Burning Macbook Adaptor Porn.

It’s bad enough that the laptop started to burn on Adrian’s bed while he was in it…

(Yummy, we love posting pictures of flamed laptop bits)

… but then he got the added bonus of being forced to use Chinese Apple Support. See, he’s in Shanghai and Apple China has jurisdiction.

Unfortunately, what they don’t also have is people who speak English.

That’s but one sliver of his long and windy road… he’s got a real doozy of a complaint letter, inside.

Hi,

Be patient with my letter, the problems started small and got major. I’ll give you a summary. I live abroad, have gotten horrible Applecare support and my Magsafe adaptor started to burn while using it on my bed…

I own a Macbook Pro, purchased in April in Hong Kong. The mouse button sticks, and I have had a lot of trouble getting support from Apple as I live in China. They insist that I use local support, even though I paid for Applecare support and the local support guys are clueless and can’t speak English. My Chinese is ok, but you get to explaining computer problems and…. I bought a whole range of Apple products in April, an Ipod Hifi and two Airport Expresses.

My first problem:

It took me hours of calling the US support line with wifi problems before I got a supervisor senior enough to tell me that my problem was my Linksys router…He suggested I replace it with an Airport Express to solve problem…I asked him clearly, “So you recommend that I buy more Airport Expresses and that will solve my problem?” He said yes. (He was rude and considered my problem below him, kept insisting I call local support…) I bought two more, might as well go all wireless. Later the Airports keep dropping out, having to be reset constantly. I call Us support, they tell me to call China support who is befuddled by my problem. Often they don’t even call me back. I finally get US support on the line, and the guy tells me that Apple will not support more than two Airport Express units…He helps me out and reluctantly and “off the record tells me the secret to use Airport Utility with more than two Airports to solve my problem (temporarily, they still drop out sporadically).

It happens again and my Macbook stops recognizing my external hard drives. I test them with other computers, they work fine. I call China support, they don’t call me back. Later, late into the night (time difference), I call Apple and am told that the Macbook Pro has “no known issues”. I almost burst out laughing. I demand that something be done and am told again to take it up with local service. The hard drive problem corrected itself, I assume it was a problem with the OS which was corrected by an update.

Then I see a notice for a battery recall. My battery serial number matches the recall information EXACTLY as given on the webpage, but the registration pages won’t log all the way through…When I finally get someone on the phone in the states, I am told that “Yes all batteries ending in XXXXX are being recalled but yours actually BEGINS with a different code and we haven’t put that up on the website…

Here is the best part. One night my Magsafe adaptor starts to break near the tip where the thin cord meets the connector. Just a small nick, but I have to jiggle it to get power. This is a laptop that sees only home office use. Very little unplugging of the connector….

Well the next morning as I am jiggling the connector trying to get a little power to my rapidly dying computer, my girlfriend says she notices a funny smell…I look at the connector and it is slightly charred. THE MAGSAFE ADAPTOR HAD STARED TO BURN. I often place my computer on a wooden ledge connected to my bedframe at night so this was alarming and potentially dangerous. I enclose pictures…

It gets better. I call Apple customer support in China, they don’t call me back within an hour. So my girlfriend talks to the Chinese rep, and gets the number of the Apple repair center. They don’t answer the phone, so I call support back and they give me an address. I go there and arrive about 4:30, the building is in rough shape and I travel in the overstuffed elevator to the 11th floor repair center. As I get out into the hallway all the lights are off and its dark because the light comes in through one window and its overcast. The office they gave me the address to is VACANT. There is a glass door and the place is empty. Judging from the dust on the desks, no one has been there for 6 months or more. THICK DUST ON THE DESKS.

Furious I walk ten minutes to the first Apple reseller I can find and try to buy a new adaptor. I am told it will cost the equivalent of 250 USD. I agree, because I have some legal documents to mail and all the Apple resellers gouge customers here. You know where people buy their copy Apple software in China? THE EMPLOYEES OFFER IT TO YOU IN THE APPLE STORE. I agree to pay, but he tells me they have to order it and it will take two weeks. Frustrated I manage to find another store, and buy the adapter for 200 USD.

The other address we are given is not even an official Apple repair center, just a place that fixes computers.

Everything is working fine now, except the mouse button will get stuck and has something wrong with it. I have to restart sometimes to get it to work. Its definitely a physical problem, you can feel it when it clicks. My speakers are making a clicking noise and my battery lasts about an hour and a half just surfing the web before it needs charging. Of course the heat is annoying. By the way, it often won’t wake from sleeping. I tolerated a lot before it got to this point.

This is a serious breakdown and a health hazard…Look at my pictures and this website…http://mobilitytoday.com/news/006856/apple_executive_relations_poor
Someone else has had this same problem with the Magsafe. At this point I just want my money for the adaptor reimbursed (I will give them a receipt) and I really would just like to have the Macbook replaced…The overheating, the possibly dodgy battery, the mouse button, the inability to connect to my LaCie drives, I just feel like I have a lemon on my hands. And forgive me, but I don’t trust Apples operation in China to fix them properly.

I am going to contact the same department that David Ciccone did, Investor relations and will keep you updated as to their response. If Things aren’t resolved properly I am contemplating a lawsuit. But you know I still love the operating system and don’t hate the company, but I can’t abide by this treatment especially after I purchased an extended warranty that promised worldwide service.. I can not abide by being passed off to a service center here that offers such substandard service… I don’t like being advised by a company tech that I should buy more product then told they won’t support my purchase.

I’ll keep you posted…

Adrian

Shanghai, P.R.C.

Update…I just spent 45 mins on the phone explaining the problem to customer service before I try to contact Executive Relations…Spoke and put on hold for 45 mins from China. At the end he put me on hold so he could transfer me to Hong Kong, as they have “issues with jurisdiction”. I said that is exactly the problem I am having, because you all have issues with jurisdiction…In the end HE HIMSELF COULDN’T EVEN FIND OUT HOW TO CONTACT HONG KONG. Exactly my problem. Didn’t seem to absorb how dangerous this would have been if I had not been present.

i suspect this means I have been passed over to some Hong Kong guy who wants to keep the bottom line looking good at all costs and will do everything in his power to avoid making this right… “

Comments

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  1. Falconfire says:

    While mine has not burst into flames, my power adapter cord has twice gotten a kink in it at the end, both on my first one, and my second.

  2. d0x says:

    “But you know I still love the operating system and don’t hate the company”

    Let me get this straight here…your mouse is broken, your cable has caught on fire, your battery is screwed and you cant stay connected to the internet correct?

    Yet you dont hate this company for dicking your around? This is exactly a reason to hate a company my friend and you apple fanboys are insane!

    If a company treated me like this I wouldnt support them with my hard earned money. You keep supporting them after they treat you like this and things will never get any better.

    Good luck with your problem but if i was you i would stop buying their crap.

  3. Henrythoreau says:

    Dear Consumerists:

    The power cord has been a constant problem for users of the new Macbook Pro. It binds and breaks right before the magnet and users often have to jiggle it endlessly to get it to work. Then it fails and, at times, catches on fire.

    I’ve had two replaced and now have to treat my new cord as if it were an antique Christmas tree ornament. The usually nice folks at the San Francisco Mac store have given me the third degree when I try to get a replacement, essentially blaming me for being hard on the cord.

    I can’t believe they haven’t begun a recall on the cord. If you look at reviews of the part (the Apple 85W MagSafe Power Adapter for MacBook Pro), you will find dozens of users complaining about the product. I think it is down to two out of five stars.

    -Henry

    PS: It seems especially ironic that the official name of this burning part has the word “safe” in it.

  4. ValkRaider says:

    What kind of an idiot has a nick in a power cord and has to wiggle it to get power – yet continues to use it?

    Hello!

    A short can cause a fire… Stop using the damn cord, and don’t blame Apple…

    I connect and disconnect my MagSafe connector at least 4 times a day, and have done so since the MacBook Pros first shipped.

    And god forbid Apple have Chinese speaking employees in China… How EVIL!

    I bet DELL has never had a computer break, not ever! And Sony and Toshiba have 100% perfect quality records as well.. The mouse button broke on an Apple? God they only make crap…

  5. LLH says:

    i guess this is a very big issue right now. check the discussion on it from the apple site:

    http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=549852&t


    my advice to the dude in china? scour the discussion boards and see if you can’t get one of those guys to help you out. they seem to know the in’s and out’s of working with apple’s defective products. on the other hand, i’ve got a friend who is brutal with her laptops and the magsafe on her’s is still in great shape, not hot at all.

  6. dissolution says:

    This kind of attitude — that Apple China servicepeople should speak English — is what gives American tourists such a bad reputation.

    And I agree with ValkRaider — if a power cord is broken, you don’t use it. I’m not an electrician but this seems self-evident to me.

    I think Adrian in Shanghai is just ranting here.