Can You Accuse A Mac Genius Of Malpractice?

Ryan writes that an Apple retail store’s Genius declared his MacBook Pro dead: the required logic board replacement would have cost more than a new computer. So Ryan moved on, and sold his old MacBook for parts. Only it turned out that the Genius misdiagnosed Ryan’s computer. The logic board was fine, and the real cause of his computer’s failure was an inexpensive-to-replace bad stick of RAM. Ryan dropped two grand on a new computer for no reason.

A few weeks ago I woke up to find my Macbook Pro dead, wouldn’t turn on. I did what I normally do, made an appointment at a retail store, and brought it in. The genius who helped me diagnosed the problem brought the computer in the back to see what was up. He brought it back saying that the the error indicated a problem with the RAM, but the RAM checked out fine, indicating my logic board was dead. Even though I had AppleCare, the logic board repair would not be covered because of a small dent on the edge of the computer (this dent happened almost a year ago). Knowing full well Apple’s policy about physical damage, and accepting my fate, I asked … what next. He informed me the logic board repair would be in the $1,500 range, and that I was better off selling it to a repair place for parts, as the computer was “totaled” for all intents and purposes. He said I could get decent money for the working parts, and put that towards a new computer.

This is where things get interesting. I sold my computer for decent money at a repair shop, and put the money towards a new computer. I got a call a short time later informing me that my Logic Board was fine, and that the only problem was a bad stick of RAM. This blew me away, the only thing that was wrong was the one thing that Apple had “checked out” and told me working properly. I had taken the Genius’ advice and sold my “broken” computer to help pay for a new one. I couldn’t get my computer back, the repair shop was only telling me so I could maybe talk to Apple.

After explaining my situation to AppleCare ad nauseum, every person I talked to admitted that I was given faulty information, but that all that they can do for me is offer me a 10% coupon. This is completely unacceptable to me. The woman I talked to (for HOURS) said her hands were tied, and thats all that can be done. I’m not asking Apple to write cut me a check, I’m just asking for some kind of compensation for what ended up being a $2,000 mistake on their part. I am hesitant to go into the store and raise hell, I don’t have any ill feelings towards the genius, it was probably a simple mistake, and getting him in trouble doesn’t help my situation any.

Try at least calling the manager of the Apple Store where this happened: you don’t want to get the Genius in trouble, but the store should know that they have either malfunctioning diagnostic equipment or an employee in need of more training. The Consumerist company directory gives you handy contact information for people at Apple who are higher up in the company and might be able to help. People have had good luck e-mailing Steve Jobs (sjobs@apple.com). Who knows…maybe he might take a break from answering iPhone antenna complaints and answer your message himself.

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. gamehendge2000 says:

    Or, stop paying $2000 for disposable technology

    • SerenityDan says:

      The whole Apple is over priced thing aside, any laptop you buy is disposable tech.

      • nosense22 says:

        Exactly, so just pay $1,000 for a Win machine and stop paying extra for disposable tech.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          $1,000 for something you don’t really want just because it’s cheaper is $1,000 wasted. Might as well just get what you want.

        • OletheaEurystheus says:

          or how about 900 for a Macbook…

          (yeah not for nothing, Apple products, not as overpriced as you all think guys)

        • qualia says:

          I have owned both Apple and Windows machines, and the Apple ones last about twice as long and end up being cheaper to fix. I’ll pay a 2-3 hundred dollar premium for that.

          • angienessyo says:

            My old roommate hasn’t had the same experience, something went wrong with it at least once a month until she eventually had to just trash it. I let her use my working Dell laptop through the many times she had to get her Macbook repaired.

    • nbs2 says:

      What is disposable technology? I can’t think of anything that isn’t eventually going to be junked when it fails. With my car stops running, it’ll probably go to a junk yard, where parts may get sold off as needed.

      As for computers, while my experience is only anecdotal, my two longest lasting machines were the Kaypro we had as a kid and my Powerbook. I’ve had other computers keep running longer, but they were Frankensteined, with only the same case remaining by the time I was done.

      Nobody buys a computer with the expectation of disposal soon afterwards.

    • mpotter says:

      So what do you suggest? He should go buy a cheaper laptop like a Sony or maybe a Dell?? They never have any problems…..wait……
      http://gizmodo.com/5576260/sony-recalls-over-500000-overheating-vaio-laptops
      http://gizmodo.com/5576237/dell-knowingly-sold-118-million-computers-with-a-97-failure-rate

      • jo3lr0ck5 says:
      • mpotter says:

        Did I say Apple doesn’t have any problems? I was pointing out that they are not alone even though all the Apple haters seem to think they are.

      • angienessyo says:

        I’ll save my money. My first Dell I’d had for 6 years, upgraded it a few times and obviously just needed to get a new computer once I couldn’t upgrade it anymore. (it still runs perfectly fine btw) Also have a Dell laptop I’ve used for 4 and had no problems and have a new Dell that’s also given me no problems.

        The only problem I’ve ever had was when I bought a stick of Corsair RAM that ended up being faulty, a different stick of RAM worked perfectly fine so that wasn’t the fault of Dell. The stick was tested and it was indeed the RAM that was bad.

        I prefer having a computer I’m able to upgrade and fix on my own without having to rely on running down to the silly Apple store. But maybe I’m just bitter because the kiosk I work in is closing because we’re getting an Apple store in front of it and Apple paid off the mall to get our store closed so they could have a “clear view”.

      • Eli the Ice Man says:

        Except the Sony is probably equally as overpriced as the Apple for the same “you’re paying for a name only” reason.

    • kmw2 says:

      Some people don’t actually consider their laptops rapid-obsolescence tech. I’ve used mine for three years and expect to use it for another three. Given that my sister’s replaced four cheapo Windows laptops in the same timeframe at $500 a pop, I think I’m getting my money’s worth.

      Plus? Some people just don’t like Windows.

    • meltingcube says:

      Frankly you get what you pay for. I purchased a laptop 5 years ago for about $2000, and only just recently didn’t the screen finally go out on me. In the same period of time, some family members have purchased probably 4 or 5 laptops that were less than $600 each.

      Also recently I purchased a new MacBook Pro for about $1200. So far it is the best purchase I have made in a long time, aside from my iMac. An no, I’m not an Apple fanatic, I just believe OSX is a superior product over Windows. And the nice thing is even if I ever need to run Windows, Parallels lets me run Windows right within OSX. No need to have a second computer or reboot into the new OS.

  2. gamehendge2000 says:

    Or, stop paying $2000 for disposable technology

  3. temporaryscars says:

    I’ve been through this before with Sharp. All they’re going to tell you is “we could help you if you still had the laptop, but since you don’t…”

  4. consumerfist says:

    This is something I’d definitely get a second opinion on. I wouldn’t take the word of one dopey “mac genius”.

    • nicklogan says:

      That’s exactly what I would have done, I’ve worked in the repair field for PC’s but if people wanted a second option we would let them have their system back and let them go on their way. I guess since you are under the assumption that apple is more ‘caring’ and consumer friendly and not a business to make money…

    • Keavy_Rain says:

      Yeah, they’re not really “Geniuses.”

      I had an issue with an iPod not holding a charge and I took it into the Apple store. Geinus said “The battery is dead, get a new one.” I had to wait for payday, so I went back home with my non-charging iPod.

      Long story short, the charging cable I was using was defective, as I was able to recharge my iPod in my friend’s car using her charge cable.

      In summary, Apple Geniuses are just the guys who get to sit behind the desk at the Apple store.

    • sleze69 says:

      “you don’t want to get the Genius in trouble,”

      Why not? It is because of his incompetence that the OP is without a working computer.

  5. rpm773 says:

    That sucks, but the OP should have gotten a second opinion before buying a new machine.

    Which he did…apparently from the repair ship. Why didn’t he pay to have the problem diagnosed by the repair shop before just selling it and running out to buy another machine?

  6. pantheonoutcast says:

    The repair shop bought Ryan’s computer for “decent money” and then called him sometime later to inform him that his motherboard was, in fact, fine, but there was no way he could get it back?

    So the repair shop didn’t turn on the computer before buying it from Ryan? Didn’t run any diagnostics at all to determine what “decent price” to pay him? Just saw an Apple logo and said, “Oh, hey, here’s a bunch of money.”

    No way.

    • RobSmalls says:

      The only explanation I can think of is that the repair shop ran it’s own diagnostics on the Mac parts to determine what was salvageable and what was toast. By that time, he had probably already signed a release of the computer to the store so they could run their tests. Then, they call him up and say “Yeah, your computer is worth X for the logic board, monitor, etc.” He asks about the logic board, and the mistake on the genius’ part is realized after he’s given up his computer.

      Or something like that. Or something completely different. Who knows?

    • dragonfire81 says:

      They bought it FOR PARTS. They already knew it wasn’t working right.

    • packcamera says:

      Yeah, that part of the story seems a bit off, why would a repair shop call the OP back to tell him that they just paid next to nothing for his perfectly good laptop? It is almost like rubbing it in… This would seem to put the shop in the hot seat for underpaying for a computer, or lying about its condition at the evaluation, which should enrage the OP, but surprisingly doesn’t. And why didn’t he attempt to buy it back from the shop? Should be some sort of sellers remorse clause, kinda fishy…

    • Hooray4Zoidberg says:

      I believe he could have gotten it back from the repair shop but only found out after he’d spent the money they gave him on a new laptop. Although it’s not clear why he didn’t return it after discovering that, perhaps the restocking fee.

    • coren says:

      They bought it for parts. The OP represented it to be in a certain condition (Ram good, logic board bad) which turned out to be inaccurate. Perhaps they called to inquire as to why the supposed good ram didn’t work (and then inform him subsequently that the supposed bad logic board was good.

  7. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    His statements are contradictory: “I’m not asking Apple to write cut me a check” vs. “I’m just asking for some kind of compensation” for their mistake. What does he want then? His statements highlight why people need to figure out what the hell they want before they run off to talk to customer service. You can eliminate a good portion of your hassle and grief by being clear on what the hell you want! If you want money, aim for that, and resolve to either accept less compensation or keep fighting. Why people don’t plan ahead what they’ll say is strange to me.

    That said, I think he should get some kind of significant compensation…the 10% coupon is nice and all, but not too useful for his present situation. The best scenario, IMO, would be for Apple to refund the difference in the price he paid for the new computer and the amount of money he spent out of pocket for the new computer after he sold his old one. If he paid $2,000, and got $1,200 for the parts, I think Apple should cut him a $800 check. That’s probably an unlikely scenario regardless of how awesome the company has been in the past, but still, one can hope.

    • mac-phisto says:

      somewhere depreciation has to factor in, though. apple shouldn’t be expected to pony up a brand new macbook for replacing an old one.

      i think i’d try to squeeze another 5 or 10% out of them & call it a day. in the end, he’s still walking away with a brand new laptop at a discount (from the coupon & the sale of the old one).

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        I didn’t get the indication that he accepted the 10% off coupon to apply toward the purchase of a new Macbook. The way Consumerist writes it, the OP had already bought a new one when the repair shop told him that his computer’s failure was something simple and not because of the logic board.

      • Kissyboots says:

        I think Apple should be expected to replace something with something that works. I don’t think anyone should be out of pocket for a newish, expensive piece of faulty equipment. If that means new, Apple should supply something new.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          I have no idea what you’re talking about. The OP bought a new laptop with money he got from selling his old, broken laptop.

    • Aesha says:

      I hadn’t actually noticed that, so thanks for pointing it out. What struck me as odd was this:

      “I am hesitant to go into the store and raise hell, I don’t have any ill feelings towards the genius, it was probably a simple mistake, and getting him in trouble doesn’t help my situation any.”

      Well, then what is it that you DO want? You want compensation for what was a “simple mistake”, but not to get the guy in trouble? I’d probably be more pissed that the guy gave me faulty information, and maybe not want to get him in trouble but let Apple know they need to make sure people know what they’re talking about. Why wouldn’t you want to let the store management staff know that? That’s if I was going to do anything about it… if I took the guy’s advice and it turned out not to be accurate, but I’d already gone out and bought a new laptop, I would chalk it up to a lesson learned about taking it somewhere else first to be evaluated independently.

  8. Commenter24 says:

    The biggest problem I foresee here is the lack of actual proof. He no longer has the laptop and doesn’t have any real proof that the logic board as fine. All Apple is getting is this guy telling it the genius was wrong, because someone else told him he was wrong. Apple is right to be very skeptical, and I think a 10% discount is generous under the circumstances.

  9. dolemite says:

    That’s why I wouldn’t waste money on any Mac computers. #1. You are paying almost double what the hardware costs. #2. When something goes wrong of you have to upgrade, you have to drop another 2-3k on a computer. With my pc, I can stay up-to-date by just spending 200-400 every year on a new processor, or video card, another hard drive, etc. If something breaks, I just replace it.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      When something goes wrong with a Mac, you can fix it. In fact, you can pretty much fix anything that goes wrong with a Mac…it just takes money, just like fixing a PC would.

      The OP had the option of fixing his logic board, it was just very expensive to do so and most likely would have exceeded the value of his computer anyway. I’ve upgraded the RAM on my Mac (circa 2007), and I’ve upgraded my OS. I haven’t had to replace my computer at all, and don’t plan to do so for at least another three years. Keeping current with a Mac is no problem at all.

      • Commenter24 says:

        Just ignore him; it’s just random, misdirected Apple hating.

        • The Gray Train says:

          actually, i think he’s talking about upgrading it yourself. from what i know about apple products, you have to go to a genius (lol) bar to have anything done to it. with a non-apple laptop, you can take it apart and replace some things yourself.

          • pecan 3.14159265 says:

            Totally not true. See my post above. I upgraded my own RAM. Now, that’s the only thing I’ve needed to do, but I could easily upgrade other things as well.

      • DylanMorgan says:

        There is also something that has not been mentioned and was not made clear in the article: the price the Mac Genius was quoting was for an accidental damage repair that would return the system to warranty status. Meaning they would replace every part that would conceivably have failed, not just the logic board, and the OP would have a system that was again covered completely by AppleCare. The OP also had the option of taking it to a non-Apple store and paying for an out-of-warranty repair of just the logic board, and that would have cost significantly less.

    • malraux says:

      Upgrading a laptop’s video card or processor is typically difficult to impossible. SInce this is a conversation about a laptop, comparisons between laptops would be better.

      • hansolo247 says:

        Also, a cpu to cpu upgrade in a laptop is usually impractical as all you can usually do is upgrade to a higher-clocked model.

        Most CPUs in a processor family are withing a few % speed-wise, so upgrading these is dumb.

        1.8-2.4Ghz is not a worthwhile upgrade.

    • cristiana says:

      You do realize that the OP is talking about a laptop, and there are very few, if any PC laptops that can be upgraded in such a fashion

      • dolemite says:

        Outside of integrated video…ram, HD, and in some cases, processor isn’t really that big of a deal to replace in a laptop either.

        That being said…you still get 2x more for your money going outside of Apple for your computer needs. I could buy something for 1k that would compete or beat a 1.5-2k apple laptop in performance.

        You just don’t get the fancy packaging and brand name.

        • darkwolf777 says:

          “Outside of integrated video…ram, HD, and in some cases, processor isn’t really that big of a deal to replace in a laptop either.”

          Nor is it with an Apple laptop.

          Also you’re “in some cases” needs to be changed to “in extremely rare cases” because CPU replacement/upgrade in a laptop is just that: extremely rare. More often than not, they are soldered onto the motherboard. I’ve owned several laptops, from pre-HP Compaqs, to Toshibas, to Dells, and Apple. None of them have had replaceable/upgradeable CPUs, and only one of my Dells ever had a replaceable/upgradeable GPU, but by the time I felt the need to upgrade, the only available one was far obsolete, and way too expensive to be worth it.

    • Aesha says:

      I’ve had my Mac a couple years, and don’t have any problems with it. I paid $1250 for it – only because I wanted the black one, so yeah, I paid extra for the color I wanted and slightly more memory or something. But I haven’t had to have any repairs and haven’t added anything to it in the two years I’ve had it, and it works perfectly fine for my use. If you paid (conservatively) $400 for a laptop, then spent 200-400 per year, you would have spent $800-1200 on your upgrades and replacement parts anyway, right? So I guess it doesn’t matter that I bought a more expensive machine that’s still working for me fine a few years later.

      Then again, since others have said that it doesn’t really work that way with laptops, I guess it’s a moot point.

  10. Tamar Weinberg says:

    Just saw the company page and I had a Flashfoward! Mark Benford? Really?

  11. wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

    Apple’s best interest is to refund his recent computer purchase. Usually their customer service is amazing.

    • pantheonoutcast says:

      Based on what? Third party information?

      “Hey Apple, there’s a guy who says you are wrong about the motherboard. His fixes computers for a living, so he must know. In fact, I sold him my laptop and he won’t let me have it back in order to prove to you that you were wrong, but you know, I trust him.”

      • Demonpiggies says:

        Ummm…. you do know that the “Genius Bar” is as smart as Geek Squad right? I how work on software (and some hardware) for a living was listening to one Genius talk to a woman about your camera and her mac air… I had to control myself from telling him that he is full of sh*t and that he should be fired for outright lying to a customer… and then he went to help an older woman and was lying to her about something else… this is pretty much the situation I see at any Apple Store. So yeah I’d trust a 3rd part over Apple’s Genius Bar pretty much any day of week over them…

        And when you sell hardware to a repair shop (just like selling your car) there is no refund. Once sold it’s sold… though the OP could have tried to buy it back…

        • pantheonoutcast says:

          Um, read it again. Wonderkitty’s comment was that Apple should refund him the price of the new computer. My response was that since Ryan offers no physical proof that Apple was wrong (other than an anecdote about a computer repair place that bought his computer and then phoned to tell him that it really wasn’t broken), Apple has zero liability and shouldn’t offer him anything. Ryan should be thankful for the 10% off coupon.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          Why would you trust a random repair shop guy if you don’t trust the Apple tech? In my experience, the Apple techs are pretty good at fixing Apple products. Maybe your experiences speak otherwise, but I haven’t observed Geek Squad-type incompetency with Apple.

        • wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

          Then it seems the standard of employee as a Genius has gone done a lot. That is not my experience or the experience of anyone else I know. Geniuses are actually authorized to spend as much money as reasonable to correct a situation- i don’t think a Geek Squad level employee should have that kind of authority if that is the case. I don’t not believe you. It just seems to counter what I’ve personally experienced.

      • wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

        A report from the repair should be plenty, actually. A 10% coupon just isn’t enough. Apple is supposed to take pride in their “Geniuses” and their products. Sometimes good customer service cost the company a little, but this is completely their fault.

        • pantheonoutcast says:

          Pretend for a moment that Ryan’s problem is with a car, and not a computer.

          He brings his Explorer to a Ford service center, who tells him the engine is shot, and will cost more to fix than to replace the entire car. Ryan leaves in a huff, and brings it to an independent mechanic and sells it WITHOUT having it diagnosed first. The mechanic doesn’t first run any tests, turn it on, put it on a Dyno, or even pop the hood, but instead hands Ryan some money. Ryan leaves, transaction completed. A few days later, the mechanic calls Ryan and says, “Oh, hey, it wasn’t your engine. It was your alternator. It was a cheap fix, but there’s no way in hell you’re getting a chance to get the car back because you sold it to us.” Ryan then goes back to Ford and says, “I want a new car because your service department made a mistake.” Does he deserve a new car? No. No one forced him to sell the car without first having it diagnosed.

          Ok, yes, Apple failed to accurately diagnose the problem. But Ryan jumped the gun and sold his laptop without properly getting a second opinion. In short, he screwed up and deserves nothing.

          • Woofer says:

            Exactly this. It’s an expensive life lesson, but you ALWAYS get a second opinion. I’ve had dealerships quote me $2k repairs to overhaul my car’s cooling system and suggested junking it because it wasn’t worth much anymore, while the repair shop just replaced a single leaky gasket and said everything else was working perfectly. Have to note though, the mechanic DID offer to buy the car for $2k (it was a real beater)

  12. JustLurking says:

    Apple should REALLY rename their techs something other than “genius.” While many are relatively well informed, there are plenty of, ahem, bad apples in the bunch who don’t know squat.

    A genius should blow me away with his knowledge, not leave me scratching my head as I walk away knowing that I was just given erroneous information.

  13. sanjaysrik says:

    IF they’re nothing more than technicians, is calling them “Genius” crapple branding that makes them more snarky than usual?

    • nbs2 says:

      Years back, before the whole Apple brand took off, the Geniuses really knew their stuff (but even then, some Geniuses were more than others). I had a couple of them (long since forgotten their names) that I would take my issues or questions to, and would politely refuse to work with anybody else.

      But, that time has passed.

      • sanjaysrik says:

        But, again, they’re MACs, not as if they are really that high tech to begin with in the first place, door weights with glowing fruit on them.

        • hansolo247 says:

          They’re usually not bad, hardware-wise.

          They do come with graphics that are a step above bottom-barrel, at least recently.

          The funny thing is most buyers think they are getting high-tech when they’re not. I had one boast of his “48 core Nvidia GPU”…and when I replied back that I had a “480 core Nvidia GPU” in my PC, I think he blew a gasket.

          They’re pretty, but usually have a fast CPU and a fast…not much else.

  14. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    WTF is a “logic board?” Is that honestly what Mac people call the motherboard?

  15. meske says:

    Don’t accuse apple of being wrong… apple is NEVER wrong…

  16. Tim says:

    Why can’t he get the computer back? Did the repair shop really rip it into pieces, THEN test the motherboard?

    If he can get it back, there’s a good chance he can return the new one he bought. Otherwise, looks like he’s SOL.

  17. Riroon13 says:

    If the dent he was worried about wasn’t too noticeable, he may have been better off sending the computer to an Apple Repair center via prior arrangement/calling the 1-800 #.

    Once I went in to bring an Apple for repair, with a similar blemish, fully expecting to have to pay for the repair (even though I had Apple Care, also). The service guy said I’d be better off sending the computer to one of the authorized service centers. He said the repair guys at those centers have to work so quickly on repairs they hardly have time to look for damage or other reasons to void warranties. They just hurry up, do the work, and move on.

    So I called Apple, got a box via UPS a day later, and the rest is history.

  18. sirwired says:

    I’m almost certain the tech merely ran software-based memory checks. They are completely, utterly, useless.

    I’ve seen a memory stick hosed so badly that a hardware-based checker couldn’t even figure out what size it was supposed to be; but a software checker cleared it, even after “stressing” it for days on end. The problem was most certainly the memory, which makes me wonder why they even bother with software-based memory checking.

    • microcars says:

      I’ve use memtest to find bad ram before when Apple’s own Hardware Tests showed nothing.
      Memtest works great!

      • sirwired says:

        I’ve used memtest before. Like all software memory checkers I’ve used, it will not produce false positives, but it WILL produce false negatives. The best way to diagnose a memory problem is to simply swap it out with a module you are fairly sure works, or use ECC and be done with it.

  19. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    I’m surprised that there isn’t some kind of disclaimer just to avoid these sorts of problems. In the end, it’s just a lesson learned that a second opinion for major expenses, whether it be for the car, HVAC unit, computer, medical, etc., is incredibly important. It’s also a good idea to rule out, without a shadow of a doubt, the cheap and easy repairs even if they’re a long shot.

    I’m not familiar with Apple products — is a “Genius” the highest tier of technician?

  20. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Before scrapping your computer for parts – get a second opinion.

    Perferably not from a chain store. Independent repair places, at least, are trying to work hard to keep their business worthwhile to the consumer. The diagnostic technician working at Apple is not.

  21. ConsumerPop says:

    I definitely think that it’s weird that whoever he sold the laptop to didn’t inspect it/took his word about the condition(?) before he paid him x amount for it. If you walked into a store and said the sound card is dead, I want to sell this laptop, you would get a lot more for it then you would if he turned on the laptop and found out the logic board was fried, the memory was bad, the video card was fried, etcetc.

    Regardless, I think he deserves more than 10% off. He can’t get his old laptop back, so unfortunately the only thing Apple can do is give him money off a future purchase. Maybe free Apple Care?

  22. madtube says:

    As an Apple man, I will chime in with my $0.02. First, mistakes happen. Maybe the diagnostic equipment was incorrect. Sometimes issues present themselves as a failure of one one thing when it is a failure of something else. I have worked in the field of diagnosis and repair. It has happened to me, and people consider me to be on top of my game. That being said, maybe Apple could step up to the plate and offer something more than a coupon. Should they comp the OP a new computer? Absolutely not. Someone should get with the tech and review the case. If the tech did everything by the book, then Apple could help out in some manner greater than a 10% coupon.

    As far as overpriced disposable technology, I have used many computer systems. I have built many Windows and Linux machines. IMHO, Apple does have some of the best hardware and software out there. Yes, it is expensive, but you do get what you paid for. I have bought a couple of Windows laptops and my MacBook Pros have definitely exceeded my expectations. I have 4 computers in my house right now, 2 MacBook Pros, a Linux home server, and a Windows 7 Professional office computer that I built. They all have their pros and cons. If I could use one, it would be the Mac.

    If you go on Apple’s website and go fully loaded, yes it is overpriced. If you use some of the many discounts Apple offers, it is reasonable. Then buy the extra stuff and chuck it in. Far easier on the pocketbook.

    • MrAgen10 says:

      Wow, I was about to write a comment that stated word for word what you just wrote. Right down to the type of systems you have at home. :)

      But yes, I’ve made that exact mistake before, too. What it taught me is to start from the bottom and check everything *before* assuming it’s the logic board. However, I have my own process for troubleshooting, and I imagine that the “Geniuses” have a very set and standard process that Apple lays down.

      I had a customer a few years back that had a logic board go on a first gen Macbook Pro. It was definitely the logic board, (could even see fried bits around some of the ICs). He brought it to me AFTER he took it to the Apple store, as they were quoting him the replacement price, which was more than the current going price of the laptop. He asked if I could do anything about it. I was able to replace it for HALF of what Apple wanted because I found a ‘for parts’ system on eBay. Got it, replaced it, and from what I know, it’s still running fine today.

      Moral of the story for the OP. Get a second opinion, and find a local, independant Mac shop that you trust. Apple is only concerned about their metrics, and won’t treat you as an individual.

      • madtube says:

        Indeed. The market for repair parts is crazy. Markup for repair components is anywhere from 100%-500%. Drop dead cost on a component such as a logic board could be $100. Since everybody must make a profit, it could be as much as $1000 by the time it gets to Apple for repair. I saw this constantly as an automotive repair professional. EBay is my first go-to for repair parts. Buy a non-functioning unit for parts and it could be worlds cheaper than the part itself.

  23. Draygonia says:

    2,000 for a laptop? Rip… Off…

    A good gaming laptop can go for half or less that price and doesn’t come with an OS that had to rewrite every command and design just to avoid looking like windows and getting sued.

    • ap0 says:

      You know what else is a rip off? Paying $50k for a Mercedes when you could get a Toyota for $15k. Both drive from point A to point B. Some people just like the Mercedes better, and can afford to spend the money on it.

      I don’t judge people for not spending a bunch of money on their computers. Why do you judge people who do?

    • walt duke says:

      Yeah, no.

      The actual history is quite a bit more complicated, and interesting, than that.

      http://www.theoligarch.com/microsoft_vs_apple_history.htm

  24. darkwolf777 says:

    “A few weeks ago I woke up to find my Macbook Pro dead, wouldn’t turn on.”

    If this really was just a bad stick of ram, this sentence makes no sense. A dead stick of ram won’t cause a computer not to turn on.

    A dead motherboard, however, can cause a computer not to turn on.

    • Mike says:

      As someone who worked in computer tech support let me say that one persons definition of not turning on can be VASTLY different from yours and mine. Turning on and just making a few RAM error beeps may constitute not turning on at all to the OP.

      • darkwolf777 says:

        Very true. I was also a computer tech for several years, and it’s shocking, still, to me how ignorant people are about computers (and I say that as nicely as I can.)

  25. fontman2008 says:

    Logic boards are not that much . he wanted to sell a new computer with fear >>>>

    • igoooorrrr says:

      Apple logic boards (sourced from Apple, not a third party) run around $700-$900 depending on the model of laptop.

  26. Mike says:

    I was actually hired by the guy who invented the whole “Genius Bar” concept. (No, it was not Steve Jobs who dreamed it up, but another guy at Apple in New York.)

    Here are some things to remember:

    1) Any repair shop is only as good as the people who work there, including the Apple Genius Bar. It is always worth trying another store if there is one nearby. Not all Geniuses are created equal.

    2) The people at the Genius Bar are not always great at hardware. Remember: 99% of the problems they deal with are people who can’t get their music onto their iPod, or can’t figure out how to burn a DVD. I am not surprised at all that this guy screwed up such an easy diagnosis. They hardly keep any parts in the store for proper diagnosis, and the managers at Apple corporate are anal about keeping the shops clean. While that is good for a retail shop, a proper repair shop will have tons of computer parts laying around. Heck, my office at home looks like a repair shop, I have I have eight computers sitting within five feet of me right now. All this kid had to do was pop out the RAM, pop in some new RAM and test it out.

    3) I made a LOT of money selling AppleCare. And Apple makes a LOT of money with it too. One of the keys to making money with it though is denying claims as if Apple was a private health insurance company. I remember before they went to the unibody construction the old ibooks and powerbooks could actually warp over time and look like you dropped them even if you didn’t because they got hot. Not to mention the fact that even if you did drop your computer on occasion I think it is perfectly reasonable to deny a cracked screen claim, but a bad mobo? That is just lame. I have a family member who has been a programmer for 30 years and dropped a lot of computers and not once have they lost a mobo because of a dropped computer.

    So the moral of the story? I’ll be honest, in my experience the “security” that comes with owning a Mac is more mental and marketing than anything. The computers still go bad on ocassion, you still need to get them fixed and you can still run into problems. I just scrapped an iMac with a bad logic board for parts a month ago. The Genius bar is GREAT for software problems (as long as bootcamp is not involved), but buyer beware, they are not as good with hardware.

    If you are going to buy a Mac, for the love of God and all that is holy, buy directly from the refurb section at Apple. You get the same warranty and save money:

    http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/mac?mco=MTE3NjY

  27. Clyde Barrow says:

    Opps sorry. I hit “enter” before I was finished.

    From my experiences in automotive engineering, we tend to forget one very simple, yet qualifying fact; never assume that the user of the techincal equipment knows how to:

    1. Use the equipment
    2. Don’t assume that the equipment is working properly or is up-to-date on 3rd party certifications. Even tech equipment needs to be “checked” out because of use and abuse.
    3. Always get a second / third / fourth opinion.

    $2,000.00 is too much to spend on one guy’s opinion. You can take your computer to a third-rate dude at a store or trade show and they’ll look it over for a small amount change sometimes. Or better yet, learn to do it yourself. Not difficult at all.

  28. xl3ill says:

    I think this is one of the main problems with Apple. They make their stuff so easy to use, their customers lose (or don’t develop in the first place) any ability to understand the first thing about how their computer works. When something goes wrong, they are completely dependent on Apple. Take it to the Apple store, and ask the nice Genius what to do. OP: consider this situation just part of the price you pay to be coddled by Apple.

    Regardless, I believe under contract law you are absolutely entitled to get your computer back from the repair shop, in whatever condition it is in now. If they don’t have it anymore, they owe you the value between the $$ they gave you and what it was actually work. Mutual mistake doctrine. If they are not forthcoming with this, file a BBB complaint against them.

  29. satoru says:

    I can tell you right now that memory problems are very very hard to diagnose unless you don’t want to see your computer for days. Memory problems can range from your computer being ‘flaky’ to ‘doorstop’ mode. Also generally speaking, memory chip failures are kinda rare. If a system is dead, it’s 99% mobo failures and 1% memory failures. So it’s not totally unreasonable for a tech to assume the mobo is the failure point.

    Even my own computer, I had a string of odd issues. My RAID controller constantly was breaking the mirror, and some other odd issues. I ran several memory test in the BIOS and on external programs and no problems were found. I took a bit of a risk and replaced the memory anyways, and it solved the problems. I only did so because I wasn’t really keen on replacing my entire system.

    I’m not familiar with Macs so i don’t really know how much either the BIOS beeps/bloops to indicate errors, or how the OP’s situation of ‘non booting’ manifested itself. But the reality is, the genius made the most reasonable diagnosis considering the circumstances.

    The other point is that people have an inverse relationship between ‘fixing’ problems and time. Sure as a tech I can try to spend a day ripping out every component and replacing it to find the root cause. Or I can just replace the mobo and move on to the next person. Since that solution fixes 99% of the problems being manifested, gets your computer back faster, and allows me to be more productive, that’s what I’m going to do.

    • Mike says:

      “I took a bit of a risk and replaced the memory anyways, and it solved the problems.”

      That is what any good repair shop would do. They would just pop in some spare RAM laying around and test it out that way. That is what the Apple Genius should have done, but he didn’t. Heck, he even said at the beginning that he thought it was a RAM issue. “He brought it back saying that the the error indicated a problem with the RAM, but the RAM checked out fine.” How did this guy check it? With a software check? LOL. Why didn’t he plug in different RAM into the OP’s system and give it a go?

      I am no longer in computers anymore but even I have a bunch of spare parts laying around precisely for testing purposes. All this Genius had to do was swap out the RAM and test out the computer. He didn’t and that was a big mistake.

      • satoru says:

        Dunno do the Mac Bars even have old parts lying around to swap out and test? They always struck me as more of a ‘front end’ experience kind of place, to help you with the operational aspects of your Mac. They never really seemed to be a ‘repair’ shop. Are they trained to look for specific errors and really attempt to diagnose issues? They’re really more trainers than technicians at a glance.

  30. Joe Gamer says:

    Mac geniuses, Geeksquad, whoever, they all work for large companies and don’t get paid well, I’m a System Admin and I promise, no tech worth a damn is gonna work for the peanuts they pay. You want it done right find a guy in your neighborhood working for himself he’ll probably charge less and definitely do a better job.
    Bonus: when a tech is working for himself, on his own time, with his own reputation at stake, he’s less likely to waste that time going through your hard drive looking at your personal “documents”.

    Mac’s are a bit more…problematic, at any point in time I’ve got half a dozen windows boxes sitting around with parts that I can “pluck and chuck” for testing(although even for a mac bad ram is very easy to diagnose). None of the techs I know use Mac’s, in fact they usually call me up because two years ago a few of my clients were architects and graphics designers that had a bunch of Mac hardware and somehow that makes me the closest thing to an expert in our circle. Funny that all their server hardware was still Windoze though >.> anyway you may just have to accept that with Mac hardware this is the level of service that’s available. Or, and I mean no offense, learn to troubleshoot your own equipment to save time and money.

  31. The Marionette says:

    “Ryan dropped two grand on a new computer for no reason.”

    It was for an actual computer (and not a mac) then it was for a good reason.

  32. ap0 says:

    I spent a bunch of money on my unibody 17″ MBP. I noticed about a month after I got it that Bluetooth wasn’t working (I hadn’t tried using BT before that), so I took it in to the Genius Bar and they determined it was a bad logic board and just gave me a brand new MBP on the spot, no questions asked. I’ve always been happy with my customer service experiences with Apple. That being said, it sounds like this Genius wasn’t properly trained, but at some point it stops being Apple’s fault that the OP didn’t take it to the repair shop to have the computer inspected instead of just selling it immediately. I think for Apple’s PR they should give him a much more significant discount (25-50%) of the new purchase, but they can’t be entirely responsible. If the repair shop discovered this but never called, he would just assumed it was a bad logic board and went on his way.

  33. John B says:

    I can’t help feeling that had this been the Geek Squad, Consumerist would have been demanding they be hung, drawn and quartered.

    Laura’s acting as if Apple’s and endangered species, for goodness sake..

    The “Genius” tag is a misnomer. I’ve had to educate more than a few about iPhone backups/USB camera compatibility and and and.

  34. BannedInBrittan says:

    Usually a bad stick of ram will cause a mac to not POST and just beep a few times at you after fan spin up. Usually if I get those symptoms I pull out one of the 2 sticks, see if it boots and if not swap them and check again.

  35. The Gray Train says:

    geeze enough with the apple-windows slapfighting. apple makes complete, generally closed units that can’t be upgraded (except by apple itself, so no d.i.y.-ers); the machines use Mac operating systems which are touted as generally safe and stable. Windows is an operating system produced by microsoft. it isn’t a laptop manufacturer, so it’s not really the same thing. now, laptops loaded with windows or linux tend to be more flexible in terms of upgrading for d.i.y.-ers, usually replaceable ram and extra hard drive bays. there is a tradeoff, though: windows is the most widely compatible os out there, but that widespread use and compatibility has made it more vulnerable to attack; with linux, it’s the “safest”, but it can be confusing and tough to use for casual users, as well as having the most limited compatibility with various programs (unless you use a rather complicated program called Wine), not to mention there are scores of different “builds”. so if you’re comparing laptops, say “apple” and “dell”, “sony” or what have you, and if you’re comparing operating systems say “apple” (or should it be “mac”?) and “windows”, or “linux” or whatever.

  36. Tracer Bullet says:

    Here’s a tip, take your laptop to a reputable company for repair. Usually the smaller mom and pop shops offer better service then you’ll get from the manufacturer. The fact is, most of the “Genius’s” are not technically minded as you might think. I think the only requirement to be a genius is that you have to believe in the Mac way of doing things and declare Steve Jobs as your savior. Also, if you know anyone who works a *real* IT job, run it by them next time you talk to them. They’ll hate you for wasting their time with your personal computer problems but they’ll probably be able to diagnose your problem, or at least give you some good information what to do next. Or here’s a thought… Google your problem and do your own research and *gasp* figure it out yourself!

  37. Winteridge2 says:

    It was his misfortune to get a “genius” who was no doubt a geek squad dropout.

  38. jeff_the_snake says:

    Theres so much going on here that’s just flat out wrong its ridiculous.
    1. Why bother testing the ram at all? Its almost always the easiest part to access in a laptop. Swap in a known good stick and then try to reproduce the problem.
    2. 1500$ for a motherboard?
    3. The OP gets his PC condemned to death by an incompetant tech, can’t buy reasonably priced repair parts, and is still willing to throw down 2 grand to the same company?

  39. SunsetKid says:

    Sounds like a case for small claims court.

  40. yankinwaoz says:

    I don’t trust those “geniuses” at the Mac store any further than I can throw them.

    When I upgraded my Tiger OSX to Leopard, it stuffed up the system and it refused to boot. So I took it to my local “genius” bar. Diagnosis was defective HDD. They put in a new HDD.

    I threw a fit and made them give me back my original HDD. It took management override to get permission to get it back. I then put that old drive in a USB external controller and it worked fine. I was able to pull all of my data off of it. I then reformatted it and now it is my Time Machine.

    When I asked the Genius “Don’t think it is odd that the HDD decided to fail exactly when upgrading the OS? Don’t you think it was actually the upgrade that failed?”. “Oh No!”, he answered. “Mac OS upgrades never cause any problems.”.

    As soon as he said that I knew he was full of s**t.

  41. moofie says:

    I think you should be entitled to a refund of the service fee the Mac Genius charged you for diagnosing your computer.

    Oh wait, it was free? Have a nice day then.

  42. Harry says:

    I had a problem with a mac genius a few years ago with my iMac g5. Capacitors had burst on the logic board. First time in they tell me the logic board is bad and its needs to be replaced. I tell them no thanks. I start to do some digging and find out that the iMac g5 had issues with bad capacitors causing the computers to go bad. So I took apart the iMac and checked and sure enough bad capacitors. I took the computer back to apple and got a different genius. Told them about the issue and had a new logic board installed for free. The first genius didn’t even mention anything that it could be the bad capacitor issue. Apple’s geniuses know nothing in my opinon and they couldn’t do real IT repair work if they had to

  43. JonBoy470 says:

    The OP doesn’t mention whether the memory in his system was third party RAM or Apple-branded RAM. RAM can be very tempermental and not play nice with certain motherboards/systems, yet work fine in others. Cheap RAM exacerbates this issue.

  44. baristabrawl says:

    Whenever I don’t feel like I’ve gotten the right answer from anyone, genius or not, I usually do more research myself. Poor Ryan, he should have tried something else. The Apple Geniuses are anything but.