Apple: If We've Never Seen It Break Before, It's Not Covered By Your Warranty

Reader JB is a big Apple fan, but he doesn’t understand why his wife’s defective power cord isn’t covered by her warranty. He writes:

The center pin from her power brick BROKE OFF in the computer. Now, Apple’s infamous for power-cords that fray and break, but this is a totally new failure in my 18 years as a sysadmin. NEVER have I seen the pin of a power adapter break off in its computer.

She took it to an Apple store in the metro DC area (I’m not sure where. She’s living down there for school right now, while I’m home in Boston) and it seems they told her – 3 times: the local Genius, the Genius’ manager, and the regional service supervisor – that since they’ve never seen anything like this before (which isn’t surprising), they’re not going to cover it and instead she needs to pay them $300 for a new power board and for a new adapter.

In the mean time, she’s SOL.

We’re going to give JB’s wife the benefit of the doubt that she didn’t purposefully mangle her power cord or try to rope cattle with it. JB says they did not mistreat the machine. With that in mind, is “We’ve never seen anything like this before” a good enough reason to give someone when turning down their warranty coverage? Read JB’s letter inside.

JB writes:

Sadly, this report will be short on details for 2 reasons, which will become apparent as we go.

I’ve been a fan of Apple’s since the late 70’s, when I 1st got an Apple ][+. Over the years, I’ve owned exactly 4 brand-new computers (as opposed to various used/trash-picked boxes, or the ones work has given me.) 3 of them have been from Apple (The above mentioned A][+, a Mac Plus, and my current Mac Book Pro, and 1 was an Apple ][ clone (a Basis 128!).

Sadly, they’re REALLY getting on my nerves when it comes to my wife’s iBook.

She has not had good luck with Apple’s hardware over the years, and her current machine has been, while better than her previous one, still problematic – 2-3 new hard drives, a board or 2, and a couple of keyboards, at least. Apple has, mostly, dealt with reasonably good grace, but have been difficult from time to time, and we all know how the dumbing of the Genius Bar has gone.

The latest problem is a cake-taker, though. The center pin from her power brick BROKE OFF in the computer. Now, Apple’s infamous for power-cords that fray and break, but this is a totally new failure in my 18 years as a sysadmin. NEVER have I seen the pin of a power adapter break off in its computer.

She took it to an Apple store in the metro DC area (I’m not sure where. She’s living down there for school right now, while I’m home in Boston) and it seems they told her – 3 times: the local Genius, the Genius’ manager, and the regional service supervisor – that since they’ve never seen anything like this before (which isn’t surprising), they’re not going to cover it and instead she needs to pay them $300 for a new power board and for a new adapter.

In the mean time, she’s SOL. She has no computer. She has no school notes. She has none of the records of her previous discussions and issues with Apple about this and past machines. (Yes. I know. I’m a sysadmin. Where are her backups? The Cobbler’s Barefoot Children syndrome strikes again.)

I’ve suggested that she try to borrow a battery from said store and use Firewire Target Disk mode to get files off, and I’ll be forwarding her the exec CC contact info in http://www.consumerist.com/consumer/executive-customer-service/get-applecare-executive-customer-service-2 10715.php but really, this is, in my EVER so humble opinion, a joke! Just because the failure isn’t common, if it isn’t obviously (or even likely) a case of malfeasance on the part of the warranted (which I’d think would be obvious. The power adapter’s shield would have to be mangled if my wife, for some weird reason, had broken the pin off herself.) then it should be covered, or at LEAST much more carefully investigated before being rejected.

I’m… miffed.

Thanks for listening,
JB

From what we can tell, JB’s wife’s machine is a lemon, or maybe her computer is just cursed. Anyone out there got suggestions for JB? Exorcism? Crystals? —MEGHANN MARCO

(Photo: CB Photography)