Apple Store Says You "Must" Have Dropped Your Laptop – No I Didn't – Yes You Did – No I Didn't – Please Leave The Store

UPDATE: Apple Store Says You “Must” Have Dropped Your Laptop – No I Didn’t – Yes You Did – No I Didn’t – Please Leave The Store

Last Wendesday, I was sitting in my dorm room by myself, doing homework on my Macbook, which is less than two months old. After typing my essay for a while, I went on my bed to do some other homework. Nobody else was in the room at all during this time, just me. After about 10 minutes, I returned to my computer, opening it only to see that 1/3 of the screen was broken.

My MacBook has never been dropped, I didn’t bump it, close it with any more force than I had ever previously closed it with, hit it on or with anything, nothing fell on it, and nothing (such as a pen) was resting on the keyboard when I closed it. I opened it, and the screen was cracked.

After freaking out and not being able to sleep all night because I was worrying about it, I went to the Apple Store in Chestnut Hill, MA for my appointment with the Genius Bar at 6:30pm. The genius, Jason, who helped my mother and I, was really awesome. I cannot say anything negative about him. He did what he could to help us, which was to tell us that, essentially, my $250 AppleCare warranty was basically a waste of money because now I had to pay $755 to have my screen fixed because it wasn’t covered under the warranty.

Uhm…excuse me? When I was buying the MacBook, the sales associate who forced Apple Care onto me, told me that it would cover anything that should happen to the computer, aside from water damage. I must stress that the associate, at the particular store where I went to ask about the problem, told me ANYTHING would be covered EXCEPT for water damage. Well, this isn’t water damage. Yet, they still tell me I have to pay $755.

So, Jason gets the manager, Chris, to come talk to us. Everything went downhill from here. Of course I was upset, my computer which cost $1704 when everything was said and done, was broken after almost exactly two months, and they wanted another $755 to fix it even though I didn’t cause the damage and I have the warranty.

Chris was awful. Some people just should NOT be in customer service. We explained what had happened, and all he could say was that I MUST have dropped my computer, which I didn’t, or whenever he responded to something I said or asked, he “couldn’t” comment on it. Well, when it went back and forth for a while of “You dropped it” and “No I didn’t!”, I finally asked, well, are you calling me a liar? He comes out with another one of his “I can’t comment on that”. Wow, was I so mad at this point.

I picked up my laptop, walked over to the nearest people looking at computers, showed it to them and said not to buy a Mac. At which point, Chris comes over to me, and physically puts his hands on me and pushes me away from them (yes, he really touched me. yes, he really pushed me. No, it wasn’t a very hard push, I am not bruised or injured, but the fact still remains that he did something that he should have NEVER done), and he told me to leave the store, making a scene and running out into the hallway of the mall and saying “Get out!” and calling for security.

Yes, I was wrong in apparently “Harassing” other customers. Please note that everything was 100% civil until maybe the last 90 seconds of my probably hour in the store. Everything was fine until he basically told me I was lying.

All I want is to not be treated like crap by a company where I’ve spent thousands of dollars on their products (2iPods and songs on iTunes before I owned my MacBook), and where I buy a warranty that I was convinced by the Apple Salesperson would cover anything except for water damage. I would not have bought this computer had the salesperson been honest to me about what the warranty did and did not cover. All I want is for my MacBook to be fixed by Apple.

Stephanie,

Assuming everything you say is true and occurred as you described, I have an idea for you. Go back to the store and talk to Chris. Ask him one last time for a warranty repair as there’s no way you could have dropped it. When he says no, inform him that you now feel compelled to exercise your civic duty and warn other customers about the dangers of buying a macbook, and that you will be standing outside the store for the next few weeks showing anyone who will listen to you your damaged screen and story. He’s right that you can’t do this inside the store but he can’t do anything about you outside the store.

The situation and tactics are similar to the one described in this post, “How To Kick A Scammy Car Dealer In The Nuts.” In that case, a man was deprived of his rightful $1500 discount and so he printed up flyers explaining his issue and informed the store that he would be spending his next few weekends in front of the dealership’s sidewalk passing them out. There, the dealership was smart enough of a businessman to cut the writer his check on the spot without him even having to pass out a single flyer.

You might try saying something like this to Chris (a customized version of text lifted from Unscrewed) before you start warning other citizens :

“Chris, at this point, it doesn’t really matter to me whether I get my money back or my laptop repaired or not. I am going to exercise my First Amendment right to stand on that public sidewalk in front of your store. I’ll show my laptop to anybody walking into your store and tell them my story”

‘ll bet that, in just a handful of Saturdays, I can convince a couple of dozen people to shop elsewhere. It could end up that, by not paying me what’s due to me, you lose ten times that much in future business. It won’t put any cash in my pocket, but I’ll feel a lot better about things. What do you think?”

The key is to be cool and collected. You might be quaking with anger inside, but outside, you’re James Dean. You’re not making it personal, it’s just business, and you’re just a citizen performing your civic duty.

You can also consider typing up a flyer that briefly explains your problem and provides people an email address to contact you at. Bring those along with you. Show them to Chris. Hopefully he’ll see the error of his ways and you won’t have to use them.

Or you could call the Apple Warranty Department, or just fwd your complaint to sjobs@apple.com, though we’d really like to see you give the in-person approach a try.

The manager told us via email that he didn’t push Stephanie.

Comments

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  1. Esquire99 says:

    Has Stephanie read her warranty to make sure she is right? Many warranties do NOT cover screen damage. I can’t speak to Apple’s in particular, but I know the majority of warranties, and extended warranties do not cover any sort of screen breakage. Yes, this sucks, but if the warranty specifically excludes the screen, well, thats just how it is. What the sales person tells you makes NO difference. It’s what is actually written into the warranty contract you are provided. Does anyone have Apple Care and a copy of the warranty?

  2. bambino says:

    File charges. You were assaulted and battered.

  3. Ausoleil says:

    Don’t forget the Executive Carpet-bombing method either.

    What amazes me is that replacement screens for laptops cost as much as they did several years ago. For $200 you can get yourself a really nice external LCD screen that’s far larger and of comparable quality than the broken one in a laptop. This is not unique to Apple, either, Dell and HP’s replacement screens run roughly the same amount.

  4. warf0x0r says:

    Please understand that “extended warranties” such as Applecare or a Product Service Plan DO NOT, NO HAVE THEY EVER, covered “intentional or accidental” damage. I.E. you accidentally spill coffee on your laptop or you accidentally drop it. If any sales person tells you otherwise ask them to point it out on the brochure where it says it covers everything but water damage. They wont be able to find it cause its not there!!! At that point you should either ask to speak to someone else. I would recommend leaving the store and never shopping there again.

    BTW if you do decide to get your laptop fixed but want to stick it to apple you could try returning your Applecare plan, most of those services are prorated and there should be a number on the form of who to call for that type of thing.

  5. squikysquiken says:

    “running out into the mall hallway”: I’d like to point out that if the store is in a mall, you can’t stand in front of the store and claim your 1st amendement rights. It’s still private property and the mall security will be happy to remove you from there if the store requests it.

  6. warf0x0r says:

    @bambino: Yes, seriously do that. If you have a witness its a slam dunk. Chris should be fired in the least or better, demoted to sales. Mwahahahha

  7. babaki says:

    just by looking at the picture i can tell you it was dropped, hit, or something like that. screens dont mysteriously crack. that screen is cracked. whether you know what happened to it or it not, it was damaged by force.

  8. Hanke says:

    Assaulted, not battered. Battery can only be charged if there is injury.

    And as far as the screen warranties, Best Buy’s warranty DOES cover screen damage, with the caveat that the damage is not caused by you, and the failure of the screen would have been covered under the manufacturers warranty, if it were still in effect. For Samsung, this means three dead pixels.

  9. homerjay says:

    I believe this is a mall store. Might make it a little tough when mall security is shoo’ing you away. Still, might be nice to try if you’re capable.

  10. Esquire99 says:

    A quick perusal of the Apple Warranty and Apple Care protection plan on the Apple Website don’t indicate that they exclude screen damage. I would proceed back to the store, ask them to show you any physical signs of it being dropped, such as marks on the side of the case, etc. When that comes up short, demand that they replace it under warranty. If have no evidence that it was dropped, they should replace it. Perhaps try a different Apple Store as well.

  11. kantwait says:

    After reading the AppleCare warranty, there’s nothing in it that specifically excludes screen damage, but like the other person above said, accidents/acts of god/etc aren’t covered. So theoretically, she is covered under the plan and they just don’t want to pay because laptop screens are ridiculously expensive.

    And physically pushing her is assault, and completely unacceptable. Would you let it go if a random stranger did the same thing to you? No, so don’t let some random-ass Apple manager with a GED get away with acting in this manner. He obviously should not be working with people, animals, or anything that might have a pulse.

  12. kahri says:

    Stephanie, I would try calling the apple warranty department before going back to Genius bars. I had a RAM issue with my Macbook Pro earlier this year and the “genius” at my local apple store was basically telling me I had to buy new RAM when it was the apple installed RAM stick that was damaged (3-1/2 weeks after purchase). I thought a big, drawn out argument with the store management was next. I decided to take my MBP home and thoroughly look through my AppleCare waranty. That same day I called Apple and, to my surprise, they were really helpful and one week later I got a brand spanking new Macbook pro after sending mine back. It might not work in your case, but sometimes you just have to find someone who’s willing to work with you. hope this helps.

  13. LionelEHutz says:

    Look, it’s clearly the customer’s fault here. She should have known better than to close the laptop and expect it to work when opened up again. Sheesh.

  14. homerjay says:

    Its possible that a speck of dirt became lodged between the bezel and the screen and two months of openings and closings finally did it in. Not likely, but possible.

  15. babaki says:

    @bradg33: the only proof they need is the cracked screen. its cracked. period. like a window. there doesn’t have to be damage to outside of the case. shes clearly not telling the whole story.

  16. MadMolecule says:

    Stories like this make my blood boil. Good luck, Stephanie; I hope we get to hear how it turns out. Seems to me it might be a good idea to bring a friend with a video camera next time you go in there and inform Chris about doing your civic duty?

  17. Esquire99 says:

    @Hanke: Incorrect. Assault requires actual harm, battery does not. Battery is simply the intentional, offensive touching of another. So, this would clearly be a battery. Is it worth pursuing? Probably not. Since it is simply a technical battery, the damages would be nominal and probably not even enough to cover the cost of the attorney.

    • Anonymous says:

      @bradg33: sorry to burst your bubble; assault is making someone feel threatened (i.e. following, literally threatening, etc.) and battery is hurting someone. Usually one is charged with both assault AND battery (watch a L&O) or just assault. BOTH of these must be pretty serious for and legal action to realistically ensue.

  18. nweaver says:

    SOMETHING impacted the corner of that laptop, if the photo is from the laptop in question.

  19. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    If you don’t have any luck with apple, try replacing the screen yourself.

    [www.instructables.com]

    Good luck.

  20. Esquire99 says:

    @babaki: I agree that she is not telling the whole story. My opinion is it was dropped or something fell on it. But, if they claim it was “Dropped” there would be some physical damage. We only have a picture of the screen. I’d like to see a shot of the corners of the case.

  21. stevemis says:

    The OP can probably press assault charges against the store manager. It will likely involve filing a police report and then making a trip to the courthouse to swear out a warrant. Filing the police report might also convince the manager to see the err of his ways and make good on the warranty claim.

    I have to take my MacBook Pro in for a bunch of problems before the warranty runs out. My top case (around the keyboard) is pitting terribly, the display makes a buzzing sound at low brightness and the CD/DVD drive is dead. One would think a $2,000 laptop would be more reliable than a $499 junker. It ain’t.

  22. BritBoy says:

    Stephanie, this sucks badly for you. But you have an uphill struggle.

    - screen damage is not covered by Applecare, it sucks you were told otherwise, but that doesnt change the fact of the written AppleCare

    - take great care in getting your details accurate; you case looks bad but weak and so errors can make you look like you are ‘bending’ facts.

    - e.g. “$250 Applecare was basically a waste if money”. Factually wrong. It just isnt going to help much in this case.

    - ‘computer that cost $1704 .. all said and done’. Be accurate, did the COMPUTER really cost $1704 ? Are you adding in Applecare/acessories/other items ?

    I wish you well here and do not doubt your story, but on the face of it you are faced with a weak case (arguing over what you were told about Applecare) and you need to have all your facts strictly lined to help yourself.

  23. kantwait says:

    @BRADG33: It depends on the jurisdiction. In some states it can be as a little as “an intent to menace.”

  24. NoWin says:

    OP: “..and nothing (such as a pen) was resting on the keyboard when I closed it….”

    That “disclaimer” bothers me….

    A friend of mine suffered a similar fate with his MB: accidentally placing his hand and upper body weight on it when he was getting off the floor….cracked screen…AppleCare no cover. But the store in New Hamsphire suggested to try a regional authorized service center, and at least he got it fixed at half the Apple store quote.

  25. rewinditback says:

    damage like that can occur by opening the monitor with too much pressure. The issue is the thinner those macbook gets, the more prone they are to bending/snapping at the monitor.

    i literally saw my friend do this.

    Sorry – but good luck.

  26. MadMolecule says:

    There’s some questionable legal knowledge being thrown around here.

    @squikysquiken: A mall is public property for First Amendment purposes, because it is open to anyone. [en.wikipedia.org]

    @Hanke: Assualt is putting someone in imminent fear of bodily harm. Battery is an unconsented harmful or offensive touching. There’s no requirement of harm for a battery claim; if I don’t want you touch me, you can’t touch me, even if it doesn’t harm me. [en.wikipedia.org]

  27. kantwait says:

    @bradg33: In fact, most states do not even differentiate between assault and battery now.

  28. Esquire99 says:

    @kantwait: Ok, the Common law tort of Battery is what I described. Madmodecule, while I wouldn’t cite Wikipedia, has it as well.

  29. Esquire99 says:

    @kantwait: Can you cite a source for that? Are you talking about criminal or civil?

  30. hypnotik_jello says:

    I have a hard time believing that screen is actually “cracked” nowhere does it look like the glass is actually broken, based on the picture anyway. First thing that came to mind for me was that the cable interfacing the display to the LCD controller (no, not the graphics card, but the actual hardware that drives the LCD) is not properly connected, or has some connection issue. Anyway, without seeing the laptop in person I can’t say whether the screen is broken, but I just don’t get that impression from looking at the picture.

  31. hypnotik_jello says:

    @hypnotik_jello: Oh, never mind, I missed the black liquid crystal seepage in the corner.

  32. hypnotik_jello says:

    Yes, regardless of whether the warranty covers screen breakage, this is almost certainly caused by misuse.

  33. Critcol says:

    Hey Stephanie – I know this is a bit of a hike, but I’ve found the staff at the Burlington Mall Apple Store rocks. Every time I’ve been there, they’ve been 100% helpful even when I don’t meet all of the help-earning criterion.

    But don’t go back to Chestnut Hill. We live in Massachusetts, there’s 7-8 Apple Stores in this state. Go to a different one and try again.

    To repeat: The staff and Geniuses at Burlington Mall completely rock.

  34. Flynn says:

    Not that I know if it’s likely, but don’t Macbooks have heat issues? Could it have been something like the computer heating up and then a cold breeze being on it from a window immediately after closing causing a drastic temperature change?

    Heck, there’s no telling if the machine was improperly assembled, and after a few opens and closes, the stress finally cracked the screen.

    If there’s no sign of outer damage, I’d check for a) heat, or b) assembly problems. If the laptop is disassembled, it could easily be ascertained whether or not it was an assembly problem or not. Running the machine for a while to see if that part of the screen heats up could be another indication that there’s a problem.

  35. heyguy says:

    In 2002, I had a Dell laptop with their CompleteCare warranty. Within a month, I had a broken screen. I had it open in one class, packed it up in a laptop bag, went to another class, and found that the screen had been cracked in the middle. I called Dell and conversation was pretty much:
    “How may I help you?”
    “My laptop screen is broken.”
    “Since you haven’t had the computer for a month, we’re going to send a replacement and send prepaid postage for the broken laptop.”

    Anyway, I mostly want to say that I’ve seen mysterious screen breakage, as well. It definitely requires at least some force, but they shouldn’t be such fragile pieces of crap. Also, there is no way a MacBook LCD costs $755 to replace. Those panels are terrible.

  36. compuwarescc says:

    This may be a little too anti-apple when I think it’s pretty clear the screen is physically damaged. Computer parts don’t physically damage themselves.

    The manager there should be ashamed of himself for immature behavior though – he has mall security available for any such issues.

  37. mindshadow says:

    To everyone that’s saying that there’s no way the screen isn’t physically damaged:

    I’ve actually seen screens go bad in this manner without physical damage. The screen will be in perfect condition and for some reason lines and black spots will appear. I don’t know if it’s heat or what. Either way unless there is physical evidence that the screen was damaged, thus voiding the warranty, Apple should replace the screen. I’ve had two laptops do this at my place of employment (both Toshiba laptops), I called Toshiba and let them know the problem, and a week later I have a new screen. I’m no Toshiba fanboy, and I actually don’t care for their products, but that’s the way this case should work.

    I would suggest calling the actual Apple Care number. The people on the phones seem to be friendlier and more competant than the people in the stores. My iBook G4 (that I’m typing this on right now) had the dreaded bad logic board that caused the screen to not work. I called Apple Care, told them the problem, and 3 days later I had my iBook back.

    Oh, and the manager acted was completely unprofessional. Sounds like you got a real stooge there. I’m sure he’s a real joy to work with.

  38. MadMolecule says:

    @bradg33: (Continuing the hijack) I’ve found that Wikipedia is usually a pretty good resource for basic legal information. I wouldn’t trust it for anything more important than leaving a comment on someone’s blog, though.

  39. yosarian says:

    I can’t really think of a reason not to try the executive email carpet bomb but it’s probably not going to do any good. At the end of the day the screen is cracked and that doesn’t “just happen.” It’s glass. Put a glass of water on the counter and leave the room. If you come back and there is glass and water all over your counter, something happened. I would say your glimmer of hope is in the nature of the assistant manager. But if you were upset, loud, or in anyway disruptive, Apple will likely stand behind their man and tell you to stop breaking your computer and disrupting their stores.

  40. Extended-Warranty says:

    What is it with consumers and warranties? HOW HARD is it to know what kind of coverage you are buying? Maybe it’s me, but after spending $250 on a warranty for a laptop I would know what it covers (especially since you get a brochure telling you). Don’t blame Apple because it broke because you either A.) Lied B.) Were careless C.) Let someone else touch it and it happened.

  41. bilge says:

    @warf0x0r: Depends on the plan specifics. I don’t think Apple offers an accidental damage plan but most PC manufacturers do. Dell calls it “Complete Care.”

  42. Falconfire says:

    You know how hard you have to throw a laptop to get a screen to crack like that.

    I have literally lost my Macbook Pro off the side of a desk onto the floor and not had a ding. We had a brand new iMac roll off a cart and fall 6 feet with just a misaligned fan to show.

    While YOU personally might not have done it, someone very well did to cause that kind of damage.

    As for AppleCare covering it, they never will. I have sent in two laptops that where damaged from user causes (coffee and a flood) and both we had to pay out of pocket. It sucks but thems the breaks.

  43. ScramDiggyBooBoo says:

    Why dont you guys make it easy and just say this:

    Your story ended up on the front page of consumerist.com, Apple will be contacting you within the week to replace your broken Macbook. Isnt’t that how most things on here turn out? Good info, but from here this guy is not going to have to lift a finger.

  44. Esquire99 says:

    @MadMolecule: Agreed. It is fairly useful, and I’ve consulted it myself in the past.

  45. geoelectric says:

    Regarding free speech in private shopping centers, I’m not sure Marsh v. Alabama is the case you want.

    In California, the relevant case is Pruneyard Shopping Center v. Robins. Keep in mind that California has an affirmative right to free speech in its state Constitution–you have the right to speak freely–as opposed to the negative right in the US Constitution–the government doesn’t have the right to abridge your speech.

    Net result is that if they wouldn’t kick out a shopper in the same area, they can’t kick you out either just because you’re exercising First Amendment rights. I’m unsure why this doesn’t apply to the stores themselves but it definitely applies to the mall common areas.

    About 40 states have this kind of clause in their state constitution, re: Free Speech, but a bunch of them haven’t upheld that it gives you access to shopping centers. Outside California, your mileage with this strategy may vary considerably.

    [en.wikipedia.org]

  46. babaki says:

    @heyguy: Dells complete care cover everything. even accidental damage, include the screen and getting wet.
    @mindshadow: in all the years i have been working in tech support, and all the years i have owned a computer, i have never had a screen mysteriously break like that. when its cause by heat issues, the liquid crystal does not leak out. this was damaged. she doesn’t want to admit it and wants a free laptop because she was careless. sorry to say it, but someone has to. yu dont need physical evidence, the screen IS the physical evidence. its crack.

  47. Illusio26 says:

    @MadMolecule: The mall is public property only for talking, you are always allowed to say what’s on your mind. But it is still private property. They can tell you that you need to leave whenever they want. If the apple store was in a strip mall or free standing, you could stand outside it.

  48. mindshadow says:

    @ScramDiggyBooBoo:

    Yes, it is.

    *friend of the Apple giftcard girl (the one with the thumbs up pictures)*

  49. mindshadow says:

    @babaki:

    Yeah, that screen looks like it could be broken. I have seen the black spots like that in broken LCD screens, but usually they were a little more uniform and not so.. torn.. looking. Either way I’ve seen laptops that look just like that get replaced also, though it really depends on the manufacturer.

  50. Esquire99 says:

    @darkjedi26: I’m not entirely certain that Apple could tell you to leave the common area of the mall.Now mall security on the other hand probably can. I’m just not sure that a tenant can control anything outside of the space that they lease. I can’t cite any authority for that, but I’d imagine it’s the case. Probably depends, at least in part, on how their lease is written.

  51. mcdonnr says:

    Man, as much as I want to side with the client here, the bottom left of that screen is damaged from pressure, plain and simple. Either something was left on the edge (above the ESC key) or it got squeezed while being opened, but that is 100% guaranteed to be pressure damage. I would tell you you’re SOL if you came into my store… though I would not touch/harm you physically in any way, shape, or form. I say both the client and the vendor are at fault for the situation as a whole…

  52. stopNgoBeau says:

    Laptop screens can break without “significant force”. If there was a defect in the screen, or if it wasn’t installed properly into the bezel, then normal opening and shutting of a screen CAN make a laptop screen break. I’ve seen it before in all sorts of glass pieces, including laptops. A small defect in glass can go from not being able to see it to an almost “explosive” like crack in a fraction of a second.

  53. hollerhither says:

    @MadMolecule:
    As others have said, Wikipedia is not the best source for criminal law, as it varies by state. However, for DIY lawyers, the criminal code for each state (including its definitions, which are under dispute here) can be found online. Some state codes are similar, but you can’t assume “common law” applies to all.

    To keep this in line with the original topic, regardless of the genesis of the screen crack, Chris had no business touching, let alone pushing, anyone, and should be reprimanded if not fired. Good luck with the carpet bombing…

  54. Yourhero88 says:

    I think this is a case of ‘unreliable narrator.’ Chris was absolutely wrong for laying a finger on her, and that alone makes this a consumerist-worthy article, but I do see his predicament.

    As it has been mentioned, screens do not mysteriously break like that, and that type of injury is usually only caused by some sort of force, or external agent. Both parties have valid points, and this whole thing could have been avoided by a bit of restraint and civility on both sides.

    However, I have a feeling that the author still would have been prone to her wanton act of “consumer enlightenment” regardless of how tactfully the situation was handled. I think she just wanted her way.

  55. calldrdave says:

    This screen clearly looks damaged imho (if the pic is the screen in question). If you look in the lower left hand corner, you can see a point of impact. It’s the black “triangle” . That damage is 100% consistent with the laptop being dropped or severely banged on that end. I suspect there would be case damage on that side.

    I have seen damage caused by items placed on the hinge, being slammed to hard, etc. But the crack would have spread from the middle of the middle to the sides. Basic physics says when you close the laptop, the greatest point of impact would be in one corner, it would be on the point where the laptop closes. Laptops simply don’t just crack..and defective plastics wouldn’t have an impact point like that.

    Not saying it wasn’t dropped, but the Genuis did an accurate diagnosis.

    Also, never believe salespeople’s ability to understand a warranty. What’s in writing rules. The Apple Specialist that told him it covered accidental damage would be reprimanded if he said this.

    Of course, since accidental damage had occured, and he appears to be a college student he should make a claim under his parent’s homeowners policy. Better yet in the future, schedule a expensive piece of equipment like that.

    Finally, there are 3rd parties that repair screens cheaper than Apple: $400 at iResq. If you do that, get a refund on your AppleCare, because Apple will avoid it at that point

  56. mcdonnr says:

    @stopNgoBeau:
    Right, but you’ve got to look at the shape/size of this particular crack. There is an obvious epicenter to it, and the way it creeps up the side like that denotes that if it was something small, the lid was closed with some significant force. My guess? Pen left atop the keyboard, lid closed w/ frustration and she went to go do something else. When she came back and opened the computer, oh noes! The computer screen is crack! I’ve seen it too many times (easily in the hundreds now) not to recognize it immediately for what it is.

  57. Esquire99 says:

    @hollerhither: You are confusing civil law and criminal law. It doesn’t matter so much what the criminal law says when they are talking about her suing for battery. If everyone was recommending that she contact the police, that would be an entirely different matter. The first suggestion was that she sue for battery. That implies civil court. The common law will more than likely apply, unless the particular state has a civil statute regarding battery. At that point, you almost have to scour that states civil judicial opinions to find out how they define battery, as most civil law is derived from case law.

  58. babaki says:

    @stopNgoBeau: problem is, LCD screens are made of glass…..

  59. babaki says:

    aren’t* stupid conjunction key wasn’t working.

  60. nrfx01 says:

    Apple care, or anybodys extended warranty is next to useless considering everything that CAN/WILL go wrong. Laptop insurance is cheaper, and WILL cover any accidental damage, as well as theft! (providing its not in your home or car)

    Its also considerably cheaper. I bought insurance from safeware ages ago when i got my first ibook. A few months after having, it got bumped off a table in a coffee shop, destroyed the screen. I had it fixed within a week, and my premium was only about $70 for the year.

  61. nrfx01 says:

    @babaki: Magic semi flexible glass?

  62. eds70 says:

    I wanted to emphasize the comment in a previous post about coverage under homeowners insurance. It works. IT might cost a few bucks a year extra, (mine is $15 for computer damage rider) but would cover this type of damage less the deductable.. Probably could be done with renters insurance as well… $250 deductable is a lot less than $700-$800 for a screen, plus labor..

  63. squikysquiken says:

    @MadMolecule: I disagree. The case you pointed involves a “company town” and an outside sidewalk. A privately owned (non-strip) mall is not covered by this case. They have the right to throw anyone they want out (unless some kind of discrimination against a protected class is going on). In other words, for the exact same reason Apple can throw you out of the store (or get you charged with trespassing), the mall owner can throw you out of the building.

  64. mac-phisto says:

    @babaki: i’ve seen screens crack like that without physical impact, but it’s usually on smaller consumer electronics (cell phones, mp3 players, etc).

    it does look like impact damage, but it’s hard to determine from the picture whether it is or not. if the outside of the unit is inspected & there’s no discernible damage, it could be caused by a defect of workmanship.

    there’s no question that the screen cracks from pressure (or heat), but if (hypothetically) the hinge was installed incorrectly & sat 1/32 of an inch off spec, simply applying external pressure at the wrong point could result in a crack from the inside.

    unfortunately, the consumer can’t take the laptop apart without voiding the warranty, so there’s no way of determining if it was defective aside from relying on the “genius”.

  65. kelbear says:

    I had a defect in a Dell monitor(blurring in multimedia mode). I called them up, had to go on hold for a little bit till I could get a CSR.

    They rush-delivered a brand new monitor to me and instructed me to put the defective one in the new monitor’s box, and mail it back using the pre-paid freight slip inside. I just had to call DHL to have them come to my doorstep for a pickup.

    I had a working monitor within a week. I felt taken care of by their customer service and have bought a second monitor from them, a camera, and a laptop. I’ve also told others how well they handled it.

    Point is, it’s just best to handle the damn problem instead of bickering with the customer. Balking at helping this lady with her problem has now resulted in a consumerist headline about how shitty she’s been treated, which is far worse than just handling it.

  66. LVP says:

    Did she buy the laptop with an American Express card? If so call them and tell them your story. You might get a new laptop out of it.

  67. PatrickIs2Smart says:

    @bambino: Mmm… battered and fried…

  68. majortom1981 says:

    How does a screen crack just by itself?

    She probably grabbed the laptop by its hinge when she put it down.

    If she did grab the computer by the hinge when she picked it up and put it down then she cant complain .

  69. mac-phisto says:

    @babaki: i’m going to assume you are trying to say, “lcd screens aren’t made of glass”. they actually contain multiple thin layers of glass. an lcd display is actually composed of about 7 layers, so while the external screen is not glass, there most certainly is glass on the inside.

  70. shades_of_blue says:

    That picture is of the actual notebook, correct? If so, I would blame the hinges and thickness of the lid for this damage. Provided that there are no signs of chipped paint and/or scratches on the corner it’s a design flaw.

    A couple years ago the Compaq Armada series had a similar issue. The corners of the LCD panel became dark closest to the hinges because the lid was too flexible. Even IF they do repair this notebook I would not keep it. It WILL happen again. All of those Compaq notebooks affected overtime eventually suffered the same fate.

    Explain the situation to your credit card company, and see if they’ll issue a charge back. Then buy something else, preferably not an Apple. I recommend Asus, their notebooks tend to hold up well. But if your dead set on Mac OSX, another Apple product is in your future.

  71. radiofree says:

    And here we run into an even more pernicious and dangerous aspect of malls: Stephanie likely does not have first amendment rights inside a shopping mall. It is private property, and will likely have a no soliciting clause, and court cases (like those involving “customers” wearing t-shirts that mall security finds offensive for some reason) don’t favor those who want or need to speak out.

  72. cflury says:

    Umm… I have had three Apple laptops, that is a hardware issue. You might not have dropped it but you did have to have slammed the screen or had something on the keyboard and shut the lid. Dammage like that does not just happen.

  73. Usermanual says:

    There appears to be strong evidence of impact or force of some kind applied to the lower left corner. I don’t think it should have escilated to the point of shouting and shoving, but I think the Manager has some reason to be suspicious. Lord knows how many “it just happened” stories he hears every day.

  74. UpsetPanda says:

    Apparently, Apple has a separate warranty for displays. [www.apple.com]

  75. calldrdave says:

    @Usermanual: Reminds me of Fusilli Jerry :”One in a million shot, One in a million” The irony: Manager simply couldn’t have done the repair. If he turned it in that way for repair, the depot would have rejected the part. They are supposed to have the customer contact Apple customer relations.

  76. Techguy1138 says:

    I have a pretty low opinion of apple but this does look like physical damage.

    Now Apple can’t seem to design a functioning display hinge so it could be a design flaw where the hinge over stresses the panel. If this is the case we will soon see many other with similar kinds of issues. If not it could have just been a freak break.

    Side bar
    _____________________________________
    I bought and returned an ibook, years ago, that would make the screen go ‘rainbow’ when closed. The hinge looked very similar to the one in the picture. It was a lack of rigidity in the panel backplane. It would have had to be thicker and heavier in order to protect the display properly. Could be the same kind of thing.

  77. King of the Wild Frontier says:

    So, not only does her laptop’s screen spontaneously crack, she also insists that she was told that “ANYTHING would be covered EXCEPT for water damage”. Mmm-hmm. And her behavior at the store was grossly immature–I think that she was responsible for the situation escalating, even though Chris shouldn’t have touched her.

  78. kidwei says:

    I just had an appt with an Apple Genius to replace an ipod touch for dust under the screen. But I also had a chip on the bezel. When I mentioned it to the Genius he said “well, we can’t cover that since we can’t prove that it came like that rather than being dropped by you”. He still gave me an exchange due to the other issue, but I guess I understand their logic. They can’t without a doubt prove the source of physical damage.

    with all that said, I woud expect more from Apple. I would recommend calling AppleCare, also, as they are usually a lot more courteous and knowledgeable. They probably have more experience if this is indeed something that can just happen spontaneously. Try to get your case esclated to a Macbook specialist. They will go farther to help you out. Just remain calm and courteous. Don’t be pushy. AppleCare reps are generally very nice and responsive.

    Hope it works out, and let the consumersit know how it plays out.

  79. JiminyChristmas says:

    @MadMolecule:

    Careful.

    Free speech rights on private property [Something like a mall is a public accommodation, but it’s still private property.] vary by state. California, New Jersey, Colorado, Oregon, Massachusetts, Washington, and Pennsylvania provide the right to speak and assemble on private property, with some important caveats: shopping malls are the only type of private property included and political speech is the only kind protected.

    So, since the OP is in Massachusetts she might have some luck picketing the Apple Store. That said, if political speech is the only kind protected one could argue that handing out fliers that say ‘Apple ripped me off.’ might not qualify. Good luck leaving that to the judgment of mall security.

  80. Caprica Six says:

    @babaki: yea, sadly I agree. I have had a bunch of Apple laptops from the powerbook, ibook, macbook, macbook pro and have seen my share of damaged screens and it looks like something was on the left bottom corner to cause that screen to do that. I mean, I could be wrong. ALso, if you dropped it, your case would show the damage as well. Post or send more pics.

  81. stephaniek says:

    Hey, I am the person with the broken MacBook.

    As others have requested, I will find a way to get photos of the external case on here as soon as I can. I am at school right now on a rented PC laptop, my MacBook is at home since it is essentially useless right now (the screen has gotten a little bit worse) I will be going home either tomorrow or this weekend, at which point I can take pictures of the outside case which isn’t damaged at all, and show them to you all here.

    Thanks for the support I’m receiving. I’m just really frustrated. When I got this computer, I was ready for all of my future computers to be from Apple. Now, I don’t know.

    We’ve been dealing with Apple on the phone since Thursday and so far they have been a lot better than Chris. Hopefully this ends well.

  82. stephaniek says:

    Ah so, I thought I commented but I don’t see it.

    Anyways this is my MacBook in question.

    The outside casing isn’t damaged at all, though the MacBook is at home right now and I’m at school, so when I go home (either tomorrow or Friday) I can take pictures and show them to you all here.

    As far as progress goes, so far the people on the phone at Apple have been helpful, though I still don’t know how this is going to end. Hopefully, well.

  83. timmus says:

    I’m guessing one of the video connectors attaching the LCD to the motherboard came loose at one end. Opening and closing the lid could wiggle them out.

  84. toddkravos says:

    Did anyone bother to check the board?
    There is quite a bit of people out there
    with very similar issues.

    [discussions.apple.com]

  85. BrockBrockman says:

    Maybe that picture of Kirsten Dunst broke the screen.

  86. Buran says:

    @bambino: Ditto. I would have pulled out my cell phone and dialed 911 to report a crime on the spot.

  87. Ass_Cobra says:

    “There is quite a bit of people out there
    with very similar issues.”

    It’s not unheard of for Apple to design laptops with fatal flaws you know. I had the iBook 3G like 4-5 years ago that had the dreaded logic board error. I believe the issue was what Techguy1138 describes, rainobow screen caused by the display logic chip either overheating or becoming unseated from the motherboard due to flexing during close.

    To all the experts diagnosing this over the internet, from a picture, stop. You have no way of seeing any external damage to the case indicative of a drop or any impact point on the screen indicative of an object left on the keyboard.

  88. Huntergreene says:

    I’ve had the screen on my palm break just sitting on a bookshelf overnight. Must have been the “crack” fairies.

  89. urban_ninjya says:

    I think this is clearly a case of an underling trying to exert more authority than he actually has. Someone gave Chris the title of Manager and he thinks he’s the CEO. Best course of action is to file a complaint with the BBB and talk to a superior. Definately that Chris person should be fired.

  90. Anonymous says:

    Did you buy your computer with a credit card? Some cards have a policy where they will refund the cose of lost or damaged merchandise within a certain time limit. American Express, for example, will do this within 90 days from date of purchase — even on items you accidentally break.

    As a side note, they also double the manufacturer’s warranty of any purchase.

  91. bambino says:

    @Hanke: Incorrect, please try again. Assault is the verbal threat of harm, battery is the actual physical harm. There is no ‘scale’ of harm that need be achieved. Thank you for playing, and please do not go to law school.

  92. MrEvil says:

    @hypnotik_jello: Lower right hand corner of the screen. It is OBVIOUSLY cracked. Well, obvious to someone that sees broken laptop screens on a near daily basis I guess. No offense.

    Nobody, I mean NOBODY covers a cracked LCD under a traditional warranty. It can have static vertical lines or horizontal lines, dead pixels, no backlight, one color dead or one color showing too much. However if it cracks there’s usually only one reason, improper handling. The laptop was indoors and wasn’t powered down. The break in the glass isn’t close to the hinge. It couldn’t have been from rapid temperature change, and it couldn’t have been a defect in the hinge tension. I gotta go with Occam’s razor on this one, through some accident the screen cracked.

    I have to agree though, that Chris at the Apple store is a real jerkwad.

    The macbook smasher had a leg to stand on, the little brown spots on his board that Apple claims was water damaged were more likely a failure in the cooling system for that particular chip.

    Moral of the story: ALWAYS buy accidental damage protection on a Laptop and avoid brands that don’t have it.

  93. dantsea says:

    Here’s Stephanie’s original post about this on LiveJournal. Reaction was a bit, ah, different than what she’s getting here.

  94. FightOnTrojans says:

    Just a thought:

    Are you sure someone just isn’t playing a prank on you? There are many videos on YouTube showing people how to set up the wallpaper to look like a cracked LCD screen. Basically, someone creates an image that recreates the appearance of the desktop screen, only adding some “cracks” or bleeding, or lines or something, and replaces the wallpaper with that image. Nothing is wrong with the display, it just looks like it is cracked. Do you have any prankster friends?

    On another note, as soon as the manager started “pushing” you out the door, you should have dropped the macbook. Now, Apple can’t differentiate between the damage *allegedly* caused by you and the damage caused by their employee laying hands on you.

  95. Boberto says:

    LCD’s have in the past cracked idiopathically. This case looks like it is clearly a loose ribbon cable.

    In any event, have the thing repaired and instruct the shop to save any and all parts. Pay for the repair and sue Apple computer via the local Applestore in small claims court for the cost. Bring the defctive LCD into court as evidence. I’ll guarantee you that will settle before your court date.

    Your first objective is to get the thing repaired ASAP for school.

  96. ShadowFalls says:

    This sounds like a manufacturer defect to me. This can happen to thin screens when the frame is too small and thus encloses tightly around the screen. When closing the laptop, the pressure it reduced, when opening it, the pressure increases to a sudden “snap” which can break the screen in the highest place of pressure.

    This isn’t a very common defect, but it does happen. Simple physics seems to apply here.

  97. thelaptopguy says:

    The Laptop Guy would like to extend this offer to

  98. Kerkira says:

    To the ‘this doesn’t just happen by itself’ crowd:

    Get a clue. Stephanie never claimed it happened spontaneously. She stated that she opened the laptop then noticed the problem. If the hinge was too tight (misadjusted or defective) then the force required to open it may have been enough to flex and crack the screen. The Geniuses should have examined her MacBook for that possibility (they may have, since it’s not mentioned what inspections were performed). I would raise the possibility of an overly tight or binding hinge with Steve Jobs.

    There’s an epidemic of this kind of problem – quality issues that result in damage similar to that caused by abuse. Consumers are forced to prove a negative, which is usually impossible, and companies have no incentive to fix the defects, since there’s no ROI in it (until consumers catch on and reject their products). Of course the companies also have an army of ignorant sympathizers who prattle on in comments about how it must have been the consumer’s fault, so it takes that much longer for the general public to learn of defective products.

  99. nequam says:

    @Critcol: Ditto the staff at the Cambridgeside store, which would be closer than Burlington.

  100. alk509 says:

    @Critcol: I’ll second going to the Burlington Mall store! The Magsafe connectors on both mne and my wife’s MBP chargers started to melt withing a few weeks of each other, and Apple phone support wanted us to send the chargers to them so they could replace the connectors… We just went to the Burlington Apple Store this past Sunday and got both chargers replaced with brand new ones without any kind of trouble. The kids working the Genius Bar were nice and friendly and had us all ready to go in a couple of minutes.

    BURLINGTON APPLE STORE FTW!

  101. thelaptopguy says:

    The LCD is certainly cracked and it would be hard to prove it was a manufacture defect unless there was some sort of class action lawsuit to prove otherwise. Apparently the sales person misrepresented the Apple Care as it would cover accidental damage as well. I don’t know if the sales people at Apple are on commission or not. Of course it is up to the consumer to read the fine print regardless of what the salesperson said it covered. The other Apple salesperson should have never touched Stephanie and that in itself is bad and just for that she should get a replacement lcd. Either way Stephanie simply wants’ a working Mac. My company The Laptop Guy (www.laptopGuy.com) repairs 1000’s of Mac Laptops every year and would be willing to replace the LCD for $399 and at no charge include accidental damage that would cover ALL accidental damage and theft to the whole laptop and not just the screen for 1 year. Normally we don’t include the insurance at no charge but I read your experience and wanted to make a bad experience good. Albeit, with another company. The company that offers the accidental protection is http://www.safeware.com and we handle their accidental repair claims.

    Thanks
    Todd Feit, Founder/CEO
    Todd@LaptopGuy.com

  102. str1cken says:

    I can’t speak to whether or not that damage was her fault, but I’ve had an issue for a while with my MacBook Pro monitor where it looks like there is dust between the screen and the backlight… But there isn’t, and the screen is clean.

    Apple says they’ll check it out, but I have to give them my laptop for 10 business days, which I can’t do because I’m a freelancer and I need my computer for my job. I live in NYC so I’ve brought it to TekServe, but they say they’ll only to warranty repair on it if Apple gives me a CS number, which Apple support representatives claim to have no knowledge of.

    I’ve also taken it to the genius bar at the Apple Store Soho, where a “genius” tried to convince me that I had made the dusty effect happen through my own error, and I disproved many of his theories before one of his friends showed up to visit and he simply began to ignore me, even after I attempted to get his attention back.

    I still love my Apple, but my clients (I’m a video editor) notice the dirty appearance and often think that the cameraman didn’t properly clean the lense… which is embarassing and frustrating.

    My service experience with them has been pretty awful overall.

  103. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    I’d recommend suing. They’ll either ignore the subpoena, or they’ll settle before trial. If they ignore the subpoena, you get a default judgement which means you win, period. And if they don’t pay up, they’re held in contempt and you can go to the Apple store and take $750 of whatever you’d like.

    If they settle, then you settle. Best case scenario, you sue, you serve them papers, and they ignore the subpoena.

  104. stephaniek says:

    My mom is headed over to the new store in Natick on my behalf tonight, as suggested by the woman who we’ve been talking with on the phone for about a week.

    Update to come once I hear from her

  105. Jay Levitt says:

    Yeah, Chestnut Hill kinda sucks. I wanted to buy a 17″ MBP hi-res glossy. I called beforehand to make sure they had it in stock, and they did. (And it took me a while to get around to picking it up, so I actually was told three separate times that they had them.) Even had it “put on hold” for me. Finally went to the store; they couldn’t find the one on hold, but grabbed another one instead. Got it home: Not hi-res. I’d used the term “widescreen”, and so had the salespeople, but *both* 17″ models are widescreen.

    So I called and asked if I could exchange it for the right one. “Um, the 17″ hi-res doesn’t come in glossy.” Yes, it does, I see it right here on the web site. Hold. “Well, our store has never carried that model.” Then what the (*$ did you put on hold for me?

    They told me I could come back and return it as long as I bought the “exchange” online at the store. I got to the store, and got interrogated by the manager on duty: She couldn’t do anything for me unless I had the name of the manager I talked to on the phone. Why? “Well, it’s hard to investigate this kind of thing without those details.” Investigate what? You sold me the wrong model, and it’s within the return period.

    Finally got my money back, but I was not impressed. I wrote an EECB but never heard back. I’ve never had these problems at Cambridgeside. Try there.

  106. wesrubix says:

    Steph, you might wanna try another store. Chestnuthill apple is for snobs. Burlington or Cambridgeside might be more understanding…

  107. outphase says:

    On the lines of a legal argument, look at Lloyd Corp v Tanner. 407 U.S. 551 (1972). The case was a 5-4 split in the Supreme Court in favor of the mall. These days, the mall isn’t only venue you can distribute information, so you are not given full rights because the mall is private property.

  108. StevieD says:

    Just a post from a technical perspective.

    There are these little devices that measure forces applied to an item. We use them in shipping to show a pallet of widgets has been dropped. The devices can measure a wide range of force applications (or water exposure).

    Some electronic manufacturers are installing similar devices inside their equipment. Some of the sensors are electronic circuits, other sensors are physical sensors. Usually the output of the device can be seen in the battery chamber or at the bottom of the unit.

    Hypothetically, if the little pencil tip sized sensor shows purple, the item has been dropped a distance of at least 3 feet, and if the sensor is white the item has been immersed in water. If the sensor is green the item is good.

    Just a word of advice before you start bashing a manufacturer for failure to support a product. Sometimes they can prove you are wrong.

  109. nacio says:

    WOW, that screen didn’t break on it’s own. Can’t be a ribbon cable because if it’s loose you would have seen the lines before hand. That screen was cracked by force! quit being a liar, company’s are intelligent and they will prove you wrong. Thats around 1K to fix including parts + labor from apple. If you can’t handle a good laptop, buy a dell with accidental.

  110. your battery looks low

    and no, this wouldn’t be caused by a loose LCD connector. the only cabling around that area of the screen would be the airport cables, so unless you’re airport had some impossible circuitry malfunction, I don’t see how this was a hardware-only issue.

  111. lizzybee says:

    Hrm. It’s not like Apple products haven’t had issues with cracked LCD screens before, such as the first generation Nano:

    [www.macworld.com]

  112. erratapage says:

    One of my fondest childhood memories occurred in Norfolk, Virginia while we were on vacation (probably in 1976 or 1977). Our car died in the hotel parking lot, and my father was able to determine that it was our Sears battery that died. Since he had a warranty on it, we went to the local Sears automotive store, and he attempted to obtain warranty service. Three hours later, he was still sitting in the waiting room with a bored, starving 11 year old kid and an unhappy wife. There had been numerous people in and out with paid repairs, and he asked why the third guy with a tire purchase was getting waited on, but they hadn’t even lifted the hood on our car.

    The service guy told my father that it was store policy to take paying customers first. Dad always did look a little like Yosemite Sam when he got mad, but Dad didn’t blow his stack.

    Instead he started to approach other customers in the store, just like Stephanie did, and told them to think twice about buying at Sears because they don’t honor their warranties.

    We were out of there with a fixed car before Dad got to the third customer, and no one lost an eye.

    My hero…

  113. kantwait says:

    @bradg33: Findlaw.com, expertlaw.com, the law classes I have taken recently, and a lawyer all confirm this, so I think my sources are a little more reliable than wikipedia, as useful a site as it is, heh. But it’s really relatively simple to file assault charges and there need not be any obvious injury. Her not having any obvious injury doesn’t prohibit prosecution or legal action.

  114. LAGirl says:

    @BrockBrockman:

    haha! i was going to post the same thing, but ya beat me to it…maybe KiKi’s snaggle tooth busted the screen?

  115. TheJollyGreenGiant says:

    I work for a laptop repair company, one that does ALOT of warranty repair work…

    and theres NO WAY that damage could have occurred without a force impact. period.

  116. TB123 says:

    Something similar happend to me awhile ago… is it ‘tight’ when you open the laptop? If so, it’s possible that the screen cracked because the hinges were too tight. With such a thin screen, this is entirely possible, and not your fault.

    If the mechanism is too tight, causing that damage, then it’s a manufacturing fault that should be covered by your warranty

  117. SpaceCat85 says:

    +1 to NoWin’s suggestion about Apple-authorized service centers, if Natick doesn’t work out.

    My local Apple Authorized Reseller is authorized to sell and repair Apple computers/parts, but I get better service and prices. Especially a good thing when my (now traded away) aged PowerMac lost a 1)hard drive and 2)graphic card at various points after years of heavy Illustrator and Photoshop usage.

  118. nacio says:

    RE: DISCOUNTGGROWL

    The horizontal lines can be caused by a loose connector.

    But the black spot with the vertical crack screams impact damage which also leads to horizontal static lines.

  119. North Antara says:

    @yosarian: “Put a glass of water on the counter and leave the room. If you come back and there is glass and water all over your counter, something happened.”

    I once literally watched a glass of kool-aid explode. Nobody was within 10 feet of it. The only reasonable explanation we could come up with was that it was caused by noise – my brother started to say something to me, and as soon as he started talking, it exploded..

  120. lockdog says:

    I manage a largish retail store. Sure, I have sales goals to meet, but the largest things affecting my sales are inventory,advertising (or lack of it) and weather. All things I have no control over. Of the things in my direct control that can affect sales there are two: store appearance and customer satisfaction.
    In order for me to not do everything I possibly could (and maybe a little more, as manager I’ve learned what rules bend) to help this customer I would have to believe that this screen cracking itself was 100% outside of the realm of possibility. We’re talking about a mass manufactured product. Other posters have pointed out the possibilities; over tightened bezels, a stress crack in the glass that grew, a slight mis match in the size or configuration of parts that somehow passed quality control. So the possibility is, however slim, that the customer is telling the truth. I’m no CSI, based on that slim chance the customer is accommodated fully, and if I can’t do that I refer them to someone who can, and apologize. Come on, this is basic retail stuff, you know “The customer is always right, even when they aren’t.” Learn a lesson from the RIAA, don’t make your customers your enemy.

  121. Joafu says:

    If the screen casing was installed incorrectly, closing it could have pinched the screen between the casing enough to do the damage. I direct blow is not all thats needed to break a laptop screen, pressure can do the same thing, especially over a period of time. Cheap example: Pinch a calculator, watch the pretty colors, and notice that if you pinch it for long enough the effects will stay; sometimes the screen will just crack from the pressure. If the laptop had an angle error when closing, I could see how this could happen.

  122. Esquire99 says:

    @kantwait: First, if you’ll look at any of my posts, not once did I quote wikipedia. How about quoting an actual academic source? Look at Prosser on Torts. It makes it clear that once there is a touching, it is battery. I’m not going to debate well established common law with you, but you have yet to cite a state civil statute that makes assault and battery the same thing. Many times you will see “assault and battery” listed as a charge, but it really means battery. Have you taken an actual Torts class?

  123. floofy says:

    She’s lucky the manager didn’t call the police on her for disorderly conduct. I do not have any sympathy for someone who goes into a store and acts like she did. The screen looks clearly physically damaged, and if she were in the manager’s position, she would have told any customer who had a screen looking like that the same thing.

  124. Anonymous says:

    I’ve had a few problems like this before and have come out the winner of all of them.

    Option 1: Call Apple Customer Service and tell the Level 1 who answers that you want to speak to the Customer Relations Dept. Don’t worry about explaining the problem to him he is obliged to obey the rues and is useless to you. Tell the customer relations person what happened and that you are dissatisfied with the product quality and apple’s customer service. They have the ability to break the rules to keep customers happy and will mail you a box after 5-15 mins of you politely but emphatically stating you did nothing wrong, and were mistreated. Mention the blog only if they don’t help.

    2: Assuming you bought the computer on a credit card and it is under 90 days old, initiate a dispute with the credit card company. Say you received defective merchandise and the retailer is unwilling to provide a refund or warranty it. Most big banks will back charge it or is covered under their warranty program.

  125. Jesse in Japan says:

    @bambino: I agree. Even if it was a gentle push, what this guy did IS assault and battery. File a police report.

  126. epiclulz says:

    I am fairly certain that Apple has a 90 day or 1yr factory warranty on hardware for defects. In either case, if she only bought this 2 months ago, it should still be covered under the factory warranty. It’s best that she calls Apple’s telephone support service first, especially while she’s still within the 90 day limit, because she probably can get the part replaced because it’s defective.

  127. nacio says:

    epiclulz is metally deficient, if you would have read before hand, factory warrenties don’t cover screen damage. The debate is 1) 90% chance she broke her her self (force damage on LCD, the black with the cracks) and even if she did 2) was she assaulted and forced out. I’m guessing shes totally in the wrong and was in there yelling because she definetly broke it but doesnt want to tell her mom

  128. sidescroller says:

    You know what’s funny? I did drop my Powerbook G4 and scratched the hard drive, and they fixed everything for me. Lucky me. The thing was so well-built, that other than the scuff marks on the corners and the fact it doesn’t lock as tightly, you can’t even tell it was dropped now.

    Hooray for a free hard drive!

    I have to say, just like anything in this universe, you can’t forget that employees aren’t just faceless cogs in a system. There’s good and bad ones, and you’re bound to get varying results from different people.

  129. snowchaser says:

    LEARN TO PACK YOUR BAGS PEOPLE!!!

    Having spent many years as a field service tech, working on many brands, but mainly Compaq, DIGITAL and Dell machines… I have seen first hand many people wonder what caused their cracked LCD’s which were mostly not covered by warranty. (The exception there was Dell Totalcare, covers anything at all. but very few people have this cover).

    The most common cause of a mystery cracked screen in my opinion is poorly packing your laptop bag. If a customer swears it was fine when they put it away, I always ask them to demonstrate their packing technique, and people ALWAYS put the laptop in the bag screen up. In the upper section of the bag, they then stick their AC adapter or mouse, right in the middle! Even if the pocket is on the outside of the bag, something as small as a mouse can create a pressure point on the laptop screen through the plastic, and even the packing and crack the screen. if the pressure point is in the right place, you have a good chance of cracking it. And because of the soft packing in the bag, there will be no evidence of damage from the outside.

    Now if you had a late 90’s early 00’s IBM, you wouldn’t have to worry, I have seen an IBM rep put his laptop on the ground and stand on it! but any Dell (don’t even THINK of standing on a Dell!), and most modern laptops are quite flimsy and light in comparison, and can crack very easily.

    I know this doesn’t help our Macbook friend, but to all of you who regularly transport your laptops, ALWAYS put your laptop in the bag, screen side down, this way the screen will be sheilded by your documents, and the hard base of the machine can be left to fend off the lumpy bits in your bag.

  130. jaymartinez says:

    Send an email to steve jobs, it’s what I did when I was accused of breaking the hinges on my then powerbook g4. I sent a nasty later regarding the store and that particular salesman, and a few weeks later I got a phone call from head apple store boss for the whole state. Asking me to come in to his store and he would take care of me. I asked how he got wind of this. He said from the office of steve jobs. I took it there and few weeks later got my machine fixed and good as new.

  131. ShadowFalls says:

    @TheJollyGreenGiant:

    Perhaps you must realize is you don’t see these issues because when they happen everyone blames the owner saying they dropped it.

    Simple fact. to cause that kind of damage, you would need to apply significant force to the laptop without having any noticeable exterior damage. Quire simply, there is nothing to resemble said damage.

    A good tech can spot a manufacturer defect almost immediately. I have seen a laptop crack all the way across the screen because of the problem I previously mentioned. These issues are more prevalent these days with laptops become thinner and thinner, this issue is not going to go away.

    But, as long as companies simply blame customers for this issue instead of actually investigating the problem, there is going to be many more of these Consumerist topics over the coming years.

  132. @sidescroller:

    those things are built like tanks. Quite possibly one of the most well built/rugged laptops (aside from the toughbook, which is almost impossible to type on)

  133. pyloff says:

    If you go to her livejournal DO NOT look at her user pics. NSFW and nasty… My accursed curiosity.

    On a lighter note, Dell replaced my screen no problems. Peace.

  134. Anonymous says:

    OP,

    Two things strike me here… well, maybe three.

    One is that you should not listen to legal advice offerred on this comment thread. There is too much bad info for me to even list. ‘Rights’ are complicated, misunderstood, and are the subject of heated discussions, even between lawyers. Cyberkiddies aren’t going to give you good advice, and haven’t. If you have a legal question, hire a lawyer.

    Next, the way to get a problem fixed is to be persistent, intelligent, reasonable, and tenacious. Don’t give up because one or two people say ‘No’. Ask for THEIR boss. If you want to be a drama queen, go ahead and pester customers in the Apple store. It is decidedly a poor approach. Life will present you with many frustrations. You will have to develop techniques for dealing with them. If you are smart, you’ll learn from what works and what doesn’t. Being bitchy doesn’t work often. Being intelligent, reasonable, persistent, and tenacious does.

    Never pull out nuclear weapons until diplomacy, small arms, and artillery have failed.

    Read agreements you sign, including warranty and warranty extensions.

    If you have an unresolvable problem with Apple, sell your machine and buy a Dell. Tell your friends. Make sure to tell Apple. If the problem is that you are too thick or busy to read your agreements, then I suggest the major problem isn’t with your display.

    Apple refunded the entire price of a computer to me once. I just got an $1800 battery for my Honda Insight replaced for free. I didn’t do either by being strident. Neither involved so much as a raised voice.

    Good luck with your problem.

  135. mac-phisto says:

    @lockdog: FTW!

  136. JayXJ says:

    @MadMolecule:

    No, a mall is a privately owned business. It is open to the public IF they follow the regulations that the property management company sets forth. These will usually be posted somewhere at each entrance. This is how a mall can ban you from the property. I do not believe that you can be banned from a city sidewalk or a public park.

    I worked for a mall for about a year. We banned people all the time, and had them taken to jail for trespassing if they violated that ban. In the case of folks distributing material in the mall (flyers, sample CDs, whatever) they could only do so if permission was obtained from mall management beforehand. Otherwise they were asked to leave by the Public Safety department. If they refused they were arrested for trespassing.

  137. secretmode says:

    Go to the Apple Store at Braintree, MA. Those guys are much nicer.

  138. plim says:

    too many comments to read, and if someone already said it, sorry…

    but stephanie should’ve flopped to the floor and said that the apple rep physically assulted her. “no i didn’t”, “yes you did” “no i didn’t” “yes you did…i’m on the ground, you touched me, therefore you must have pushed me”

    =P

  139. Primate says:

    @warf0x0r:
    I know for a fact that this is not true. I used to work at BBY and they have a version of their extended warranty that covers liquid spillage as well as accidental damage caused by dropping etc. for laptops. It’s called accidental damage from handling or ADH.
    I believe Dell and Circuit City also have similar coverage.

  140. MrWhitmore says:

    Why are you complaining. You still have 3/4s of the screen you can use.

  141. remccain says:

    I don’t know about laptop LCD screens, but I once owned a 72″ glass top dining table that exploded for absolutely no reason. I was the only one in the house, no pets, no kids, no SO, the table was fairly new, and to my knowledge had never been damaged. One night, about 2am or so, I hear an explosive crash, like someone attempting to break and enter through my patio glass doors. After my adrenaline fueled grab for cellphone-and-gun (no, I wasn’t going to shoot my mouth off), I cautiously investigated and discovered the shattered remains of my glass tabletop in fragments on the dining room floor.
    It had shattered for absolutely *no* reason.
    Google “glass table explodes”
    Perhaps LCD monitors are susceptible to the same mysterious forces?

  142. vladthepaler says:

    If the laptop was dropped, there should be more indications of such than the damaged screen. e.g. a dent in the case, or internal components shifted out of place.

    If there’s a dent on the case, it’s understandable Apple thinks the case was dropped. If there isn’t, they should at a minimum open the case up, look for other damaged components. If there are other damaged components, things out of place, etc., then fair to conclude the laptop was dropped. If not, there’s a good chance it wasn’t.

    (NB i’m not commenting on the warranty issue… i don’t know what the warranty is supposed to cover. Read the fine print.)

  143. regexp says:

    I’ve cracked a 12″ Mac G4 Laptop very similarly. I ran into a post while walking with the laptop. I bought a used one off ebay. However I have also dropped a Dell Laptop and my 15″ MacBook Pro (twice, on pavement!)in the last year with the only thing happening is a dented case so it really depends on where you hit it. And yes I am a klutz.

    So I don’t quite buy her story. And what would you do if someone was walking around in your store and telling people not to buy their products? What happened to people acting rationally?

  144. asaturn says:

    - you sat it on your BED…
    – you closed it
    – you came back and the screen was magically broken with a clear point of impact near the lower left portion of the screen

    something broke it. LCD screens don’t crack themselves. pets? roommate? ghost?

    however, I would either (A) email sjobs@apple.com, or (B – the more likely option) get the screen repaired outside of the apple store by someone who is mac certified. you may be able to find someone who will fix it for basically the cost of the screen itself (less than $200).

    then just deny it ever broke, and hope apple will honor the warranty for everything else. and by the way, in a couple of months, when you leave your laptop outside and you come back and it’s covered in water, but you “don’t know how that happened,” don’t go to apple.

  145. Jordan Lund says:

    I had a similar issue with Nintendo, my original GBA had a bunch of pixels turn black all at once in the shape of a large D covering about 1/5th of the screen. When I called for warranty repair they claimed I “broke” the unit.

    I told them I did nothing of the sort, that the screen wasn’t broken or cracked, but it was as though a bunch of crystals decided to revolt simultaneously.

    They insisted I “broke” the unit up until I said “OK, prove it. I’ll send it in for repair and if you’re correct and it’s ‘broken’ as opposed to ‘defective’ I’ll pay to have it replaced.”

    Finally got my RMA and a week later got a replacement unit back in the mail… “We have determined that the fault was a result of a product defect.”

    A few months later I saw a display unit at a store with a large number of black pixels in the shape of a D in the exact same place as the one I sent back.

  146. Jerim says:

    Should have called the police when he touched you. They aren’t going to arrest him if there is no bruise, but they still have to fill out a report. Something along the lines of “Responded to an assault report. No bruises on victim. Several people witnessed the incident.” That gives you evidence of what happened. I agree with the admin that you should inform him that you plan on demonstrating in front of the shop. Make sure you actually do it, because I guarantee that he is going to call your bluff. Finally, do not under any circumstance allow them to repair it or send it off for repair. He may cave and say “Fine, we will fix it” and then drag his feet. That way he has taken all your proof away. I would go one step above his head to deal with the issue or at least take it to another store where you know they won’t try and screw you on the repair.

  147. ikes says:

    I just love all of the anecdotal evidence by all of the commenters which proves:

    a) Laptop screens don’t just fail on their own.
    and
    b) It is entirely possible for these things to happen.

  148. Anonymous says:

    As others have said in this thread, that laptop was exposed to physical trauma, whether you know it or not. That damage to the screen in the lower left corner is clearly a cracked LCD, and if MacBooks had a design defect that caused their screens to randomly crack, I think we would have heard about a few more cases by now.

    Usually when they disassemble the computer they can find internal signs of the trauma, such as cracks in the aluminum frame of the computer. The hard plastic shell of the MacBook rarely cracks or dents when dropped, so external indications are almost never present with MacBooks.

    I’m sorry, but everyone who brings in a laptop with a cracked screen claims to have “never” dropped it, and if there isn’t external damage, there is always internal damage that is indicative of it being dropped or having had things stacked on top of it.

  149. redhead29 says:

    STEPHANIEK,

    I have had tons of apple products..computers, ipods, whatever.. and no one here is saying the company is some sort of messiah who makes imperfect products. I completely believe your story, and unfortunately, you just happened to get some bad sales advice in the store..keep in mind Applecare is NOT mandatory, so if you didnt want to buy it, you didnt have to..

    However, that being said..what that manager did was NOT right.

    I think you should email Steve Jobs (you can find his email online..), and let him know about the situation. Say you were ready to use Apple Products for now, and possibly forever, but this experience has soured you. You never know what might happen…

  150. philm98 says:

    If you had bought a dell with the 5 year complete care warranty, you wouldn’t have had to worry about problems like this. I’d say that warranty coverage is at the discretion of the people at the apple store. Try a different apple service center.

  151. Anonymous says:

    In college, I dropped my laptop and cracked the screen. Fortunately my dad bought an extended warranty from Best Buy (it wasnt a Mac) because the sales associate specifically told him that the screens broke easily and it would be covered. So, when he found out it was NOT covered, he did some internet research and discovered scads of identical stories of how salespeople were promising warranty coverage, and he sued Best Buy for false advertising and they settled and gave us $500. I wouldnt recommend this unless you have a legal background and tons of free time (like my dad did), but it worked for us.

  152. tekbandit says:

    I would look into also bringing up assault charges, if you can, look up the statutes on assault, usually it doesn’t have to involve any bruising or injuries. Another item to look up is harassment, harassment can be defined as unwanted contact with another.
    You have witnesses to that persons actions, right?

    As for the Managers actions, I would find out who that persons Regional Manager is and file a complaint or still complain to the email address that was provided by the consumerist.

  153. tkviz says:

    I bet you have a CAT, don’t you? There is a good chance that fluffy jumped up on your desk, and hoped on your laptop closed, applying just enough external pressure to crack the display and screw you over royally. My cat has broken multiple parts on my old PowerBook, and almost all of them happened right after I walked out of the room…

  154. dalasv says:

    She totally broke it. Apple, don’t give her anything.

  155. EmmaC says:

    My sister did drop her apple laptop and cracked the frame–oops–and it was under warranty. She took it in to Apple and told them and the said since she dropped it, it wasn’t under warranty and the quote was $600 BUT the genius also gave the name of a couple companies who were Apple authorized repair places. She also did a search online on the apple site. She took it an Apple authorized repair shop, they fixed it for $120 but the best part was because she got it fixed at an authorized place, it’s still under warranty.

    My advice, get it fixed elsewhere. It’ll probably be a lot cheaper.

  156. EmmaC says:

    Tkviz–my roommate’s cat knocked over my laptop (on table). Luckily there was only very minor cosmetic damage (a scratch) and while I wasn’t happy–I was thankful it wasn’t worse.

    Cats are fast and for some reason, there’s something about the laptop screen that attracts them.

  157. Onouris says:

    Mmmm Apple and their amazing customer service.

    As if the battery scandal isn’t enough.

  158. Anonymous says:

    As for the screen cracking… it looks damaged but as an owner of a similar computer you know it doesn’t take much to damage it and you should always know exactly what your plan covers but if you don’t like the service at that store you can always go another store. I understand what he said must of been upsetting but the problem with todays customer service is that you don’t hear what you want to hear because they have to tell you what the company tells them to tell you. I have faught many battles over that.

    On another note.. people have been questioning already if your computer was actually dropped and if you’re with holding facts but has anyone questioned the truth behind him putting his hands on you? You can press charges if you want but most stores these days are heavily equiped with cameras and if they show something other than what you’re accusing him of, and if he has seen this, he can trun around and slap you with harrassment and deformation of character.

    I wish you luck in getting your screen fixed but I think the best option is for you to try to work with another Apple store or to get a different type of laptop somewhere else.

  159. Chaosium says:

    Having worked in the PC industry for several years, yes that mark is the result of physical damage to the chassis or screen.

    Also, there’s nothing more obnoxious than being confronted with “ARE YOU CALLING ME A LIAR”, because you already know the answer to that question. No, you’re not necessarily intentionally lying, but you’re certainly mistaken.

  160. mk says:

    I have a friend who is a manager at an Apple store. Basically he says (not specifically on this case, but others) if a customer puts up enough of a fuss, they will replace the computer. Manager’s have the authority to do that. So I say, keep going until you get the new computer. You will suffer the bad karma if you’re lying. Or enjoy the new computer if you’re not.

  161. Luftvier says:

    @bradg33:

    Charges of assault can be brought if someone is in immediate apprehension of bodily harm. Assault is the threat. Battery is the touch.

    From Black’s Law Dictionary:

    assault, n. 1. Criminal & tort law. The threat or use of force on another that causes that person to have a reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive contact; the act of putting another person in reasonable fear or apprehension of an immediate battery by means of an act amounting to an attempt or threat to commit a battery.

  162. Anonymous says:

    try shaking it. are you sure you didn’t drop it? i can’t comment anymore.

  163. thalia says:

    Try actually contacting Apple about this. My husband and I both own Macbooks. Our Apple Store on campus is run by total wankers who pretty much treat all customers like assholes, but we’ve always been given first class treatment when dealing straight with Apple. We just call them, they send us a box to ship our computer in, we ship it, we get it back in a week, voila.

  164. Televiper says:

    Always remember that the words “anything” and “everything” don’t always mean the same thing as anything or everything. If somone says “this warranty covers anything but warranty damage” you really do have to ask “anything? even if I drop it?” The CSR may be making the honest assumption that you’re not actually believing they’ll cover your foul-ups.

  165. Televiper says:

    @Jordan Lund: That seems like the best way of handling that type of situation. It was the same with the water in the laptop. Honestly, why should the company believe you when you say you didn’t damage it? Instead of getting snippy and offended as if they’re calling you a liar, you do the sensible thing and ask them why they are so sure. It shouldn’t be “your laptop was dropped” “NO NO I didn’t drop it” … it should be “Your laptop was dropped” … “really? I’m quite confident it was never dropped, in fact it appeared to be quite safe on my desk.. why do you believe it was dropped?”

  166. XTC46 says:

    At first I was going to call bullshit on this. Screens don’t just crack. but from the patter on the screen, it looks like that bottom corner is where there is damage, and it could be the screen coming apart or the bezel pressing to hard against it, or even the hinge being mis aligned. If it had been a split in the center of the screen or a nice spider web style patter I would have definitely called her on it, but this could be legit, id have to look at it in person to be sure though.

  167. BadStoat says:

    Watch out about doing any kind of demonstrating outside the apple store. The sidewalk is public, but malls are NOT public property inside. They’re private property, and it’s very likely that security will be called to drag you off.

    So handing out fliers may not work so well.

  168. Her Grace says:

    @dantc: It’s been removed. While I’m inclined to believe Stephanie, the removal of the post there certainly doesn’t inspire confidence.

  169. Her Grace says:

    @Her Grace: Luckily, google cached it for me! (in the preview, the link making thingie is weird/broken–search for the address [community.livejournal.com/macintosh/2986631.html] on google and it will come up, though, and the cached link is available)

  170. dantsea says:

    @Her Grace: It was removed. But before it was removed, she edited it to resemble the post here, highlighting the bits that made her look better.

  171. dantsea says:

    That is to say, she likely deleted it. I haven’t seen any stern lectures from the community mod, so I’m inclined to believe she did it herself.

  172. stephaniek says:

    @dantc:

    Yes, I deleted the post. I wasn’t really into comments on my personal journal with people harassing me.

  173. stephaniek says:

    Also…I tried posting this before but I don’t see the comment on the page.

    I emailed sjobs@apple.com and received a phone call the next morning. I dropped off my MacBook for repair at the Natick, MA store. I emailed consumerist to have this page updated with that info

  174. Anonymous says:

    I had a dell laptop that did the exact same thing.
    I was using it, closed the lid, carried it to a different room, and when i opened it the screen was cracked.
    this was about 5 weeks after i bought it.
    I finally convinced dell to take the laptop back and inspect it for damage.
    Tthe crack started on the edge of the panel with no damage to the case.
    I finally took the issue high enough up the chain and they gave me an entire new laptop.
    I think the problem was a defect on the LCD panel edge or in the case that stressed it enough to crack.

  175. dantsea says:

    @stephaniek: Horseshit. You obviously know how to set your personal journal to friends only and restrict commenting, you just didn’t like the feedback you were getting there.

    Enjoy your new laptop, princess. Try not to break this one.

  176. pyloff says:

    QUOTE
    “Yes, I deleted the post. I wasn’t really into comments on my personal journal with people harassing me.”

    You Steph have a “personal” journal that was open to the world, however it was personal.

    Let me get this straight, it was personal but you had it on livejournal…

  177. pyloff says:

    Teets

  178. swan20 says:

    Hm… this worries me, I got my father a laptop for his birthday at Fry’s and paid an extra 3 year warranty. I spefically ask the saleperson what it covers. he told me as long as i did not smash or throw it. And that’s it. He also told me laptop monitor always mess up and this extra will be useful when that happens…

    I wonder now if all sale reps only say what you want to hear and leave out the important part like we will blame it on you instead!!

  179. CurbRunner says:

    Somewhere on this website in the past, I believe there was a link to contact Steve Jobs at Apple.
    When the manager pushed this customer it became an actionable assault under most every law that deals with that type of event. Steve Jobs should be contacted to negotiate a settlement that resolves his employee’s assault on a customer.

  180. CurbRunner says:

    @BadStoat: “Watch out about doing any kind of demonstrating outside the apple store. The sidewalk is public, but malls are NOT public property inside. They’re private property, and it’s very likely that security will be called to drag you off.”

    This would represent a typical response to free expression in a fascist country.

  181. Evopanda says:

    I dropped my laptop and they did the same type of thing but the screen is prone to getting cracked. I have dropped it about 20 times and dropped it once on a airplane it showed up. I dont think that a LCD screen just cracks for no reason like that.

  182. lilnyc says:

    I also had a screen issue. I held it from behind (cradled) the SAME way their staff holds their’s when making appointments. That resulted in finger prints damaging the screen. Apple Care didn’t cover it and I sold it for $800 less as-is.

    Re. arguing with you and accusing you of doing something you didn’t, that just happened to me today. I returned 3 items unopened, and they accused me of opening them. I was refunded but insulted. I 100% did NOT open those boxes, and in fact saw the employees opening them to check everything out. I have written a formal complaint and will send one to headquarters as well. It’s one of those times when you wish you’d photographed the ‘evidence.’.