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.