the Shuffle to my office. So we verified my address and the delivery was rescheduled. This happened two more times – I know Apple can’t control the crapness of TNT but the onus should be on Apple to ensure my compensation arrives, or at least to notify me that TNT had failed to deliver.

Getting the compensation I was promised was proving to be another frustrating process, somewhat ironic given the reason for the compensation in the first place. But six phone calls, seven pounds and 8 weeks later I finally received the last part of £187 worth of recompense, for which I’m grateful, but it hardly left me with the cosy feeling that Apple might have wished.

And a final word of advice. If your Apple hardware goes wrong within its warranty period, even if you bought it directly from Apple just take it to your nearest Apple repair specialist. That’s what I’ve done with my iMac G5 (dodgy capacitors, anyone?)