Apple Urges You To "Take At Least Some Responsibility" For Your Defective iBook

Awhile back we posted a letter from a guy whose claim on a defective iBook G3 Logic Board repair was “9 months too late” and was denied by Apple. He wrote Steve Jobs and the Apple Executive Support team agreed to repair the defective unit under the “Extended iBook Logic Board Repair Program.”

Our reader was really happy and so were we. Sadly, it turns out that Apple has stopped repairing these defective computers—even if you write Steve Jobs. Reader Mark has the same problem as our previous reader, but was told by Apple Executive Customer Support that they would not fix his defective computer because: “It was covered, but now is not covered, because at some point, the consumer has to take at least some responsibility.”

We were under the impression that Apple was repairing these defective computers because people were resorting to lighting them on fire to fix them. Yes, really.

Mark writes:

Hello! My name is Mark, and I’ve been an avid Consumerist reader for quite some time. It’s helped me through many a customer service crisis. Now I’m kinda hoping you guys might be able to help me pull one off.

Basically, my story is the same as this guy. Same exact model G3. Everything. I called/emailed Steve Jobs and Executive Customer Service and got my call back today. Hoping to hear angels singing as they made all my problems go away, I was shot down. “No,” they said. “It was covered, but now is not covered, because at some point, the consumer has to take at least some responsibility.” “I’m not seeing any previous related issues with this serial, so I can’t help you.” I attempted to explain to him that’s because it you know, worked, before. But to no avail. He did give me his direct contact info so I could call him back.

So now I’m at a bit of a brick wall. I have his contact info, but I’m not sure what else. I think I have a case of the Jerk Rep on this one, but It’s not as easy as hanging up and calling again at this point, ya know. I mentioned the consumerist story, that I was having the exact same issue, but he said there is no way he can verify that or that that machine hadn’t had another issue.

He also attached his original letter to Steve Jobs.

Extension Request: Logic Board Malfunction on iBook G3

Dear Mr. Jobs,

Hello! My name is Mark [redacted] and my wife and I have been proud owners of an iBook G3 for some years now. One of our favorite things to do is check blogs in bed, her on her little G3, and I on my computer. Last night, though, was a different story. I came home late from my job at 11pm like usual, hugged my wife, sat down to talk about our day, you know, the usual. That’s when she opened up her Mac and noticed the strange lines and flickering occurring on-screen. We tried rebooting, to no avail. We did if however that if you tap on the left side of the case, it would make the blank screen go away and show the lines again. This to me screamed video card issue, or something like it.

So today (Sept 19, 2007) I had my wife go to the Apple Store at Rockingham Mall in Salem, NH and have a Genius take a look. Said Genius told her that it was a bad logic board, and that it would be 600 dollars to replace it. Now, we’re newly married, and 600 dollars is more than both our cars cost, and is also nearly one months rent. So she said we couldn’t and we both thought that was the end.

But while on lunch break at work, I did a little research. Apparently, there was a big iBook G3 recall/program a few years a back ( http://www.apple.com/support/ibook/faq/ ). Sure enough, my serial (UV3228GXPS1) fell in the range of affected machines. I gave Apple Customer Service a call, having heard only good things. The first time I was told to call back with a serial number and I would be helped. The second time I was told that there was nothing Apple could do for me. I didn’t have Apple Care, so I didn’t really matter. Keep in mind none of these reps even told me about the existence, past or present, of any “program.” It wasn’t until my 3rd try that I found out about that little tidbit of information. A fourth call later on, newly armed with details of the logic board replacement progam, didn’t help a lot more. I was told by the CSR that I needed to find an Authorizes Apple Service Center, not an Apple Store, and have them do it. Which is not free, and thusly not really an option.Finally, I found a glimmer of hope in a story I found where someone had the same issue I did, and had it resolved, via this e-mail address ( http://consumerist.com/consumer/apple/apple-executive-customer-support-fills-you-with-joy-273709.php). I can only hope this will do the same for me. My event ID for what I assume is for all of those calls is [redacted].

What I would like you to help with is simple. I’d like to be able to get my logic board replaced, free of charge. It’s an existing hardware issue that is widely known of and not something I caused, and paying 600 dollars is just too much. I know that the “program” just ended, but it would seem that that deadline has been waived for many others. If you could do the same for me, I would be very grateful.

PREVIOUSLY: Dude Fixes His iBook By Lighting it On Fire
Apple Executive Customer Support Fills You With Joy
(Photo:Amy Adoyzie)

Comments

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  1. Falconfire says:

    Its a 6 year old machine… what did he expect at this point?

    For one thing, at a point Apple even stops having the parts for the replacements. You cant get a Original iMac repaired by them, nor a original iBook or even the later Slot load versions now and I have it on good word the parts for IBook G3s are being discontinued too.

  2. So this wasn’t a recall issue? Apple voluntarily replaced these logic boards? I guess they have stop at some point so I can see where Apple is coming from but this is kind of like dealing with a car, you check your VIN number for recalls and get the issue fixed. The car company isn’t going to tell you that because you didn’t have it fixed right away you deserve to have something happened to you.

    How old is a G3 iBook? You can look at it this way, if it’s old enough shouldn’t you have expected an issue by now?

  3. Uriel says:

    From most people’s experiences, you will obviously see that Apple is completely incapable of guaranteeing the quality of their units. When you hear people speak about an Apple, their experiences can only ever be explained as tumultuous dualities, and “bipolarisms”. You will only ever hear people praising them as “the best thing in the world”, or “worthless piece of shit that may never get a virus, but still seems to commit suicide, somehow…”. Don’t invest in such an unstable brand as Apple. Do they make anything that doesn’t experience horrific problems?

  4. bilge says:

    This is why I’ve always found Apple to be such a frustrating company to deal with. Pretty much every year they have a repair extension program from *something*, but they make no effort to contact affected users. I handled Mac support for a college for six years and if I hadn’t read the usual Mac rumor and news sites, I wouldn’t have heard about any of them.

    Hey, Mark: [www.ifixit.com]

  5. Falconfire says:

    @Nero Diavolo: The only machine I have ever had issues with where the iBook G3’s, which Apple replaced with a G4 for me for free.

    I have original iMacs, 5400-5500’s, LCII and a slew of older models up to the SE30 that have been working in a school district and never had a issue.

    Now contrast that to Dell, where we have a new issue with a NEW Dell machine about every 2 days. I have even gotten Dells in broken their quality control is so bad. Now I could tell you people who have NEVER had issues with Dells, but thats my experience.

    Now if you go by industry reports, Apple is constantly rated higher in quality than any other manufacturer out there, so to say they are unstable is really stretching the truth there.

  6. Cowboys_fan says:

    @solareclipse2: Car recalls usually involve safety and an ibook does not. Cell phones have known issues and recalls all the time, but good luck getting replacement from motorola if its not under warranty.
    I think this is exactly why they stopped this program. They go above and beyond for a few people, and everybody else gets this feeling of entitlement. I don’t think they did the right thing, but it is their choice.
    All the power to you for trying, and I hope it works out, just don’t expect it.

  7. cosby says:

    I want to say that the G3 ibooks were made till like Oct. 2003. So we have something that is a good 4 plus years old. How long do you think a company should stand behind it? Hell I have a sony camera that missed the recall(s) and is messing up. Thing has to be older then 3 years. Guess what it is not covered. Do I care? Not really it had a good life. I just got a new camera. I don’t really think apple should do anything here. If they felt really nice maybe offer a little off a new macbook.

  8. ArtDonovansLovechild says:

    This is why companies are such a@@#$@@s about stuff sometimes. The do something nice for someone who is 9 months out of waranty, which they dont have to do, and suddenly everyone who ever had a computer is demanding free repairs. This is why they shut people down 1 day out. They are right, the customer is responsible at this point.

  9. JKinNYC says:

    6 Years old? Apple is right here.

  10. Trai_Dep says:

    If there’s a problem that affects a whole group of products, such as a batch of logic boards, the manufacturer should either swap them out with a functioning one, or if it’s no longer available, make good-faith efforts to replace the entire product with whatever’s the current equivalent. The latter option possibly mitigated if they tracked down every owner of the faulty part and offered to swap out the faulty part when the manufacturer had them in stock.

    Apple’s no different. In fact, I expect BETTER from Apple.

    C’mon, Apple Executive Support team – there has to be SOMEONE who reads Consumerist (if not, start firing your PR, CS and SQA people, STAT). Do the right thing. Save yourself from being ridiculed.

  11. Red_Eye says:

    @Falconfire: He may have expected to have his machine repaired at the latest possible moment since there was a known issue. Some people figure ‘Hey if I don’t ever send this in under the recall then if the logic board ever goes bad through the natural course of time, I can get it replaced free. ” Thats not how life works and why automotive recalls (arguably the most expensive type of recall) have expiration dates on many of them.

  12. NoWin says:

    @Nero Diavolo: …my 2000 Powerbook still works fine thank-you.

    “unstable”…hmmmm…let me guess, you never bought the stock when it was $20.00 some-odd bucks a few years ago…

    Hey, everyone’s milage will vary. On the whole, I think you’ll find Apple has a better working shelf-life than most computers. That is NOT to say an Edsel is also part of their past line of products….

    Give credit where credit is due, please.

  13. Esquire99 says:

    The sense of entitlement in the OP, and many of the commenters, is ridiculous. The Logic Board recall already ended. He had ample opportunity to find out about it when it was running. Was the product registered? Probably not. If it had been, he likely would have gotten an email about the recall. But, since most people don’t actually register their products with the manufacturer, they never get this kind of stuff. Yes, it sucks, but the OP is in no way entitled to anything from Apple. They are entirely correct in that the consumer has to take some responsibility. The warranty is up, you missed the recall, you are owed nothing. Yeah, it would be great if Apple took care of it, but you have to right to be upset if they don’t. You have no right to expect that they do so. Additionally, the suggestion that Apple should simply replace his laptop with a new one is even more absurd than the suggestion that they even fix it. I can’t even wrap my mind around the logic in doing that. Apple made a good-faith effort to fix the problem originally. Unless they specifically excluded the OP from any communications, or made an effort to ensure he did not find out about, their obligation is fulfilled. It’s a 6 year old computer. The logic board went today. Maybe the HD next week, maybe the screen next month. It’s going to start breaking soon. Suck it up and replace it. Of course, I’m sure because of your “Terrible experience with Apple” you won’t even consider a MacBook, because those cheap bastards wouldn’t fix your 6 year old, out of warrant, out of recall period iBook.

  14. TehRev says:

    You know as great as this site is I would sometimes like to see some more analysis. Despite the old addage the customer is not always right. Instead of this being a travesty or “sad” that apple won’t repair this laptop maybe the author should go look it up and see that it is quite old. I know its a bit of a stretch but i can’t call up nintendo because part of my NES is defective and expect them to jump up and replace it.

    Welcome to technology. Something 4+ years old is not worth fixing because in 4 years that technology has become out dated is no longer produced and expensive.

  15. goodguy812 says:

    apple is like a used car salesman. guilty of lying by omission. even on there tech specs on their products, it tells you everything about the battery, except how many times a battery can be recharged. i bet the owners manuals tell you that, but thats after you already bought the product.

  16. STrRedWolf says:

    An iBook G3? A PowerPC G3 processor?!? That’s an old Mac laptop! The latest is the MacBooks and they run Intel Core 2 chips. Mac went Intel a long time ago. I’m with Apple on this time — they already switched, it’s time you should too.

    Meanwhile, check the Powerbook Guy. He may have replacement parts for that G3.

  17. warf0x0r says:

    Wow I replace PC parts every 1.5 years. I can’t believe someone would try to fix a 6YO laptop. But w/e to each his own.

  18. matt1978 says:

    I expect this guy’ll be complaining next about how Atari won’t help him with his Portfolio’s expansion cards.

  19. jesirose says:

    I’m sure Jobs was interested in what he and his wife do in bed each night.

    If repairing your computer costs more than the sum of your TWO vehicles, I don’t think the computer is what you should be worried about. You could share a computer while you save the money to fix it. A program that ended 9 months ago did not JUST end. That’s 3/4 a year. People have children in that amount of time. That’s a long time.

    Also, if this guy is such an avid reader of the consumerist and cares so much for this old computer, how did he miss the other stories about this and not think, maybe I should try to get some free repairs while I can!

  20. Uriel says:

    @NoWin: you’re at the satisfied end of Apple’s hit or miss quality. it’s either the best thing you’ve ever used, or a worthless white doorstop.

  21. Trai_Dep says:

    @bradg33: “The Logic Board recall already ended. He had ample opportunity to find out about it when it was running. Was the product registered? Probably not. If it had been, he likely would have gotten an email about the recall.”

    This is pretty key. Apple’s position is much stronger if they sent a notification email out to their registered user base.

  22. Esquire99 says:

    @trai_dep: My guess is that they did. I can’t imagine that they would only bury the note somewhere in their website. I’d bet money on the fact they sent out a notice that either went ignored or was not received due to his lack of foresight to register the product.

  23. Esquire99 says:

    @jesirose: “I’m sure Steve Jobs was interested in what he and his wife do in bed each night”

    I was thinking the same thing. I HATE it when people jumble up complaint/demand letters like this with useless facts. No one cares, you’re wasting the readers time (who is likely busy and barely cares to begin with). Some people need to write succinctly and omit facts that are not absolutely imperative to the situation.

  24. pestie says:

    Somehow I knew the Apple hipster/fanboy/apologists would be joining forces with the Consumerist “Blame-The-Victim” brigade in this battle.

  25. yosarian says:

    I’m just wondering at what point this is no longer Apple’s issue and actually IS the consumer’s. There was never a recall on iBook G3, only a repair extension program to cover logic board failures that were more frequent than normal in young units due to bad supply. It basically covered the iBook as if there had been AppleCare. If a logic board creeps up after 4 or 5 years, it’s probably not because there was a massive defect in the parts and more likely just because it’s old. What’s the difference between this and any other computer that is way out of warranty?

  26. randombob says:

    wow! Hey, I bought an iBook G4 for my Fiancé (I should say we bought it). Got a goo deal on it as it was a refurb unit, meaning it was OLD NEWS already when i bought it. This was 2 years ago.

    So this guy’s machine was a G3? That means it was like YEARS before THAT! OK, so for all you chomping at the bit to hang Apple, let me ask: What is a fair limit? I mean, they DID extend the program as it was. The laptop’s like 6 years old already. Do we think that fairly, Apple should fix a dead laptop 6 years after the sale?

    There has to be some limit, huh? I’m all about protecting the consumer, but if I buy some high-end electronic equipment (You know, the kind that is obsoleted every 6 months anyways) and it fails on me SIX YEARS LATER, I think I’d probably just say to myself, “Hey, I paid $1,000 for LAPTOP that lasted me SIX YEARS. That’s pretty damn good,” then get on with my life. If i wanted to keep that same laptop, I’d opt to pay for repair parts or something.

    I mean, taking this guy’s side is basically saying that business is all-responsible for their equipment, never mind wear & tear & the all-important fact that eventually, everything fails. Even our sun will burn out in time. The warranty was up. The extended program Apple offered (free of charge, mind you) was up. The thing’s 6 years old or so. It’s lived it’s useful life (I’ve read numerous times that you should expect a laptop to go no more than 3 or so years). This guy deserved nothing and got what he deserved.

    Yes it would have been nice of apple to fix it for him, but they didn’t. And let’s be honest – Apple exists to make money. They exist today, making products we all want because they DO make money, and enough to cover costs and further their R&D. If they fixed everything that ever broke ever that they ever made for anyone, they’d have been out of business before the 90’s. At some point, yes the consumer has to take responsibility.

    And although I admit I use Apple products, I’ve done this song & dance before with numerous other products. Family had a Dell that broke well outside of warranty, like 4 years after. I didn’t get all upset at Dell for shoddy workmanship, I sucked it up and called a repair guy. It had been FOUR YEARS, and the thing lived its useful life.

    So get over it!

  27. flackman says:

    Apple actually contacted me by postal mail to inform me about this program. I didn’t think anything of it really until…

    One month before the extended recall program ends. Usual green lines/no video which changes when case is flexed. So, the girl and I head to the Southdale Apple store, to which the Genius told me I had to pay $600 to fix it.

    I kindly told him this was covered by the logic board repair program. He had not heard of such a program, to which I replied he should open a web browser to Apple support. I was then told he would go talk to his manager (yeah sure), and we were told this ibook was broken due to gross abuse.

    Rather than throw a fit, swear and what not, I drove 5 miles down the road to the Mall of America store. I wasn’t even through my story before the Genius said the logic board would be replaced free.

    I handed over the ibook on Monday, had it returned by Thursday. Of course, not everyone has two (or four) Apple stores within driving distance.

    6 years is a long time to ask an electronics manufacturer to warranty a product, even if it has design flaws.

    Also, this model is on ebay for $250-300.

  28. deserthiker says:

    A six year old computer is like a thirty year old–or older–car. I’m sure if you took your Vega down to Chevy to have the engine replaced they’d get right on it.

    Don’t be ridiculous. You can get a new (to you) G3 for less than $300 or make a quantum leap to a G4 for a couple hundred more than that.

    But here’s an idea: quit spending so much money on weed and just kick down for a new computer.

  29. ppiddyp says:

    I’m with a lot of the folks above: a bad batch of logic boards went out. This doesn’t mean they were all bad, but more _likely_ to be bad. It lasted FOUR YEARS which, in my experience, ain’t too terribly shabby for a laptop logic board. Just because apple had issues with 20% of that batch of boards, doesn’t mean they have to warranty the other 80% from now until the end of time.

    Sure, Apple customer service might not be perfect, but speaking from personal experience I’d still place it among the best I’ve ever dealt with.

  30. d0x says:

    6 Years man, move on and buy a new one. Apple did their job and issued the notice, being the owner of a computer from a big company you should have gone to their site at least once a month to check on issues and updates.

  31. randombob says:

    @deserthiker:

    “quit spending so much money on weed and just kick down for a new computer.”

    HAHAHAHA!

    My thoughts exactly!

  32. Amy Alkon says:

    From most people’s experiences, you will obviously see that Apple is completely incapable of guaranteeing the quality of their units.

    I see we have an Apple hater here! Since 1985, when I got my first Mac through Apple’s discount program for University of Michigan students, I have had Apple computers and other Apple equipment (currently, one iPod, one Shuffle, one Nano, two iBooks, and one 20-inch iMac). Oh yeah, and the first Apple I ever bought, in 1985, is still running in Rome, where friends of mine have given it to their kid to play with.

    I have been THRILLED with Apple’s products. THRILLED with Apple’s service. THRILLED with Applecare. And I only wish other companies would emulate them.

    I’ve had experience with PCs via writing partners and Internet cafes, and I find them difficult to use, counter-intuitive and no fun. I can understand how people who have them would want to denigrate Apple, but I suggest just buying one instead.

  33. mxmora says:

    This is not SAD this is lame. The program ended 9 months ago and now you want it fixed? I can’t believe consumerist even posted this article. If this was digg I would digg down this lame article.

  34. Boberto says:

    I had an iBook G3 logic board replaced 3 times under the conventional warranty. When it gave up the ghost for the 4th time, I asked that the computer be replaced with a powerbook (I would pay the cost difference). Apple refused, and I took Apple to small claims court, via serving a summons on my local Apple store. Apple settled before it went the court date. My Powerbook is still working. I doubt my iBook would be if I had let them fix it for the 4tyh time.

  35. wesrubix says:

    @Falconfire: damn straight. Apple doesn’t even take them in for repairs, so why should they fix it? It’s not a car we’re talking about. It’s a POS old ibook that an owner obviously didn’t take good enough care of since he/she didn’t even pay attention to the repair program in the first place.

  36. King of the Wild Frontier says:

    Oh, for crying out loud. This is like that old Rolls Royce urban legend: The cost of the car includes free maintenance and parts replacement forever–in other words, an endless warranty. If you want to try to appeal to La Jobs’ sense of largesse (if he has one), maybe they’ll throw you a bone, but honestly–after six years, you’re lucky that they even have parts available.

  37. Zeta_X says:

    This dude sees an extended recall that expired 9 months ago. I don’t know how long the recall was in effect, but it must have been some time. Now he wants in on the action since his trusty Mac laptop – up to now – is acting up and needs repair. He sees someone else who (supposedly) got a repair out of the recall period. And now he’s PO’ed he can’t talk someone into footing the bill. The part of “customer responsibility” is sucking up and realizing not everyone gets special treatment or should expect to. It was nice he included his bleak financial picture as a means to sadden readers of his situation. But fact is, you tried and it didn’t work. That’s all you can do. Your next move is to repair the laptop, buy a new one, or go without. Apple can’t support you forever, loyal or disloyal customer you may be.