Applecare and the New Macbook. Scam or Intelligent Design?
When does watching the profit margin become taking advantage of the customer? When does one cross the line from environmental awareness into a lack of integrity in technology? What would you make of a company that replaces anything interior to the device with recycled parts, but parts on the outside with brand new?
There is no doubt that Apple products are intelligently designed. They are flexible, powerful and easy to use, even for a beginner. Since they are also expensive, it just makes sense to take out an extended warranty–or does it? Read the fine print. Applecare will replace defective parts with parts that they term “re-manufactured” or “refurbished.” That replacement iPhone they gave you? Most probably it is not new. The repair on your computer? Accomplished with parts scavenged from a return. In fact, according to former “genius” Josh Carr, Apple replaces faulty logic boards, audio assemblies, LCD’s and pretty much anything that is not visible from the outside with refurbished parts. Perhaps this is why the Apple Customer Service Scoreboard reports that ~83% of the comments are negative (it could also be because only dissatisfied customers go on line to write a review).
This situation caught AITSE’s attention after an Apple customer sent us the following account along with documenting photographs. His experience was that after a problem with his USB port, the faulty logicboard in his Macbook Pro was replaced–with a visibly water stained board. When that one failed (within a few days), it was replaced with another recycled board, this one where the headphone jack did not work.
A quick look at the visible potions of the second refurbished part gave a hint as to why it did not work either. The dirty fire wire port, dirty headphone jack, and dented mini-display port made it obvious that refurbished just means recycled or used. This story has a happy ending. Eventually, after many trips to various stores and a plethora of phone calls, the computer was replaced.
So, is the answer to decline the protection offered by Applecare? Since the new computers are becoming less and less user-serviceable, that may be difficult. Even though it is possible to change your own battery, add memory, and add a drive on the Macbook, the newest Macbook Pro has fused the battery to the case, the RAM to the logicboard and the display to the glass. In other words, mere mortals can no longer service or even upgrade their own machines–making an extended warranty almost essential. This is exacerbated by the fact that the battery has a lifespan that is limited by design. But, consumers vote with their wallets; the Retina Macbook Pro sold out within days of being released.
It appears that the public want a light weight, powerful machine, even if it has a limited lifespan, cannot be upgraded, and forces us to use an extended warranty that replaces broken parts with used, and often substandard, hardware. If this is a free choice where are the facts are known, there is nothing unethical here. The integrity factor only comes into play when the facts are hidden, put in fine print or disguised by using other words–and that is where AITSE comes in. AITSE makes sure you have the facts needed to make informed decisions.