Apple Genius Insults Customer, But Apple Corporate Steps In To Fix Things

Frank, one of the Geniuses at Tim’s nearby Apple store, was kind of an ass to Tim and his wife when they brought in their iMac to replace it. Luckily, a woman at Apple’s corporate office actually responded to Tim’s complaint and provided excellent customer service.

Earlier this month, Tim sent us this story:

Apple touts its hardware as “It just works”. I too am an ardent Apple and Mac fan, and when Apple updated their line of iMacs late this year, I decided to bite and bought a considerable amount of Hardware, including an iMac 21.5″ machine, taking advantage of their black Friday deals. I was exuberant when my Macs arrived a day early – I did the usual, excited unboxing videos etc. As I used my iMac, I noticed a very considerable Yellow Tinge in the bottom half of the screen. On further investigation, I came across threads on various forums from users who have the same problem with the iMac 21.5″ machines. I am a web designer, and need/depend upon correct color representations for my work. The yellow tinge was just not acceptable.

I rang up the reputed amazing Apple Online Support, and the associate walked me through the usual steps. Of course he couldn’t diagnose my problem, so he made an appointment for me to take my iMac to the Apple Store for an appointment with a Mac “Genius”. The associate told me that they would give me a replacement, since my Mac was less than a week old. I had read on the forums, that because the Apple Store is SO brightly lit, the problem doesn’t manifest very noticeably in the store. But in the dimmer lighting of home, there’s no ignoring it. I went with my wife, to the appointment.

After being called to their “Bar”, I was confronted by a dour, lifeless employee, a man named “Frank”, seemed to be rather brusque and unfriendly. He couldn’t see the issue, and I tried to walk him through the steps, but he didn’t seem to care much. He called other “Geniuses” over, and all of them seemed to be in agreement that there was nothing wrong, making it sound like my wife and I are idiots, for even daring to show up with an issue. To prove my point, I showed him a picture and a video of the yellow tinge of the iMac, on my iPhone, and he accused me, all but calling me a liar, of having possibly changed the shade of white in the picture. What would my motivation be? I don’t get my yah yahs by going to the Apple Store exchanging my brand new machine. When I told him that the color representation was important for my job, he rudely responded – that if that was the case, I should use a color calibration unit. I am a computer specialist, and I know, no color calibration unit can correct or help, when the screen has splotches and uneven coloring.

After about 15 minutes of sitting there, did my wife point out to the associate, that indeed the screen was turning yellow, and indeed, the yellow tinge became quite pronounced, and was even visible in the bright store. Seeing this, he hemmed and hawed, and finally agreed to give me a replacement unit. I politely requested if they could kindly see if they could get me a Week 41 machine (as ALL the machines in the store, without a tinge were 41), but he flat out refused, and threatened to charge me a restocking fee if they brought out a replacement from the back and I didn’t accept it. His argument was that they can’t make sure what week a machine is from. I politely stated that the week number is written on the box, and they wouldn’t have to even open it, but by that time, he just wasn’t having any of it. I didn’t want to make a scene, so I just took my replacement machine and came back home.

And here it is – Yellow Tinge is even more pronounced in this machine, and worse than ever. It is just so sad to be treated like this by Apple associates. I have decided against keeping this machine, and I’ll be sending it back for a full refund. It is not representative of the company I know, but it just leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

This from a representative of a company I have stood behind, and been so passionate about. I find myself loathing the thought of having to go back to that store.

Then today, Tim sent us the following update:

the issue was resolved after I contacted Phil Schiller’s office. Someone from Apple Corporate care called up, and the lady was just the nicest. She apologized profusely for the bad experience at the store, and listened very patiently while I explained that it was not the faulty hardware that had us upset, but rather the treatment meted out by the “Genius” on staff. I explained to her, that I understood that the associate might not have been able to recreate the problem immediately, but there was no basis in calling my wife and I, liars.

She told me, that if I was willing, they’d be more than happy to make the situation right. She had located a week 41* iMac in the retail store, and that even though this was a higher CTO Mac (3.33Ghz, 4GB RAM, 1TB HDD, with discrete graphics), Apple would be willing to give this unit to me at no additional charge. I could inspect the machine for as long as I desire at the store, and accept it if I wanted.

I was just dumbfounded. I didn’t expect that in the least. For me, just the courtesy call/email was enough, but Apple went above and beyond what was required/called for, to make their customer happy. I have nothing but the utmost regard for a company that would go out of its way to address its customers’ concerns, when it could very well choose to disregard the same (like Dell, HP, and Sony have in the past, for instance). Needless to say, they have won over an Apple fan for life.

And yes, the new machine is flawless.

Sometimes you can get a lemon when you go to a store, and sometimes that lemon is a human being. If the person who’s supposed to be helping you turns out to be useless, look for other strategies–like contacting corporate HQ–to get your problem heard and resolved.


Edit Your Comment

  1. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Wow, what an iAss that genius was.

    • FaustianSlip says:

      I suspect he might be iUnemployed at this point. If not fired, I’m sure he got the hammer dropped on him, big time. His managers couldn’t have been thrilled to get a call from Phil Schiller’s office telling them to get off their asses and resolve the issue.

      At the store where I worked, some of our Geniuses were really great people, but there were a couple that probably shouldn’t have been allowed anywhere near the public. What another poster wrote below about the retail managers at Apple is very true, though; with a couple of notable exceptions, most of ours couldn’t have managed a head call, let alone a store. It wasn’t just that they weren’t all particularly tech savvy, either; they didn’t treat any of the employees terribly well. They were often absent, indifferent to both employee and customer issues (one watched me get spit at by a customer who didn’t get an iPhone because we were sold out and did absolutely nothing about it), extremely critical, wildly inconsistent, unwilling to accept employee suggestions for improvement while offering no tangible suggestions of their own… not great people to work for. All of that said, I get the impression from talking to other Apple employees that my store was more dysfunctional and had far lower employee morale than most, but still… after seeing some of the people Apple hired as managers (and seeing the crap they got away with on the job), I had to wonder just what they were thinking. I wonder how many of them are still working there.

  2. PanCake BuTT says:

    Isn’t nice to be treated nice, and not so nice to be treated otherwise. I would still rather get my Hackintosh on ! But that is just me being a kook.

  3. Leela says:

    I can’t stand the “geniuses”, although I love Apple products. I had an early iPod that was part of a class-action suit related to battery life. So when my battery started to fail, I took it to the local Apple store along with proof that I had been part of the class-action suit. The “genius” told me that it was my fault the battery was failing because I kept my iPod on shuffle. I had to stand there and argue that it didn’t matter, my iPod was covered for a new battery regardless of if I used shuffle or not.

    • ludwigk says:

      While the response that you received was incorrect, did you go to the Apple store before, or after the proposed settlement had been approved? If you were part of the class action lawsuit, the pending class action settlement would have been your sole relief, which acted as a bar to getting special treatment in the interim. The pending approval period was pretty long, and in that interim period, we were unable to assist customers who were class members for those reasons.

      • Leela says:

        I went well after the suit had been settled and brought with me the proof I needed to get my iPod battery replaced. It was a certificate of some kind from Apple.

  4. ovelocityo says:

    I had the same experience recently with a busted iPhone. The genius was a total d*ck to me and I emailed corporate, more to express my extreme disappointment with being treated like sh*t in there store rather than trying to get anything out of them. I actually even bought another phone already, so it was really not about free stuff.

    They got back to me within 24 hours, apologized profusely and went out of their way to pick-up the tab for the new phone that I purchased.

    I am afraid that the quality of the staff at the Apple stores is starting to suck, but at least corporate is still taking care of their loyal customers and making things right.

  5. Daemon Xar says:

    The first part of the story is a bit disappointing–I’ve generally found the folks at the genius bar to be helpful and polite. I’ve even had geniui give me a free new laptop battery for my MacBook Pro post-warranty because it was losing its charge after 45 minutes, despite the fact that it had been used and abused for three years. It’s nice to hear that the situation was resolved by corporate, though.

    I have had terrible experiences with their online and phone support though, which is why I usually go into the store’s Genius Bar. Can’t stand the snotty college students patrolling the other sections though . . . have to make a beeline for the Bar.

  6. Cameraman says:

    OP stated that “I don’t get my yah yahs by going to the Apple Store exchanging my brand new machine.” I am of the opinion that not enough yah yahs are gotten or given nowadays. Oh, sure, back in the fifties people would think nothing of exchanging yah yahs even in public places such as diners, movie theaters, and recruiting stations. But then the baby Boomers screwed everything up. Now yah yahs are a forgotten art, except for a few hipsters in Brooklyn who hold yah yah conventions and then blog about it, and have even invented a hashtag to Twitter their attitude vis a vis yahyahness (#secretsoftheyayasisterhoodistheshiznit). But then the hipsters are being ironic, so screw them.

    I should note that I make my own yah yahs at home. Much tastier, and cheaper too.

    • hotdogsunrise says:

      I have had a difficult day. And you, sir, made my day much happier. Thank you.

    • legwork says:

      My first leap was for juvenile ero-humor, but it was quickly overwhelmed by Fargo flashbacks.

      “oh yah, gotta have a breakfast.”

      Yah yah, sir. Yah yah.

    • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

      I blame the Rolling Stones, myself.

    • MrWilly says:

      I get my yah yahs asking the Best Buy salespeople if they can sell me the laptop I’m looking at with a VT-100 and a copy of VMS, just to see if they’ll go looking for it.

      Okay, not really, but it’d be hilarious.

    • Hyman Decent says:

      Not to be confused with yia yias.

  7. GSauce says:

    “I did the usual, excited unboxing videos etc. “

    Maybe this is ‘the usual’ for people that have the money to waste, I mean spend, on iMacs, but for the rest of us here in the real world, it’s far from it.

    • [MG]LooseCannon says:

      Indeed. Do you really need a better indication that “Consumerism” is a religion in America?

    • microcars says:

      you have obviously never had the pleasure of unpacking an Apple product.

      that is too bad.

      • Thomas Palmer says:

        I unboxed a iPod video and the original iPhone, those were nice. I just unboxed a 5th gen iPod Nano, and was really unimpressed. Apple is good with some things, but not everything. I am a PC guy, if I had the money, I would buy a mac for the hardware, and then install XP (not even with bootcamp, I mean completely remove the mac OS).

        Back on topic: Even though I hate Apple’s business practices, they at least got one thing right: customer service, I can respect them for that.

        • AustinTXProgrammer says:

          I avoid Macs for the hardware, but wish I could have the OS (I like laptops, don’t want to carry around (and try to use) an external mouse, and find 1 button completely unacceptable).

          • Chmeeee says:

            As a regular touchpad user, I almost never use the button anymore anyways. Tap one finger: left click. Tap two fingers: right click. Slide two fingers: scroll. It’s so ingrained in me now that I keep screwing up on my friend’s netbook.

          • Henry Brzrki says:

            Apple hasn’t sold one-button mice for about five years now.

            • Wombatish says:

              Apple’s Magic Mouse begs to differ. Yes, it has ‘two-button’ functionality, but it still only has one button.

      • spazztastic says:

        You misspelled ‘displeasure’

      • TheGreySpectre says:

        I have unboxed apple products before. It did not strike me as any more enlightening then unboxing any other piece of equipement. Unboxing my Dell 30″ monitor was exciting, but still not enough that I would make a video of it. you already know whats in the box.

      • MooseOfReason says:

        My mom got an iPod Touch for her birthday. It took about five minutes to get the case open.

    • Cyberxion says:

      I get what you’re trying to do there, I just don’t know why you picked that particular aspect of his post as a launching point.

      There’s a whole sub-section of people on Youtube who devote their time to videotaping and uploading their unboxing rituals for all to see. Dunno why they do it. I always just assumed that they figure they’re the only folks to have ever opened a box before in their lives, and they’re posting tutorials for the rest of us idiots to go on. It’s for that reason, or because they really think that folks ought to give half a squirt of lukewarm piss about their purchases.

      Anyway, it’s annoying, but it’s not something that’s unique to the Apple crowd.

    • Chris Walters says:

      Back in the dark ages, when I bought my first ever Mac product–a Bondi blue original iMac–I was actually amazed at the packaging. It was the first time in my life that the packaging seemed to have been designed to be an experience. I don’t mean designed to be entertainment; I mean that someone at Apple figured out that there’s a linear progression you go through when unpacking a new electronic device, and that the right design choices mean the company guide that experience so that (a) the company provides the context it wants in order to improve your perception of the thing you just spent lots of $$$ on, and (b) the company can show you the elements in a specific order so that you aren’t confused and don’t overlook or misplace anything. It was sort of like taking the power of good shelf presentation and one-on-one customer service and embedding it in the packaging.

      It was a big deal at that point, because no other electronic or computer company I knew of was doing anything like that. Now, pretty much every smart company is paying attention to packaging (except maybe Motorola/Verizon with the Droid for some strange reason).

      As to the unboxing videos, I will admit I have watched a fair share of them on YouTube, Gizmodo, Engadget, and various mobile device blogs. It’s like getting a virtual up-close-and-personal look at a product, one you can’t get at official sites or at retailers.

    • faultolerant says:

      Hmmmmm…maybe some of us who “have money to waste” really do want to buy good products. Next time you generalize a group of people, doncha think ya aughtta at least be somewhat accurate? Of course, that might just interfere with your little hater rant….wouldn’t wanna do that, now would we?

  8. gellenburg says:

    I love Apple’s products, and [have] own[ed] over a dozen Macs in my history with the Company and brand.

    If anyone at Apple Corporate is reading this: your “geniuses” s*ck. They are — by far — the worst part of an Apple shopping experience.

    I have been to the Apple Store at the Lenox Mall, Perimeter Mall, and Northpoint Mall (all Atlanta) and every single time I’ve had the unfortunate requirement of dealing with a “Genius” at either of these locations, with the exception of perhaps one or two, each has been rude, obnoxious, condescending, and demeaning.

    But who could blame them? They wear an unenviable title of being “Genius”.

    More like a**-wipe if you ask me.

    So I can totally relate and empathize with this guy. Kudos to AAPL for making things right though.

  9. chocolate1234 says:

    This is really good to read. I’ve been dealing with issues with my 13″ MacBook since I got it last August (of 2008). I’ve brought it in to the Apple Store on four different occasions, and each time am told they can’t re-create the problem, but end up finding other “issues”. I’m on my third hard drive, and they’ve “fixed” the issues with my software multiple times. The last time I took it in was last week, and it wouldn’t even turn on. I have it back now, but it’s starting up with the same issues.

    I may have to escalate this past the “Geniuses” because I’m obviously getting nowhere. I’ve asked for a replacement, and am not asking for a new model, but simply the same model I have now, but in working form. This gives me hope that that may actually happen!

    • ludwigk says:

      You will get much further if you find some way of reproducing the problem in front of the geniuses, and that may stem from having a greater understanding of what causes the problem to begin with. For instance (as in OP’s case), does this problem get worse over time? Does it occur when the computer is stressed, and is generating more heat? Do you only see it when using the computer with certain applications, or with certain peripherals? Can you reproduce the issue when booted off an external drive?

      I realize that this puts the burden of proof back on your side, but considering that you are asking Apple to replace a machine that they are not finding a problem with, it seems a proportionate burden.

      As for the drive replacements, this can happen when they send the machine to depot, where they run an in-depth diagnostic and replace any piece of hardware that comes up as failing. I have no idea what criterion it uses to determine hardware fitness, but units often come back with replaced parts that the customer did not complain about. My suspicion is that the diagnostic is overly-liberal in spotting hardware issues and will find false positives, as there are very few ways of diagnosing a faulty hard-drive, most of which are not effective at preventing data loss, and most commercial drive utilities will spot these types of failures.

      • chocolate1234 says:

        Certain issues we just haven’t been able to recreate, and seem to happen with no rhyme or reason. They are able to see that those errors have happened, so they know we aren’t making this up. They just have a problem recreating them to see how they can fix them. We’ve brought it in twice when it wouldn’t even boot up, so they definitely have plenty of proof that our computer has consistent issues. They’re just dragging their feet and seem to have serious problems communicating with one another. Each time it’s like we’re starting all over again.

  10. humphrmi says:

    Apple prides themselves on hiring geniuses from many disciplines (e.g. retired architects, graphic artists, programmers, even folks like policemen and politicians.) They say the diversity helps improve the customer experience. The problem is, sometimes geniuses have never had any real exposure to customer-facing jobs. Which means its somewhat of a crap-shoot whether you get a good one or not. I’ve had good experiences and bad experiences with them. The thing I’ve learned is, if you don’t like what one genius tells you, make another appointment and try to get a different one, it’ll usually turn out better. Of course, that is a PITA.

    • Quatre707 says:

      That is a shining example bad customer service. When it comes to reporting product problems, especially information technology related, they should be reported by the customer, necessary information acquired, and than either resolved immediately, or escalated further without additional effort on the customers part. The responsibility should than fall to those providing the service to present a solution and follow up with the customer.
      Am I correct in assuming most issues that a customer approaches a “Genius” with are product training issues, as in the customer not knowing how to perform a task that has nothing to do with product warranty coverage? In my eyes these the “Genius” is an example of slapping a Band-aid on the problem of a consumer-base that can’t figure out how to use their computers, software, and electronics.

      • ABBailey1981 says:

        THe vast amount of work for Genii is simply customer retraining. I was a Genius for nearly 4 years and can say you come in to the job expecting one thing but then realize you are a trainer not a troubleshooter or repairer.

        I spent the better part of everyday with iPod customers. These customers when I left (Jan 2009) made up 82% of those who used the Genius Bar in a month. Of those the overwhelming majority were retraining not warranty care. But as Tech Support you do it. But product training is the largest part of that job.

  11. Preyfar says:

    This reminds me of the time my first gen iPhone broke. My phone got burning hot, and started overheating before making a popping sound. The phone was still usable, and I suspect the battery was going, but the only thing “wrong” with it was that camera would only take pictures in red and blue (no green hues – it looked like zombie vision). I took it to the Apple store, and they tried to convince me that it was *my* fault because I had /obviously/ dropped it (despite not a scratch/dent on the phone) and they wouldn’t cover it.

    They seemed more interested in trying to convince me to buy an iPhone 3G, because it would be “cheaper” than repairs. Given this was a few weeks before the 3GS came out, I decided to deal with the half working phone and upgrade later. I was NOT impressed by the “Geniuses” at the Tyson’s Corner store. Their “just buy a new one!” mentality left a sour taste in my mouth.

  12. JFish says:

    Glad to see apple fixed this. That kind of poor genius bar experience has not been the case for me.

    I love my early 2008 24″ iMac, and i can’t do my job without it, but it’s been kind of a lemon. Over the past year and a half I’ve had, the logicboard, power supply, hard drive, and LCD screen replaced. I took my mac in to get it serviced when the replacement LCD screen looked like it had been screwed in too tight. The genius bar acknowledged my problem in the brightly lit store, even though it was hard to see. Three days later i come into pick it up, and the glass on my screen (which had a large scratch through my own doing) had also been replaced, without even asking, and without a word from apple. I was ecstatic. Some repair guy in the back quietly replaced my glass and made my day. Customer for life.

  13. ABBailey1981 says:

    As former Apple Store Genius I can tell you that you start that job with spirit, willingness and ability. But unlike normal Tech Support where the client/customer breaks you down over time the management structure of the Apple Stores do it to you. (Customers less destructive then leadership)

    As a Genius you are given P&P (Policy and Procedure) at training and told by the corp. trainers this is your Bible and is the law. So of course you read it and commit it to memory. As anyone who knows Tech Support P&P is a guideline to what happens. But you make the decision of what you can do for the customer as close to or at least in line with company policy, but if this isn’t pleasing then the Retail managers step in and go completely 180 and blame you for following the rules. Often times we stayed close to P&P but gave some to allow for unpredictable moments but never completely against P&P.

    This process happening over and over again slowly breaks down most Genii in to someone similar to this one mentioned above. Now once broken either you become a monkey and do everything exactly like what the Retail manager’s would do or you become disillusioned and try to hold up your obligation to P&P and the teams Metrics but will always be shot down.

    Tech Support in general is an up-hill-battle kind of job but with your leadership undermining over-all corp. policy at ever tear and scream all you will cultivate are either drones or people who fight for what they were told to perform and loosing everyday.

    But know that this isn’t always the case with all Apple Store Genii because some stores actually have management the cultivate an environment of cooperation, close adherence to multi-focal training and some ability to understand technology.

    Lastly, and I know this is getting long, a personal statement to Apple. Apple if you hired managers with just an ounce of technical experience and not more that know how to just push product maybe your retention of Genii would increase. And to end, if you make P&P and tell someone it’s the gold standard then make it so but if you want P&P to be flexible and changing then put it in the P&P. Acceptable give is okay when the go ahead is put in writing.

    • bloodnok says:

      genius is such an inappropriate & arrogant title – any prat that gives a customer an earful of attitude is someone who should not be in retail support.

      • ABBailey1981 says:

        I agree the term “Genius” as a job title for anything. I can tell you have have met a handful of people who work as Geniis at Apple who are actually very intelligent.

        But first you need to understand it’s a job and work isn’t always pretty. Retail is hard and retail tech support is hell. If you go in with that kind of attitude you never know what you are going to get. Might get someone a inch from cracking due to not having a break or lunch on time because some retail manager figures you can take it Also many stores double book their queues, which always cause undo stress.

        Again it’s a job and work sometimes sucks give the guy a break.

  14. nycdesigner says:

    Dealing with a few bad Apples are nothing compared to dealing with Windows on any brand. These are the stories that make us hard”cores” giddy. Anyone can have manufacturing problems, and most have trouble supporting what they make. But by-and-large Apple makes the best stuff in its categories, and supports it the best overall.

    • bkdlays says:

      Sure thats why Apple market share is around 10% and Windows is almost all the rest

      • floraposte says:

        You’re assuming that the best product is always the most popular as well, and that simply isn’t how the market works. It’s the fallacy of the “better mousetrap” theory–most people are actually fine with a mousetrap that’s good enough, especially if it’s easier. One of the most often used examples of this fact is the Betamax vs. VHS war in tape standards–Betamax delivered a much better picture, but that wasn’t enough to make it the popular standard.

  15. Moosenogger says:

    I’m glad Apple helped out the OP after the “Genius” treated him like an idiot.

    Personally, I hate Apple and would never buy a computer from them. (I do own an iPod, but even that has given me issues.) Doesn’t help that I’ve been verbally accosted by Mac fans because I dared to go against the opinion that Apple is awesome and can do no wrong.

    • trujunglist says:

      it probably depends on your attitude. there are plenty of douchey people on both sides of the Apple argument, but I find the Apple haters to be some of the stupidest and worst people out there. It’s been like that for a long time. Maybe it’s just revenge from the users who were criticized nonstop for years and years by the an overwhelmingly misinformed majority.
      My favorite part is when people who used to insult me nonstop for having a Mac end up buying one. Then they ask me for help. Then I’m like fuck you you stupid douchebag, may Diskwarrior fail for you and yours (if you even know what that is you reinstalling luddite)! It’s a great feeling.

  16. bloodnok says:

    too many apple geniuses get bloated brain from their job title. it was a bad choice on apple’s part to dub morons with it. i ran into similar attitude at their burlingame store. tried to get the prat fired as a favour for ruining my apple experience. guess i should have tried shiller as i got nowhere with the store manager …

  17. dabarak says:

    I would have made every attempt to pick up my new computer when “Frank” was working, taking my sweet time to test it out in the store, possibly asking him for LOTS of help, over and over again.

  18. scootinger says:

    It seems to me like arrogance is part of the image that Apple is “selling” with the Genius Bar. I mean we are talking about people who are supposed to be self-proclaimed “Geniuses” (Genii?) here.

    I figure it’s a crapshoot as to whether you get a good or bad Genius on your trip to the Apple Store…I’ve had both. For example, one time I had a Genius blame me for the cracked topcase on my older-gen white Macbook (extremely common problem, most likely due to poor design), claiming that I was shutting the lid too hard. Other times I’ve never had a problem.

  19. Brazell says:

    I’ve had mostly snarky experiences with every “genius.” That and Body odor issues.

    • EatSleepJeep says:

      I have yet to find one that isn’t condescending or smug. My wife and I left for Mexico with two iPods and came home with none. I went to the apple store to purchase some replacements. JUst like Mexico I also left the apple store with no iPods, due one of the poorer customer service experiences I’ve encountered. We now both have Zunes(120 & 8), and I suspect a Zune HD is waiting under the tree for me.

  20. stang99 says:

    They didnt go above and beyond, they did exactly what was needed to avoid bad word of mouth, a computer failing after 2-3 years is not the makers fault, a computer failing 2 days after purchase is, I have had similar experiences with dell and hp. Both helped to fix the situation with new computers after a visit from their service techs.

  21. David in Brasil says:

    I wish I’d known….

    About 10 years ago, I got fed up with sending so much of my money to Microsoft, and so I bought a Mac laptop. Being the self-sufficient engineer that I am, and living in the hinterlands of Texas, I bought it mail order, along with a new printer (this was pre-USB days when Apples used a serial printer cable) and MS Office suite. The computer arrived, was beautiful, but crashed. Often. Froze up and crashed with indecipherable error messages. Unfortunately, there was no Apple repair anywhere near where I lived, nor other Apple users to ask, so I decided that the damn thing just *didn’t* work, and Apple fanbois were just full of it. I shelved the computer after a few months and bought an IBM laptop (which I *still* use, BTW). I wish that I had known about Applecare, about their evidently great customer service and about Phil Schiller (whoever he is). I ended up with a bad taste in my mouth about Apple products and have badmouthed them now for 10 years. I just didn’t know – I wish now that I had…

    • Megalomania says:

      No operating system made by Apple was worth using until 2001 when OS X was released. Apple has changed a lot since 1999, although admittedly less in the past 5 or so years than it did for the first few years of the new millennium.

      • trujunglist says:

        LOL, so you’re one of those guys who are like Windows 95/98 was so much better than Classic because uhhh… it crashed way more often.. and you occasionally had to reinstall! Who doesn’t love to reinstall everything every few months? I certainly do, which is why I choose Windows. Hooray!

        You just didn’t know how to fix or avoid problems, plain and simple, and then blamed it on the OS rather than user error. There was not a problem you couldn’t fix if you knew what you were doing. Which you clearly did not. I was hired for a Windows IT job, mainly to run ethernet for the entire office and occasionally do SOME Windows work. One day, we got in about 4 bad boxes with major errors. I asked the head IT guy what to do with them. He said “reinstall Windows 98.” I said “wait, Macs have utilities to fix almost anything. Surely, Windows has some equivalent of DW.” He asked “What’s DW? Just reinstall it and stop asking questions.”

  22. DeVore says:

    I’d like to bring up another issue in this post besides the obviously rotten customer service from the Genius, and that is quality control. It’s a sad state when consumers are forced to scour the forums in order to find the week number, date, serial digits etc. of confirmed non-faulty products, and then try to track those units down at local retailers. Shame on Apple and every other consumer electronics company that has such poor QC to force customers to take extreme measures like this- I’m looking at you Sony, Microsoft, Palm, etc.

  23. bkdlays says:

    The Genius Bar guys are cocky, well at least the ones I encountered.

    I had a Macbook Pro I had purchased for resale (I hate Mac) and it had a battery problem that was covered by an extended warranty. I was on a case by case basis so I had to go to the store to evaluate

    They told me it was software, they told me it was the charger, they told me it was fine. Everything they showed me in the os I was able to discredit. That guy was annoyed that I proved him wrong so he passed me off to another guy who gave me a battery without a problem

    Apple did give good service, but putting cocky apple techs into a situation where they are called “genius” goes right to their big heads!

    I would be bitter after dealing with all those customers all day too.. especially apple customers as they are their own breed, but this situation was black and white. The battery was bad plain and simple.

    I shouldn’t of had to outsmart the genius to get the battery i was entitled to.

  24. ModernTenshi04 says:

    Glad he got it all worked out.

    Very surprised by the attitudes of the Genius involved. The store I go to, they may be a little impatient, but I’ve never seen them act like this. Had to go in once because the drive on my less than 1 year old MacBook (circa fall 2007) simply died on me one night. Guy took a look at it, booted their firewire drive in target disc mode, tried to use Disc Utility on it, said, “Yep, it’s definitely dead,” then just loaded a new one in there, formatted it, and told me I’d have to install OS X when I got home.

    In and out in less than 10 minutes.

  25. CommonSense says:

    Not many people seem to know this (unfortunately), but there ARE independent alternatives to the “official” Apple Store. They sell the same products (except for the iPhone), generally at the same prices, are almost always locally owned, and treat you a hell of a lot better. And they don’t have one tenth the employee turnover the Apple stores do, which tells you about employee satisfaction.

    (OK, full disclaimer: I own one such store. But at least I’m not plugging it here!)

  26. almightytora says:

    And you wonder why some people are stuck at customer service jobs and even fail at that. I love how people who work at certain places think that they’re the technologically smart-ass “Geniuses” and treat the other lesser-than-smart common folk as liars or just ignorant.

    I hope this “Frank” guy got chewed out big time by corporate staff or even demoted or fired.

  27. quail says:

    I’m not sticking up for the ‘Genius’ at the Apple store at all. But from what I’ve experienced Mac people know less about computers as a whole than PC people do. Guess it comes from having fewer problems with their machines, or that they only learned their graphics processing programs and nothing else about the machine. In the end the Apple Geniuses probably get used to people just not knowing what they’re talking about and treating everyone like they’re idiots or scammers. It’s a problem with most computer repair guys, but I suspect it could be even more of an issue with Apple repair guys. In the end, Apple needs to retrain all of their Apple ‘Geniuses’ to be better at social interaction.

    Glad this guy finally got excellent service. He should have gotten it to begin with.

  28. MoodyTurtle says:

    Apple is definitely Number One.

  29. BillyDeeCT says:

    It’s quite sad that these “geniuses” have no clue on customer service skills. This is just another liability to Apple’s image since the ones I have dealt with were far from polite and not as knowledgeable. I’ve been Apple-certified since the 1980’s and I laugh the couple of times I went to an Apple store and couldn’t get an answer that I could cull out from the Apple web site or from the service info I have access to under our in-house servicing account. I’m glad there was a great outcome but how many others have gotten the bum’s rush from an Apple genius?

  30. trujunglist says:

    I very much dislike the geniuses because they honestly don’t know shit. When you say to them “I’ve used Apples my entire life. Was the primary tech in the Mac lab for my high school when I was only in junior high. I know hardware failure when I see it.” and they don’t believe you, but then it turns out you’re right, you should get a fucking reward or something, because that’s happened to me a few times.
    On the other hand, I think Apple has really gotten the point of sale thing down. My mom wanted to buy me a new Mac for Xmas since I’ve been having serious problems for the past 5 years with my G5 and it finally totally crapped out, and it was the smoothest process I’ve ever seen. It took us about 30 minutes to find a suitable parking space (and it was still in a dirt lot on an incline with muddy spots) and about 10 minutes to actually buy the Mac. The dude was very nice and didn’t try to upsell to me after he asked “is this your first Mac?” and I laughed. Even though the store was slammed with people (it being a few days before Xmas and all), we were in, talking to him about it, getting it, and leaving the store without waiting for even a minute.

  31. reidnez says:

    My dad had a similar experience a few years ago with a faulty laptop; the display would cut out, he would send it back, Apple would swear nothing was wrong and refuse to replace it…he went in circles with them for about 3 months. Finally, someone higher-up got wind of the situation, called and apologized profusely, and sent him a new machine. I think that Apple’s customer service is overall pretty good, but it’s hard to control that down to the last employee. If you’re getting the runaround, work your way up the chain of command and the problem will most likely be resolved.