Get Your Defective Laptop Replaced By Sending Well-Written Emails To Steve Jobs

We have, on occasion, heard tales of people emailing Steve Jobs and magically, as if carried on the wings of angels, a new laptop appears at their door, along with 12 lbs of really good salami, a bubblegum machine, and one of those rare Star Wars posters that everyone wants. Apparently, there is a little bit of truth to the legend. Don’t worry vegans, there’s no salami.

Reader J. CC’ed us on an email to Steve Jobs in which he calmly explained that while his Apple II was still working fine, his brand new Macbook is totally defective. Here’s the story: After about a month of sending it back and forth to Applecare for repair, J. was informed that Apple would replace the laptop, but that he couldn’t have his data back. He didn’t like this idea, so he wrote Steve Jobs a letter. Read J’s emails inside, there’s a happy ending!

J writes (to Steve Jobs, we’re CC’ed):

Mr. Jobs,

My name is J. . I am a longtime Apple customer. In fact, I have an original Apple II (not II+) still in my basement (and it still works!). I am also an IT Manager for one of the labs at MIT (J’s MIT email).
So, I am most disappointed by this experience I will relate. In September, ’06 I bought a white 2Ghz Macbook to replace a four year old 15″ TiBook G4. Immediately I had problems with the unit, which finally went back for service under Applecare. The system was returned still broken. So I sent it back again. This time the unit has been out in service for nearly a month.

See Dispatch number: D11412530.

After three weeks of my laptop staying “On Hold” waiting for a part, a CSR recommended I speak with “Customer Relations”. I called and spoke with “Tina”, who offered to replace my laptop. And then the process just halted as I tried calling to confirm and never received any callbacks. I have no idea what happened.

See Case ID: 76882040

Further, Tina informed me that I would not get my boot disc back, even though the boot disc had not failed. While I did back up my critical documents, I have GBs of ripped music, application installs, etc which I will lose.

At this moment, I still do not have confirmation of a replacement unit, I’m out a laptop for a solid month, and I will lose my data. Mr. Jobs, you have a serious problem with your support process and procedures. If someone at Apple does not resolve this pronto, your company will lose not only my future purchases, but also my purchase recommendations to graduate students, professors, and support staff at MIT.

That computer is a TOOL, not merely a product. So, to sell me a nonfunctional computer, and then destroy the data it manipulates, is to negate its very utility; the raison d’etre for my purchase.

I just want to make this one comparison: Apple II; 30 years old, still works. Macbook; failed within months, could not be repaired even under Applecare, customer waited a month for unresolved “service”.

[J’s address]

We’d barely had time to thank J for his email when he wrote us another letter:

J. writes (on April 29):


Mr. Jobs’ assistant contacted me personally the very next day. He’s promised to send me a new laptop and look into the issue. Once I got out of the helpdesk support chain and spoke with someone with authority, the issue appeared to clear up fast.

Still don’t have the laptop yet though. 🙂

And the next day, J. wrote again:

Update: Sending that email to Mr. Jobs was the best idea I had. I just received a replacement laptop, and they even arranged to send my original broken unit back so I can copy my data off the unit. (I will have to send
the defective unit back).

This is not the best way to deal with a support headache, but I have to admit that Steve actually seems to care about my business. Dude got shit *done*.

So, in the parlance of Mythbusters, we’d call the myth “Plausible.” Here’s the email for Mr. Jobs, should any of his customers need it: Be like J. Write an intelligent letter to Steve and CC us. It probably helps if you’re an IT manager from MIT, but hey. Maybe you can make your job sound like you buy a lot of computers, too! —MEGHANN MARCO

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