Apple Fixed My Three Year-Old Laptop For FREE!
For the last couple of years, I’ve been living with a hairline crack on the right side of my 13-inch MacBook. This didn’t surprise me, because my MacBook lives a hard life: it’s been to more airports and countries than some laptops half its age. It’s so full of pictures that tech support had to insert more memory to make it functional. In short, it works for a living, instead of lying around as a pampered and spoiled laptop.
In order to deal with this worsening problem–and being someone with a gift for sweeping issues under the rug–I had placed a cute tiger sticker over the crack when I was in Japan in 2009. If the defect got worse, I didn’t want the plastic piece falling off and getting lost!
|The broken corner, January 2011.|
This past January, the sticker fell off. To no one’s surprise, not long afterwards, the plastic corner piece finally fell off. It happened when I was staying in Boston. I spent at least a solid hour looking for the missing piece in my little niece’s very tidy bedroom, even shaking her Hello Kitty sheets to see if I could find the missing piece! No luck, the tiny plastic triangle was gone forever.
The jagged edge was slightly uncomfortable on the inside of my wrist, as well as being hopelessly tacky. With SXSWi coming up, I didn’t mind being the girl with the near-vintage laptop at the tech-toys festival…I minded being the girl with the visibly broken vintage laptop. There are limits!
When I ducked into the heated Apple store on NYC’s Fifth Avenue on a cold day– to see if I could buy a replacement for the top piece of plastic–I was told that this cracked corner was a known issue and that I should make a “Genius Bar” appointment. So when I got back to Austin, I did just that.
Visiting The Doctor
When I took my laptop in–and they told me it was really three years old–I expected to be laughed at. When the dude at the Genius Bar added that he’s never seen a crack exactly like mine…. I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.
Yet, when he plugged my laptop into the system and looked at the history, it turned out that my laptop was covered! He even grabbed another brittle bit from next to the camera (a defective part I hadn’t even noticed) and pulled it off! He told me that they’d be replacing all the plastic on the inside of the computer (including the keyboard and trackpad), that it would take 1-3 days and that I wouldn’t have to pay anything.
|Ta da! The corner is no longer broken!|
When I picked up my repaired laptop, my sweetie noticed that the replaced pieces (i.e. basically all the plastic on the inside of the laptop) are slightly gray in tone compared to the brighter white of the original keyboard/trackpad etc.
I wish I’d known about this Apple repair earlier! I lived with an annoying crack/sticker for a long time, when I didn’t need to.
Umm, actually Apple knew. And they didn’t bother to let me know that my problem might be covered.
For the last seven years, I’ve had a Volvo SUV that was one of the first models off the production line when they first rolled out their SUV’s. Being among the first production models, it has had *a lot* of recalls, the most notable of them being a fuel pump. I don’t have a problem with the recalls, as the truck has a gazillion miles on it, and I’m happy having Volvo wanting to replace parts for free. (There’s nothing wrong with a free fuel pump for a vehicle with over 100,000 miles!) The dealer always washes the car as well, so I sort of like getting those Volvo recall notices in the mail!
Apple knows what I bought, and they certainly aren’t shy about emailing with marketing information. But with an issue like this, I never heard a word.
Tweeting about this problem only brought offers from my Tweeps to fix it with duct tape, but no rumors about this being a problem that Apple might fix.
|The broken corner is all better now!|
So Apple, I’m really, really glad you fixed this problem. But would it have killed you to let me know that this might *be* a problem?
The original crack appeared when the laptop was but a mere 6 months old, and I didn’t deal with it because I thought this product was out of warranty.
Earlier this week, my sweetie saw a girl at Southwestern University who had a laptop that looked just like mine, but with a delaminating corner. When he talked to her, she said she was thinking about getting a new laptop. He told her to make an appointment with the Genius Bar, to see about getting it fixed!
Because having a company stand behind what they sold you the first time is a lot better than spending money to replace a defective product.
My laptop was fixed under the Quality Program (E1), and it was a 13 inch MacBook produced in late 2007.