The AppleCare story

We love Apple products, they usually have  excellent products with good hardware. But this post isn’t about, how great they are. This post is about, what happens when in a Country like India, your Apple gizmo falls apart.

Diving in.

I purchased my 15′ Macbook Pro on 18th June 2011 from Reliance iStore on M.G Road Bangalore. On, 1st of July – the machine broke down. After waking up from sleep, the Operating system wasn’t responsive and  I had to hard boot the machine and during the reboot, it got stuck at Gray Screen with Apple logo. Even leaving it like that for hours, did not result in any progress.

I called AppleCare on 2nd of July and they said usually this happens because of  “Software Problems” and we proceeded to reinstall the OS. But the problem was back again 2 days later. This time AppleCare guy told me to erase and install, which I did. At no point, I was asked to run any hardware diagnosis or any kind of tests. The AppleCare apparently operates by gut instinct.

Anyways, coming back – The machine again broke down in same fashion after 3 or 4 days and I called Reliance iStore this time. They asked me to bring the machine. I left the machine with them and after 2 or 3 days, I had to callback and ask whats up with my MBP. They said, they have reinstalled the OS and did not find any problems with the machine (hardware or software).

I was somewhat mad at this point, I told them – The OS has been reinstalled 3 times already, if there is a problem that reinstalling the OS can fix, it should have been fixed first time.  They asked me to contact AppleCare. I called up AppleCare and this is where first thing I learnt is – Call Center Executives in India aren’t authorized to take, how do I put it – any effective decisions. They routed my call, outside India. I waited for nearly 35 minutes and then some guy from Europe picked the call.

This senior executive asked me where I purchased my Macbook from and where I have given it for repair. I gave him the answers and also asked him, if I qualify for “Not-Fit-For-Purpose” program, since machine broke down within 14 days of purchase.  He in turn asked me, Why haven’t I purchased my MBP from an Apple Store? Why didn’t I take it back to Apple Store? He was somewhat clueless about how Apple sells hardware in India. It took me a while to give a picture of; how things stand in India. But the conclusion was, No I can’t get replacement since iStore people haven’t found any hardware problem and I was asked to take my Macbook, back from Reliance iStore.

I took back my MBP from iStore and used it for nearly 5 days. I also did my own bit of investigation in the meanwhile and found that “/var/log/kernel.log” was filled with “I/O errors”. I ran smart-utility and it reported SMART status as FAILING. After 5th day the machine, stopped working again in identical manner.  This time I took the machine to another Service Provider (Ample Technologies) and also purchased Mac Mini 2011 on same day since my work was getting affected.

They took nearly 4 days and asked my permission to erase and reinstall the OS. When I gave the machine to them, the machine was booting, but everything was dead slow and disk was reporting countless errors. After erase and install, they ran some tests and they came back to me, saying machine is fine and I can take back the machine.

To be honest, I was pissed at this point. The OS has been reinstalled 4 times and I showed them “kernel.log” errors, I had screenshot of Smart Utility reporting disk as failing. I started contemplating legal action via consumer courts at this point.

I asked them to use Smart Utility and Smart Monitor. To my surprise, they called in the evening saying – They couldn’t download the programs and if I can send those screenshots via Email.  I sent them the ScreenShot and I also sent them, downloaded version of Smart Utility with Email.

They ran those tests and finally concluded that Hard Disk is faulty. Finally, *win*.

I called Apple Customer relations (Thanks Sidu!) and asked for a replacement. A customer relation executive from Singapore picked my call and after 2 days of back and forth, they agreed to give me a new machine.  I was sent another Email by a lady from Singapore that, my machine has been dispatched and she gave me contact number of Apple local representatives.  It was 6th day  since that Email and in total more than 3 weeks of this sorry episode and I had to leave for Chennai day after tomorrow, so I called the local representative, Schenker India and the they told me, they no longer deal with Apple. *gasp*.

You see the classic disconnect, Apple gives me a number and the dude tells me – his company no longer handles Apple stuff. Fun. I had another number though. And I made few calls to this another number , left a voice message but couldn’t reach him. Fortunately, replacement macbook arrived, as I was packing my stuff for Chennai trip.

The bottom line I think is, Apple India customer support is massively fucked up.

  • Apple India executives have no authority to take any effective decisions.
  • Customers are left to the mercy of resellers and their crappy service. These guy have no incentive to give good customer service.
  • Whatever technical support executives these resellers have are crappy and in my opinion aren’t qualified to troubleshoot problems.
  • Since all decision making happens from Singapore, Brisbane or Europe, there is big disconnect between how things are with Apple India and what these executives sitting in Singapore, Brisbane have been told. It is big pain.


4 thoughts on “The AppleCare story”

  1. Man that sucks! I live in Sweden, but I’ve never had problems with any of my three Macs, so I’m not sure what the customer service is like, but we’re also stuck with resellers unless we want to actually send it to Apple by snail mail.

  2. Ah!! I would have named it title it as the “The AppleCare Saga”. Well, frankly speaking, customer cares are a pathetic lot, be it Apple or just any other. Anyway, I hope your replacement piece does just fine for a long time to come. 🙂

  3. @Jeethu, Good advice. I doubt that it will work, but worth trying.

    @Jonas, Yup, agreed most of the time Apple products just work. It is just that, when you hit the rough spot and there aren’t very many Apple Stores around you, it gets problematic.

    The Company which sells hardware at such a high premium has absolutely no excuse for spotty customer service. Even Dell support is much better than Apple in India. Dell’s onsite support works and it works even in far flung tier2 cities. I can’t even image, trying to get support for my MBP from any of the tier 2 cities.

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