Apple Support in UK Lacking?

  • Posted: 22 August 2007 01:59 PM

    A reader told us about his Website that details his support problems with Apple in the UK.

    http://www.armelline.com/ihateapplesupport/Site/My Story.html

    Do any of our UK readers have feedback on this woeful tale?

         
  • Posted: 22 August 2007 02:20 PM #1

    There are some legitimate points made in all that, but on the whole the guy sounds like an annoying pill.

    For example, the ONLY way he can go to the Apple store is to take off work? Assuming that’s true, I find it silly to blame Apple because he works 7 days a week.

    He also blames Apple for the fact that he took it to the store for repair at a time when he couldn’t part with it! So, of course, the 2nd trip he has to take is Apple’s fault.

    His outrage over having to go to the store to get it repaired seems kind of weak given that the majority of repairs would happen this way. TV? Car? Vacuum cleaner? You’d have to take all of those items out to get repaired.

    True, he does name Dell as an alternative to this. They send an engineer to your house. So someone’s trying his idea. Well sure, but only after 6 months of calling them to complain every week (based on my experience, anyway). I’m sure this author would have tons to say about that experience should he ever decide to try it.

    That being said, the repair times can be frustrating when they keep growing like that. I think it’s an area Apple could definately do some improving in. The appeal of the stores is that they’re fast and convinient. If they’re not so convinient, what’s the point?

         
  • Posted: 23 August 2007 02:28 AM #2

    [quote author=“Small White Car”]There are some legitimate points made in all that, but on the whole the guy sounds like an annoying pill.

    Thanks for starting your reply with an insult, that’s very mature.

    For example, the ONLY way he can go to the Apple store is to take off work? Assuming that’s true, I find it silly to blame Apple because he works 7 days a week.

    I never say that, and it’s entirely beside the point, anyway. I could go on a Saturday, but why should I be forced to cancel any Saturday plans based on a defective unit?

    He also blames Apple for the fact that he took it to the store for repair at a time when he couldn’t part with it! So, of course, the 2nd trip he has to take is Apple’s fault.

    No, I didn’t. I blamed Apple for silently canceling the mail-in support. They never told me when I arranged my appointment (at that time simply for some dust on the screen) that when they did in store repairs even for seemingly simple things that it would have to be left there. But the cost of the trip, be it first or second, is still Apple’s responsibility. And here in the UK we pay more than twice what you do for petrol and our parking costs are often insane.

    His outrage over having to go to the store to get it repaired seems kind of weak given that the majority of repairs would happen this way. TV? Car? Vacuum cleaner? You’d have to take all of those items out to get repaired.

    Not in the UK. Many consumer items are mailed in or collected - for example I know someone who’s coffee machine broke and they had it collected from them, a temporary replacement left while it was being repaired, and then delivered to him again. That’s the sort of service other companies can offer - and the vast majority of computer manufacturers here either offer mail-in or on-site repairs. I can’t think of any other than Apple who insist it’s taken to a shop.

    Well sure, but only after 6 months of calling them to complain every week (based on my experience, anyway). I’m sure this author would have tons to say about that experience should he ever decide to try it.

    If you’d read the whole thing, you’d see that I have experience of Dell’s support. One phone call and the engineer was round two days later, and gone within half an hour.

    That being said, the repair times can be frustrating when they keep growing like that. I think it’s an area Apple could definately do some improving in. The appeal of the stores is that they’re fast and convinient. If they’re not so convinient, what’s the point?

    Sadly we don’t have nearly as many here as you guys do in America, and finding your nearest repair centre is no easy task. I challenge you to find their list on their website. You average consumer won’t be able to. And what does that mean? Calling their $1 a minute support line to find out.

         
  • Posted: 23 August 2007 06:45 AM #3

    Well, Castle, I agreed with your basic points. I’m sorry that you don’t like my tone, but what can I say? I didn’t like yours either.

    I’m not going to defend myself, however. If you were insulted by the way I said it then I’m sorry for that.

    I do want to clarify 2 points, however:

    1) You said you never said you had to take off work. I must have just misunderstood what you were saying here:

    [quote author=“Castle”]
    ...so not only do they expect their customers to pay travel expenses and lost work hours they expect them to pay 50p a minute for the privilege of being told that Apple screwed up.

    2)
    [quote author=“Castle”]
    Sadly we don’t have nearly as many here as you guys do in America, and finding your nearest repair centre is no easy task. I challenge you to find their list on their website. You average consumer won’t be able to.

    I went to the Apple.com/uk site and typed both “store” and “stores” into the search bar. Although each gave the information slightly differently, they both contained what I needed to know.

    In either case, I DO think that consumers can figure that out, even if you don’t give them that much credit.

    At any rate, I suggest you ignore cantankerous people such as myself and focus on the ones who actually disagree with the points you make. I’m sure they’re out there somewhere.

         
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    Posted: 23 August 2007 10:37 AM #4

    The part delivery time is actually on par with that in the US.

    Having worked as a tech at an Apple Reseller I can tell you a few things:

    1. 7-14 day turnaround. First day is testing the problem. If it is easily reproducible then the part is ordered the first day. If it is not easy to reproduce, then there is generally 1-3 days of testing to try to reproduce the problem. If the problem is glaringly obvious a knowledgeable counter person can order the part before it even gets to the techs for testing (I used to do this all the time).

    2. Logic boards for portables, especially MacBook Pros, are slow to ship from Apple. On average it takes four days to get a logic board from Apple. Why don’t they keep the parts in stock? Because Apple requires that if the board isn’t marked as installed within a certain amount of time (and that the defective board isn’t returned in that same amount of time) that the company either return it or pay for it outright. Most companies are not going to pay the $800 cost of a logic board to have 100 in stock.

    3. A company will only order one of a specific part for each machine at a time. Part orders are done by serial number of the machine. A company can order more than one, but then we go into the $800 stocking fee thing. Most of the time the multiple parts for one serial number happens when a customer is ordering the parts to buy, not to repair.

    4. A good company tests a machine for a full 24 hours before sending it back to the customer. Popping in a logic board, booting to chime and desktop without checking everything else out is bad tech.

    5. Apple makes a reseller/repair center wait ten days for a part. If the part has not shown up within ten business days (yes, business not calendar) then the reseller can put in a Parts Search. This search can take 48 hours (again, business days). What Apple does on a Parts Search is scours their resellers, their own tech labs, and their inventory to find the part needed for the repair. If they find it, they will get it to the reseller within 3 business days. If they cannot find it, they mark the part backordered and will ship when they can fulfill the order. That is usually a 21 day wait. Yes, business days.

    6. If the local tech place cannot get the machine to fix, they will escalate the repair to Apple.  If there are too many problems at once, they will escalate the repair to Apple. This means they are shipping it for you to Apple so that Apple can fix it in their repair facility. This is called “Tier” repair. Depending upon the amount wrong with the machine at once, or the severity of the issue, depends on the tier of the repair.

    7. Don’t get pissy at a repair person or a tech who is working for a reseller. We do what we can to make you happy while also dealing with the backend crap that no one else sees from Apple. There are times where we have to literally fight with Apple on the phone to get a repair done because all symptoms lead to user error when we know it is not. We are doing more than what we are paid to do as we are trying to keep Apple happy, our employers happy, and you the customer happy all at the same time. We are the Ambassadors of Apple Tech, yet we get no thanks.

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  • Posted: 23 August 2007 11:12 AM #5

    SWC, I suspect he takes issue with

    but on the whole the guy sounds like an annoying pill.

    Which is reasonable.  I suspect you would do the same had that comment been directed at you.

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  • Posted: 23 August 2007 11:24 AM #6

    Maybe in the UK you get an engineer from Dell, but here in America we get poorly trained parts changers. My experience with Dell led me to switch to Apple five years ago. The person they sent out for my in-home repair, which by the way is not free, had no clue what was wrong with my Inspiron. He spent about two hours messing with it and gave up. Told me I would have to send it back to Dell. Three weeks later, it returned - with less RAM than it left with!!!! A very heated phone call to Dell’s call center in India and I was assured they would send me my RAM back. Never happened. I bought a 14” iBook that later had a problem with the logic board. I took to my local Apple reseller and they sent it to Apple and it was only gone 4 business days. Apple even cleaned it up whilst they had it. I also have a 12” PowerBook that has given me years of faultless performance. I expect my new MacBook to do the same. I can sympathize with your having to wait on parts to come from Apple, it is a long way from California to the UK. I have the same gripe when the service manager tells me he will have to order a part from England for my Range Rover. That is normally a two to three week adventure.

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