Apple Geniuses No So Smart...Lose Lifetime Customer
Warranty? What Does The Warranty Cover?
Dear Mr. Jobs,
I have been a loyal Apple customer for more than 20 years. My first
Apple product was the original first generation Macintosh and over the years I have
owned more Apple products than most people would ever believe. I've
stuck with Apple through thick and thin...even during the period in
the 1990s when Apple couldn't give away computers and when they did,
they were riddled with bugs. Here's a comment by the folks at the MyMac website
referencing a column I wrote for USA Today in August of 1996:
was Impressed...while reading USA Today on a business trip on August
17th to see the back-to-school guide to choosing a PC list Apple
computer. In the words of the writer, Andy Pargh, the Gadget Guru:
"Although Apple Computer's sales figures have been lackluster at
best, rumors of its demise, as Mark Twain once said, are a bit
premature. It's a fact: Macintoshes are still the most user-friendly
models on the market and are ideal for the first- time, technophobic
computer wannabe. And the upcoming release of its System 8
(code named: Copland) software promises to take computing to a new
level. But this year Apple has introduced some models that not
only have captured my attention, but are making me take a long hard
look at this company as a whole."
He goes on to speak of some of Apple's new units, like the 6400 and
available accessories. While I might not agree with his assessment
of Mac users as technophobics, it is nice for a change to read
something positive being written about a Mac! Now to get Apple to
produce some really excellent laptops so that people will begin to
notice the changes.
Please note, that during the same time, I had your
products on the Today Show and delivered the same opinion. While I will not
attempt to take credit for your positive turn-around, I just wanted to remind
you Mr. Jobs, that I covered Apple's products for many years, even during the
lean years when your company had seemed to lose its way.
I'm sorry to inform you, those days are now behind me as I will no
longer be purchasing your products. (Yes, I purchased this product, it was not a
"freebie" provided by your PR department). My reason is not because of the
quality or ease of use of your products, it's due to the method in which you
treat your customers. Here's the straw that broke the
camel's back for me:
I purchased an iPhone on day three. Yes, I paid the full price and I
have not yet redeemed my $100 rebate. After owning the iPhone for just
a few weeks, it slipped out of my hand and fell to the floor. There
was no apparent damage other than a slight scratch on the corner
and the phone continued to work as advertised. It was a true champ and
its durability made me even more of a fan of the quality of your products.
Let's fast forward six months to yesterday when I powered-on my iPhone,
attempted to enter my password and noticed that the first row of numbers (1-2-3)
would not respond to my touch. The other rows operated properly, just the first
row failed to respond to my touch.
Since my password incorporated one of those numbers, my iPhone was rendered useless. So, instead of spending countless hours on hold
with Apple care, I chose to have it delivered to the local Apple store. It was
there I was informed that although it was in warranty, since it had been
dropped, that the warranty was no longer in force. I explained that it was a
minor fall that happened many months ago and the damage was not even noticeable
with the naked eye. Not looking for a debate as I consider myself your
customer and expected to be treated as such, I asked your employees of my
options. I was told my only option was to replace the phone for a refurbished
model. I would have to pay $250 for this privilege. Mr. Jobs, can you tell me exactly what the warranty
covers? The phone appeared to be operational, I just couldn't get past the
password screen. Wouldn't this be covered by the phone's warranty? Evidently
Not only did I consider $250 for a refurbished (read:used)
iPhone exorbitant, especially since the iPhone's fall happened so long ago and in
my mind was not related to the current issue. Since my data was behind the
password screen, I felt it unwise to pass over a data loaded phone to your
personnel. I would advise others to do the same to avoid identity theft. (Yes, I
realize that every Apple employee is honest and would never consider mining my
data. I'm just trying to be a responsible consumer). But remember, the phone has
a warranty, the drop many months ago did not cause or display any problems and to have your
employees trained to attempt to convince me of this fact was a futile exercise.
So Mr. Jobs, I did what I would advise others to do in the same
situation...not do business with you anymore. Yes, I could have contacted your
Press Public Relations Department and have this matter addressed, but instead, I
decided to see first hand how Apple treats it's customers...not press members.
I called AT&T, told them of the situation and
requested they reactivate my old Samsung Blackjack. Not only did they do so, they
did not force me to extend my existing contract and did not charge any sort of
re-activation fee. This only took a matter of minutes on the phone to achieve
time that it took attempting to plead my case to your employees. It was truly a
Mr. Jobs, you can learn from AT&T's actions that
retaining a customer and keeping him/her happy breeds loyalty. Loyalty breeds
income. Income breeds stability and stability breeds higher stock prices. I can
only assume by watching CNBC and keeping informed of your projections, that I'm not
the only one who is leaving Apple. Apple used to be a fun, pro-consumer company.
Now, believe it or not, Microsoft is the one showing superior financial
I then synced my Blackjack with my computer and guess what? It
worked! Not only was the process quick and seamless, the Active Sync software actually
updates my phone's database instantly. Do you know how many times I've headed
out for a tee time and when grabbing my iPhone, realized that it hadn't been
synced? Imagine that, Microsoft has easier to use features than Apple...and it
took going backwards to my old phone to realize how much I had missed some of
the basic features.
Upon reactivating the Blackjack, I realized that the
3G speed that I had missed with my old iPhone is not only noticeable, but far
superior to the iPhone. I then looked in my storage room and found an extra
battery for my Blackjack. Imagine that...being able to carry an extra battery
and change it at will? What a great feature! Also, I forgot just how important
it is to be able to "search" my contacts list. The Wonders of modern technology
never cease to amaze me!
Yes, I'll miss the comments on my slick-looking
iPhone from other customers waiting in line at Starbucks or at Costco and I'll
miss the iPhone's graphic web browser, but I'll
have the satisfaction of using a phone that actually works.
Yes, the screen on the Blackjack is smaller than the iPhone, but it's sufficient
for my needs. I can still show photos of my 105 lb. German Shepherd to anyone
with a simple press of a few buttons. Believe it or not, I never watched a movie
on my iPhone as I prefer to use a device with a screen large enough to see the
I didn't realize how much I missed the feel of a
tactile keyboard and can now return and send an email in a fraction of the time
it took on my iPhone. Oh, and by the way, the sound quality of the phone portion
of the Blackjack is
much better than what I experienced with the iPhone. After all, isn't the iPhone
first and foremost a phone? The ringer on the Blackjack is much louder and can
be heard by my aging ears much easier than the iPhone. Just think, no more missed calls due to having
the phone in another room and not being able to hear the ringer!
Then, much to my surprise, I found by searching the
web that Samsung and Microsoft had just released an upgrade for the Blackjack
that takes it from Windows 5 to Windows 6. Even better, this upgrade is FREE!
The actions of the Apple Geniuses must have been a blessing in disguise as I now
have a phone which is lighter, simple to use and much faster than my old iPhone.
I may even go out and purchase a new Blackjack II to take advantage of even more
features that Apple is still not offering. Heck, I may even make the leap and
try a Blackberry.
Also note, due to Apple's method of treating loyal
customers, I have canceled the thought of purchasing an Apple Air and I will
definitely not be standing in line for the next great thing from Apple.
Mr. Jobs, you have just saved me a great deal of money and I wanted to
take a moment to thank you. Just think, had the Apple Geniuses treated
me like a customer and provided an easy method of assisting me in my
time of need, I may have spent tens of thousands of dollars on future
Apple products. Instead, I might do something for myself such as take
a nice cruise with my savings, make a sizable charitable donation or
even buy a pony for an orphan. I will fondly remember the days when I
gave my seven nieces and nephews iPods as gifts. Boy, those were
the good old days!
Mr. Jobs. In my humble opinion, Apple has now
officially Jumped the Shark. Great products, innovation and most importantly,
retaining existing customers with strong support is the key to success. Two out of three doesn't cut
it. And if you think that pulling a lackluster (albeit pretty) computer out of a
manila envelope is the key to profitability, you're about to learn a lesson in
Marketing 101. I will watch with great pleasure your entertaining commercials,
and although I may even laugh, the true pleasure is that I won't be dropping my
bank balance on Apple products in the foreseeable future.
Understanding the method in which you treat your customers, it is no
surprise to me that NBC-Universal left you. I am now following in
their footsteps. However, I will not be coming back. They might...if
you treat them with the dignity and respect you failed to show me.
Thank you Steve.
The Gadget Guru