Apple Is Quickly Losing Me As A Customer [UPDATED]

Frequent readers of this blog know that I really like Apple products. However after my experience today, that is likely changing.

Now after I took my sick MacBook Pro into Carbon Computing in downtown Toronto, I got a call on Tuesday afternoon saying they can find nothing wrong with it. I then offered them to e-mail them proof and during that discussion I was told that how I acquired that proof might not be valid because the SMART utility that told me my hard drive was failing I was using may not be compatible with Yosemite. I pointed out that I got the same result with Mavericks which the SMART says it is compatible with. The tech at Carbon said he’d do more testing and call me back on Wednesday.

So, Wednesday came and went and no phone call. That’s a fail because if you promise something, you need to follow through. By not doing so, you send the interaction south. So I called on Thursday morning, left a message for the tech who was “on site” at the time and got a call back on Thursday afternoon. Apparently they were running tests that would take another day or so because they claim that Apple won’t let them replace the drive unless it fails. Again I offered up the screen shots of the testing that I had done which he declined. However the tech suggested that if I wanted to move this along, I should phone Apple and get them to “give them a code to authorize the repair.”

I was stunned. Carbon Computing is an Apple dealer. That makes them an extension of Apple, should they not be my advocate? Is that not what good customer service is all about? To them, that’s clearly not the case. But I decided to call Apple anyway.

Here’s where it gets frustrating.

I called and got a tech on the line and related my story which also includes the fact that this is the second hard drive failure that I’ve had. She then put me on hold and two minutes later, she hung up on me. Which only sent my feelings about Apple heading downwards. I then phoned back and got another person on the line who was smart enough to get a call back number.

TIP: If you work in a call center, ALWAYS get a call back number in case you get disconnected.

In any case, I went through my story again. The person then suggested the following:

  1. He wanted to do additional troubleshooting with me. That’s a fail seeing as Carbon Computing has my MacBook Pro. Besides, the troubleshooting that he wanted to do I had already done and confirmed my diagnosis. I again offered proof, but he declined.
  2. I should get my computer from Carbon Computing and take it to an Apple Store because “Carbon isn’t Apple.” My other option is to do a mail in repair.

I have to admit that I was close to exploding at this point. But I didn’t as it would have been counterproductive. I am flabbergasted that he wanted to throw an authorized dealer under the metaphorical bus like that. Plus I would have gone to an Apple Store if the wait time was not so long as I noted in my original post from the weekend. And as I check today, they are not any better. He was also unwilling to do much of anything else. So I escalated and I was put on what turned out to be a 20 minute hold. That’s right, he kept a customer who was not in a happy place on hold for 20 minutes. He eventually came back with a “tier 2 agent” who I had to explain my story to again. The best that he could do was offer to phone Carbon Computing to get a complete picture and figure out what to do next. As I type this, I am awaiting a call back.

Both Apple and Carbon Computing have displayed miserable customer service. First, I have done all the hard work by diagnosing the issue and while I get that they have to confirm my diagnosis, it would make sense to me that if I’ve got proof of what I’ve done to speed the process along, either Apple or Carbon Computing should take it as it only helps them to help me. The fact that they don’t want to do that is bizarre. Second, each side wants to throw the other under the bus. In Carbon Computing’s case, they’re throwing Apple under the bus by not escalating on my behalf and by putting me in a position to do it for them. In Apple’s case, they’re throwing Carbon Computing under the bus by claiming that they’re not Apple. If you’re re-sellers aren’t as good as Apple Stores, do not suggest taking your computer to an “Authorized Service Center” like you do on this page. Instead, put all of your re-sellers out of business and handle all your service yourself in a faster manner than you do now. Suggesting that “they are not Apple” is like Toyota saying your local dealer isn’t as good as the factory when you need your car fixed.

Apple customer service used to be at the top of the food chain. I now see that it is going downhill. If I get my MacBook Pro repaired, and given the events of today I’m dubious of that, I am leaning towards not purchasing an Apple product again as it is clear that they can’t or won’t take care of their customers. I am stunned that it seems neither they or Carbon Computing wants to do the right thing and get my computer fixed. That makes it incredibly difficult to recommend either in good conscience.

Updates as they come.

UPDATE: Apple did phone me back and they said that they are waiting for Carbon Computing to do additional testing and they will reach out to me on Monday. Color me seriously unimpressed. It seems that neither party is willing to do anything to address my issue which is a failing hard drive unless they are forced to.


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