Monday, December 22, 2003

Blackcider site on Apple iBook Logic Board (motherboard) problems: Flickering screen? You're not the only one.

Apple iBook Logic Board (motherboard) problems: Flickering screen? You're not the only one.
Letter to Apple® CEO, Steve Jobs:

Dear Mr. Jobs,

You've got some serious problems with your iBook® machines...and your customer service representatives.

My iBook died after only 6 months of careful use. As it turns out my logic board failed...but you probably already knew that.

I sent my Apple iBook® in to be repaired but was told that the logic board was 'damaged' somehow and they would not replace it under my one-year manufacturer's warranty. I argued that I had never opened the case before (nor do I own the funny star-shaped tool required to open it even if I wanted to! I did open the metal plate that exposed the RAM module on the instructions of tech-support representative "CK". He told me to replace the factory installed RAM with the original RAM because the RAM might be the problem. I hope that you are not suggesting that you will not replace my defective motherboard because I followed the instructions of your tech-support staff!). I argued about it until the technical support person put me in touch with Sheila, your customer support person.

Sheila told me that she was 'not a technician' and didn't understand the 'technicalities' of the problem. Sheila also told me she was, indeed, looking at the report and that if the 'technical' people say they won't honor my one-year warranty, then that's the way it is. I told her that I was confused about the problem of the damaged logic board, again telling her that I had never opened the case, that it was only 6 months old. I asked if she could send me a copy of the report so that I could understand. At this point she laughed out loud at my request and promptly said, "no".

Is this how your Apple® customer service representatives are trained to handle distressed laughing out loud at them? I am furious over this lack of consideration and professionalism. I am furious that I owned this iBook® only 6 month before it broke due to a foreseeable, thus preventable problem. And I am furious that you won't honor your warranty and replace this defective equipment.

So. I now own a 6 month old, $1600 paperweight due to a faulty logic board. You still market this equipment and still, apparently, deny that the problem exists at all. Is it cheaper just to fix them one at a time rather than to announce a recall on the entire iBook line? Is it that an official equipment recall would cause a public relations black-eye for Apple®? Or maybe, just maybe, if people got wind of the fact that these laptops are a problem, no one would buy them, and it would affect your bottom line...then you'd have to explain yourself to your shareholders instead of just to me. I don't know the answers to these questions. I don't want to know.

Apple customers get mad, and then get even. There's been an even bigger furor about iPod battery replacements. I suspect Apple's quality control is inadequate (certainly their OS X releases have been spotty) -- but no-one's is great. I think price pressures have pushed quality down on most consumer goods, but especially laptops. I think digital cameras will start to suffer this year.

AppleCare is probably a necessity, not a nicety. So when pricing Apple products, always include the AppleCare cost as part of the product price. Some credit cards will also extend warrantees on defective goods, typically for up to one year. We'll see how or if Apple responds.

No comments: