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Apple Replaced My Broken iPad Out of the Kindness of Their Heart

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While on a trip this weekend my iPad 2 Dock Connector stopped functioning. iTunes showed nothing when I connected it to my Mac and it would not charge, either. So I went to my closest Apple store in Greensboro, NC assuming I would get taken advantage of by the Geniuses, as my only other trip to the Genius Bar resulted in them telling me my iPod touch was damaged by liquid and therefore no longer under warranty. This even though, to the best of my knowledge, I never dropped it in water or got it wet. “Once bitten twice shy,” goes the cliché.

My Genius Bar Experience

The Geniuses were swamped when I arrived ten minutes early for my 3 PM appointment. They finally called my name at about 3:15. The guy connected my iPad to his charger and then to a computer with the same result - nothing! He pulled out a flashlight and looked at the dock connector. The pins were bent and he informed me this was what Apple calls “Physical Damage” which usually translates to – “YOU’RE SCREWED!”

Applestore gso

I asked if this was something they repaired or if they replaced the whole iPad. He took down my iPad 2 serial number and disappeared into the privacy of the back room. A few minutes later he appeared with a look on his face that I normally see when I visit my parishioners at the hospital and the doctor delivers bad news. His first words were, “Just wait till I’m totally finished before you get mad!”

Too late!

My Genius informed me that, since the iPad was damaged, it was not a warranty issue but user error. They don’t usually replace an iPad with this kind of damage under warranty. My blood boiled but I agreed to bite my tongue until he finished. He said they were going to replace my iPad 2 “just this once” and I felt relief.

I wondered if he went to see how many Apple products, apps, music and movies I’ve purchased over the last ten years. I’m a good Apple customer with two MacBooks, a 2nd generation Apple TV, four iPhones, two iPod Touches, a dozen other iPods of various kinds and a total of 911 apps. That doesn’t include the 10 GB of iTunes music or the dozens of movies and TV shows downloaded from iTunes.

Regardless of why they were replacing my broken iPad 2, I was happy. I got a new unit instead of what I expected – a refurbished one.

The Genius Bar

Things Get Weird

At this point the visit turned a little bizarre. The Genius asked if I plugged my iPad 2 into a dock of any kind. I told him that I had an Apple iPad dock. Before I could get it out that I haven’t used it in months, he said that was likely the culprit. Plugging it into an Apple iPad Dock could cause the pins to bend and I needed to be more careful about how I plugged it in.

What?!

MC360

I was stunned and asked, “You mean my Apple iPad Dock is likely what broke my Apple iPad 2 and for that reason the damage is not covered under warranty?” He seemed to realize that what he said sounded foolish and back pedaled. I decided not to push the matter.

The Real Story

I feel certain that the bent pins resulted from my trying to plug my iPad into a cable hooked up to the 10w wall charger in a dark hotel room. I could not see the connector or the dock port very well and it didn’t feel like it fit right. I pulled out the connector and pushed it back in leaving it over night. When I woke up the next morning I put my iPad into my computer bag where it sate over the week until I took it out Saturday night only to find it uncharged and unable to connect to iTunes running on my MacBook Air.

Apple Answers the Call

A lot of press was devoted to Apple’s stock price and market cap the last couple of days. I believe my experience illustrates why Apple’s stock price soars above other tech firms. With all their faults, they take care of customers most of the time.

We’ve heard many stories about Apple replacing products even when they were technically not under warranty. A friend of mine broke the display on his iPad 2 just a week after he bought it. His daughter decided to test how well it flies. Apple replaced it free of charge.

Most tech companies write their warranties in a way that gives them a loop-hole to keep from having to provide good service, something they see as an expense. Apple may write their warranties the same way, but they also often do as they did in my case – the right thing! My iPad may have been damaged because I was not careful enough while plugging in a charging cable. I would argue that the beveled edges make plugging in the iPad 2 harder than it was on the iPad 1. Either way, they made good and I’m satisfied.

Geniuses Make the Difference

Apple’s customer service is different from most other companies. If my HP laptop or ASUS Eee Pad Transformer goes on the fritz, I call someone often in a foreign country. They will never see me or meet me face-to-face. Apple invites me to their very busy store and provides face-to-face tech support through someone they call a “genius.” As silly as the name is, the process works. It is harder to screw a customer when he or she is in your store filled with potential customers than it is when the person is sitting at home talking via phone to someone hundreds or maybe thousands of miles away.

Most corporations see customers as a resource that they use to keep their true customers, the stockholders, happy. Apple makes their stockholders happy by making a quality product and backing it up, thus causing sales to shoot through the roof. As a result, their stock price follows.

Kevin loves notebooks, tablets, gadgets and photography. He grew up with computers starting out on a Vic 20 and Commodore 64. The first computer he owned himself was an 8086 Compaq Deskpro. His foray into tablet computing began when he bought a Samsung Q1 Ultra. The smartphone market opened up for him with his Palm Treo 600.

9 Comments

  1. Rami

    08/15/2011 at 12:46 am

    My i pad fell from 5 feet height and screen was broken. I was so disappointed and i thought of spending 150 to 200 bugs for screen repair. i went into the apple store  and showed my broken  i pad and they gave me courtesy Replacement for the first time.Its not luck guys. If any one have the same problem, talk with apple care and they will give options for repair and they dont give you gurantee for replacement . When you walk into the store there are many chances for replacement(its only one time replacement). If not try other stores…..

    • Alabazmi

      08/22/2011 at 5:22 am

      I noticed a crack on iPad 2 screen after returning home! Something happened in the care!.
      I called apple care. They suggested me to take to an apple store. I did. And got a replacement and signed I agree it is my first and last replacement for this kind of damage. I am happy but I am questioning this new one. Feels heavier and thicker. It seems battery is not as good as my original one. At stored they opened a brown box in front of my own eyes.now is it really different? Is an early version of iPad made but later improved and now they are getting ride of by impressing us with great costumer service? I am still happy but anyone else has similar experience?

      • Blazen70

        09/02/2011 at 7:58 pm

        Yes the apple store in Winnipeg exchanged my 3 week old iPad 2 for a brown box special it’s total crap I buy new and they replace my light bleed iPad 2 with used junk not fair I’m going back to raise he’ll

    • Perry0141

      09/23/2012 at 9:39 am

      Rami, I live in Greensboro, NC, and there is only one Apple store here. I was getting out of my car yesterday, and my iPad slipped out of my hands and hit the pavement on the right hand bottom corner, and the glass smashed around that small area. But I can see today, the cracking is still moving upward on the screen. I have always been so careful, and I keep a cover on it, but with the impact on that little corner, it cracked the glass anyway. My iPad is working fine, no problems, but I’m afraid the glass is going to continue chipping away and moving up the screen.

      I’m taking your advice and going into the store today and as for a “courtesy replacement”. Can you give me a tip on what to ask them, and is it ok to show them your story?

      Thank you kindly for a response. My email address is: [email protected]
      September 23, 2012.

  2. Kiwiice

    11/10/2011 at 11:46 pm

    is it ok to concern the broken ipad in apple store even if the ipad bought in the retail store or other store?

  3. Lizgrimwood

    12/29/2011 at 2:25 pm

    I wish I’d had the same experience! My iPad2 screen broke even though I hadn’t dropped it & it had a case on the back & the Apple cover on the front & was stored in a laptop bag. I suggested that maybe the glass had been faulty but was told apple products are NEVER faulty & iPads can’t be repaired. I would have to buy a new one. Having spent over £2000 in the last 12 months, I refuse to give them anymore of my money. The person at the Genius bar spent less than 3 minutes with me! I’ll be sticking with microsoft in the future!

  4. Garryheathermay

    02/27/2012 at 4:13 pm

    My IPad charged very slowly, like 1% every 2 hours, took it the Apple store for an appointment to be told “no it’s not doing very much at all, we can reset it factory settings if that doesn’t work it will be completely kaput” He set it to factory settings and hey up it’s kaput, “that’ll be £200 if u want to replace it please” no wonder Apple are gaining the monopoly if they can’t fix something like that on an 18 mth old iPad and expect people to payout a significant amount of money to replace it. we knew nothing about the extended warranty that is available after a year for £60 but will without a doubt be getting that for my daughters iPad 2 that she bought with All her hard saved money as i now know the devastation it causes without one….I feel lost!!!!!

    • theTZAR

      06/16/2012 at 6:16 pm

      Hey you can try ebay for some replacement parts… or maybe some iPad repair stores… usually places that repair iPhones can repair iPads. I know i had a problem where i just ran out of warranty and my screen cracked. So i purchased a new one of eBay and installed it myself. Though it was difficult i now have a working iPad for $40… instead of $320 that Apple wanted. http://tzr.com.au/2012/06/15/to-change-or-not-to-change/

  5. MTKlols

    10/25/2012 at 10:54 pm

    Nice one fatty. Best troll ever. For a while I legitimately thought you were a pissed off apple customer up until the part where you admitted jamming the charger into your ipad port in the dark. Good lols

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