Apple: Cosmetic Damage Keeps Us From Replacing Your Battery!

Apple claims that they can’t replace reader MTW’s MacBook battery because the laptop’s case is chipped. The minor cosmetic damage doesn’t affect the computer’s functions and isn’t even on the same side as the laptop’s battery, which stopped holding a charge months after the case cracked.

MTW writes:

My white macbook has suffered a ding on the bottom right side. It’s cracked, not a big deal. A few months after the crack occurred, the battery stopped taking a charge. It shows up in system profiler, but it won’t charge. To make sure it’s not the laptop, I swapped the battery from another Macbook and it worked fine.

All seems fine, normal warranty replacement. The unit is still covered by apple care, battery has under 100 cycles on it. It should not be dead yet. The Apple Store refuses to replace the battery because the unit has suffered cosmetic damage. The battery is separate from the unit and should be treated as such. The computer works fine, I have typed this message on it, but it’s not very portable without a battery.


We’ve seen several MacBooks with the same chipped case and they all run fine. Escalate your complaint, possibly by bundling your request to Steve Jobs along with a “Get Well Soon!” card.

Has anyone else had Apple refuses valid warranty service because of a cosmetic issue?


Edit Your Comment

  1. Johnny83 says:

    Id say if its like Dell’s warranty to call and then they will send you a replacement battery. I thought the Apple Care covered accidental damage?

    • dialing_wand says:

      @Johnny83: Yes, you can convince them to send you a new battery. Download Coconut Battery (free) and if the battery is under 80% of it’s capacity with less than 300 cycles it can be replaced – you must be within your warranty period of course so 1 year without AppleCare or 3 years with.

      However, Apple has long been known for this sort of nonsense. My business uses 90% Apple machines but I still think this policy is bunk.

      MacBooks suffer from that kind of issue all the time when you treat them with anything but the lightest touch (an unfairly light touch I might add.)

      Someone I’ve worked with quite closely had their hard disk die on them. Apple made them spend $450 to remove a dent in their 12″ G4 PowerBook’s case before they would repair it. Had she known a hard disk would have been less than half that cost, she probably wouldn’t have repaired the superficial damage.

      • Anonymous says:


        Apple Policies is as follows on batteries: Batteries are covered for 1 year or 300 charge cycles. The Applecare Agreement explicitly excludes Batteries.

        The Cracked Top Case: That is covered on MacBooks wether or not it is in warranty so long as there is no sign of physical damage.

        What Applecare does not cover: Lost, Theft, Physical Damage, Accidental Damage, Liquid Damage, data recovery, software repair (except what is shipped with the unit) and Batteries. It only covers the computer as it was shipped.

    • kompeitou says:


      my macbook started getting a crack around the edge, similar to the picture. On the upper half (screen) there is a small ridge that comes in contact with the bottom half (keyboard)… that ridge is kind of like a bumper. Anyhow that bumper seemed to start the crack in the bottom half.

      I took the macbook into the Apple store, the genius there said it was a known issue and they would have the top cover replaced at no charge.

      I did have the extended apple care warranty though… not sure if that made a difference in getting my cover replaced.

    • micahd says:

      @Johnny83: Apple Care never covers accidental damage. Even on iPhone.

      • OprahBabb says:

        @micahd: Especially on the iPhone.

        • Tetrine says:


          Apple goes out of there way to make sure ANY damage or malfunction, no matter how big or small, will not be covered under their warranties. They are shiesty as hell.

          • ShachiAssaracus says:

            @Tetrine: My granddad’s MacBook had a similar chip. When he brought it to the Apple Store Barton Creek to have them a trouble-shoot a non-responsive track pad, they went ahead and replaced the cover for free.

    • ScottRose says:


      I may be naive here, but can one not just return the battery for replacement without the accompanying laptop?

      It seems ridiculous to me that they’d ever need to see the laptop..

  2. seaanemoneman says:

    What’s particularly offensive is that MacBooks frequently fracture at that location. Even if the computer hadn’t suffered a ding, it probably would’ve cracked anyway. Apple hasn’t taken responsibility for that major design defect, but it shouldn’t stand in the way of a battery replacement.

    • About.a.Starflygirl says:

      @seaanemoneman: My MacBook looks like that too. I’ve had two, and they both cracked right there. It’s a design flaw, due to how the computer closes.

      • aguacarbonica says:


        Mine has a crack right there. My friend who is an Apple whore told me that it shouldn’t be a big deal because they know about the defect. I’m going to be pissed off if that isn’t the case.

    • audemars says:

      @seaanemoneman: mine is cracked there too, but what i don’t get is why he needs to go through apple to replace the battery. i haven’t had to replace mine, but i would think you could just pop it out and replace it with another one. is there more to it than that?

      • That Fat Chick says:

        @audemars: It is very easy to pop out a worn out battery and replace it. I need to do that myself now, but I’m too cheap to go buy a new one.

        This person doesn’t just want to buy and install a new battery, though. They want Apple to replace the battery for free under the warranty because there’s something mechanically wrong with it. That’s what’s causing the issue. Apple insists that cosmetic damage to the top of the laptop case has caused problems with the battery, which is a separate item mechanically and on the opposite side of the computer (flip yours over and look.)

        • JohnOB1 says:

          @lauriebird: @lauriebird: @seaanemoneman: I had that piece replaced on my white Macbook. It is most definitely a design flaw, the constant stress of the upper cover hitting the wrist plate. Apple wasn’t going to fix it at first.

          The FIRST time i brought it in, they tried to tell me it was the way I stored my Macbook. Oh, you mean in a neoprene case that I bought from Apple? They did nothing.

          A few months later, I just happened to be talking to a “Genius” (still such an ironic title for their techs) and he said, they are repairing that cracking/flaw now, just bring it in and they fixed it without incident.

        • Wombatish says:

          @lauriebird: The fact that a whole piece is missing to me says “He might of dropped it”… probably what they’re going with too.

          However, it seems like a shoddy excuse, especially given that they apparently have known issues in that department.

          That being said, however, Apple has completely replaced my iPod out of warranty before… they usually seem to be pretty good about this kind of stuff.

          Sometimes you just get the customer service rep who has just learned that they’re getting laid off, or something. /shrug.

    • Anonymous says:

      @seaanemoneman: @seaanemoneman: @seaanemoneman:

      Apple replaced both the cracked palm rest and the plastic around my screen for free three years out of warranty. It took about two hours at the local Apple store. The same goes for my sister who was having the same problem. They will fix it.

    • mobomelter says:

      @seaanemoneman: They have kind of taken responsibility for that design flaw. My MacBook was fixed free of charge when the top case broke there and I was out of warranty. Don’t see why that Apple Store wouldn’t acknowledge that design flaw.

    • Liz11685 says:

      @seaanemoneman: Mine has cracks in that area on both sides, top and bottom. Because of the chintzy way these macbooks are put together, I’m never buying another Mac product.

    • Aaron Feibus says:

      @seaanemoneman: Mine has a crack in the exact same place as the photo on this article. Good to hear they will replace the part now. If they don’t well at least now I know there’s enough cases like this to warrant a class action due to what is obviously a design defect if it’s happening to all of us.

  3. JWBrockman says:

    My iphone was refused service for a dying battery because the screen was cracked (not shattered, just a hairline crack). The wifi died right after that, and I was powerless to fix that as well. Cracks are pretty common on iphones, and the crack appeared many months before my other problems, which were completely unrelated. I eventually ended up having to buy a new phone with a new contract to get my wifi back.

    • Illiterati says:

      @JWBrockman: Did you buy another iphone, or did you vote with your dollars and get something else?

    • wardawg says:

      @JWBrockman: “The Crack” is just a precursor to death from what I’ve been hearing. Apparently the iphones are programmed with a virtual cyanide pill so they slowly self destruct the moment they sense even the slightest damage.

      I’ve had a car like that, you let your tire pressure get a little low and the spark plugs explode.

    • Justin Kohler says:

      @JWBrockman: This is crap. Your phone was broken. Regardless of what you think about what is and is not related, your phone was cracked and therefore broken and not under warranty.

      The Macbook is a totally separate issue. If he can take the battery out and swap in a new one and have no problems then yes, Apple should replace this under warranty.

      Yes, unfortunately you can’t do this type of swap with an iPhone so you wouldn’t be able to test this sort of thing without ripping apart the phone and testing the batteries themselves. So let’s say they did do that. They pay for the shipping to ship a new phone out to you as part of the warranty process, pay for the technicians to disassemble the phone and test components until they nail it down to the battery. Maybe it is the battery and it’s fixable so they do. But what if it isn’t? Now they have to reship your broken phone back to you and have you reship the loaner phone back to them, them paying the cost of shipping again and the back end customer service. The main point is your phone showed physical signs of abuse and while it might be just the battery that is defective, why take the chance and spend more than the phone is worth diagnosing problem that is more than likely user related.

      Yes, I have an iPhone and I’m a huge fan. But I have a case. $20 and I don’t have to worry about that sort of thing. I just picked on my friend because he has a shattered screen after dropping it on the pavement one too many times without a case.

      Me: Why didn’t you put a case on it?
      Him: It looks better without it…..

      Yea, mine looks just fine and I’ve dropped it around 15 times.

      Sorry for the rant, and I love the consumerist and most issues on here but people have to have a sense of responsibility for their own actions.

      • JoshReflek says:

        @Justin Kohler: “This is crap. Your phone was broken. Regardless of what you think about what is and is not related, your phone was cracked and therefore broken and not under warranty.”

        Let’s say you bought a tv, you will be ok with the refusal to repair your collage of dead pixels, due to the broken remote that wont change channels that now has affected your tv’s status to “out of warranty”?

        • ZekeSulastin says:

          @JoshReflek: Your analogy fails – a remote is a completely separate entity from the TV whereas an iPhone screen is integral to the main unit. A broken remote belies little of the state of the TV whereas a cracked iPhone screen suggests application of adverse stresses to the entirety of the phone.

        • Justin Kohler says:

          @JoshReflek: ZekeSulastin beat me to it…

        • redkamel says:

          @JoshReflek:you must mean :Let’s say you bought a tv, you will be ok with the refusal to repair your collage of dead pixels, due to the cracked screen that now has affected your tv’s status to “out of warranty”?”

          a remote has nothing to do with the actual unit you want to replace. A cracked iphone, even hairline, means something probably happened to it. I think its totally reasonable to not replace it. You think everyone who walks in with a cracks on their screen and malfunctioning phones should get a new one? Most of those proabably broke via user. Not saying yours did, but their policy makes sense.

    • deep.thought says:

      @JWBrockman: My friend’s iphone had a completely shattered screen and he was still able to get it replaced for unrelated problems. Be nice to those geniuses, they hold your fate in their hands… and be sure to get the one having a good day and feeling charitable ;)

  4. egoods says:

    I had to deal with something similar I found Emailing the Senior VP of Apple Retail Ron Johnson ( was better then Steve Jobs (he personally got in touch with me within a few hours)

    • Tamar Weinberg says:

      @egoods: Thanks for the alternative email address. I have been trying to email since October and nobody at Apple has given me the courtesy of a response. I’m actually not considering buying an Apple product ever again due to the lack of acknowledgment.

      • ecwis says:

        @Tamar Weinberg: And if that doesn’t work, you can always take them to small claims court. I did that for my iPod and they decided to help me out because they didn’t want to show up for the court date.

      • egoods says:

        @Tamar Weinberg: Yeah, Ron responded right away, just tell him exactly what went down.

      • Donathius says:

        @Tamar Weinberg: What are you trying to email him about? People don’t often get responses when they’ve just got a question. If they’ve got a legitimate concern then their executive customer service does despond.

  5. ohsoxx says:

    My MacBook (first gen, I had no choice) has cracked two times already in the same spot. The only response I got from the Apple “Genius” is that I shouldn’t carry it around in the same bag as books (after I told him I don’t carry books.) Um, Apple, aren’t laptops portable computers?

    Not to mention the numerous other hardware issues I’ve had in the past two years (hard drive and battery failure, charger melting…) and Apple doesn’t list an e-mail on their website to contact for complaints.

  6. post_break says:

    Apple should replace that top cover. Mine had the same chip (not as massive though). My macbook was 2 years out of warranty and they replaced the $200 part for free.

    • Anonymous says:

      Me too.. I was actually out of warranty on my macbook and they paid to have the entire top plate (keyboard, trackpad and shell) replaced free of charge. Apparently it is a known defect due to overheating.

  7. zirconst says:

    My fiancé ran into a very similar problem a year ago or so. Her Macbook Pro had a key that popped off, but could not be put back on because the little rubber thing below it had also come off. This happened through normal use of the laptop, not because of a drop or anything like that. When she tried to bring it in to an Apple store, they refused service because there was a bit of cosmetic damage in the corner (much lighter than the one in this post’s picture).

    Their over-arching policy is pretty much that if something is wrong with your hardware and there’s any evidence of any cosmetic damage (ie. you dropped it, or something) then they don’t give you the benefit of the doubt, and assumed you caused all the damage.

    However, after an extended call to Apple, I did finally manage to get them to repair the keyboard for free. Just took a lot of persuasion on my part.

  8. RodAox says:

    Ah Mac, there is a hairline crack on my heart… Can you replace the battery on a Mac yourself or does it have to be handled by the company. If the latter that’s shitty design and a sucker trap right there.

    • segfault, registered cat offender says:


      You can replace the battery yourself on all models except the new Macbook Pro. By having a non-removable battery on that model, they were able to make the computer smaller. That said, it’s pretty straightforward to replace the non-removable battery on that model if you know what you’re doing.

      • Nick1693 says:

        @segfault: I believe Gizmodo explained that there are a few screws on the bottom case that would allow an Apple Genius or AppleCare Service Tech to easily swap out the batteries.

      • madanthony says:


        Actually, it’s only the 17″ Macbook Pro that has the non-removable battery. The 15″, like the silver macbook, is replaceable, but it is a little more complicated than the older machines – you have to open the access door, and I think pull out the hard drive, to get to it.

        • polarscribe says:

          @madanthony: No, you don’t have to remove the hard drive to get at the battery in the 15″ unibody MacBook Pro. The access door in the bottom covers a well containing both the hard drive and the battery, which are placed end to end.

  9. mgy says:

    Apple has been pretty obstinate in replacing batteries regardless of if there was accidental damage or not. I had to personally refer the “product specialist” to Apple’s own press releases regarding battery replacements for my model to prove to them that there was something wrong with mine. Those things must be pretty expensive.

    • dialing_wand says:

      @mgy: In some respect, and I’m not defending Apple here, the burden of proof is on the customer, especially if she or he is calling in their request.

      However, if you read (and can quote) Apple’s support documentation: 300 cycles, 80% capacity, you’ve done a couple of refreshes (completely use the battery, charge, wait a couple of hours, check status), an SMC reset (for Intel machines, PRAM for previous CPUs), etc. etc. They will acquiesce. You just need to be prepared to have a defence against anything they’ll ask you and don’t hesitate.

      Also, be polite and friendly, it goes a long way.

  10. corinthos says:

    I seriously thought that was a pick of my friends Mac book. His in the exact same spot and he didn’t know how it happened.

    • MsAnthropy says:


      I had the exact same thing happen to my old G3 iBook. First a hairline crack, then a chunk of the casing came off. Looked just like that photo.

    • chiggers says:

      @corinthos: Mine is chipped ALL the way across the front. It’s very odd- the plastic just kind of flakes off gradually. Mine started at the 11 month mark of ownership. I guess it’s a design flaw of that generation of macbooks.

  11. Krrose27 says:

    I took my Macbook 13″ in recently which was 3 years old and 2 years over the warranty because I believed the Airport card was going bad. It had the chipped corner. THEY REPLACED THE KEYBOARD AND HAND REST FREE, stating that apple had said to replace them do to manufacture defect.

    So go back and tell them to fix they hand rest and then go back and get the other part fixed.

  12. kmw2 says:

    If you call the service number instead of taking it to the store, they’ll just send you a new battery. It’s extremely easy to replace, it really doesn’t take a Genius.

    • Illiterati says:

      @kmw2: Good tip. I’ve always received better service by calling. The so-called geniuses always seemed to find some reason to blame me for my computer’s problems and not really fix anything, even for an ibook that was part of that big logicboard recall fiasco. But if I called service, no problem, they’d send a box for me to ship my machine and *most of the time* it would come back actually fixed.

      • madanthony says:


        I work for a college, and we’ve had pretty hit or miss service from “geniuses” about replacing stuff. So I and another employee ended up getting the Apple hardware and software certifications so we could apply to be an authorized service center, get our own GSX accounts, and order our own parts.

  13. Dave Pernal says:

    that damage happens to pretty much all 13″ MacBooks. i baby mine (always in a padded laptop bag when not on my desk), and it showed up after about 9 months of ownership.

    was getting a HDD replaced, had that little crack in the right corner, when i picked it up form them, they informed me that they replaced the cover b/c of the crack. i didn’t even notice the crack all that much, so i was pleasantly surprised.

    i really just like to be very polite and direct with apple care. i state what i want, explain to them it’s in their best interest to provide it, and usually get my way. never a real problem with their extended warranties… i’ve even had them extend the warranty on my macbook to other apple products.

  14. Tyler Waldman says:

    It’s not just batteries. They’ll use a damaged case as an excuse to get out of doing *anything.* But the good news is that the Apple Store I went to with mine referred me to a third-party place that is working on my MacBook right now.

  15. chilled says:

    This reminds me of the speedometer on my 06 Impala…no one wants to take responsibility…

    Maybe Apple will..

  16. supercereal says:

    Sounds like it’s just the store being stubborn, and not AppleCare or the company in general. There are many alternative solutions, such as 1) going to a different store, or 2) dealing directly with AppleCare.

    But for a petty issue such as this, where no alternate solutions have even been attempted yet, it’s best not to burden Jobs or any other executive at this point. It’s not necessarily the case here, but nothing is more annoying than the sense of entitlement that comes with some Mac owners (calm down, I have one too). At least try to remedy the problem yourself before whining to the CEO, demanding he fix it.

    • RvLeshrac says:


      When you’ve spent 3-4x the money for something that “just works,” and the justification for that excessive layout is “better workmanship,” I hardly think it is excessive to expect them to fix your problem *immediately*, and without question.

      I’d expect someone to have trouble with the customer service on a $400 craptop. But this is Apple. If Apple wants to charge a premium, then they need to make damn sure that their products don’t ship with glaring defects.

      This is precisely why I never recommend Macs. $1400-$2000 layout (incl. AppleCare) for a $800-$1200 laptop (incl. service plan), and you get the same warranty service either way.

    • Barney_The Plug_ Frank says:

      @supercereal: Apple is suppose to be a “premium product.” MTW has the right to expect Apple to make good on its warranty and not renege on it, using the lame excuse of a chipped case. This is NOT a case of a customer entitlement, but another example of Apple not following through on their promise.

      This is just another example of why The Consumerist exits! Lame ass companies trying to screw the consumer!

  17. geekgrrl77 says:

    I had a very similar chip on my macbook case, and they replaced the entire top part for free– I also had some staining on the hand rest. They gave me no problem about it and replaced the piece in less than 24 hours.

    And the same thing happened again so I have to take it back– same chip, and same stain on the left. Honestly, I LOVE apple but whatever they used for the top of the macbooks is pretty thin and shabby!

  18. the lesser of two weevils says:

    Reminds me of cell phone companies that wont replace the battery due to “moisture damage” inside the battery compartment.

    • godlyfrog says:

      @Sarcasmic: Those stickers are crap. If you live in a humid area, they’ll change colors in a few months which immediately voids your warranty. I can understand this to a point, but for a portable device, humidity should be something they account for.

    • TheSpatulaOfLove says:


      Oh, Verizon was notorious for that one…

      I sat in line at the Verizon store watching the tech accuse every person in line in front of me of moisture damage and denying warranty. This was like six or seven people in a row! The guy in front of me (big dude, looked like he could have spent some time in Federal prison) walked up and immediately threatened him: “If you tell me that my warranty is denied due to moisture damage, I’m going to shove it up your ass, then pull it out and jam it down your throat!”

      The kid took care of his problem immediately – then I’m sure had to go into the back and wipe… ;)

  19. CharleStephen says:

    You should have them replace the top case and then go b ack and have them replace the battery. My top case cracked THREE TIMES within the first year and I had them replace it each time for free. The last time, the battery w as also not holding a charge and they tried to pull the same thing as well. I waited till I got my computer back from replacing the top case then I immediately complained about the battery. They couldn’t do anything.

    • Bog says:


      You mean they wouldn’t do anything.

      Can’t means won’t.

      • RvLeshrac says:


        (Disclaimer: I work for a retail company which loses the stated sums of cash every year for the stated reasons.)

        “Can’t” means “won’t,” but “won’t” implies that they’re doing it maliciously.

        Batteries are typically covered for a shorter duration than other components (read your warranty, look for a section on ‘disposable’ or ‘consumable’ components). If the component you want replaced is out of warranty, the company is not under any obligation, legal or ethical, to replace it for you.

        The same applies for return policies, etc. If your request falls outside of their obligations to you, they ‘can’t’ fulfill your request, though they may consider doing you the great favor of granting you an exception.

        And it IS indeed a “great favor,” as companies lose tens (or hundreds) of millions of dollars every year by making those exceptions.

  20. oneliketadow says:

    Is it that hard to replace a battery on a MacBook? I thought most laptop batteries just popped out after releasing some clips on the back. Or is this more like an iPod battery scenario, a way for Apple to generate service revenue?

    • madanthony says:


      The problem isn’t that the OP can’t replace the battery himself. The problem is that the unit is still under warranty and thus the OP (rightfully) wants Apple to pay for the replacement battery, which they are refusing to do because of the damage.

    • The_IT_Crone says:

      @oneliketadow: New batteries cost about $130. But it should be covered by warranty.

    • Shadowman615 says:

      @oneliketadow: No, but it’s hard to come up with the money for a new one — especially while it’s still under warranty.

  21. Rachacha says:

    As an expert in product safety, I have to agree with apple on this one. From the safety aspect, the enclosure completes both the fire and electrical enclosure, and having this ghip in the enclosure violates the applicable safety standards (in other words, the enclosure no longer complies with the safety standards) If apple were to replace the battery without also repairing the enclosure, they would likely be violating the terms of their safety certification and could be opening themselves up to a huge liability if they replace the battery, and it catches fire as the whole point of the fire enclosure is to try to contain the fire inside the enclosure as much as possible so that the fire does not spread to your desk orwherever you left the laptop.

    • barty says:

      @Rachacha: You’re kidding, right?

      The case of a laptop is no more of a fire barrier than a piece of paper. If it gets hot enough to burn, it will act like the plastic isn’t even there. I’ve worked on a laptop that got too hot in a docking station, and there was a hole melted clear through the case.

      They can send him another battery in the mail, without them having to lay a finger on the laptop.

    • The_IT_Crone says:

      @Rachacha: chiming in with barty that I really hope you’re kidding.

      Not only would this chip not effect a battery fire (which tend to explode as much as smoulder), they are basing their denial on the fact that they blame the battery’s demise on the damage- not that they’re worried about liability. They would deny the claim if it was a broken keyboard.

      • Rachacha says:

        @The_IT_Crone and @barty: Nope, Not kidding:

        From UL60950-1 – Standard for Safety of Information Technology Equipment TRANSPORTABLE EQUIPMENT: MOVABLE EQUIPMENTthat is intended to be routinely carried by a USER.
        NOTE – Examples include laptop personal computers, pen-based tablet computers, and their portable accessories such as printers and CD-ROM drives.

        4.6.4 Openings in transportable equipment
        The risk of ignition caused by small metallic objects, such as paper clips or staples, moving around inside TRANSPORTABLE EQUIPMENT during transportation shall be reduced by measures to minimize the likelihood of such objects entering the equipment and bridging bare conductive parts between which the power is not limited in accordance with 2.5.
        Acceptable measures include:
        – providing openings that do not exceed 1 mm in width regardless of length; or
        – providing a screen having a mesh with nominal openings not greater than 2 mm
        between centre lines and constructed with a thread or wire diameter of not less than 0,45 mm; or
        – providing internal barriers.

        The plastic material used for the enclosure must be resistent to flame. Yes, it will burn and melt, but when the flame is removed, the plastic must also stop burning so that the enclosure does not contribute fuel to the fire. Barty, this is wht you noticed that the plastic MELTED and created a small hole. Had the plastic not been flame resistant, it would have burned the entire case (and probably the docking station, and the desk and…)

        • RvLeshrac says:


          The warranty does not explicitly disclaim “product safety issues” as a reason for denying warranty coverage, and thus your example does not apply.

          The onus, by law, is on the company to prove that the unit is functioning properly, or that damage is directly related to the malfunction. If they cannot prove that the malfunction was caused by customer damage, they MUST honor the warranty.

          If they can’t prove that something *did* enter the case through the hole and cause the problem, they’re required, by law, to fix the problem. If, for some reason, they’re legally obligated to repair the hole in the case in order to supply other replacement parts, that’s not the customer’s issue.

          • Rachacha says:

            @RvLeshrac: And the OP stated that his Mac Bool “suffered a ding” which would indicate customer damage therefore not covered under warranty.

            In my original response, I indicated that if apple were to replace the battery, they would also need to replace the enclosure to comply with the applicable safety requirements.

            I understand that Macs apparently have a weakness in that area as others have complained of cracking in that area, but mechanical abuse has been confirmed.

            • Rachacha says:

              @Rachacha: Mac BOOK (not Bool)

            • Shadowman615 says:

              @Rachacha: The cover itself might not be covered under warranty, but the problem with the battery itself was not caused by any customer damage.

              Your car manufacturer, for example, cannot void the warranty on your engine because of a smashed tail light assembly.

            • RvLeshrac says:


              Did the OP state that it was *dropped* or *struck* in that area? “Suffered a ding” can mean a lot of different things to different people.

              The OP was obviously not aware of the issue with top covers – the “ding” *may* have been caused by the OP, but it might have been a manufacturing defect, and the OP merely assumed he had caused the damage. People generally tend to assume that an accident occured when the reality might be that it simply failed.

              Case in point: ‘What can I do to keep my hard drive from dying?’

    • Melatonin says:

      @Rachacha: If that’s the case, and this is a question of safety, since there’s a documented history of Macbooks cracking in that particular location (mine is cracked there, as is my best friend’s, I employed Krazy Glue, he went for duct tape) due to the design of the computers and the magnets that are used for closing them/putting them to sleep, then Apple should be replacing both the case and the battery. This is a machine that is still in warranty.

      • Rachacha says:

        @Melatonin: A crack (not a chunk as was pictured) will generally NOT impact the fire enclosure. As part of the testing process, the laptop is dropped and banged and hit with an impact ball [] to represent “normal use and abuse”. Quite often during the testing process cracks will occur in the enclosure. If cracks do occur after this “abuse” test, a follow up test is conducted where you attempt to insert a finger probe [] into the crack. If you can’t the product passes the test.

  22. Anonymous says:

    This worries me as my MacBook is chipped in the same area (not as bad, though). But, then again, the last time my battery had issues, the local Apple Store ordered a replacement no problem.

  23. seamer says:

    Apple probably won’t replace it due to their ‘you opened up the case to replace the battery yourself, couldnt do it and now you’re asking us to do it’ clause.

    Had it happen to a few gen1/gen3 ipods that had recieved some cosmetic flaws due to being sat on in a cinema (forgot to take out of my pocket until too late)

    • Warbrain says:


      This is a MacBook. They have removable batteries. The only portables from Apple that don’t are the MacBook Air and the 17″ MacBook Pro.

      This is moot. He can remove the battery all he wants- it’s a user-serviceable part

  24. Smd75 says:

    What sucks the most about the case of the plastic Macbook, is over time it damages it self. I have a line and a scratch mark in my screen, a line across the click button and the chipping damage all because these are the main pressure points when the screen is closed. No abusive handling, just normal use.

  25. Smd75 says:

    I actually just looked, if that is a picture of the macbook with the chipping damage, THE BATTERY IS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE LAPTOP so the chipping shouldnt matter. Just spend the cash and do it your self. you should even use the apple certified US 5 cent coin to unlock the battery.

  26. ipodrulz says:

    A lot of my friends have that issue with the MacBook. They just brought it in to the Apple store an they replaced the whole entire surface including new trackpad and new keyboard!

  27. alyssariffic says:

    I had an early failed battery on my Mac a few months back, I just called apple care, they checked the number of cycles and asked something else basic that I could look up in system profiler. Then they sent me a new one. They’re pretty unlikely to request that you ship in your system for the replacement battery, so try giving them a call.

  28. Derv says:

    How exactly did you get that crack? Apple Macbooks have a well known problem with the palmrests cracking. Mine’s done it twice now, and Apple replaced the whole keyboard and trackpad assembly for me. Did it crack, and you kind of picked at it or ignored it?

    Regardless, it wouldn’t affect the battery in any way. I’d try to appeal if I were you.

  29. cp87 says:

    Several people at Apple, including someone from, told me specifically that any non-covered damage will prevent them from making covered repairs. They have an all or nothing policy. They fix all of it or they fix none of it. I pointed out how that wasn’t part of the service agreement. They just said it was policy.

    We did come to an acceptable agreement though. I paid half price to repair both the covered and non-covered issues.

    • barty says:

      @cp87: I’d have taken them to small claims court and used their own service agreement against them. You never agreed to their unwritten policy when you purchased the item. They had an obligation to fulfill the warranty unless they could prove that the physical damage resulted in the failure of the other part.

      It would be akin to a car dealer refusing to fix a problem with the air conditioning because you abused the car and blew out the rear end six months before.

      • Crim Law Geek says:

        This is exactly what I am doing. The AppleCare Terms and Conditions (and I have read about 4 different versions of it) do NOT have any provision saying non-covered damage will preclude covered repair. So if I have a broken top case, and I dent the bottom case, the top case is covered and the bottom case is not, under the terms of the agreement.

        In contract law there is something called the Parol Evidence Rule, which basically make a written and agreed-to contract the final word. If I tell you something won’t be covered, but the contract says it is covered, the contract will supersede, with few exceptions. In fact, if it goes to court, you will be barred from testifying on anything that goes against the wording of the contract.

        Semi-decent wiki on it: []

  30. BillyDee_CT says:

    I use my black MacBook while servicing computers at many locations in my workplace, often lofting the laptop backpack in and out of my car. While mine and many others haven’t had the cosmetic issue mentioned here I have seen systems belonging to friends having that problem. It does make me wonder if Apple had performed any long-term testing of the plastics used for the cases.

  31. redhelix says:

    Warranty is voided when system is subject to abuse or mishandling. This is not unique to apple.

    • barty says:

      @redhelix: Except it appears that there is an established pattern of this being a problem with this model. It is really a manufacturing defect.

    • Melatonin says:

      @redhelix: When literally thousands of Macbook owners have machines that are damaged in that VERY exact place (where the magnet in the case is located) it’s very hard to make a claim that we’ve all abused and mishandled our computers. This is a design issue, and Apple has seen it countless times. Their “geniuses” have seen it and their customer service has heard complaints about it. They’re being disingenuous here.

    • RvLeshrac says:


      Except that they must prove that mishandling or abuse occured, and that it was related to the malfunction.

      I’ve said it multiple times: the onus is on the company to prove that the problem is not covered.

  32. Quatre707 says:

    This damage looks like damage caused by dropping the laptop. The battery may be truly defective, and not caused by this eleged drop, but the entire laptop should be repaired first, could lead to a fire.
    All manufacturers would do the same thing.

  33. qcgallus says:

    I had to get my Mac’s battery replaced for the second time recently. I had chip out of that same piece, in the same place. The girl at the Genius Bar told me she could replace both for free. An hour later I get a call saying it’s all done, no charge at all.

    I don’t get it. It’s a different story at different Apple stores it seems. My girlfriend has a 2.5 year old Mac with a battery that lasts approx. 20 minutes when unplugged. It’s only 2.5 years old for christ sakes! They just told her it was “normal wear.” Really? They left her without recourse because she didn’t get the extended warranty.

    Seems to me a faulty part is faulty, warranty or not. I guess my “normal response” will be to email Mr. Jobs. Anyone think this is out of line?

    • Eric Gallagher says:

      Actually, a 2.5 year old battery not holding much of a charge seems pretty normal. With repeated charge cycles all batteries see a decrease in their ability to store and produce electricity. This is just the nature of batteries and it effects all types of batteries, lead-acids like in your car, NiCd/NiMH rechargeable, and lithium based batteries like the ones in phones and laptops.
      Expecting a product’s manufacturer to replace a normally consumed part a year and a half outside of warranty seems a little ridiculous. That would be like expecting the company that made your car to give you free tires at 60,000 miles.

      • qcgallus says:

        @Eric Gallagher: @RvLeshrac:
        Dually noted. It seems to me that a device meant to be mobile should be mobile, and should be designed around that standpoint. I guess to me, using the tire scenario, it would be like asking to have my tires replaced when they’re bald at 10,000 miles, much too young. If it’s standard, it’s standard. Not much I can argue with that.

        This is the first laptop that I’ve seen with that horrible of battery life. My dad had a Dell that was 6 or 7 years old when it started to do the same.

        Sad face. No EECB for me.

    • RvLeshrac says:


      Standard “consumable part” (read: battery) warranty is 90-180 days. A battery that lasts 2.5 years and isn’t completely dead is actually fairly reasonable (from an engineering standpoint).

  34. Anonymous says:

    Just call 1-800-275-1173 (the applecare number) and tell them your battery won’t hold a charge. They will ask for cedit card info (to ensure you send the old one back) and then send you a new one. Then just put the old one in the box from the new one, and send it back to them. I have cosmetic damage that keeps me from going to an apple store for support, and have replaced my battery twice (one defective and one recalled) through phone support.

  35. DeadWriter says:

    I have a break in the same area. It’s a flaw in the design of that, and perhaps, model of Mac Books.

  36. tinyrobot says:

    Very easy fix. I did this with an old PowerBook once, and my MacBook when its battery ended up being one of the defective batch that rolled out with the first few production runs:

    1) Make an appointment at the Apple store, fill in the info saying that just the battery is defective.

    2) Show up for your appointment WITHOUT THE LAPTOP. Just the battery. Explain that you’d swapped another battery into your laptop and it works, and that they’re welcome to test the battery.

    Cosmetic damage, especially based on the above comments, clearly shouldn’t matter. This approach might remove the issue. Good luck!

  37. Jason Reinstedler says:

    Easy solution… NEVER take your mac to an apple store. They’re going to look it over for ANYTHING that will allow them to invalidate your warranty. Always call Apple and insist that they send you the part if it is user replaceable (like a battery on some MacBooks or some other parts on other Macs).

    In this user’s case, I would suggest calling AppleCare and requesting a replacement. Make sure you have the Mac available to provide information from the System Profiler as needed.

  38. The_IT_Crone says:

    Things like this were standard procedure when I worked there. They seemed to take an insurance company’s stance: deny all claims, then approve them when the customer complains enough.

  39. Aaron Longchamps says:

    If they haven’t replaced your top panel already on this laptop, make them do it. They know it’s weak. I had a similar problem with the same model MacBook and they’ll do it, but only once. And now on mine, above the tabs on the top of the screen, the plastic is coming off. I’m hoping the tabs don’t go next because then I won’t be able to transport it safely in my (laptop) bag.

    Also, this is why I like my school’s computer store. They’re Apple certified and do all repairs that they can get parts for here. Parts are delivered next day, too. I would expect far less trouble from the store here than a Genius Bar.

    Suck it up Apple. The battery is defective and you’re just being difficult. You know the plastic MacBooks have bad cases.

  40. Anonymous says:

    I don’t have a macbook, I have a 4 yr old powerbook, so I don’t know about that being a problem with the macbooks, but I had a similar response from Apple.
    The light behind my screen broke, but because I had a dent in the front corner from my computer falling off my desk, they had to replace the whole outer-enclosure, as well as fixing the screen problem. It sucks, but it is their policy.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Get used to it. Apple refused to fix my Powerbook after the SuperDrive went bunk because there was a small (and I mean REALLY small – maybe 1/8 or 1/4″) ding on the opposite back corner of the bottom casing. They said I dropped it (which I hadn’t). But offered to replace the drive for the bargain basement price of only $875.

  42. Crim Law Geek says:

    I am having a very similar problem. My MacBook Pro has a bad latch. I took it in for repair and the repair depot failed to fix it. I didn’t have time to send it back right away, because I use the machine every day. A few months later I dropped it and dented the screen bezel (in no way related to the broken latch). I took it in to get the latch replaced and they refused to do it unless I ponied up $800-$1200 to get the bezels fixed, event though they acknowledged the latch was covered by AppleCare.

    They claimed the depot will only fix computers if they are fixed in their entirety. Nowhere in the AppleCare contract does it say that the warranty becomes void if the computer is dropped, etc (except they wont cover things damaged by abuse).

    As a law student, my solution was to sue them in small claims court. We go to trial in late April. I have yet to get a phone call from them looking to settle, even though I have called their legal department more than once.

  43. Evan Walker says:

    Ive worked in an Apple Depot (Flextronics- Memphis, if you don’t believe me) and that is certainly NOT a common occurrance. If you look at the topcase (where the keyboard rests) you would have a crack mirroring the other one, in some way, shape, or form. The cracks tend to happen where the bezel meets the topcase, and there is actually an ECO for this exact issue. The only thing that I can think would cause that issue would be impact damage, but without other pictures I couldn’t tell you for sure.

    Barring that, what appears to be discoloration on the topcase is also an ECO. Apple repairs ECO’s first before charging, so that would replace the topcase.

    Call 1-800-APL-CARE and explain to them. The Apple store is unlikely to replace the battery because of that crack anyway- it violates safety codes.

    • Evan Walker says:

      @Evan Walker:

      Also, worthy of note- pulled directly from the Applecare Terms and Conditions:

      Limitations. The Plan does not cover:
      (i) Installation, removal or disposal of the Covered Equipment, or installation, removal, repair, or
      maintenance of non-Covered Equipment (including accessories, attachments, or other devices such
      as external modems) or electrical service external to the Covered Equipment;
      (ii) Damage to the Covered Equipment caused by accident, abuse, neglect, misuse (including faulty
      installation, repair, or maintenance by anyone other than Apple or an Apple Authorized Service
      Provider), unauthorized modification, extreme environment (including extreme temperature or
      humidity), extreme physical or electrical stress or interference, fluctuation or surges of electrical
      power, lightning, static electricity, fire, acts of God or other external causes;
      (iii) Covered Equipment with a serial number that has been altered, defaced or removed;
      (iv) Problems caused by a device that is not the Covered Equipment, including equipment that is not
      Apple-branded, whether or not purchased at the same time as the Covered Equipment;
      (v) Service necessary to comply with the regulations of any government body or agency arising after
      the date of this Plan;
      (vi) The provision of replacement equipment during the period when the Covered Equipment is
      being repaired;
      (vii) Covered Equipment that has been lost or stolen. This Plan only covers Covered Equipment that
      is returned to Apple in its entirety;
      (viii) Cosmetic damage to the Covered Equipment including but not limited to scratches, dents and
      broken plastic on ports;
      (ix) Consumable parts, such as batteries, except in respect of battery coverage under APP for iPod
      or unless failure has occurred due to a defect in materials and workmanship

      • RvLeshrac says:

        @Evan Walker:

        2.ii is not a legal disclaimer. You cannot legally disclaim “unauthorized modification” in the US, without proof that said modification caused the defect. That’s ripe for a lawsuit, if someone has the money.

        2.ix is only valid if Apple can prove that the failure was NOT due to a defect. Otherwise, they need to put a time-limit on the coverage of consumable components. I can’t think of a single court that would uphold a day-0 denial of warranty coverage based on “because we said so.”

    • Melatonin says:

      @Evan Walker: So all of us who have cracks like this one with no corresponding visible damage on the topcase are just liars who dropped our Macbooks?

      • Evan Walker says:

        @Melatonin: Its very rare to find a crack of this magnitude.

        Sadly, without other pictures, that is just the conclusion that I can come to. However, without looking at the underside of the laptop, as well as the display housing, a conclusion cannot be reached. On that side of the bay, there is no mount on the topcase, so a mechanical failure of some sort would be farfetched. The only thing that I can think of that would cause damage like that would first be the top case cracking caused by the bezel, but even then its not that huge. Assuming that did happen, something would have had to have gotten in there and caused that. I can’t say for sure without seeing more pictures.

        Ben, care to request more pictures?

        • RvLeshrac says:

          @Evan Walker:

          Further, it is plain from the photo that the unit was not dropped. The missing plastic is roughly the same area of distributed force caused by closing the unit, and there is no other visible damage in that location.

          If it was dropped, it was dropped carefully and with precision.

  44. MTWomg says:

    I’m the owner of this laptop. I forgot to note that battery has under 100 cycles on it when i emailed this to consumerist.

    How do you think i can get this fixed? Call Apple? Email someone? Any advise?

    • consumeritis says:

      @MTWomg: Dude, you dropped it. See how the topcase is actually coming up on the corner with the “cracking?” That’s from a severe impact. If you look on the opposite corner, there’s chipping of the topcase there as well, nowhere near the display bezel bumpers, mind you, which is what causes the known-issue cracking that you’re trying to pin this on. I’d be willing to wager what this blurry photo doesn’t show are dents on both corners in the bottom casing. How far did it drop? C’mon, be honest. I want to see how far you think is reasonable for a complex and delicate piece of electronics to fall and still work the same exact way as when you bought it.

  45. geoelectric says:

    I was under the impression that Magnuson-Moss prevented this sort of behavior, basically establishing that A) you can’t put restrictions on how a warranty is exercised, and B) to waive the warranty due to damage, you had to establish that -that- damage caused -that- defect.

    It usually comes up in car stuff, basically establishing that, e.g., just because you replaced the exhaust with an aftermarket system, you can’t refuse warranty on the wheels.

    CA Dept. of Consumer Affairs, anyone?

    • RvLeshrac says:


      Tech companies are under the impression that M-M doesn’t apply to them. c.f. “unauthorized modification” disclaimer in the section of warranty that was posted earlier.

      • geoelectric says:

        @RvLeshrac: They can certainly be under that impression. I don’t think the law would bear that out if anyone actually bothered to push it. Cars are complicated tech systems too, nowadays.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Something somewhat similar happened to me. The screen on my iBook would all of sudden go white and then fill with garbled symbols and letters and black streaks. I took it into Apple and they replaced the logic board. This happened two more times within a few months, and it got two more replacements. The fourth time this happened, I took it in and it was sent out. I received a call from a tech and he said they wouldn’t fix it because it appeared that a USB port was bent. I didn’t even realize it was bent because it had been working fine. The bottom line was that they would not fix the screen issue because at Apple they will not send back a computer that is not in 100% working condition. So if I didn’t plop down $700+ to have the USB problem taken care of, they wouldn’t fix the screen. I still had a year left on my warranty at that time, and it was basically useless regardless of the habitual problems with the screen.

  47. PDX909 says:

    With so many complaints of damage to that area of the case it has be an inherent stress crack or a ‘knit’ line in the molding. Probably a poorly processed batch of housings that got used. I remember seeing this with the white iPhone (or iPod) cases too. Easy enough to engineer out of the parts themselves but when you have product in the field failing it’s really in your best interest to repair them FOC.

  48. CharlieInSeattle says:

    There is a known issue with the batteries, they should replace it, I just had mine replaced a month ago. It had only 80 cycles on it.

  49. kenposan says:

    what is it with apple and batteries, anyway?

  50. Edith Justice says:

    I thought they were having a lot of problems with the plastic on some of the Macbooks? My roommate’s had to have the whole enchilada replaced because it kept cracking and her AppleCare covered it.

  51. Tijil says:

    I’m not so sure that Apple can refuse Applecare service for the included battery unless they can prove that the “damage” to the laptop’s case also damaged the battery per the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act…

    Worth fighting, I believe.

  52. JWBrockman says:

    @Justin Kohler:

    At the risk of feeding a troll, did you even read my post? My iphone cracked several months before I had any problems with it. It was in my pocket all day when it cracked, I didn’t drop it or subject it to any particular abuse. I doubt a case would have made any difference. In any case, I didn’t ask or expect to get the crack fixed. I didn’t bring the phone in until many months later when it started to have problems. I was told point blank that my cracked screen invalidated any and all warranty claims, and even disallowed me from PURCHASING a battery replacement for the phone. My only option was to buy a new 3G phone (with new contract) or a replacement 2g phone, $200 out of pocket either way. I was also told that if the crack had connected to the button or earpiece holes, then the crack itself would have been a coverable repair, which I thought was totally arbitrary and silly. The phone was absolutely fine functionally for several months with a hairline crack in the screen, and I wouldn’t have even complained about that if I wasn’t essentially forced to buy a new device for a totally unrelated problem. I’m more upset that the device is apparently unrepairable by design, and if you are going to make that design choice, it damn well better be more durable than it is, or the company should be much more lenient about what can be swapped out. It seems liek they have at least addressed the durability with the 3G, the glass has a noticeable expansion gap/gasket around the circumference of the glass, and I doubt it will crack in the same manner that the 2G was prone to.

    I did end up with an iPhone 3g to replace it, I loved the product itself too much to give it up, and this was the only negative experience I’ve had in 10+ years of Apple ownership, so I hope

  53. Anonymous says:

    – Apple care is similar to A warranty for a car – it covers defection only. smash it into a pole, the warranty does not cover it. Your car insurance, or in this case – homeonwner’s or renter’s insurance would.

    – Damage voids the warranty, and all the parts it covers. there is no “partial Applecare” – AKA = one part it damaged, but other parts are not. it is a laptop, not the complexity and scale of a car. Dropping it can significantly hurt a lot of components.

    – The plastic “chipping” was confined to the 2006 MacBooks, and is usually seen as the leading edge, 2-3mm chipping off where the display hits it. MacBooks made in 2007-2008 do not have the issue. As many have stated, apple will replace the chipping ones on the 2006 models, but not chunks taken off because of a drop

    – That chip is from drop damage, and it was not a manufacturing defect.

    That sucks that it was declined, but voiding the terms of the contract you agreed to is still *voiding the terms of the contract you agreed to*

  54. I_am_Awesome says:

    You either think it’s appropriate to make a joke about Steve Jobs’s poor health, or you think it’s appropriate to bug him about something trivial while he’s on a leave of absence due to poor health.


  55. Brian Little says:

    If that MacBook’s 12 months old or over, you’re not going to get a warranty repair anyway. If it’s under, try going to an AASP instead of the Apple Store. Usually they’ll let you slide.

    The tech at Apple is being a dick. They aren’t required to do that.

    • CharlieInSeattle says:

      @Brian Little: Bzzt not true, I got my battery replaced, and it was out of warranty. It refused to charge with only 80 re-charges on it. There are problems with the macbook batteries there’s actually a KB on it. I had a CS try not to replace it, I escalated to a supervisor, that looked at the battery stats and said we’ll replace it.

  56. Joe Ibern says:

    They’ve changed my top cover a couple a times with me even asking.

  57. consumeritis says:

    Wow. You guys are way off base on this one. I’m going to make a few points here and I want you to listen close:

    1. The “cracking” on that computer… you see it? See how large an area it covers? That’s not cracking. That is damage. The issue that Apple is “aware” of with the MacBook topcases is cracking along the edge of the palm rests. The cracking is no more than 2mm in from the front edge. This is because the cracking is due to pressure put on the display housing when the lid is closed, so that the bumpers on the display bezel dig into the topcase.

    2. The computer was impacted on that corner of the machine. This does not mean that if a component fails on another side of the machine that it wasn’t affected by the drop. This also does not mean that if a component fails many weeks or months later that it is unrelated. Electronics are very delicate and have many different parts that can be affected by a major impact such as the one in the picture. There is no way that any company could warrant a product against defects with the kind of damage this one exhibits.

    3. The warranty states that in the event of damage or misuse, the warranty is void. Void. End of story. Suck it up, admit that you made a mistake, commit to yourself that you won’t fuck yourself like this again, and get over it.

    4. Don’t drop something you paid over a grand for. What are you, nine?

    5. That damage is right on the corner of the hard drive. He’d better keep a good backup of his things, otherwise he’ll be asking Apple to provide data recovery for him (which is something they aren’t responsible for, by the way).

    Usually I’m a fan of Consumerist, but before posting stories from people who refuse to take personal responsibility for the misuse of their products you may want to, in the future, use some logic and research to assess potential “scoops” before posting them. This is shoddy reporting and you should be ashamed. This is why you aren’t taken seriously half the time.

    • RvLeshrac says:


      Said it before, and I’ll say it again: Apple must prove that the damage was customer-induced, and given that there is no other damage on that corner, I can’t fathom how it could have been “Dropped” to *solely* cause that small piece of plastic to chip away, while not causing any damage whatsoever to the corner of the notebook.

  58. ninjatoddler says:

    I myself have purchased quite a few Apple branded products: 2xiMac, 1 MB, a few shuffles, 1st Gen iPod Touch and the 2nd Gen iPod Touch but after reading this, I’m sick in my stomach for supporting a company all worked up over such a frivolous matter.

    Replace his goddamn battery. I’m ready for a new laptop next year and with this kind of nonsense coming from Apple, I’ll gladly switch back to MS.

  59. savdavid says:

    They would rather anger or upset a customer than fix a battery?

  60. Skater009 says:

    replace it yourself .

  61. fatcop says:

    Apple people remind me of the South Park hybrid car episode.

  62. Anonymous says:

    The same thing happened to me.

    You are get it fixed by Apple if you are turning it in for the top case issue and not the battery issue.

    The person I talked to told me that he was really sorry about the top case and that they would swap the battery out too while they were in there working on it.

    BUT the battery is not covered by Apple care nor is accidental damage.(They are usually not hard asses about this)

  63. Syd says:

    Back in 2006 I had my 18-month old Powerbook shutting down on me for no reason so I took it to the “Geniuses” at the local Mac store. They told me that they couldn’t fix it under warranty because of unusual wear and tear. The employee pointed at slight cosmetic scuffing on the surface of the laptop (the area where my wrists rested wore away the finish).

    Aside from an iMac I received as a gift from my wife I’ve avoided buying anything from Apple. I really like their OS but I have to say that I’ve had nothing but bad experiences with their hardware (Powerbook, iPods, and older iMac).

  64. caedostella says:

    I’ve had some problems with Apple, well, more with my college bookstore. I’ve taken my MacBook Pro in for various issues in the past few months. The school bookstore, which is authorized to fix Apple products, charges me ridiculous amounts for any repairs. My Superdrive hasn’t worked since last summer, and they were going to charge me $200 to fix it. I rolled my eyes, drove the 40 minutes to the nearest Apple store, and they fixed it for free in one day, despite some cosmetic damage in that corner due to a drop that had occurred months later. When a key broke off my keyboard, the university bookstore charged me $10 to replace the key. I’m sure Apple would have replaced it free of charge.

    All in all, Apple has my money, and I’m a very satisfied customer. University bookstores absolutely suck. I refuse to go there again.

  65. JWBrockman says:

    @redkamel: Conversely, do you think anyone who brings in a product with superficial imperfections should always be denied warranty coverage? Should Ford refuse to repair the failed engine in my hypothetical Mustang because I cracked the front bumper on a curb 6 months ago? Of course, automakers and their customers take the Mangusson-Moss Warranty Act a bit more seriously, so this isn’t as likely to happen. The fault IMO is that the iPhone was designed as such to be non-repairable (Apple simply swaps out entire phones as policy for warranty and battery service), which allows Apple to deny warranty coverage (and therefore ANY recourse for the problem) for situations that a buyer would typically expect to be repairable. I think when a manufacturer essentially creates this situation, they have an obligation to be more liberal with their replacement policy, because they do not actually attempt to determine whether external damage is related to the fault. They essentialy get around their obligation to provide warranty coverage for faults unrelated to external damage by hiding behind a policy that basically says “we don’t take the phones apart, so we assume any damage to be the cause of any fault”. This isn’t exactly fair to the consumer. Of course, by anecdotal evidence, Apple does end up replacing a lot of iphones that do have some external damage, so it’s not exactly clear what a customer can expect from them in this regard. What’s troubling in the case of the iPhone is how arbitrary and inconsistent the decision is about what to replace.

    As an aside, I’m sort of surprised how much hate my comment generated. I am obviously not expecting anything from Apple at this point. I was unhappy with my experience though not enough to give up on the company. But the post asked if anyone had been denied warranty by Apple for unrelated cosmetic damage, and I had, so I posted my experience. Oh well.

  66. louiedog says:

    A friend of mine couldn’t get their macbook’s repaired for an issue I can no longer remember. The reason was there was cosmetic damage, that obviously had nothing to do with the other problem. I didn’t see the machine personally, but a mutual techie friend did and he believes the cosmetic damage was due to a defect of the unit, not that it was dropped or anything. The owner of the machine had also purchased an extended warranty. To get the problem that apple agreed they covered, she would have had to pay something like $600 to fix the cosmetic damage that wasn’t her fault.

  67. discounteggroll says:

    I repair at least 10 macbooks every day, and probably 5 or 6 (even higher if they’re the earlier models) have chipping around the top case (perimeter of the keyboard). This is normal since there is such a thin piece of plastic being used. However, what is pictured, That is not normal. Either the chipping began and the owner started playing with it, or the computer was dropped.

    • Stephanie Haller says:


      That’s exactly what I think. If you rip off the piece of plastic that chipped, you’d get a similar hole, but not NEARLY as large. He probably dropped it afterwards, but the hole begins exactly where the chipping normal occurs.

      I need to get mine fixed now.

  68. bigmil87 says:

    I actually work for AppleCare, and I can tell you in any situation that anything is damaged to the point of something not working it is no longer covered under the warranty. That being said I always try to get something done for the customer, however it is not unheard of for this to happen.

    • barty says:

      @bigmil87: In this case, the case being broken and the battery failing to take a charge have nothing to do with one another.

      It needs to be passed up the line with your employer that trying to make a few extra bucks by forcing people to fix unrelated cosmetic damage to obtain warranty service is garnering them very bad PR.

      • bigmil87 says:

        @barty: As much as I agree with you, I don’t think Apple has much to worry about with bad PR. Now, with that being said damage is damage, regardless of cause or intent. It constitutes accidental damage and regardless if the battery is contained or not it is not covered under the limited warranty.

      • Munchie says:

        @barty: Ok Apple Care agent who actually processes battery and all other manner of expensive requests here. If I saw that as the picture and had to make a judgment call on this issue I would have to know if the computer worked with a new battery or not. If it worked with the battery I would replace it (if all requirements match). If the test batter did not function I would declare it a logic board issue and the result of accidnetal damage, no free repair. Just because the batttery is on the other side of the computer does not mean the issues are unrelated.

  69. John Wells says:

    I say this not to create a firestorm. but, to ask that people look at both sides of the situation here.

    Apple is the highest rated computer manufacturer in all of the world. (This is the truth and several consumer studies have been done)

    Their number one goal is to make sure they make the best products and stand behind them. Like any company or retail chain you can always have a “less-then-great” employee/manager setting that doesn’t represent the company in the light they should.

    I had a unique experience myself with the Newer style Unibody MacBook Pro.
    I purchased one the 1st day they come out. the devices battery would not charge and it was clearly a problem with the MagSafe Charger. I took it back and they instead of replacing the charger, the manager wanted to give me a whole new system. He just didn’t want to take any chances with it, and me ending up with anything less then a perfect system. (this is how all of my apple customer service experience has been)

    1 of 2 things is going on with this persons macbook situation.
    1 there is some kind of risk in operating the device with the hole thats in the case or 2 its a less then stellar customer service rep at his local apple store.

    I would go back and ask for a clear explanation as to why they cannot replace it?
    and if you don’t end up with a good answer (or good enough) go to another apple store or email Stevie-Jay himself and tell him about the problem.

    I am sure apple being the customer focused company they are will be more then happy to assist you.

    Best of luck!

  70. MexiFinn says:

    Umm, that’s not minor cosmetic damage. My money is on that laptop taking a digger at some point.

    It does suck that Apple doesn’t offer a warranty with accidental damage protection, but that’s not normal wear and tear.

    Being in IT for over 10 years, you get to see the difference between normal wear and tear and stuff that’s been dropped and slammed.

  71. joellevand says:

    I had the exact same battery problem with my MacBook — and cracks like that on both sides of the battery case. I took the MacBook to the geniuses at the Apple Store in Marlton, NJ, and they not only fixed the battery, but they replaced the case and the keys (which were starting to wear in spots) for free.

    That was a year ago.

    Two weeks ago, I noticed a similar crack along the side of the MacBook and took the laptop in to be repaired again. This time, Marlton didn’t have any appointments, but Cherry Hill, NJ did. COMPLETELY different story — now, such damage isn’t covered by my Apple Care, even though it was a year ago.

    It all depends on your store and your genius, I suppose. However, since I’ve moved to Princeton in the ensuing year, it’s not really worth it for me to go back down to Marlton and try my luck there, so my MacBook will just have to be cracked until I buy a new one sometime next year.

  72. David Rosado says:


    Don’t you know? Apple only repairs that which is beautiful.

  73. Chase Teschendorf says:

    My old Black MacBook had a crack in the same area. It’s a flaw caused by the magnetic latch. I had an old iPod mini that had a very minor flaw and they refused to fix it, saying “it couldn’t be repaired due to a scatch.” I had it fixed for $25, and spent 3 years not buying Apple products. I’m a good customer too, who doesn’t complain much. Idiots.

  74. Thorny says:

    I’m guessing Apple doesn’t want to deal with the “You replaced my battery but broke my laptop case” problem that surely some a**hole would pull and try to get a new case as well even though it was broken in the first place.

  75. Anonymous says:

    I just had a battery die prematurely on my MacBook Pro (only 150 cycles on it). Called AppleCare. They agreed to replace it no fuss what-so-ever. They FedEx’ed me a new battery overnight and paid the shipping for the return of the defective battery. I had a new battery in my laptop about 15 hrs after I called them.

    I don’t know how their service could be any better than that.

  76. Guard says:

    My macbook had the same thing happen. The apple store says its a known defect on the macbooks, and can be replaced in-store for free even out of warranty.