Warranty Schmarranty

The Apple Retail Store Hates You  –

I recently visited the Apple store to exchange a defective power adapter which was still under warranty.  I still have the defective adapter, as it has now cost more time and effort than it was originally worth.

What I have lost is time, money, and trust in the ethics of the retail store.  What I have gained is disdain for their tactics and a sick feeling every time I hear “Apple Store.”

Why don’t I just dump my MacBook Pro and go with a PC?  Because my employer uses Mac-based programs and hardware and I don’t see my building replacing 300+ machines any time soon.  Whether “fanboy” or “hater,” my use of Apple products for work will change very little.  However, my personal purchase plans have already changed and I hope others might be spared some of the inconvienience and inepttude I experienced in my last visit:

Short version:

Rather than complete a simple warranty exchange, they want me to make an appointment to drive back to the store to exchange a defective power adapter that is well within the one-year warranty.  Seriously.  They actually wanted to put me on “Standby” and expected me to hang around for 2-3 hours in case a “genius” became available to evaluate my power adapter and determine why it doesn’t work.

I don’t really care why it doesn’t work.  It doesn’t work.  My warranty says that it should work (for at least 5 more months).  It doesn’t work.

After skipping us and having a lengthy conversation with two other people, the concierge finally addressed us.  I showed her the power adapter and the receipt.  She asked if I had my MacBook Pro with me, though it was obvious that I did not.  She then said that the service department would need to attach the power adapter to the machine to see whether the problem was with the adapter or the laptop.  I told her that I have already done that and that all other appropriate power adapters can be used to both power and charge the laptop, but the defective adapter does not work to charge the battery on other laptops.

She was clearly confused by this and circled us to get to her scheduling computer, where she entered my name and email address.  She then told me that she could schedule a time for me to come back to the store – two days later to have a “genius” evaluate my adapter.  She also explained that she has taken the liberty of putting me on “standby” in case there is a no-show or the “geniuses” get ahead and can work me in.

Seriously?  I have a defective item that is under warranty.  (I didn’t have to make an appointment to purchase the adapter.) They don’t even have to look it up in the big ‘ole database – I also have the receipt.  I have placed the defective item, the receipt, and the original paperwork, inside the original (and quite perfect) packaging.  All they have to do is go find a box that looks just like this here purty box and switch ‘em.  Heck, I’d even sign my name on one of those little ‘ole return forms that some of those not-very-customer-friendly chains require – I’m not difficult.

I didn’t even say any of the stuff in the paragraph above.  Instead, I said that it seems ludicrous to go through all of that just to exchange a defective item that is clearly under warranty.

The concierge double-checked with her manager and then explained to me that a power adapter needs to be fully evaluated by an Apple Genius because “the service department has parts” and they need to look at it because “they have the parts.”  I reminded her that a power adapter does not have replaceable parts and that I don’t need to have it evaluated, just replaced.  There is nothing to fix – they just need to exchange it.  She told me that a “genius” would have to see it, since they have the service department and the parts.

On January 7, after reading the initial comments, this section is being set apart to add emphasis.  I have no disagreement with a company that wants to check a device for misuse – I even say that further down. The part of the experience that was infuriating and unforgivable is here:

Again, I said that it is ridiculous to take this much time to replace a defective item that is under warranty and I turned to leave.  She asked about scheduling a time with a genius and I told her (again!) that it is ludicrous to take this kind of time to make a warranty exchange.

As my husband and I tried to leave the store, she followed after us, asking if she could get her manager and whether I would talk to her manager.  She then raised her voice, called out my name several times, and loudly asked whether I would be willing to talk to her manager.

Since our quiet discussion at the back of the store was being turned into a very public display in the middle of the store, we stopped and agreed.

I have no idea what their motivation could have been. The manager never even looked at the adapter or the receipt.  However, she made it quite clear that the chain of command is: Concierge, Manager, Genius.  From this exchange, it is clear that the manager has no actual managerial responsibilities or skills, but must answer to the great Genius Gods and must insure that every customer worships at the feet of the great Genius Gods.

Rather than exchange a defective power adapter, they wasted an amazing amount of time having a manager come out to explain to me that they need to evaluate the problem and fill out a report about the problem so Apple can see and correct the problem in future devices.

I asked why they need to perform this evaluation while the customer is in the store and she told me that if they just take an item off the shelf and exchange mine, the defective adapter will not go through the service department, but will just be thrown out and Apple can’t solve problems that way.


If you are a retailer and you have some kind of moronic policy on returns, at least give your customers the courtesy not to treat them like they are the morons.  Maybe you are a cell phone company and you need to check the little magic strip to see whether I have dropped it in a toilet; Maybe you are a car dealer and you need to look for damage to the frame; or maybe you sell power adapters and you need to check to see whether my cat has chewed a hole in the wire or whether I dropped the connector into a cup of hot chocolate (yep, I did that once – different adapter – it still worked.)   Whatever your needs, making up silly lines about the service guys having the right parts for your AC adapter or saying that the company needs to keep you there to determine the nature of the problem in order to save all future customers from this problem does nothing but show disdain and a total lack of respect for your customers – aka, your former customers.

The Apple Store at West Town Mall in Knoxville chose to let me walk out of the store with the defective device, rather than do the right (and SIMPLE) thing.

BTW, I wonder whether they consider the far-reaching effects of word-of-mouth.  I really don’t want to get into a big, long formula, but a little simple addition of only our public social-networking contacts leaves this tale of customer couldn’t-care-less-ness reaching about 996 direct contacts on Facebook and Twitter.  I have talked to enough co-workers to put this number well over 1,000.

I am hoping those 1,000 people tell their 1,000 contacts to avoid the West Town Apple Store (if they can’t avoid Apple all together!).

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68 comments to Warranty Schmarranty

  • Booshka

    I’m thinking it’s time for a call to AppleCare… they’re great at exchanging faulty stuff.

    • Thanks for the smart advice, Booshka. I have had several other folks tell me the same thing and I will write a follow-up post to let you know how it goes. From what everyone says, both the online service and telephone service are FAR superior to the Apple store experience! :)

  • Apple has a very clear return policy. All hardware goes to the Genius Bar…unless you were going to return the whole MacBook Pro, it is a tech problem that needs to be diagnosed and verified. It’s how it works. I know I’m not going to change your mind…but next time you go to a Best Buy with a similar problem, how about you post about the terrible service that you got there?

    • Hi, Alex. I think you misunderstood the problem. The adapter was purchased individually and has nothing to do with the MacBook Pro. Since an adapter is an accessory, rather than hardware, it does not fall under the “very clear” hardware policy.

      Since I have never experienced this kind of problem at the retailer you mentioned (or any other), I cannot write about their terrible service. I did visit that retailer over the holidays and experienced completely professional and helpful service each time. :)

  • Wow! That’s some seriously inept handling of a customer. i think you handled the situation very well and I have tweeted our 1500+ followers to spread the word.

    May be you have to email Steve Jobs to get this right! Seems to be the way to go these days. It’s just plain BS!

    • Wow! Thanks, Top iPhone!

      Right now I am trying to go through online support, since so many people have told me that online support and phone support are much better experiences. I’ll let you know how it goes. :)

  • B Summers

    Odd that you’ve had so much trouble simply getting a replacement adapter. On two separate occasions in the past three years I’ve had to replace my MacBook Pro’s AC adapter. We don’t have an Apple Store where I live, so both times I’ve simply called up their phone service.
    I have AppleCare and – both times – within minutes Apple agreed to send me a brand new adapter. And so long as I mailed back the original, I wouldn’t be charged.

    I don’t know what’s up with the Apple Store where you live, but every time I’ve dealt with Apple Customer Serivce (Canada), it’s been extremely smooth and effective.

    • Hi, B. I thought it was odd, too – until I started talking to people about it. Many people have told me exactly the same thing. Everyone really highly recommends Apples online service and calling Apple. I haven’t heard from a single person who had trouble when they dealt with Apple by phone or online! It looks like that is the way to go.

  • mnitro

    I also had a problem with my charger however my experience was different. I walked in, told them my charger was damaged, they took it and about 2 min later, they asked me if I had applecare, I said yes (which I did) and they just gave me a new power adapter.

  • Sean

    Relax. All of this could have been avoided if you had done what almost every other Apple customer has learned to do and make a Genius Bar appointment in advance.

    I agree, it can seem like a pain, but that’s the best (and only) way to guarantee that you’ll get individual attention and service. Even with items as simple as headphones, when you make an appointment, you get the service you need. Yes, even headphones. And when someone makes an appointment for simple problems that a Genius can solve quickly, guess what? That opens up time *between* the people who made appointments in advance, which allows them to see people who are on standby. Had you made an appointment, I’d wager a Genius would have done exactly that–verified the faulty part and replaced it.

    Apple has every right to inspect the faulty product first before handing over a free replacement. It protects them from people trying to get a free part. Also, it should be noted that Apple *does not* pull replacement parts from the floor stock. They have a reserved stock that they pull warranty replacements from, so that if the floor stock sells out, they still have some to give to people who–say it with me–made a Genius Bar appointment.

    • Sean

      Interesting that you have chosen not to publish my reply.

      • Sorry, Sean. I don’t work on my blog while I am at work and it took a while to reply to the very unexpected number of comments! Before this one, my most popular post received 11 comments. Out of courtesy, it would be good to give people time to actually see your comment before you complain that it was ignored. :)

    • Hi, Sean. It sees that, you didn’t read the whole post: This is not a faulty part. This was a defective accessory, purchased individually (without an appointment- gasp!), with several months left in its warranty, and the original packaging and receipt to prove it.

      An open retail store in a mall should not be the kind of place one needs to “learn” how to use.

  • Dorv

    Yeah, I don’t agree. I mean, I see where you’re coming from in that you don’t think you should have to wait, nor should you have to come back, but I think a store (of any type) has the right to verify if a product is actually defective before returning it. Apple Stores have a fairly well know policy with managing that process.

    As far as the Knoxville store goes, I frequented that location quite a bit at the beginning of this year while working a contract in Sevierville. My experiences with them were great, including them replacing a defective iPhone at one point.

    I’m not a crazy fanboy, but I am a fan. I’ve got multiple criticisms of Apple, but in this area, I don’t think they’re too far off.

    • Thanks for your comments, Dorv. I am all for verifying that a product is actually defective before replacing it. The process for taking care of hardware warranty issues and the process for accessory warranty issues is not the same.

  • Joe

    No, Jennifer, you’re the moron.

    Apple isn’t just going to take your word for it and exchange a $130 power adaptor. I know, I’m in tech support myself, and I can’t begin to count the number of times customers were convinced “they tried everything” and the problem was NOT what they thought it was. I have several dozen perfectly good power adaptors brought to me because “they were defective,” when the problem really was the computer/surge protector/wall socket/etc.

    Apple has to verify that the product is in fact defective and that swap it out with the correct part, a process that probably doesn’t take too long, like 10 minutes or so. Oh wait, that happens to be about the length of an appointment at the Genius Bar! Crazy how those things work out.

    What makes you think you’re so special that you deserve to be helped before all of the people that took the 2 minutes to schedule an appointment?

    • Hi, Joe. Thanks for the rude reply. The name-calling gives you lots of credibility. BTW, where is everyone getting the prices for these adapters? I’m glad I didn’t buy mine there!

      It’s great that you are in tech support – I am too. Though I only have access to 8 or 9 other machines and adapters that are exactly the same as the one in question, the problem is consistent each time I have tried it and I have been unable to replicate the issue with any other equivalent adapter. Like you, I also have a pile of various adapters! Maybe we can work out some kind of swap-meet. 😉

      I “get” that Apple has to check to see that I haven’t done something stupid and I am all for that! Did you get that I was just going to deal with it later (or online when I got home) — but they YELLED AT ME to come back and talk to a manager? Demeaning a customer is not acceptable.

      The ten minutes that you think this will take does not include the time to travel to and the store (twice) or the time I already spent with these two women. It also does not take into account the lost productivity! Sure, I have the luxury of access to other equipment and accessories, but most consumers do not have that luxury – as far as they know, I am completely unable to use my machine. Additionally, if the person on the front end of the customer experience and the person managing the customer experience treat people like this, why, but why would I want to go to the next level?!

  • Bill

    Seriously? What would you have to do if you owned a PC? You would call customer support, wait on hold, explain the problem, they would then MAIL one to you. Mail… not exchange it under warranty in the store. Try making an appointment like the rest of us!

    • Hi, Bill. Thanks for the great question!

      Actually, I do own a PC. For a defective PC accessory, I would go to my retailer (as I have done), give them the item and receipt, answer any questions they have about my use of the product, probably spend some time waiting, and return home with a working product. I will double-check some of the retailers in my area and post a follow-up.

    • Brandon

      Your right on Bill. If you took a bad pc laptop power adapter into bestbuy they would have pointed you to the after market devices. They don’t stock many if any power adapters since there are so many different connection/voltage needs… If you were under a manufacture warranty as you were with Apple, Best Buy would tell you to call them. Then they would hopefully mail you one. Your best bet would be if you had the store warranty and then hope that they take care of you with a targus power adapter.

  • R U Joking

    I think you took this a little far. Either stay and wait for a genius, or come back at an appointed time. By railing against their policies, all you’ve done is frustrate yourself. I think you are confusing a “return period” and a “warranty period.” During a return period, they pretty much return or exchange anything. Naturally, during a warranty period, they want to ensure that there is a malfunction before swapping out every item claimed to be defective. Stop being so difficult…

    • Hi, RU. Thanks for the reply, but I tried to do EXACTLY what you suggest!

      I was just going to leave and deal with it later. The concierge YELLED my name in the middle of the store, asking me to please wait and talk to a manager. I NEVER asked for that! Treating customers like that is simply not acceptable. No joke.

  • 24jeepn

    I do think a manager should have stepped I’m sooner to keepthis from esculating. Sounds like the employees were just following policy but management could have and should have difused the situation and taken care of you.

    • Hi, 24jeepn. I appreciate your response and it sounds like you have spent some time working in retail/sales! I agree that they were just following policy with their responses, as everything sounded quite scripted.

      The manager didn’t even need to get involved, because I had no intention of arguing with them – I just sighed, said it was ridiculous, and turned to leave. If I had not been followed half way across the store (while having my name yelled out), I would have just gone home, taken care of it online and thought, “That was silly.”

  • I gave up on Apple a while back. While I readily accept the ridicule of owning a Zune instead of the ever-trendy iPod, many people are surprised by how much better the Zune software is than iTunes. I also like the fact I can wirelessly connect to update music/podcasts, trade music wirelessly with other Zune owners, and listen to broadcast radio (non of which my iPod did). Also, I never have to step foot in an Apple Store with all those hipster douches.

  • I have to say I feel for you, it is not as easy of a process as say Target, but this is not Target.
    The Apple Stores serve a specific purpose and deliver a service that is unparalleled elsewhere.
    How could the concierge know you hadn’t dropped the adapter in a tumbler of vodka and then wiped it off well. If I had made an appointment to service my computer and you got to jump ahead of me because it was just a little power adapter, I would be pissed.
    You can’t just show up a car dealer without an appointment to have your faulty tire replaced, you make an appointment and follow procedure.

    I’m sure you’ll get some press and get this resolved.
    I for one hope you choose not to buy a Mac, heaven forbid you need service again and try to cut line.
    Go buy an HP and see how easy it is to return the adapter on that.

    • Hi, Brad. Thanks for your comments. Please understand that I am not looking for resolution at this point. I also never asked to jump line. I just wanted to leave and deal with it some other time. Instead of allowing me to leave quietly, they wasted my time and every other customer’s time while two employees tried to get me to stay in the store.

      Actually, I can usually show up to my car dealer to have a tire/rim replaced! For my former vehicle, after they changed the tire, they asked me to have a look at the rim myself and asked some questions to help determine what had happened. Since that one wasn’t a warranty issue, they also offered several options for replacing it – and even recommended another shop where I could get it done faster and cheaper with a used part (they didn’t have mine in stock). On top of that, they had already called the other shop to make sure they had the right rim for my car!

  • Mike


    I saw this article on TUAW and I just kind of wanted to comment on this as I use to be a AppleCare Tech (Genius from an Apple Store) and I just wanted to explain the process for you that we usually HAD to follow. When they make that appointment what happens is we only have a certain allowed amount of Genius’s at the bar. My store we usually had about 2-4…4 was the most if we really had crazy days. Then there are usually techs in the back….my store usually kept just 1 and then there is the Admin who handles the calls and parts for the tech the back so they can finish repairs. We REALLY do not like pulling the back of house genius because if we get drowned in repairs it just makes everything just really crazy and unmanageable because everyone always wants there stuff that minute, which isn’t possible all the time but we definitely would try really hard. Also these appointments get us more man hours for the genius’s and shows basically that we are doing our jobs. Now the reasoning for needing your computer….they just want to usually double check that it’s not the magsafe dc-in or the logic board so you don’t go home mad that it was that, and also we want to make sure we have an accurate serial number from the computer since they are bar coded on there. I can’t tell you how many times customers would bring in serial numbers and it wouldn’t be there computer. This is how we keep track of your repair records. Everything that is “swapped” or “repaired” on goes through this. We have special part numbers for each item even power adapters. We like to capture the old power adapter through the process we go through and then that information usually goes to some Applecare engineering department and they collect information on defective products. Usually though I will say this….if we are swamped and if there was a customer that was very irritated and just wanted their power adapter swapped I would just do it at the register with one from the wall. We usually do that if we don’t have any service parts in stock. So when they said that we have the “parts” we weren’t going to repair it we just have to swap it for one of our service parts which are a completely different inventory then the retail floor items. Sorry I just wanted to clarify things a bit.

    • Hi, Mike. Thank you for taking the time to respond to my post. I tried to be reader-friendly by leaving out technical details, but when TUAW tweeted my post, it changed my audience significantly! For you, I would have described the original problem differently:

      This is not the original adapter. The original was one of the early magsafe adapters. After 3 years of heavy use, the cord melted. Since it was no longer under warranty, and this is a business-owned machine, I asked my employer to replace it, but the department it went through was taking forever and It’s hard to work when you have to borrow someone else’s adapter, charge your battery, return their adapter, and repeat 3 hours later. When it passed the point of being funny, I forced myself to go to the Apple store at the mall. I hate the mall. (~shiver~)

      I purchased a new 85W Magsafe adapter and tucked the receipt and original paperwork into the box and stored it. This is the only thing that will show up in my info, as all business-owned machines go through our own computer repair department. (I think they only forward warranty-type repair info. to Apple, but I can’t swear to that.) In short, my employer is the owner, I am the only one who has worked on it, and the adapter is a replacement for a worn out one.

      When this new one stopped charging the battery after only a few months, I borrowed one from another MBP that was not being used. (Exact same MBP as mine, right down to the purchase order!) It has been working perfectly for many weeks. Out of curiosity, I checked my adapter with several other machines and my machine with several other adapters. Though I realize this is not as in-depth as capturing the usage info., It’s the method I have readily available. :)

      Thanks for explaining “parts.” That makes total sense! Like the old chicken nugget commercial, I see that “parts” aren’t always “parts.”

      I get that the company has policies and I expect that. I would have even been totally willing to go home and wait for a replacement by mail. The real problem was the way I was demeaned in the middle of the store. Being unable to have a quick exchange was not the thing that really ticked me off: After the concierge ignored me by skipping to the next person who was waiting, then told me that I could wait 2.5 hours or schedule an appointment two days later, I just wanted to deal with it later. Following me across the store and yelling my name, while asking if I would please wait and talk to the manager was pretty uncalled for. Speaking with a manager that didn’t ask a single question about the adapter, but just stood there repeating lines that had nothing to do with the problem, and sounding like Lumberg from “Office Space” was more than I could take.

      • Mike

        Jen, trust me I completely understand. I would even fight management about how poorly some customers get treated because the fact is….Apple does have a good system…or at least they are getting there. The appointments are needed ( i mean could you imagine the store without them? and it did use to be like that ugh….so chaotic.), but I think they either need to make bigger stores and really beef up the service department to have a lot of genius’s / family room specialists to help. I know they do now train specialists for the ipod / iphone bar if they really need help now. Trust me it’s going to get better!

  • Sean Fournier

    A warranty doesn’t mean a guarantee that it will work for the duration of the guarantee. It means it will be replaced if defective. If Apple is to fix problems they need to understand them and simply replacing products because you say so is probably the quickest road to producing long term CRAP products as seen in the Chinese market. This “swap” process you desired hurts the company and in turn hurts consumers. Grow up. Word of mouth? People are going to think you’re a moron. Keep it shut. My advice… free as always.

  • john

    You’re kind of retarded. Its just a power adaptor, what’s the big deal if they want to look at it to confirm that you’re really having trouble with it? Its not a 10 dollar broken part, its a 140 dollar product.

    • Hi, John. Thanks for your comments (with the exception of the first sentence, of course). I have no problem with them checking the item. They should, absolutely, take time to check it. When someone tells me that something doesn’t work, I check it. I paid about half of the price you quoted, but even a $10 product should be checked for abuse before being exchanged willy-nilly.

  • Nate Harris

    I would have brought my computer to make sure there wasn’t a problem with that, I think you’d be glad you did if there was a problem with it. My experience through visiting the apple store has been the exact opposite . They would have fixed the problem. How many adapters would you bring back thinking it was broken befor you let them do a thorough check of the computer to make sure.

    • Hi, Nate. I’m glad you have had good experiences with the Apple store in your area! That gives me hope for the one here. :)

      I have actually used several other adapters with my machine and tried the defective adapter with other MacBook Pros. Though I agree that my laptop could have some kind of inherent problem, that did not seem to be important to them. (They seemed interested in keeping me in the store or making sure I had a scheduled time to return – maybe they think looking at the shiny stuff will entice me to ditch my entire setup and buy a new one…) If they had said that they need to test the adapter with the laptop to be sure that the problem was not caused by the machine’s DC-in, the battery, or its magsafe connection, I would have been fine with that. I’m generally fine with anything that makes sense.

  • Tara

    It does suck that you kept getting the run around by the Concierges and Manager.

    Here’s the skinny, from a former service industry professional:

    Whether you’re visiting an Apple store or an independent shop, every repair, swap, or oversee requires paperwork. Although not always, 99% of the time, this paperwork has to be done by the technician, and not some floozy designated to filing. There are a number of reasons for this – we understand the tech, we understand the problems, we know which boxes to check and which to move around.

    Obviously, this is a bit of a pain, as it takes us away from doing more vital things – fixing the motherboard on someone’s computer, say.

    Now, I don’t know how it goes at Apple, but I’m going to assume that the Concierge system is similar to the appointment system at the center I used to work at. You make an appointment, which starts the paperwork process. Then, the repair tech has to evaluate your product (be it a computer, adapter, battery, whatever), write in the necessary OK codes to get the inventory system to release the part (or in your case, swap) they need, close the paperwork, and send you on your merry way.

    I’m also going to assume that Concierges are much like their hotel role suggests and that they don’t have much power other than booking people for appointments and checking them in. So this paperwork I’m describing above is pretty much necessarily done by the repair tech.

    Obviously, from the outside, an adapter swap looks like a pretty simple thing to do. All they have to do is verify that it’s in warranty, grab you a new one off the shelf, and you’re good to go!

    And in theory, it would be that simple. However, any place of service has to METICULOUSLY control their inventory. If a Concierge or manager, trying to please you, said “Obviously, three hours is too long to wait for a silly thing such as an adapter swap, let me just grab you a new one and send you on your way,” it would certainly make you, the customer happy. And that would be great.

    However, let’s say we have six cases of people a day in our hypothetical Apple store with adapter or battery issues that didn’t make appointments, and the concierge/manager does the same thing with all of them.

    IF (and this is a big if) whoever did this remembered to make an extra copy of these customers’ receipts, and IF they meticulously taped each receipt to each broken adapter, this equals out to a measly hour or two of paperwork for us at the end of the day. That’s seven to fourteen hours of productivity lost a week that we could have otherwise spent repairing someone’s computer. On top of that, this is assuming that the person who did the customer this favor actually remembered to print out receipts and stick these adapters somewhere where a technician could see them.

    In comparison, an appointment swap takes two to five minutes.

    • Hi, Tara. I appreciate the time you took to write such a thoughtful response and I agree with EVERY part of it! I didn’t want special treatment or to jump line (They had already spent time with the people behind me!). Heck, they could have just taken the thing out of my hand, tossed it on a counter in the back, told me where I was in line, and asked whether I wanted to wait. It would have even been okay if they wanted to send it back to the manufacturer and mail me a replacement!

      I totally understand the paper trail. One of my job responsibilities involves forwarding requests to the next level. More often than not, the requester fills out whatever part of the *required* information they want to and leaves the rest blank. I can either try to force that person to complete the info., forward it on and make it hard for the next guy (which I will never do), or take time away from others while I gather the information and complete their work.

      They told me what I needed to do. Though I thought it was silly to drive home, wait two days, and drive back, I was resigned to it. (I am a pretty good rule-follower.) Yelling at me to come back and talk to the manager was what made me angry. To top that off, after yelling my name across the store and asking me to talk to a manager, the manager didn’t bother to ask a single question that could lead me to believe that she gives a hoot about solving anyone’s issue. It was really just the opposite – as if she wanted some kind of confrontation. It was truly terrible.

  • Judith

    I have found the best course of action is to call Apple directly (especially for things under warranty). I do not usually get along with my local Geniuses (although my last experience wasn’t terrible). If you call them, they will arrange the shipping for you and send you a box to ship back the old item.

    • Thanks, Judith! The more people I have talked with, the more I have found that this is the norm. I was really surprised to find out how many of my friends and co-workers have had bad experiences at the retail store, but have had great experiences with the online support!

      As much as I hate the mall, I am surprised that I didn’t try things online to begin with! Thanks for the useful advice!!

  • thats wrong. when i went in to get my mac looked at for a super drive replacement (with an appointment) they said i dropped it because there was a little scratch in the OPPOSITE corner and they wouldnt replace it. i had my power adapter with me that was working just fine, only i taped the clear plastic to it so it would stay looking new and the wires were exposed only a millimeter at the base. they saw that and immediately asked me if i wanted a new one. they opened a new box, took it out and gave it to me. they just put my old one in the box and threw it somewhere… yet they wouldn’t replace my super drive?

    next time do what i do… go to an apple authorized repair center, not an official apple store. apple will pay the repair center for every repair made under warranty so they will fix your problem immediately. my super drive was fixed in 3 days at a repair center, it was covered under the warranty still, and i didnt pay a dime.

    Apple is a great company, but the further away from Steve Jobs you get, the more the peon employees like to think they can harvest his power… its sad

    • Great points, TailS MeDiA! Thanks for the heads up on the Apple authorized repair center. As we were driving away, I asked my husband what he thought might have happened if I had taken it to another Apple reseller in town. I might still try that — just for fun. 😉

  • Bryan

    Sounds like you tried to bring a product to the Apple Store for warranty service without making a Genius Bar appointment. While this was probably a misunderstanding between yourself and whatever retail employees you talked to, they were likely trying to schedule one of these appointments for you. Depending on when you came in, all the appointments could have been booked up for days in advance – it would have been unfair to OTHER customers who had booked an appointment to just squeeze you in somewhere, though it sounds like they put you in some standby line too just in case.

    You can’t expect to walk into any retail store, grab a random employee, tell them “THIS DON’T WORK” (without expecting to test it for themselves, no less), and get a replacement automatically – you have to talk to the service and warranty people. In Apple Stores, that’s the Genius Bar. If you didn’t make an appointment, you probably aren’t going to get squeezed in that same day especially at a busy store.

    • Hi, Bryan. I never asked to be “squeezed in” and didn’t expect to be. I also wouldn’t expect to walk into a retail store and grab a random employee for a warranty problem! It is reasonable to expect to walk into a retail store, speak with a customer service person or a manager, and get some kind of reasonable answer.

      I had no reason to take up the time of a Genius, who had hardware issues to deal with, when I only had a defective accessory.

  • earnestdotcom

    I don’t want to throw water on your argument, and I agree that you should be able to leave the device for service, had your adapter been burned out by repeated use with a faulty power component in your laptop, replacing the AC adapter wouldn’t help.

    As convoluted as their methods may seem, they really were trying to help. ANybody else that reads this might do well to take the laptop and the adapter in to their technician of choice for any power related problems.

    Good luck with your future computer purchases, whatever platform or brand they may be.

  • George

    As it states on apples website to get any service about warranty you need to schedule an appointment or call AppleCare. I hope your new pcs powercord doesn’t break, trying to get a replacement through those companies is even more of a headache.

    • Hi, George. Thanks for checking the website warranty info for me, but since this is just the power adapter, and it was purchased individually, it falls under “accessory” warranty, rather than “hardware” warranty.

  • Joseph

    Wow. Definitely sounds like a customer service nightmare. I’m an Apple fanboy, and I can’t even defend that. But as someone who has just recently come back to the Apple fold, I can tell you emphatically that the alternative is much worse. You won’t find better customer service with any PC company. Just don’t make a decision you’ll regret because of bad staff at an Apple store. Keep the faith!

    • Thanks, Joseph! I have been called an Apple fanboy quite often and have used Macs in my workplace for around 15 years, so I couldn’t give them up if I wanted to! The brick-and-mortar retail store is another story. I have talked to some hard-core fanboys (and fangirls) this week and some of them won’t walk through the doors of Apple store. I was really surprised.

      I have also had experiences with some of the PC retailers, but I don’t want to lump them all together, as some of them are quite outstanding!
      As for taking sides, I will continue to say that a computer is a computer and platform will continue to lose importance.

  • The Apple Store at West Town Mall in Knoxville chose to let me walk out of the store with the defective device, rather than do the right (and SIMPLE) thing.

    They did exactly that. The right thing. The accessory (and every other product) is under warranty for any problem comes up and is manufacturer’s fault. If the problem is caused by the buyer, it surely is not covered by the warranty.

    So, what happened at the Apple Store, was just that. They wanted to check if the problem was caused by you or not. Maybe some coffee was spilled accidentally on it.

    And instead of agreeing to that procedure which is the right one, you demanded that the part was replaced immediately! Following that logic, I could bring my iMac to the Store and demand a new one because it is under warranty and say, as you wrote above:

    “I don’t really care why it doesn’t work.  It doesn’t work.  My warranty says that it should work (for at least 5 more months).  It doesn’t work.”

    I wonder, if you had a company of any kind, would you replace the defective product without checking it first;

  • Ricky

    I see apple tech support as calling a dr. Or mechanic. You could come in at a scheduled time, or wait until there is an available person to serve you. There’s only like, 5 of them working at a time, and all they’re trying to do is two things:

    1. help you and everyone else that walls into the store in a timely manner.

    2. Assess the issue the right way, to assure you that not only will they fix the problem, but also log the problems so they don’t happen again.

    It’s almost as if people believe that they’re intentionally trying to ruin their days.

    • Thanks for your comments, Ricky. If I had been going in for tech support, I could see making an appointment, but I wasn’t there for tech support. If the Apple store wants to be an appointment only business, maybe they should reconsider having open storefronts in malls.

  • I had a similar experience and have since ditched my MacBook Pro. The webcam in my (under warranty) laptop died. I live about 2 hours from the nearest Apple Store, so I called to schedule an appointment with the “genius bar” to get it evaluated. Good thing I called, because they were totally booked up. For that day. And the next. And the next. In fact, they had no openings for as far ahead as they could schedule (which was less than a week), so I was told I would need to call back and try to schedule an appointment sometime in the future. That’s right. I basically now had an appointment to *make* an appointment.

    Contrast this with my HP workstation. The PSU in it died. I called a 1-800 number. A very helpful, friendly person walked me through the standard qustions, confirmed it was a bad PSU, and said they would send a new one out at once. I had the replacement about 18 hours later and was back online. Same story for my Dell notebook when the LCD died. Why Apple has fanbois I will never know…

  • Angela Martin

    Hi Jennifer,

    I can so relate to your experience. I had a similar experience with the Apple Store in London. I don’t even bother trying to get small products replaced with apple now, and simply purchase another one (otherwise it is simply too big a time waste). I do miss my Toshiba laptop from that perspective … hardly anything ever went wrong, and when it did, they replaced or fixed it very easily. Apple has a pretty cool laptop but their service is unbelievably bad.


  • Paul Smith

    Wow, most of you commenter must work at Apple. You don’t need the computer to check if a power supply is working.

    You could hook it up to another mbp. You could plug into the wall and hook a multi meter up to it. If the power supply tests good, it’s the laptop that’s the problem. If the power supply tests bad, you swap it out for a new one. This isn’t exactly rocket science.

    As for me, I’d have walked out of the store too. Sounds like the store used the old… lets cover up our lack of common sense, with we must follow company procedures excuse.

  • Jon

    What you have to realize is you’re not the only person in the store. On top of that, you’re at an Apple Retail Store—one of the busiest retail spots in all of consumerism. Should you have expected excellent customer service from Apple? Of course. And as a long-time Apple user I’m embarrassed that you didn’t have a stellar experience.

    But lay off! I know it’s $80, and I realize it’s business-critical, but these are people, just like you and I. They are clearly bound to rules and regulations set forth by a corporate entity (located all the way across the country, if you were in Knoxville, TN).

    As it turns out, there are certain things that I’m sure they just can’t do for you. It seems a simple retail exchange of a power adapter is one of those. You were claiming it was under your MacBook Pro laptop’s warranty, however without your MacBook Pro laptop’s serial number how would they know you weren’t lying? Even if they gave you the benefit of the doubt and exchanged your adapter then and there, they would set a precedent that any Joe Shmo could find a dead adapter in a bin and get a new $80 piece of equipment in its place.

    I’m sorry the policies of Apple, Inc. aren’t up to your seemingly ridiculous standards, but your complaint reeks of disdain and contempt for the employees themselves. Yes, they’re representatives of Apple but if you take a step back and gain some perspective maybe you can see a bigger picture.

    • Hi, Jon. It looks like you only read part of the post. This adapter was purchased individually and is under its own warranty. The serial number from the adapter is the only serial number they need, as it matches the receipt. The laptop is owned by my employer. The adapter is mine.

      The argument that this would set a precedent for exchanging items found in the waste bin makes no sense. Every Apple accessory has its own serial number. It is quite simple for them to look up those numbers to see who purchased the item, when, and from where.

      I am surprised that you would defend employees raising their voices toward a customer who was simply leaving the store! I hope you never have to experience anything like this.

  • Robert

    You have GOT to be kidding me. I can’t help but wonder how many of the people who have commented on this post would have found this type of treatment acceptable from any retailer other than their beloved Apple. The cult status that this company enjoys amazes me. I have serveral Apple products, none of which were purchased from an Apple store. Given what I now know about their level of service, if I decide purchase any additional Apple products in the future I will not even consider purchasing directly from Apple.

  • Sorry to hear of your bad Apple Store experience.

    I reckon that if you had scheduled a Genius Bar appointment, they would have treated you like a princess & your issue promptly, cordially without need for anybody to raise their voice :)

  • BladedThoth

    I had a very similar experience with BUYING a Mac. To sum it up; Over an hour trying to find a line, talk to anyone who wasn’t intentionally avoid us, being skipped when we finally did find a line of sorts for a till, trying to figure out what color of shirt meant what (I guess apparently if you’re a Mac you’re supposed to know this) further employees intentionally walking away from us as we spoke directly to them. So on and so forth. It was rediculous. I so wanted to scream ‘I’m a PC and at least I can get someone to sell me something’ but I think my cohort would have died.

    What did we do? Walked into Best Buy, walked to the Macs, got pretty close to tackled by an employee trying to help, pointed and got our pretty new box.

    I don’t know – Best Buy just seemed easier.

    I think what bugs me most is the cultist following actually accepts; Even enjoys being abused by Apple Stores. Plenty of stories out there like yours and mine. Far more than anyone else it seems, and I would definately say far more per unit sold.

  • Sam

    I would recommend you call Apple Care support next time. I recently had a simlar problem with my adapter. With relativly few questions and little problem the shipped me a new adapter, overnight, on Dec 23rd.

    The number is 1-800-275-2273 (1-800-APL-CARE)

  • Dorv

    Disappointed that my first reply hasn’t been approved yet. I type this sitting at a Genius Bar in New Mexico as I go through an incredibly pain-free iPhone replacement.

  • marc cardwell

    just curious where you work, i don’t know any k-ville places that have that many macs.

    that sucks that happened to you, but i’ve been in that store many times (but never w/service needs), all the peeps were very professional.

    the charlotte nc store replaced my sister-in-law’s ipod w/ ONE day left on the warranty, even when it was obvious the pod had been plugged in the wrong way (she complained it wouldn’t sync). that impresses the hell out of me.

  • Jay

    I hear you. My son’s ipod was hosed and we had to drive 15 miles to get to the Apple store only to be told we had to come back 2 days later. We did and it took about 45 seconds for them to override the problem and reset the ipod. I told the mgr this was the most screwed up system ever, he asked what he could do to make me feel better. I said a song and a dance would work and to his credit, he got up on a table and began a horrible song and he did in fact dance. It did make me laugh but it is still screwed up.

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