Apple lost my computer!

Applerepairstatus Dhl  Track Details Just thought I’d follow up on my ongoing (and now totally unbelievable) saga with trying to get my brand new MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo computer repaired.  As I mentioned in a previous post, my new Mac had a serious problem with the audio system — the speakers output nothing but loud static whenever I tried to play any audio.

I bought it the day it was released in late October.  I brought it in for repair on November 4th.  Today, on November 29th, it has still not been returned.  And I have Apple ProCare, which theoretically means I get "priority" service.

After several days of showing up at the Boulder Apple Store and asking where it was and being told "don’t call us, we’ll call you", I decided to press a bit harder.  According to my online repair status (see the first screenshot in this post), the computer was repaired on November 17th — 12 days ago — and was then shipped to the Apple Store.  Helpful Apple even provides a DHL tracking number (see the next screenshot).  According to the DHL tracking page, it was delivered to the Apple Store that same day via next day air.  Last known location according to DHL, was their Santa Clara facility, CA, which confused me somewhat given I dropped it off in Boulder, CO.  This did not seem right to me.

I spent a solid half hour on the phone with Apple today, first trying to break through their phone system to speak to a human.  First time I got through to a person, I was placed on hold and subsequently hung up on while listening to Elanor Rigby (while Apple doesn’t yet sell the Beatles on iTunes, I guess they have a license for on-hold music). 

The second time, I got through to a person who actually took seriously the notion that the machine might have slipped through the cracks in the sytem.  After she put me on hold for 15 – 20 minutes, she announced that they are unable to locate the machine and that they have escalated the matter to the "Tracing Department".  I was assured that the Tracing Department would call me in 1 – 2 days with further information.  When I asked if I could have a contact name or number into the Tracing Department, I was denied. 

So 25 days after I dropped my computer off for repair, Apple now cannot locate it.  And every time I tried to tell someone at the Apple Store that I thought there might be a problem, they refused to look into it and just told me to wait.  I wonder how long this would have gone on if I had not decided to spend an hour (which I had much better use for) haranguing the poor folks on the other end of the customer support line?

This level of incompetence is almost amusing.  Almost.  I want my damn computer.

Apple, you really suck.  Your customer service is as dismal as your products are superior. 

Insanely great?  Nope.  Insanely late.

Are you listening, Steve?

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  • Don’t you, like, work with some lady ( http://tinyurl.com/y9gmg8 ) who might know some Apple folks you could call?
    PS I had to use tinyurl because your blog comments thing seems to like eating ampersands.

  • Usually it’s not Apple’s fault.
    Here in Spain you can hear lots of terrific histories caused by their shipping company in Europe (TNT).

  • I have the number of one of the main support reps- way nice and helpful lady, plus you'll get right through. Don't want to post the info, just send me an email if you'd like to give her a try.

  • monoclast

    So learn from this experience, and next time you need repair services ask the AppleCare representative to give you a list of “Apple Authorized Repair Centers near you”.
    Pick one of the smaller places (not ChumpUSA, for example) and go physically check them out – talk to the people, etc. If they seem nice enough and the place looks legitimate enough for you to feel comfortable leaving your computer in their hands, go for it.
    I’ve had nothing but good experiences with a place called “Computize” in Austin Texas.

  • Anon

    My bet is that DHL screwed up and decided to return the shipment to the sender… and the address they had on file for the account was for some business office, rather than the service center. Either that or someone filled the shipping form in wrong and sent it to the mothership.
    DHL is ALWAYS screwing up my gf’s business shipments… she has a special hatred of them.

  • My brother had similar problems with the Intel MacBook. He finally sent an email to Steve Jobs complaining bitterly about the poor customer service. Too his great surprise, one of Steve’s assistant’s called him and they got him a new machine. You might try this.

  • That’s funny, because the same thing happened to me at work today, only though with Dell. The laptop was sent into the service depot about 15 business days ago, and their turnaround was supposed to be 3-5 business days. So, today, I played runaround the phone system for 2 hours trying to get someone. I finally did, and they transferred me to another person, who hung up on me. Then I got ahold of someone who actually did their job, and asked me for DHL tracking number, then called the service depot, and came back saying they didn’t know where it was, and they were going to have to replace it with a new computer.
    DHL sucks… that’s all I have to say.

  • Tom

    Sounds startlingly similar to the incident I had with them when my Titanium PB DVD drive crapped out. I sent it in and they smashed my LCD with a hammer. You read that right. A hammer.
    In a mishap (droppage) unrelated to the DVD drive failing (too much Medal of Honor), the bezel on the left side was puckered out a bit.
    I was notified that my drive was fixed but my LCD breakage would be extra. So I had them take pictures. I freaked and had them send it back to me. I freaked out in the Apple Store and sent it back and didn’t quit for two weeks until they fixed it for free. They sent it back to me with a misaligned LCD. Being a designer, there was no way I was working with a crooked laptop screen. So I sent it back again, against the manager’s advice (he wanted to give me a new one right there). I drove 45 minutes, one last time back to the Apple store to pick up my PB and the dumbfuck techs had misalinged my LCD even worse.
    Having had it, I took the manager up on his offer for a new PB. I got a new Aluminum PB that had come out that day, comepletely maxed out.
    Point being, keep freaking out a bit on the phone and in person, but remain polite and professional about it and mostly be persistent. It will get resolved. Oh, and remember that with Apple, they don’t insure their packages either. And take pictures of everything before it is sent off.
    Oh, and Ryan — email me and I will try to dig up the supervisors name and email that I dealt with — she may still be there.

  • EP

    did u know your post got dugg?
    http://digg.com/apple/Apple_lost_my_computer

  • Well I understand your situation, and I am positive that the folks at your Boulder, CO Apple Store are taking all the necessary measures to correct the situation. However, you as a customer should set reasonable expectations as well. First of all, while Apple can control every aspect of our operations, we can’t control those of our suppliers, shippers and other partners. Second, to get to a “human” at ANY Apple Store, dial 5 at the prompt. Third, sounds like you’re just looking for Apple to fail, so honestly…it sounds like you’d be best suited with a Dell….dude.

  • bdpf

    Here in Chicago, ILL. USA, You would normally go to the Apple Store and receive a computer to use while yours was fixed. If they lost your computer they would replace it.
    I would suggest you go to savemybutt.com and follow the links to The apple rep on the the Steve & Johnnie Show. They have solved similar problems on the radio show with Apple computers.
    I’m sorry that I can’t give you the exact link, but it is there for you to find.

  • bibby

    Yeah and the Dhl driver has a nice new Dell.

  • bibby

    To the dude who said “keep freaking out on the phone”… I’m always freaking out on the phone. And I mean AL-*(@*#)-WAYS!

  • bibby

    I hate Chicago. I know people there. I hate them.

  • I have the number of one of the main support reps- way nice and helpful lady, plus you’ll get right through. Don’t want to post the info, just send me an email if you’d like to give her a try.

  • Akira117

    Your on the front page of digg.com!
    I hope you get it back.

  • stockwell

    My dad sent his iBook in for a logic board replacement (through a local Apple retailer) back in September. The machine vanished in transit. DHLs response to the Apple retailer’s request for restitution was, “If you didn’t pay to insure your shipment you can suck it.” (I am paraphrasing.) In short, DHL is the worst.

  • I hate to tell you this, but I had the same audio problem a month ago… on my PC! I had just installed the latest iTunes and all my audio went to pure loud static. Turns out it’s a Quicktime error. Just go into Quicktime preferences and change it from 32bit audio (or maybe it was 48khz) down to 16bit/44khz. That’ll fix it right away.

  • FYI – Apple just signed a deal to sell Beatles songs on iTunes.

  • originalgeek

    Next time, just type the “R” number (probably on the receipt they gave you) into here:
    https://support.apple.com/repairstatus/Main?id=repairStatus
    If you don’t have the “R” number, call the store and demand it.

  • Holy Crap, I was going to put an order in for my first Mac tomorrow. Not anymore! I am thinking I will look else where for a similerly equipt machine with Vista instead.
    –dan

  • Grimlock

    Prediction: Apple will eventually see this via the DIGG effect. Applogies will be made, and a new unit will be delivered to the readers door.
    It’s what’s happened with just about every other bad PR case for them.
    Hope you get a good upgrade out of it.

  • G

    Um mate…
    Blame your apple store – they didn’t send the package to apple until the 17th of November.. That is what the DHL receipt states.
    I am guessing this is why they told you “to wait” cause they hadn’t got off their arse to send it out yet.
    If it has only been there with apple for a week, i’d wait another week before getting antsy about it.

  • Doug Crandall

    I had a terrible problem with DHL. One of the many times I sent my PowerBook (12″) in for repair, DHL left it outside of my door with noone home…in the rain. There was a huge dent in one corner of the box. When I opened it, the case around the battery was bent back. DHL is awful. I really think Apple should switch to an different shipping company.

  • Court Kizer

    Go to Apple’s website, click on Media & Analysis Contacts, contact somebody who’s number is listed for the macbook pro, Ask them to have somebody from “Apple Executive Relations” call you immediately.
    You will get a call back, and a new laptop, and your old one will be found as long as DHL didn’t actually steal it.

  • jif84

    ahh…poor baby. it happens get over it.

  • Quigly

    Reviewing the DHL tracking page screen shot, I think Apple gave you the wrong tracking number.
    The package tracking you have is coming from Houston, TX and going to APPLE COMPUTERS INC. Cupertino, CA. Also the package was shipped on 11/16/2006, the day before Apple reports fixing the PB.

  • Hello, it’s the internet echo chamber. Just because you’re having a rough time doesn’t mean they’re incompetent They do thousands and thousands of successful repairs a day, and you’re passing judgment because you’re a super-special, empowered blogger.. and they DARED to mess with you. Fuck you, work with the managers and get over it.

  • My Powerbook has had three repairs in less than a year. The first time they replaced the logic board and the display. The turnaround time was less than a weak. The second was a charger that DHL manged to fumble and I didn’t get it for two weeks. The last repair to date was a dead hard drive that took a month for them to replace.
    I love the laptop, but I hate the repair service (not to mention the frequency that I have had to use it).

  • Epic

    ummmm all shipping companies suck fedex, ups, dhl they allllll sucki had business relationships with all of them and they all make me wanna cry…had to get that…My vote for what happened is that the store lost(misplaced, gave to wrong cust) and now are tap dancing until someonein mngt will give you a new one and take resp for the issue…ask for your money back on the procare…it’s a insurance policy(return policy does not apply, should be prorated for time remaining on policy) and you didn’t get what you paid for

  • http://apple-in-europe.blogspot.com/
    Read my story.. I haven’t updated it but my iBook failed again and Apple refused to take it in.. damn you Steve..

  • Michael

    wow, thats so uncool of apple. i always wanted a mac, but could never afford one, but now, since your saying the have horrible customer service, i am reconsidering. thanks for blogging this horrible experience you had.
    -mike

  • Ok, I need to speak to dispell the myth that Apple sucks. I have been a PC user all my life, and I decided to buy a Powerbook G4 2 years ago. Since then, I’ve completely switched and I now have a spanking fast Mac Pro. I will agree that Apple’s support leaves something to be desired, but I honestly think that this issue is caused by the lack of demand for support. That’s right, Apple computers break so infrequently that the company hasn’t had the need to prepare a kickass support infrastructure like some PC manufacturers.
    All of you commenters who are now reconsidering purchasing a Mac, please reconsider your reconsideration (if that makes any sense). Apple makes THE BEST computers in the world and one person’s poor experience (which is probably the fault of DHL and not Apple) shouldn’t change your mind to leave the dark side of viruses and spyware and BSOD’s and start using a computer that just works.
    And no…I don’t work for Apple…I’m just a very satisfied customer.

  • Ryan,
    Nice to see you blogging again. Your story reminds me of http://asack.typepad.com/a_sack_of_seattle/2006/07/crappy_customer.html
    BTW — based on your comment string, you’ve touched a nerve amongst your reader base.
    Andy

  • DRU

    I can’t believe this! I’m shocked and will help you expedite a resolution to your problems.
    Please email me, due to contract I can’t go into anything on a public forum.

  • g-man

    how long can my rant be? I will agree about the service……. to be brief:
    February 2006 – purchase MacBook Pro Dual Core
    September 27, 2006 – screen goes black. it is delivered to the “mac” store. they tell me it will take a week to replace the part. no problem, however, we will need to charge you $90 for data back-up. OR, I can back up the data myself – DUH! the screen is BLACK – can’t see anything – data is BACKED UP, but I am about 2 weeks behind – lots of photos and iTunes music – so I pay the $90.
    October 4, 2006 – go in to pick up machine – not ready, “the part has been ordered” – waht does that mean? not sure – call apple care. I call apple care countless times to track the progress of this repair. On hold, can’t get to a live voice – nice lady finally gets on the phone and tells me she will “elevate” the priority. oh boy.
    October 7 to 14 – on vacation.
    October 15th – call apple care – blah, blah, blah – still no resolution.
    October 20th – follow up phone call – long wait on hold – get to human – still no resolution. I suggest they authorize a replacement machine…….nope can’t do that just yet – still no part in sight.
    October 23rd – I am livid – I am moving out of state for the first time in 25 years and I am afraid this problem will get lost in the shuffle. call to apple care – they authorize a replacement machine – will take another week to ten days – in the meantime I go over and pick up the broken machine – after asking the techs to back up the data to yet, another external hard drive – the two I own are already packed. I am guarding my 5000 photes and 3000 iTunes songs on the new external hard drive with my life.
    November 7th – replacement machine arrives – the only tidbit of good news is I get the latest Mac Book Pro model……BUT, I would have been just as happy with the old model without the many, many hours spent on the phone trying to get this problem resolved.
    November 14th – somebody calls to ask if I want to buy a new apple care plan…….hmmmmm let me think about that.

  • JimXugle

    Raise hell, man. Refute the charges on your credit card, Send a Fax addressed to Steve Jobs explaining the situation, and suggest that you will be contacting a lawyer.

  • tacothekid

    I’m truly sorry for the agony you are experiencing over your lost laptop, but I hope you don’t think that only Apple has this problem. I’ve owned machines from many different brands (and not one Apple, mind you) and have had terrible support from all of them. I’ve had great support as well. While this probably doesn’t make you feel any better, people reading your blog shouldn’t automatically not purchase from Apple, you can have the same experience from HP, Dell, IBM, and all the rest. Unfortunately, that’s the state of so called “customer service” with most large corporations these days. And, it’s probably more DHL’s fault than Apple’s. I’ve never had good luck with DHL, the magical package disappearing company.

  • It’s a real simple solution- Call Apple’s main Number, ask the operator to be connected to “Executive Relations” speak to them, and they’ll handle the case. They’ll either find it, or get you a new one. Trust me, I had the same thing happen to you (My machine wasn’t MIA for as long as yours was) but they found my machine 2 days after. Or if you want, emailing [email protected] Will lead you to Executive Relations, just be sure to include a contact number, but it’ll add an extra day or so in your process.

  • anon

    Funny when i had my macbook that was bought on its release date it shipped from shanghi china overnight to the us and to my apple store.
    Santa Clara is very close to Cupertino (15min drive) So its curious why machines from silicon valley go to china and your texas machine went to sunnyvale california.

  • anon

    Funny when I had my macbook repaired that was bought on its release date it shipped from shanghi china overnight to the us and to my apple store.
    Santa Clara is very close to Cupertino (15min drive) So its curious why machines sent from silicon valley go to china and your texas machine went to sunnyvale california.

  • mike

    First of all, DHL, as everyone else here has said, has lost 3 shippments of people that I know.
    Secondly, Apple has one of, if not the best reputation for customer service. Like someone else said — you had a bad experience, hundreds if not thousands of us have had good experiences. I had a nano break on me…I sent it in and they sent it back unfixed. I called and complained and had a new one at my door the next day.
    to me, the fact that the laptop was fixed and sent back — and was lost between here and there — should tell you that you got fast turn around time, but also got a shipping problem.
    These things happen, and they happen to every company out there. Im sure it will get fixed one way or the other.

  • Pottsc

    I actually plead with companys that use DHL to send it with someone else. They have a terrible reputation in Idaho.

  • Robb

    I’ve had problems myself with the same store. It is pretty new and they just seem flat out clueless there.

  • Tom Breza

    Well I am not sure if this makes you happier but you are not the only customer who suffer problems with apple. They do make a good products but they have very bad support.
    I have
    1x G4 Quick Silver – unresolved problem with USB, twice faulty DVD-RW drive (once replaced on warranty, second time I had to replace on my own – out of warranty)
    1x iMac 20″ Intel – problem with re installation of os X 10.4 from original discs 1 month in repair center.
    1x iMac 20″ core due problem with screen it get darker after few minutes if machine is not in use – even if this option is off in energy settings. I didn’t bother to call apple support
    1x PoweMac – there was problem with microphone I did tried 3 different brand new microphones – only USB microphone works fine.
    but apple support didn’t mention this at all.
    What is my observation about apple support?
    well apple offers
    90 days free support on the phone and 1 year hardware support.
    how it works
    within 90 days apple support tries to persuade you to purchase apple protection plan not to help you.
    after this they do not want to talk to you at all.
    os X is good but when ubuntu become as good as osX hopefully within next 1-2 years I will happily switch.

  • Jon Ballerano

    Get the exact destination address from DHL, if it’s
    Apple Computer Inc.
    One Infinite Loop
    Cupertino, CA 95014
    then it’s at Apple’s corporate headquarters. In that case, DHL mailed your computer to the corporate (BILLING) address INSTEAD of the DESTINATION address. Whoever handles receiving at headquarters routinely signed for it, along with the number of other packages that arrived in the same delivery. This seems like the only logical explanation.
    Apple’s record clearly links the tracking number with the Boulder Apple Store’s address. While their database probably isn’t bulletproof, I can’t see how Apple would have put Cupertino as the destination on the package.
    Good luck!

  • Ken Gengler

    OMG. We are in the same boat. My Core2 MBP died two weeks after I bought it (on its release date like you). I was stupid enough to custom build it which made repair/replace matters worse. The local Apple retail store just sat on it until I prodded them. Then the communication between store and corporate fowled up and it sat again. I have no idea where it went after that (and judging by the number of reps that asked “where’s the laptop now? do you have it?”, Apple didn’t know either. And, then there were the apparently good rep I thought I could trust that never called back (a week’s delay there). I think it was also routed to an engineer because it was so new of a model – and not the service center so that further delayed the order of a replacement. And, on and on.
    I finally did email steve jobs this morning (as if it would actually get to him – haha). And, although it may be coincidence, a rep called a few hours later to tell me that my laptop was being built and when I could expect to receive it.
    Of course, given the last three weeks, I’ll believe it when i see it.
    Good luck,
    Ken

  • So what’s the latest?
    Did Apple ever find it or offer you a replacement?

  • Ken Gengler

    Actually, I got a call back a few hours later! Something akin to “I’m Steve’s assistent. Steve read your email and asked me to look into it personally.” I don’t really believe *steve* read the email, but I’m kinda surprise anyone did. But, this guy has been great on follow-through. I should have the laptop by Wednesday (I have a tracking number!!!). Now, hopefully this one works for longer than a couple weeks (I’m sure it will).
    So, Ryan, if you’re still waiting… write Steve (kinda).

  • Lynn James

    This isn’t about losing a computer, but it is about Apple’s going-downhill customer service. Within the last week, they have screwed up my 2 orders: one for itunes and one for iphoto. In their latest error, they sent me someone else’s reprints with a different order number – and NO one knows what happened to my order at Apple. Even though an email indicates that it “Shipped”, a customer service person said that it didn’t. Christmas is closing in, and I ordered the photos in plenty of time for Christmas presents. When I tried to explain this to the Apple customer service person, she hung up on me. Apple used to have excellent customer service; consumer beware…I am going to buy CDs and have my photos reprinted elsewhere.

  • face it

    why bother with apple? they are crap. just as bad as microsoft if you ask me
    if i met someone from apple they better hope they have medical insurance

  • kris Ziel

    I had great service with my MacBook at the Boulder Apple store, they had it ready to go within 16 hours of my giving it to them (only 6 business hours.)

  • N. Miller

    I am in the Chicago-area and need another Apple Stylewriter 1500 or its alternate printer for my MacIntosh 5260 computer. Any suggestions of repair or refurbish or purchase? Thank you. NM

  • rob

    well it’s a long time after this post but just thought i’d post that today i received someone else’s iphoto greeting card order (in place of the one i’d actually ordered myserlf). they only have email support for iphoto orders – so i’ve been trying to find the person in another state whose order i received in the hope that she received mine somehow. too bad, since i’ve used iphoto ordering before without problems…

  • Joe Whistleblower

    Perhaps you need to buy some stock, show up at the stockholders meeting, and sign up on the list of stockholders whom wish to speak at the meeting!

  • ck
  • Terry D

    They lost my computer too-the Boulder Colorado Apple Store at the 29TH Street mall, or more like gave it away with all my passwords and stored emails and credit card data. They said they gave it to someone else. They never lifted a finger to get it back and prevent identity theft. They gave me a new mid price model when what I had bought was custom built for me. They gave me one that was 12 GB more storage and I had on the one they lost yet I have been short on storage forever now and can’t upgrade the model they gave me, (the new ones are generally not upgradable anymore). Everything is on there and email permanently downloads onto the drive and I have passwords in my notes apps to everything in my life. Whoever they gave it too has not returned it. It is old but I upgraded every single thing that could be upgraded and someone must have thought it was better than what they turned in. I have lost income waiting for calls from Apple during times I need to be working and 4 days a week when I a certain person is scheduled at 1-800-my-apple I adjust my whole day to wait by a phone. My minutes are long gone on my cell plan and I wait at the Cherry Creek Apple store now by a landline again, organizing my whole day around the phone calls. If I do not catch the call when it comes in tough luck, like if I can’t find my phone quick enough and the calls never actually come when scheduled.

  • Luke Stephen Rehmann

    This is an old article, but I figured this tool would be helpful for those wanting tracking updates on their device:
    http://rehmann.co/projects/iRepair/trackmyrepair.php

    Cheers!