Error-Ridden MacBook Gets Free Replacement After Nice Letter To Steve Jobs

After umpteen attempts to have his multiple MacBook Pro problems fixed, only to be told each time the laptop was working perfectly fine, Jordan wrote a polite email to Steve Jobs. He affirmed his Apple loyalty, laid out what happened to him, and asked for help. A couple of emails later and he was able to walk into an Apple store and swap his jalopy for one of the brand new MacBook Pros that just came out. You might analyze how the letter was written for clues to his success but really what it came down to was that he had gone in for repairs of the same problem more than three times, qualifying him for a refund or replacement under what is known as “lemon law,” and he got his issue under the nose of the guy at the top. Or at least the assistant who opens his email. Same difference. Jordan’s success story, inside…

“My name is Jordan W and I am writing to you to tell you about my success story with Apple and my MacBook Pro. I almost feel compelled to tell you because it was your article that inspired me to take action in regards to resolving my issues with my MBP. (see http://consumerist.com/consumer/apple/get-your-defective-laptop-replaced-by-sending-well+written-emails-to-steve-jobs-256931.php) In short, my laptop was experiencing an array of issues including USB, firewire and bluetooth reliability issues, hard drive problems (slow read/write), complete superdrive error (fails to burn cd/dvd, laser disc error) and the display experiencing warping issues when the lid was shut. After my laptop being in the Apple shop twice and nothing being resolved, I decided to look elsewhere for answers to my problems – online. Here is where I stumbled upon the article posted on Consumerist about this one man’s success story with getting his MacBook fixed/replaced by simply beginning an e-mail correspondence with sjobs@apple.com, so I decided to give it a shot. Attached is the e-mail I wrote at 2:22am on November 4th:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
From: Jordan
To: sjobs@apple.com
Date: Nov 4 at 2:22am
Subject: MacBook pro dilemma; Jordan
————–
Mr. Steve Jobs,

First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Jordan W and over the past two years, I have been a loyal Apple customer through purchasing two MacBook Pro’s (one for me, one for my brother), several iPods as well as Apple peripherals (keyboards and mice). Simply put, I love Apple products. Unfortunately, a horrid dilemma has been developing with my experience of my most recent MacBook Pro, which I purchased in June of 2007.

Several problems have begun to arise with my MacBook Pro (late 2007) concerning the display, USB ports, bluetooth reliability and overheating. I have brought my beloved notebook in several times for repair, but each and every time, I have been told there were no problems detected and my machine was working properly. In addition, one time during a service repair, my laptop came back to me slightly damaged (casing at bottom-left of laptop was/is loose), which I was told was “already there”, when it most certainly was not. Also, I purchased the 3-year Applecare extended warranty (expires in June of 2010) in hopes that it would cover these sorts of issues. Apparently, it was not worth the extra $$$ to assure my laptop’s reliability.

My experiences with Apple Support in the past have been relatively troublesome, but not to this degree. I finally have
become fed up with leaving my laptop at Apple Sagemore of South Jersey (I live in State College during the school year) for two weeks at a time and risking my data being destroyed, only to be told that it is “functioning properly”. So now, I am stuck with a half-functioning laptop that experiences hardware failures all too frequently, poor iPod syncing due to USB issues and a useless wireless keyboard and mouse. I write to you in hopes of receiving some sort of explanation
or advise on what to do, as purchasing a new notebook at this time is not in my realm of options. I cannot find a notebook that is better than an Apple, but how can I remain a loyal customer to a product that consistently fails me and a repair process that does not help resolve the issues? Any reply at all would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Sincerely,
Jordan W

Contact Info:
M – xxx-xxx-xxxx
E-mail – xxxxxxxx

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nearly seven hours later, at 9:30am on Nov 5, I received a very friendly phone call from my local Apple store and spoke to the manager about what we could do regarding the repair of my MacBook Pro. She kindly asked me to e-mail her a detailed list of all the issues I was experiencing over the next two weeks, so when I came into the Apple store on Nov 24, the geniuses could be prepared to assist me. Here is the e-mail I sent to her concerning the issues I was experiencing:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From: Jordan W
To: xxxxxxx@apple.com
Date: Nov 19 at 12:27am
Subject: Jordan W; MacBook Pro Issues

Manager,

Here is the list you requested of issues I have and can recreate.

* Sporadic USB behavior
o Iomega eGO external USB drive will fail to mount, must unplug and plug back in to recognize/mount
o Time Machine will not backup via USB, firewire only
o iPod is not always recognized/mounted as well, syncs will hang at “Syncing with calendars…” until i manually remove the iPod from the USB connection
* Sporadic Firewire behavior
o Time Machine is recognized/mounted, frequent error occurs which says, “Time Machine failed to backup.”
* Consistent Bluetooth Issues
o Devices (Apple Wireless Keyboard and Mighty Mouse) will drop bluetooth link from MacBook Pro after a given period of use
o Sometimes, when connected, the mouse will stutter across the screen until I shut the mouse off and on again
* Strange DVI behavior
o When MacBook Pro is waked from sleep, as well as Dell 2408wfp, the screen will flicker twice before any picture is to come through
* CD/DVD drive burning failure
o CD-R, CD-RW fails to burn because of “unable to read disc laser speed” error
o DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-DL burning capabilities (ISOs for example) fail to burn; Messages say “Beginning burn…” then about 10 seconds later, the message “Finishing burn.” appears and hangs for 10 to 15 minutes until it informs me the burn has failed
o Attempted to burn media through iTunes, Finder, Disk Utility and Disco, none have worked
* MacBook Pro display warp
o The display on my MacBook Pro now is bent, even though I have had the display replaced/repaired
o Very visible when closed (Apparently, this is a documented issue)
* Slow Hard Disk Read/Write
o Formatted using Zero-Disk to see if it will solve the problem; no improvement found

If I find anymore, I will add them to this. Thank you.

- Jordan W

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When Nov 24 finally came around, I went to the Apple store at 10am and was greeted by one of the many-a-salesperson. (I live at school and Nov 24 was the first day I could get to an Apple store) I told them my issue as well as who I was and they informed me I was expected where I was then escorted to the Genius Bar. Then is where I explained all the issues I had with my MBP and he took my machine in the back. He also politely told me that he would be right back out. About five minutes later, the gentlemen came up to me and told me that I was to receive a replacement machine free of charge! (I tried very hard not to smile and jump up and down until he walked away) Twenty minutes later, I was signing the paperwork to my new MacBook Pro (Yes, the actual new one that came out a couple weeks ago, not a refurbished replacement. In fact, I am writing this e-mail on it.) and walking out of the store with a mile-wide grin on my face.

All thanks go to you Consumerist, for without that article, none of what happened could of been possible.

P.S. – Apple, you rock too.”

(Photo: James Young Art)

Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    At the end of the list of issues, he should have said “But other than that, it’s great”.

    But seriously, it’s good to hear that Apple appears to care. Although I find their policy of having to set up an appointment at the “Genius” Bar for any tiny little problem to be a bit annoying.

    • nursetim says:

      @MeSoHornsby:
      He should of listed what was actually working, since that would of been shorter.

    • zigziggityzoo says:

      @MeSoHornsby: You don’t have to setup an appointment. You can call a regular 800 number just like any other computer manufacturer if you REALLY like that instead. They’ll send you a box, and you mail it off.

      Personally? I’d rather SHOW someone my problems, face-to-face, then try to explain it, and have them read a script to do trivial procedures for 90 minutes before they finally agree to send me a box.

    • ionerox says:

      @MeSoHornsby: Eh, suck it up. Before there were appointments, there were 2-3 hour waits on evenings and weekends at my local Apple store. I love the appointments. Especially since I’ve never, ever had to leave a machine at a store overnight for repair.

      I find the people who saunter in and expect that thier tiny little problem shouldn’t mean they have to wait behind the dozen or so people who are already in queue for help more than a bit annoying.

    • TVarmy says:

      @MeSoHornsby: I’ve found that if you ask for help with the smallest of problems to a regular salesperson, you’ll get help, but reluctantly. This is my policy for keys that break off.

  2. seanhcalgary says:

    Typical Apple. This is why they make so much money and can charge a premium for their products. 9 times out of 10 the service is great, but the one time it isn’t, there’ll be someone in the company willing to make things right.

    Cheers Apple, and good job to Jordan for handling the situation professionally. That’s half of the results right there.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I too went through a very similar process, I’m very happy to say.

    I bought a 1st gen BlackBook the day they were released in the summer of 2006, and I had issues the first week I got it. I had the processor failure, where a power wire casing to the CPU would heat up as the computer was used and then as the casing expanded from said heat would cause a momentary short and the computer would crash. Sent it in to repair the issue in week one, and it WASN’T FIXED. Sent it in again, after a long phone conversation, and it was eventually replaced.

    Went through the EXACT same process with my optical drive, two send ins for a problem clearly labeled before sending it off. Needless to say, very frustrating.

    I also had to send it in over the next few months for issues like a faulty battery, and several other issues I cannot remember. When all was said and done and my original 1-year manufacturer’s warranty was up, I had sent my computer in SEVEN times.

    The last day of my warranty, I called Apple and asked to speak to someone in quality control, or something. Apparently there are three tiers of AppleCare, and I was immediately routed to tier two, who routed me to tier three.

    The tier three agent told me that he would be my contact, collected my info so he could call me back, and asked me what the problem was. I told him that I simply wanted to file a complaint about the hardware. I loved the operating system, but told them my hardware horror story.

    A week or so later he called me back and told me they would be sending me the newer computer with the Core 2 Duo processor and doubling my RAM and HDD! Needless to say, every computer I purchase from here on out will be an Apple.

  4. JN2 says:

    After 2-3 iPods, 1 iPhone, 2 iMacs and a MacBook Pro purchased over a 10 year period, I’ve only had to return to the store for service 3-4 times. More often than not, the store has replaced or repaired at no charge to me even after the warranty was expired. Just be polite, be specific about the concerns and ask them what they think your best option is for the issue (and wearing your Apple t-shirt seems to help too).

    My last issue was with my MacBook battery that had warped and stopped working (leaving it on for extended periods downloading files probably didn’t help) and I knew it was not under warranty any longer so I was expecing to purchase a new battery but I took it with me and just see what might happen if I asked. I asked if there was anything Apple could do even if I was out of warranty. The Apple genius suggested it was a safety hazard and under that condition, he was allowed to replace it for free.

    Happy customer!

  5. Mr_Human says:

    Wow, I have most of those problems on my pcs, and it’s considered normal

    • HogwartsAlum says:

      @Mr_Human:
      Yeah, I was thinking about trying an Apple, but are these problems with laptops in general? I don’t know…the Toshiba I have is my first one.

      I’ve been having issues with my Toshiba laptop’s CD/DVD burner. It plays stuff; it just won’t burn. I just put whatever it is on my flash drive and walk it to my desktop, where the CD/DVD burner still works just fine. Of course, the laptop has Vista vs the desktop’s XP, and the Windows Media Player is also an older version, and I’m wondering if that’s not part of the problem.

      Can I get an external one and plug it into the laptop? Just curious.

    • clickertrainer says:

      @Mr_Human: I have most of those problems on my MacBook and I thought it was normal too.

  6. screwtapeletters says:

    Yep, after reading about this little trick on this site I emailed Steve myself after my still-under-warranty ibook kept slipping in to a coma after three major part repairs. I was sent to a store where they hooked me up with:

    -brand new macbook with harddrive, ram and dvd drive upgrades
    -applecare for the macbook
    -procare card
    -one on one card
    -.mac account
    -a new sleeve to round it all out

    They take care of their business, no doubt about it. I can tell after relaying my story that I must have stepped in some CS shit after noting that once at one store in the course of this month long meltdown, I was told that they couldn’t replicate the problem and therefore it was ready to go home. Wut.

    Anyway the moral of the story is get the extended warranty on any computer you buy. I bought my ibook for $859 almost four years ago and I now have a brand new macbook and all the trimmings for nothing. It’s stuff like this that makes you a customer for life.

  7. jpdanzig says:

    Why does this guy love Apple so much if he found their service to be “troublesome”?

    Yeah, I love getting kicked in the ass too, but only if you’re wearing Manolos…

  8. gaya2081 says:

    I don’t understand why people complain/decline buying the extended warranty-esp the one with accidental damage on laptops. I would say most laptops have some sort of issue within 3 years-but I have seen 6 year old laptops merrily chugging away. Nothing is worse than when someone brings back the laptop you sold them, offered them the accidental damage warranty-they decline smirking. Then I see them later-months, weeks, and someone dropped the laptop and its broken! Then they wonder why we won’t fix it.

    I am glad Jordan was able to get his laptop fixed and had got the warranty. It sucks that he had trouble but it paid for itself in the end!

    • ionerox says:

      @gaya2081: Apple’s extended warranties do not cover accidental damage. It’s an extension of the regular manufacturer’s warranty and phone support.

  9. bengarland says:

    Dude what the hell did you do to your MBP??? Drop it? I’ve never seen a Mac with so many problems. One, two? Sure. But problems with every single port and device? REALLY???

  10. shorty63136 says:

    Awesome.

    Same thing happened to me. I had an iBook G3 that had a logic board issue and it had gone in 3 times.

    I was beside myself because I was working on a final paper for my Master’s program when it bit the dust.

    Walked out with a new MacBook and they were able to pull my data off for me. Thank God.

    • GuinevereRucker says:

      @shorty63136: I too am an Apple cultist, dedicated to the worship and propagation of all things Mac. However, ALL hard drives are prone to failure sooner or later – it’s merely a matter of when, not if. So I recommend always keeping a backup no matter what platform you use.

      The new Time Machine thing is amazing, it makes hourly, weekly, and monthly backups in the background on a separate disk or partition.

  11. kaiz3n says:

    This is a great story; I noticed that it never hurts to be honest and up front with electronic companies. I had an i-River 40GB black and white MP3 player when it first came out, during the warranty time it broke and was replaced; the replacement came back just before the warranty ran out and had another failure.

    I contacted i-River and told them that I loved this MP3 player, have told many people about it and persuaded them to purchase an iRiver over an iPod for a number of reasons.

    I was contacted shortly after where I was told to send my unit back and, and sure enough no more than a week later they had replaced my antiquated black and white model with a full color screen 40GB MP3 player unit; not only was I jumping for joy but I still have that MP3 player and it still works to this day. (Mind you I originally bought my iRiver somewhere around 2001 and replaced within a year/two years with a the newer model).

  12. armydrummer says:

    Just so people know, Apple Care isn’t an extended warranty. Warranties are agreements in which the terms can not be changed by the retailer.

    Apple holds the right to change the terms of their Apple Care whenever they want, thus making it a “protection plan.”

    It’s still the number one service product from any computer manufacturer though.

  13. armydrummer says:

    I’m really quite surprised though that this guy had to go to the top in order to get this resolved. If it was in my Apple store, not only would he have had a brand new computer, we’d have thrown in some free stuff just to make sure we didn’t lose his patronage.

    I know this cause it happened to me with my 20″ Aluminum iMac. The Lemon Law is very helpful.

  14. wesrubix says:

    What happens to your old hard disk drive when you get a replacement computer?

    Did he take the old drive out? Do they destroy it in front of you?

    • ludwigk says:

      @wesrubix: It is part of the original unit, so in a full-unit swap, you surrender the previous drive.

      If your data is important to you, then you need to back it up before swapping your machine, and perform a zero-ing, or a 35-pass zero-ing if you prefer.

  15. Anonymous says:

    This is not surprising. I’m on my sixth Apple. Most of the time, they run great. A few times, I did have to go the service route. Most of the time, service was EXCELLENT. Twice, though, I had ‘nightmare’ problems. Eventually, both those ‘nightmares’ wound up in new laptops at my door.

    Apple truly rocks in the service dept.

  16. ludwigk says:

    Ugh, whine whine… half his problem are the same one, that is, bad USB. Any tech will deduce the same thing from his list of problems, and repeating himself endlessly just wastes everyone’s time and effort.

    You know what? My friend had multiple problems with his MacBook Pro as well, several major repairs in one year. Do you know what he did? He called APPLECARE, and THEY replaced his computer with a brand new unibody sexy MBP. Steve isn’t the only person to contact at apple to get a replacement computer. In fact, he is not the fastest, or most reliable person to contact by any means.

    • bobcatred says:

      @ludwigk:
      Agreed. Applecare’s standard policy is that after 3 hardware repairs you qualify for a replacement. Just call up Applecare and ask for Tier 2 (They’re the ones who can authorize a replacement).

      The store should have been able to handle this too. It sounds like that store has a problem with their staffing. Whenever I needed a repair or replacement, I’ve had no problem with the stores.

  17. MooseOfReason says:

    My Dell’s working fine. :)

    • bobcatred says:

      @MooseOfReason: Lucky you. My Dell has had 3 hard drive replacements, two video card replacements, and a motherboard replacements, and the AC port broke almost as soon as my warranty ran out.

      Lemons are not exclusive to Apple.

  18. kyle4 says:

    I’ve actually been having a lot of issues with this Macbook that happened simultaneously and I wasn’t sure how the support would take it if I called and said, “The HD is having slow read/write times, the Wi-Fi card is making my internet as slow as dial-up and now the monitor is flickering.” Even though I have the three year warranty, that’s a lot of problems at once.

    This story was yet another good tale of good customer service and success on Apple’s part.

  19. David in Brasil says:

    My milage was different. In 1993 or so, I decided that I had sent Bill Gates enough of my money, and purchased a MacBook Wallstreet with OS8.5, a full suite of Office apps, and a new printer (of course, Apple couldn’t be bothered to use a standard Centronics printer interface). The hardware was beautiful – a real piece of ergonomic artistry. The computer crashed more often than the Wright Bros., however. Right in the middle of writing something, it would freeze up and leave you with a carat on the screen. That’s all. There was (and is) no Apple store anywhere near rural Texas where I lived. No Genius Bars. No local retailer. After several months of this, I kissed my $2500 goodbye and went back to Windows 98. Too bad; it was a nice looking computer. But I won’t ever bet 2 grand on someone else’s fanboi opinions again.

  20. David in Brasil says:

    sorry, that computer was purchased in 2003.

  21. p75hmsa says:

    sounds like a bad memory issue to me. Perhaps that is a known problem within the company, and that’s why they replacing them.

  22. CapitalC says:

    I’m starting to wonder if Senor Jobs actually gets any work done around Cupertino if all he’s doing is responding to these emails…

  23. adog317 says:

    first the thing with final cut pro, now this.

    dear mr. jobs,

    may I please have a quarter of your wages every year? i love apple products! i have 15 ipods, 2 iphones, an 8 core mac pro and 5 macbook pros. but i feel like i paid too much.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I emailed sjobs@apple.com a few weeks ago because my mac has been falling apart steadily since the warranty expired. I didn’t even get a response.

  25. Anonymous says:

    @David in Brasil,
    unless you purchased a powerbook g3 (codenamed wallstreet) in 2003 for $2500 from ebay or craigslist (yikes!), a lot of history in your post is incorrect.

    The Powerbook G3 came out in 1998. The lowest OS that could run was indeed a minimum of 8.1 and the highest was 10.2.8. Perhaps not the most stable of the classic OS, but upgradable to 9.2.2 which was one of the more stable in the classic period. Though, the appleworks suite of “office programs” were not very good back then, I’ll admit. The cost of this computer in 1998 was $2299. Later that year, the 233 MHz was initially sold for $2,799, the 266 MHz model for $3,499, and the 300 MHz model for $3,999.

    If you purchased new in 2003 it’s more than likely you bought an Ibook G4 or Powerbook G4. Both of which came with a minimum OS of 10.2.3 (Jaguar) and a maximum of 10.5.6 (Leopard). The iBook cost much less than $2500, but the Powerbook started at $1999 early and then a higher end one cost around $2599 later in the year.

    It’s unfortunate that AppleCare wasn’t helpful though. But if you did purchase a G3 Wallstreet (black case) for $2500 in 2003, it was more than likely way out of warranty (by about 3 years) and in no way at all coverable as AppleCare originally would have expired in 2001. If you purchased an ibook (white case) or a powerbook G4 (silver case), it should have been an easier fix… most likely by upgrading to system 9.

    windows 98? ouch… at least in 1998, it was only 3 years until XP. But again, why if this was in 2003 did you go back to 98? XP was fully functional and very capable by that time.

    Anyway, I am just curious about your story…

    Thanks!