Apple’s Warranty On Its Computer Parts Terrible

As a huge fan of Apple products and Apple workers, I had an eye-opening experience today at the Apple retail store in Holyoke, Ma.,  where I was told that my recently purchased hard-drive was fried and there was only a 90 warranty on the part which I had purchased from the same store.

My new laptop as it transfers data from my backup drive

It was the SECOND hard drive that died in my two-year-old top-of-the-line MacBook Pro for which I paid more than $2,200, even though it was an Apple refurbished model. Having had faith in Apple products and being generally negative on warranties, I did not purchase the three-year Procare, or AppleCare warranty which goes for $349.

I purchased a new hard drive on Sept. 28, 2011 for $176.67 plus tax at the same Apple store. It was installed by Apple. I had a full backup and installed the backup myself.

If they told me it was only covered by a three month warrant and one can’t purchase extended warranties on Apple parts, I am not sure I would have purchased it.

Anyway, I was stunned when I returned to the Apple store Jan. 12 with my dead computer and was told that the 105-day-old hard drive was broken.

The employee suggested that I might want to consider NOT purchasing another hard drive from Apple and instead purchase it from Best Buy, because he said the computer parts are cheaper there and they have a better warranty – one year long. He also warned me that the average lifespan of a hard-drive for my computer was six months.

I walked to the Best Buy store in the Mall, remembering all the outrage stories I had written about Best Buy’s rippoffs, and purchased a hard-drive for the MacBook Pro for $99 plus tax. Identical specifications to what Apple sells, just made by different companies.

As I returned to the Apple store to pick up my laptop, I ran into Matt, one of the employees who had previously helped me with computer issues. Hoping for some sympathy, I told him about my experience.

“This is not right,” he said referring to all the problems I have had with the laptop. “Let me talk to the manager.”

Matt returned a few minutes later and said the manager agreed with him and they had decided to give me a brand new MacBook Pro of equal value.

Obviously I was shocked. Ten minutes earlier I had thought about using only PCs in the future.

I quickly asked if I could purchase a three-year warranty on the WHOLE computer and Apple’s one-on-one program where for one year you get individual help on operating your computer in the most efficient fashion as well as on using any Apple program. The answer was yes.

So now I am again a happy Apple customer with not only my laptop, iPhone 4s, iPad 2, and Apple TV.

I still can’t believe that Apple only gives a 90 warrant on parts – that are more expensive than purchased anywhere else. That is a stupid policy that will hurt this great company.

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5 Comments on "Apple’s Warranty On Its Computer Parts Terrible"

  1. It’s an exaggeration to say that the average lifespan of a hard drive is six months. The person who made that statement was undoubtedly saying it in order to make the point that hard drives can die at any time. And he likely also says this to customers to scare them into making regular backups of their data. He evidently feels the need to use shock value to get customers to realize the value of computer backups. He’s well-meaning in his intent, but misguided in his execution.

    I’ve been supporting computers for more than 15 years and I’ve seen hard drives die anywhere from one month old to 10 years later. But hard drives have been trending towards shorter lifespans in recent years as the industry has been forced to build for price.

    One thing hat the author doesn’t mention is if the Apple hard drive replacement cost includes installation or and or data transfer. I imagine it does. They also overlooked mentioning whether not the best buy price includes the services. I’m betting it doesn’t.

    I am surprised at Apple only offering a 90 day warranty for the replacement hard drive. Hard drive manufacturers themselves always offer a minimum of a one-year warranty. So it would be easy for Apple to extend this coverage to the customer.

    Something to consider: It’s possible that the warranty on a hard drive replacement is longer through an Apple authorized service center. Some examples would be computer resources in Wethersfield and Technology Revealed in Milford. Through Web searching you can also find local consultants who are Apple / Mac experts who can handle hard drive replacements for you.

    Thankfully before the end of this article, the point was made that Apple made the customer happy (Something that the article’s title fails to do). This is unquestionably something that is important Apple and their employees are often empowered to provide solutions that make customers go out into the world with a positive attitude about Apple support. However, they most often extend such a courtesy to customers who have purchased AppleCare. So the author should consider themselves very lucky.

  2. I am surprised at some of the things in your story, but not all. I had a similar poor experience at Apple with my 4 year old macbook pro. There was a recall for the video card that came with the computer, NVIDA’s components somehow were frying the board. I found this out because my computer crashed in the same fashion noted in the recall notice, when I took it into the store in West Hartford they ‘inspected’ the computer and said the because it was fried, they could not get diagnostic codes and therefore could not ‘prove’ it was caused by the video card. I suggested they send the computer away to get fixed, and if it turned out the problem was with the video card, it should be covered by the recall/Apple, and if it wasn’t I would pay for it. I was told that the techs where the computer would be fixed did not have the capability to diagnose the problem, so I would have to pay for it no matter what. Obviously this was ridiculous, so after much back and forth they agreed to split the cost of repair. I was not very happy, I got the impression they were trying to avoid any cost or responsibility – after all, how can you issue a recall for a problem that fries the computer, then say if they can’t trace the problem to the recall then it won’t be covered, but they only way they can trace it is if the computer isn’t fried… circular logic (avoidance). The three year warrantee is a joke too, it is not three years – it is a one year extension of the standard 2 year warrantee the comes with all new Apple products. And my hard drive is still good, they guy who said they were only supposed to last six months is full of you know what… I’m guessing one of the reasons you got a new computer is because they knew who you were – if you were someone without a consumer watchdog website they probably would have brushed you off.

  3. George Gombossy | January 13, 2012 at 3:31 pm |

    I am not sure if my job was the reason, but your comment Steve reminds me that they told me yesterday that my optical drive was also fried, but not to worry they said, I don’t need to use it.

  4. I’ve had faulty equipment replaced at the Apple store and I am not a consumer watchdog. I know other people who have received replacements as well. Apple is known to do this, especially if you have Apple Care. I usually don’t get extended warranties but when I get Apple products I always get the Apple Care.

  5. In your story, you say that in the Apple store, Matt told you that your experience wasn’t right, that he would speak to the manager with the result being your receiving a new MacBook Pro. Apple products are considered overpriced at the time of purchase, but they have comparatively few unhappy customers because the price includes superior post-sale support. Their Genius bar is free. Their (top secret) warranty policy nearly requires their staffers to step beyond published warranty periods to satisfy customers (especially if Applecare is involved even on a related product) in order to avoid the exact scenario you experienced- a customer faced with the ludicrousness of a product just a few weeks out of warranty. You don’t see Dell, HP, etc., paying for anything like a Genius bar in a Staples store and indeed Best Buy’s Geek Squad makes a ton of money charging to solve customer problems that Apple’s Geniuses solve for free. It makes Apple the legend they are.

    Apple is also legendary for being a very controlling company- mostly in a good way. But what all chain-store retailers including Apple have trouble with is precisely replicating their desired customer experience in every single interaction. I’ve been a student of retail for as long as I’ve been a retail executive. I’ve spent a lot of time studying Apple in particular. The experience you should have had first time was the last one you had, not the one in which the guy suggested you go to Best Buy. If you’re a multi-store chain operator, no matter how good your staff training is, your mid-level field management is, beyond 10-20 stores, it gets really hard to get the stores and staff to deliver the exact same experience each and every time.

    I still think Apple does it best. I’ve visited Apple stores in Manhattan, here in Connecticut, Georgia, Florida and California. Without fail, I’ve been greeted by an Apple salesperson with the exact same line- so simple, empathetic and non-pushy: “Hi- what’s going on?” Now THAT’S control. At the opposite end of the retail spectrum, I award Best Buy (and PC Richard as well) the lowest score on the Larry scale: “Not Nice People”.

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