Apple “Genius”

Recently I sold my old, damaged MacBook Pro on eBay, and in doing so I claimed that there was a chance that it could be repaired (by Apple) for free. But how, you may be wondering, could I make such a bold claim? Was it all a strategy to over-sell my broken laptop? Not in the least. Back when I first found out about this Apple’s KB article, the contents of which appeared as though they would entitle me to a free repair, I headed straight to the Apple Store at the Fairview Mall in Toronto. I’d had a fairly positive customer care experience there just a week before, and I was rather optimistic that they’d repair it for me.

After I arrived at the Genius bar, I had to wait for quite a while before having the displeasure of dealing with an uncooperative “genius”, a young guy whose unfriendly attitude far outweighed any technical know-how he may have had. He immediately denied any knowledge of video issues on MacBook Pros from 2007 and only agreed to check my laptop after I’d showed him a printout of the knowledge base issue mentioned above. He essentially humored me in a rather reluctant way, and after a very short while told me that my laptop didn’t qualify for the free repair. Annoyed by this guy’s lack of care regarding my problem, I left the store.

Around the time when this situation arose, I had already visited the Genius Bar several times regarding various matters and was feeling a bit tired of dealing with a broken laptop. Ultimately I gave up on my old MacBook Pro (my first Mac ever) and when it was economically possible, I purchased a replacement laptop. Though my old MacBook Pro had cost me time and money, I felt that its tale was done and over with once I brought my new laptop home. That is until the day I decided that someone else could get more use out it than I was (as it was just sitting unused in my office), and that I could get a few bucks by selling it on Ebay. The old Mac’s auction wrapped up with a selling price of $578. It was bought by a fellow from Ontario, who was a very pleasant person to deal with.

If fact he was so kind that he sent me a follow-up regarding his own attempt to get the laptop fixed. Here’s what he wrote:

Just a quick update. The testing on the Macbook Pro was conducted this week, and found to conform to the warranty exception Apple identifies with the nVidia chip problem. A replacement is being installed now, but likely won’t be ready until next week. While you’re probably more content to wash your hands of the whole matter, I’d seriously consider a complaint against the apple store you took it to, and more specifically against the “genius” who served you, given he was clearly no genius at all, and likely cost you significantly in time and money as a result. Hope you’re having a good day.

I am genuinely happy for the guy. He took a risk by buying a broken laptop from me, trusted my story to be true (as it was!), and ended up scoring a working laptop that’s (now) worth far more than what he paid for it. His bet paid off and I wish him all the best.

The truth of the matter is that, as he says, I’m glad to “wash my hands of the whole matter”. At this point there is little Apple would do, even if I made a fuss about it (which I’m not going to, of course). Next time I walk by that particular Apple store, I may have a word with the manager (regarding the Genius I’d dealt with), but that’s about it.

The moral of the story is not that Apple’s customer care sucks or rocks. Apple Genii are just people, some are very good, others exceptionally bad, and most of them are somewhere in between. The take-home lesson for me here was that when dealing with Apple, if you get turned down by one store, you shouldn’t stop there! Take the time to visit a couple more and to persue the matter as far as you can.

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  1. TurboBorland June 26, 2009
  2. sambeau June 27, 2009
  3. Matt Zago June 27, 2009
  4. Robert Bath June 29, 2009
  5. Justin JDOG Marks August 29, 2009
  6. Antonio Cangiano August 30, 2009

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