I have been a fan of Apple’s products and it’s customer service for years now. My friends who are new to Apple world have also commented on the great service levels and friendliness of the staff even at the Apple Reseller Outlets in India. Over the past two days I have been both frustrated and delighted at Apple Care’s approach to its consumers.
My Macbook is out of warranty (bought in July 06) and clearly not eligible for any free repairs or replacement of parts. Last Friday, I discovered a yellow tint across the display screen and left for machine for diagnosis at the Apple Customer Service centre at the Forum Mall, Bangalore. Yesterday, I was told that the LCD panel has to be replaced and it will cost me a whopping Rs.26,000 (approx US$ 520). I was bugged about paying the extra money and the attitude of the Store. I was loath to paying also because I have already spent a fortune on the machine upgrade –from extra RAM, capacity, new battery and charger.
It was difficult to get through to the Service personnel, calls were not returned – that variety. I approached their HQ at RT Nagar and I was told that since the machine is out of warranty, nothing can be done. They asked me to call the Apple Care number. I did. I whined about being a loyal Apple fan for 10years+ now and being a owner of several Macs & iPods over the years. I was asked to call up Customer Relations today. I did. I was initially shooed off. I persisted with another call and I was then put on to a person in Apple Care, Sydney. After hearing me out, she said that ‘she will see what can be done’ and promised to speak to the Service Centre and call me back. I was angling for a one-time exception – clearly not something that I am entitled to. In the past, they have made an exception on the same machine.
I don’t know yet if Apple will make an exception and replace the LCD screen. On hard facts, I am not entitled to – I neither have extended warranty nor AppleCare Protection Plan. But simply entertaining a call of this nature speaks volumes about their attitude to customer care. I doubt if other brands in the same category will even bother. I may end up living with a faulty display screen but my image of Apple’s service has not been dented severely.