Sometimes complaining CAN get you somewhere…

Its strange isn’t it? Most of the time when you complain about something in today’s society most people really don’t give a damn, so as a result you really don’t expect to get any results!

Well as I mentioned almost 2 months ago I went to the efforts of getting the logic board replaced on my iMac so that it would actually recognise the 2 512Mb RAM sticks that I put in it… Initially I got it replaced by none other than the brilliant Scotsys (yes I’m being very sarcastic), An Apple Authorised Repair Provider. How they managed that feat is pretty amazing, they really do suck at repairing computers, or maybe they don’t; they probably fix them fine and then kick them about a bit, who knows? Anyway the point is that if you send your computer to them then its gonna get damaged and come back (if it comes back) in a worse state than when you sent it away!

In my case I was having the logic board replaced. This really isn’t that hard a job, I could probably do it if I was allowed to open up my iMac myself. Scotsys DID manage to replace the logic board with a new (working!) one, which was a feat in itself. But they couldn’t just do that, so in addition they left the case open at the top, scratched the screen, broke the iSight camera and seriously impaired the Airport signal. As you could imagine I was rather pissed off! I phoned up Apple, explained my (terrible) situation and was eventually transferred a proper customer services dude, the kind that expected you to be irate, so spoke in a calming voice and told you not to worry. Don’t worry though, he’d happily jerk you around too if you left it too long!

I was told that the only option was to take my iMac back to Scotsys and get it repaired (yeah right) by them… This I did, having it picked up and Couriered there (I’m lazy!). It returned a not-unreasonable week or so later with a new iSight camera cable, the case closed but with a scratch on the screen still and very little Airport reception! Yet again I talked to the calming rep at Apple, who suggested I took it there again, or maybe take it to another repair place even further away, maybe 50 miles or so… Little did he know that Apple had opened up their Glasgow store, so instead of risking it with some other cowboys I thought it best to take it to the genius bar and get it properly looked at and hopefully fixed.

I checked out the Apple Store Buchanan St. website and arranged an appointment at the genius bar. A few days later I appeared at the store (finding that I could have basically turned up at anytime and had it looked at, oh well…) and had my iMac looked at. They ordered a new screen and an Airport antenna without even looking at the unit, which was pretty trustworthy of them! I was told it was going to take around 7-10 days which to be honest when you don’t really have another computer to use is quite a long time!

Fear not though! I had a call merely 2 days later to say that it had been repaired and that it was all good and ready to collect… Another longish trip to Glasgow to get to the store followed. I picked it up, checking that it looked okay and that there actually was NO scratch anymore (luckily it had been repaired!), not taking time to turn it on and find out if it ran/booted up okay. Oops. Maybe I just assumed that Apple Store = good service.

Unfortunately I got it home and booted it up to find a very pleasant whining noise coming from the unit. From the sound I could easily tell that it was some cable or the ESD wrapping stuff that had got in front of the fan at the bottom right and was now brushing against it, making more noise than the fans usual silence. Oh, and I should also mention that the airport was no better and that getting reception in my room still was fairly challenging if at all possible (from THAT computer!).

I took my usual course of action and phoned my now good friend Ibar at Apple. He didn’t seem too impressed with what had happened (at least he acted that way), but he agreed with me that this was not the kind of service that I should be getting, which is very true! He agreed to replace my unit with a new one. Specifically the new model, the 20″ aluminium and glass iMac with the 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo processor, the base model I know, but a fairly good improvement to my current model, you must agree. He said that once I had returned the old unit, he would send a new one out. Well he didn’t actually say this, but that was what happened in the end. He actually said something more along the lines of I’ll send you a new model and I’ll also arrange to get your old one picked up. Mentioning nothing of the timeframe that he had implied/imposed. Anyway, in the end I had to wait a week and a half and have another phonecall before the old unit was collected, which was a bit slow. And then wait another 5 days or so before my new one arrived.

So eventually I did get a new model, but it took a bloody long time! Now I have to contact him about Applecare and transfering my subscribtion to the new computer. Hopefully, yet again, some complaining will get me far!

Points Worth Considering

1. I could have repaired the majority of these problems myself. The initial situation involving the case open, the airport reduced and the iSight not working could have been solved by me. The fact that the case was open at this point enabled me to look inside to see how much of a shoddy job they had done. There is normally black ESD tape/paper around the inside of the unit, just under the white casing to act as a Faraday cage or similar. This was non-chalantly ripped off and just placed back on top. As a result I could see the inside of the iMac and see where a) the airport card antenna was and b) where the iSight cable was not routed properly. In the later scenario where there was the noise coming from the fan, that could have been sorted with much greater ease! It would have just required opening the case and removing the obscruction! At the end of the day though, I’m not actually allowed to open the case and sort out the problems myself. I would have voided the all important warranty by doing that, not a good thing! Also, by repairing the problems myself I wouldnot have shown up Scotsys’s dodgy work, and not get a brand new iMac!

2. I could have complained and got a better iMac. I bought mine back at the start of 2006 for £929, I also bought some more Apple RAM, worth around about £60 at the time (although I tapped a bit of eBay to get it for £18). The new model that I received cost considerably less than this, around about £700 or so. I don’t have the exact figure to hand. But, if I asked for a refund as opposed to a replacement model, then I would have been able to purchase a considerably better model, and even chip in a bit of my own money to afford the 24″ one! That is if they had let me, which I’m not entirely sure they would have. But, then again I think there’s something in the Sale of Goods act that mentions a refund or replacement must be given. Could have been worth a go, but would have taken more time I suspect!

3. I could have kept my old iMac (temporarily at least) so I could have used migration assistant to transfer the old data smoothly. This would enable me to transfer the data more smoothly, have my old (noisy) computer with me for longer, and give them the chance to forget about it and not pick it up. I know someone who has done this and now has 2 iBooks, although one doesn’t really function as a laptop after Scotsys repaired it! In that case I could have sucessfully repaired the unit myself and get another computer out of it. Probably fairly unlikely to happen, but then again always worth a go if it happens again!

EDIT: I think the CD/DVD drive might be broken, importing CDs into iTunes at 5x isn’t normal is it?