In Dante's Inferno, there are nine circles of Hell. The First circle is Limbo, the eighth is Fraud. We're going to go easy on Apple and say their repair process is the First Circle- Limbo.
We are out of town trying a case when our trusty Mac Laptop dies with a battery issue. This has happened before. We have Apple Care (motto: "a sucker is born every minute"). In these desperate situations when time is money, here is what Apple Care gets you: A smile when you buy it, a grimace when you try to use it.
Here is the scam: Apple will repair your product, when they are damn good and ready and that means within a few weeks. They will sell you a computer, phone, and iPad today, but they will repair it next month.
"Wait" you say- just make an appointment on the website.
For a computer company that lives on the web and makes web friendly devices of all sorts, their website appointment process is as easy and simple and user friendly as, say, well…it's hard to imagine anything less user friendly and easy. Maybe if you imagine the worst possible IRS agent who only speaks Chinese and lives in China and the only way you can communicate with them is if you log on to their Chinese website.
Actually, that analogy isn't really fair….to China.
You can't get on the website and if you do you receive the message that "the store currently has no reservations available."
OK. So you explain to the judge your problem and she graciously gives you the day off and you walk into the Apple store ("abandon hope all ye who enter here for repairs") and are greeted at the front of the store by that friendly young person wearing that nice, soothing blue shirt who directs you to that next friendly young person who's wearing that nice and soothing blue shirt who grimaces when you tell them you don't have an appointment. Then they type on their iPad (their's works) and finally they smile: "OK. I can fit you in at 9:20 tonight!).
"But it's only 10:05 am now."
"Yes. Lucky for you we have a spot."
"Umm…is there any other store with an earlier opening?"
"I'm sorry sir. I work for the biggest, wealthiest, most technologically advanced company in the universe, and I cannot access the schedules of other stores…But wait sir. Today is April 6. I can get you an appointment at 11:00 am on the 16th."
"Uhh….I'm a lawyer in trial, the judge gave me today off to get it fixed. I know what the problem is. It's happened before. It's the battery."
"Oh, wait sir. Sorry. Someone just took that last appointment on the 16th. I have 4:45 PM on the 22nd open if you would like that."
Remember that Jerry Seinfeld show where the car rental agency doesn't have any cars?
Jerry says: "You know how to take the reservation. You just don't know how to keep the reservation. And that's really what the reservation is all about."
Hey Apple: You know how to sell a repair policy, you just don't know how to give someone a time to get their item repaired, and that's really why we buy the repair policy in the first place.
So, we walk out of the store and head over to Best Buy to buy a replacement laptop for $500 bucks and along the way we decide to call Apple: "Siri phone home."
And sure enough Siri calls Apple in San Jose, California. We hit a few buttons and get a live person who profusely apologizes and says "I'm going to transfer you to a Apple Care specialist. Now when the voice menu comes on, no matter what the prompt asks for just say "advisor" and you will get a live person."
We wait and then the voice menu comes on…."Welcome to Apple Care please enter your 22 digit IEEM number now."
"I'm sorry. I didn't quite get that. Did you enter your 36 digit IEEM number? Say yes or no."
"Welcome to Apple Care. Please enter your 125 digit IEEM number in reverse polish notation."
"I'm sorry. I didn't quite get that. Did you enter your 125 digit IEEM number? Please say yes or no."
"I'm sorry. I didn't quite get that. Did you enter the necessary launch codes for the trident ballistic missile?"
Welcome to Dante's First Ring Of Hell also known as Apple Care. You can't get an appointment this month. You need to camp out in the store and bring an tent and shower if you want to try and get service today. You can't call without knowing the secret code. In short, once you have it- Apple Care- you can wipe your butt with it, because that's all it's good for.
Toshiba Laptops aren't all that bad. And Best Buy has this repair policy called "The Geek Squad…."
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