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Apple Geniuses Fail to Deliver, More Like a PC Everyday



This week I took my MacBook Air into the closest Apple store for a number of issues, including overheating, a 2″ wide band of black and cyan on the right half of the display and just general non-Mac issues.

I had been prepared to write a post about the huge win that Apple gets from having staffed Genius repair centers throughout the nation, who are able to return computers within a day or two, but I was wrong.

While every Apple Store repair story I have ever been told results in a brand new machine, sometimes a model newer, my Apple repair experience can be summed up in one word — Fail.

As the title says, Apple is getting more like the PC support we all know and loathe everyday. This failure isn’t an attack on Apple after Steve Jobs’ resignation, but an example of how things change as companies grow. While I was excited about the Apple out of box experience 3 months after ownership, this recent venture has left a rotten taste in my mouth.

Issues, Issues and More Issues

I had been having issues with my MacBook Air for the last few months, but I was hopeful that Lion would bring a better experience. This past Wednesday, the display went nuts, which was the last straw. You can see my display issues below.

MacBook Air Issue

One Genius Visit Isn't Enough to Fix this Mac.

I took my MacBook Air into the Apple Store at Easton Town Center the next day, hoping to be on the end of the many “here’s your new Mac” stories I had heard about over the years.

Bad news. No new Mac. Good news. I’m still under warranty which means my logic board will be replaced for free.

18 hours later I got a call from the Apple Store letting me know that my MacBook Air was fixed and I could make the 5 hour roundtrip to pick up my computer.

After making the trip down today, and waiting 15 minutes in store, a tech brought out my MacBook Air. She suggested I open it up to make sure everything is running fine, that’s when I see the same black line, except this time it doesn’t disappear when the computer is restarted.

This is the type of second rate service I expected from Dell back in 2003, not from the computer manufacturer with the highest customer satisfaction rating in the industry. Had the tech run the “hardware stress test” which my Genius promised would identify any other issues, or even booted the Air up, it ould have been evident that something was wrong.

Again I thought, well perhaps I’ll get a new MacBook Air for the wasted 5 hour trip and $50 worth of gas. Alas, no new MacBook Air for me.

Instead Apple has to order the new display in, at least another $200 worth of parts for Apple, and will have it ready to go within a few days. Rather than make another trip to the store they will ship it back to me, but now I am back to being without my computer for a week. I’ve had gateway notebooks fixed in less time and with better results.

I’m not out anything other than 10 hours and the cost of gas, because I am able to roll over to the HP ProBook 5330m which I have in for review. This notebook is an easy switch for me, but this isn’t the case for most consumers. If you are a regular user, you may not have another computer to switch over too. Same goes for the many freelancers that rely on Apple machines to make a living.

Once you get past my wasted time and poor experience there is a bigger issue at hand for Apple owners and fans of the brand. Once a company grows in popularity and profit, it becomes difficult to maintain the same standards of customer support.

While there’s no way Apple could fix every issue by handing out a new Mac, if you have a customer come in and you haven’t fixed their problem, the least you could do is offer some iTunes credit.

How has Apple handled your Mac problems? Are you one of the few who always get a new Mac when something breaks?



  1. johnd

    10/09/2011 at 2:15 pm

    Well I wouldn’t know I have never owned a mac, but I have heard a lot of stories from people where I attend school who were mad at them because they had had problems with problems not being fixed after service. I own a Dell laptop and I have never had any problem getting them to fix mine (other than trying to get the people from India to understand what the problem was). They nearly always send someone to fix it at my house.

    • Anonymous

      10/09/2011 at 7:04 pm

      You’ve never owned a Mac…
      You own a Dell laptop and say you’ve “never had any problem getting them to fix mine…” Your only problem is “getting someone from India to understand what the problem is…”
      You say “They nearly always send someone to fix it at my house.”

      I say you’re full of crap.

      • Terrence

        02/13/2012 at 1:34 pm

        i know this is a dated post, but the man is right – dell does send out tech’s on site to residential homes.  This is an optional service per the customers request. Although I am not a big dell fan, the fact that if you have a hardware failure and its under warranty, dell will send a tech out at no extra charge to replace the faulty hardware within 2 days.  True story.  As far as a mac issue goes, no I have never had a mac issue because I have never had a mac, as far as that goes I have never had a PC issue either in the 15 years I have been using computers. Although being a technician this probably explains the reason why.  I only get new computer laptop, when I feel like it.  Or there is a good deal.  The apple empire will fall, just because something is pretty doesnt mean its functional, compatible, or even practical.  Instead of spending more for less, try learning how to properly operate a PC.  Youll be suprised that a little education can go a long way.

  2. Sorry Apple.

    10/09/2011 at 2:38 pm

    Our company has had to stop using Apple as the service wasn’t able to keep up with all the problems…bad screens…logic boards…power supplies and “unknown” issues. It was NOT a popular decision as we have many fan boys…but they came around when the bottom line is to get work done. We are now very productive in the post Apple world.

    • Anonymous

      10/09/2011 at 7:00 pm

      Goes against everything I’ve ever experienced or ever heard about Apple. You sound like a troll.

      • StPeteyouarethetroll

        10/10/2011 at 11:52 am

        I have to agree with Sorry Apple…we HAD to get rid of over 220 macs recently because of all sorts of issues. We now have significant better up-time since we switched. Plus out costs have been cut in half or more. It seems to me that a lot of Apple fans (I could care less either way…I just want something that works!) cover up for Apple. Not sure if you have to manage over 300 computers or not Mr. StPete. I think you are the troll. I know that we get expert service right away from our PC vendor. If we have to call.

      • AppleIsGarbage

        10/10/2011 at 12:35 pm

        APPLE BLOWS.. Double the price, Half the Specs.. FAIL!

    • Tsmbuck

      10/10/2011 at 9:18 am

      I have to one up this guy, i did an internship for a media company that was in he process of switching from macs due to the issues he described. Do you guys really think that this isn’t common?

  3. BrianB13

    10/09/2011 at 3:35 pm

    My Macbook Pro went into sleep mode and wouldn’t wake up.  Set up a Genius Bar appointment and made the one hour drive to the Modesto CA store the next day.  They diagnosed the problem correctly but did not have the part in the store nor did the other Apple stores in the vicinity.  That’s when I recommended that the so-called “Genius” try the Bay Area Apple stores starting with the one in Walnut Creek CA and have them overnight the part.  Well, that Apple store had one, it was shipped out overnight and my Macbook Pro was fixed the next morning so I went and picked it up.  That was 2 years ago as my Macbook Pro has worked flawlessly since then.  I’m currently running Snow Leopard and Windows 7 Ultimate on it.  Sure beats the junky Dell Inspirons I used to buy.

    • John Doe

      06/05/2014 at 2:55 pm

      Buy a laptop that costs the same as the Macbook and tell me it’s junky.

  4. F A I L

    10/09/2011 at 3:49 pm

    Why in the world would you admit to running windows 7 on a mac? Now you have a way overpriced PC.
    Talk about FAIL…

    • Anonymous

      10/10/2011 at 9:27 am

      Some people need t be able to run software that may only run on one platform or the other…or just run better on one or the other.  Everyone has a different use case scenario.  maybe his companies systems run on Windows, but he likes having a MAC.  Let’s not be closed-minded.

  5. michael aaron

    10/09/2011 at 4:29 pm

    Why do they owe you anything? The are repairing your computer. Too bad that they can’t fix it on the spot; and you show me any other computer manufacturer that gives you a full replacement computer on the spot. Perhaps you would get better, instant repair service if you went into a Dell store, HP store, Lenovo store-

    Have you ever had to call PC customer service for a computer fix? Have you had to sit on hold for 45min and then have to justify to several, non-English speaking persons how you know it is broken WITHOUT having to go through the “script” (have you tried turning it off and on)?

    Who told you to drive those precious, expensive miles to the store? There is a 1800 number (which is what you would HAVE to do if you had a PC problem)

    A FAIL would be them refusing to see you at all or fix it.

    The whole whine about “well so-n-so” got a new computer why can’t I? argument is embarrassing.

    • F A I L

      10/09/2011 at 4:50 pm

      Stil…YOU use Windows on a Mac…what a TOOL.

    • Yogh

      10/09/2011 at 5:55 pm

      As it is under warranty they owe him a working computer.  The fact that they replaced a part and didn’t check that it was fixed is particularly bad.  Of course, they might have checked and it didn’t present with the problem in which case you can’t really fault them.

    • Terrence

      02/13/2012 at 1:39 pm

      They owe him alot –  as a company that offers a warranty they should stand behind their product.  If their warranty says it will be repaired in a certain amount of time, and he has been called to say its repaired I would say he is entitled to a fully functional computer upon his arrival considering the length of time it takes him to drive i personally dont think it would have taken them long at all to double check the overpriced system.  I have been a tech for 11 years and I offer 48 hour turn around time on anything I fix.  Unless there is an odd ball LCD screen or something is on backorder.  I meet this demand every time.  And I have never had a call back for the same issue.  Its called being thorough and dedicated.  Its also called not selling or repairing apple products.  my .02

  6. GooneyGooGoo

    10/09/2011 at 7:52 pm

    How is it “more like PC”? My PCs run perfectly without crashing or viruses for almost 20 years now.  I guess it sucks to be a Mac owner.

    • Anonymous

      10/10/2011 at 9:30 am

      I honestly think the people who get all of the viruses, are those who are a) opening up a bunch of stupid links on Facebook b) playing social games with security flaws and c) going on questionable sites and expecting their computer to be fine (which they will never admit to).

  7. Jason Jett

    10/09/2011 at 8:51 pm

    My experience was late last year. I had an old, 13-inch iMac G5 that failed to boot, and took it to the Genius Bar on the West Side in NYC in early December. A tech checked it, and I was told it required being left in-store for a repair and that I would be called within 24 hours with an update. I did not receive a call or email for two days, so on the third day I called the store to inquire about the machine/repair. The next day a tech returned the call and informed me the computer needed a new hard drive.

     My plan was to give the computer to a niece as a holiday gift, so I okayed the repair at a flat-rate of $250.

     I did not hear again from Apple until January, after the holidays. I was told then the machine was ready for pick-up, and the tech noted an 80GB hard drive had been installed. I was nonplussed, because 80gig hard drives were no longer being manufactured and the standard was 250GB.

     I told the Apple store rep, “Look, you take a month to repair the machine; and then you put in a hard drive that was manufactured three or four years ago?” He explained that Apple does not exceed the original specs when making repairs to a unit. I already had given my niece a ThinkPad, so by not retrieving the iMac G5 I donated that unit to Apple in the hope it might find its way to some deserving urban/rural student…   

    • Lemontree

      10/09/2011 at 9:18 pm

      $250 for them to put in a 80GB? Holy S.

  8. avilner

    10/10/2011 at 9:52 am

    I’ve had quite a few apple products over the years and have had visited a genius bar maybe a half dozen times for carols reasons. I’ve never been handed a new Mac, although they’ve always covered the repair when in warranty. I was handed a new iPhone once, which I was pleasantly surprised at.

    Anyways, I’ve only had positive experiences from the Genius bar. And I’ve never expected to be handed a new computer. It sounds like you had one bad experience and were hoping they’d simply give you a new machine?

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