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1332 posts

Uber Geek
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# 64961 26-Jul-2010 19:45
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I'm having a hard time framing this question so I'll give a little background and then ask...

In all the cases I can think of, private New Zealand consumers are able to have their repair/replacement issues sorted out by the reseller they purchased the product from. This is generally to make it easy for the consumer: take it back to where you got it from and have it sorted.

There is one glaring exception to this rule (that I can think of). Apple Corporation.

The _only_ way to have an Apple product replaced if it suffers from early life failure is to call their Australian/USA based call center (00800 7666 7666) and follow the troubleshooting their operators will walk you through. Assuming the fault is valid, you are then given a case ID number and are able to return it to the store you purchased it from.

From Apple's perspective this helps to minimise the work done by retail stores and ensure that their specialised team can ensure there is actually a fault with the unit rather than relying in resellers to determine whether a unit is faulty or not. I can understand this.

What really grinds my gears is that there is no way for a reseller to bypass this return policy. If a reseller accepts an Apple product back without an Apple case ID then they must call the Apple Care Center and register the product then follow Apple's troubleshooting procedure (time consuming) before being able to send the unit back to Apple.

I see several issues with this policy:

1) I imagine there might be some contract law issues if a store were to register a product under false/generic name and address details.

2) I would imagine there would be privacy issues if registering the product under the customer's real identity without their permission.

3) Asking the customer to call Apple and follow their troubleshooting procedure while in store is a time consuming procedure and often annoying. This is bad service IMHO and something any retailer should be keen to avoid.

4) Telling the consumer to go home and come back with an Apple case number is downright rude and something I would be very unhappy with in any store. Keep in mind I'm talking about DOA failure, something that has broken within 14 days of purchase. Generally any retailer worth their salt will replace a faulty unit like this on the spot with no questions asked.

Finally, my question to you as the geek community: if you spent several thousand dollars on an iPad only to open the box when you got home and find a horrible dent in the side; on coming back into store to return it find it amusing to be told that you need to go home and get an Apple case ID before anything can be done?

Thanks for your input. I really find this policy by Apple to be horribly inconsiderate of both consumers and retail outlets.

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Uber Geek


  # 356917 27-Jul-2010 08:57
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Hi 1080p,

(I am an Apple certified technician, but am not employed by Apple Inc).

You have certainly raised some valid points in your post, and you are pretty much spot on regarding getting Apple products replaced within the DOA period (Apple's is 10 working days).
I suspect you are correct that the reasoning is to reduce the number of No Fault Found units, or units being thought as of faulty but are actually fine. I won't try to deny that it's inconvenient some times! But it's Apple's policy, I believe the same policy is in effect world wide.

The only point I can really respond to is the last paragraph:
If you've spent SEVERAL thousands on an iPad, you're doing it wrong. The 64GB 3G is $1349. :)

I suspect the reason you would have been told a case number is required, as a dent in the side would not be expected, and would be outside the norm for a warranty or DOA replacement. ( I do have the Apple guidelines for whether cracks in glass, dents in enclosure void or do not void the warranty. There's actually specific guides as to how big dents in which areas are permissible, and how big a dent does indeed void warranty. Apple actually supply a dent inspection tool to gauge the depth of dents etc, it is quite a tightly controlled procedure).

I'm not suggesting in this particular case that the unit was dropped or damaged, but we've certainly seen machines that are 1 day old, or a week old, written off with liquid spill, dropped etc. People (not you!) will absolutely try to take advantage of a DOA period to try to return obviously damaged machines as DOA.

I guess my only advise is to inspect your new product in store before you take it home, I realise this is not particularly practical for like an iMac, but to open an iPad and inspect it would only take a moment.


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