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Apple changes 90 day telephone support policy for iPod

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By Dennis Lloyd

Publisher, iLounge
Published: Wednesday, August 25, 2004
News Categories: iPod

ThinkSecret.com recently reported that Apple has changed its 90 day complimentary phone support for 4G iPods and minis (sold after July 24) to one incident within the first 90 days. The following appears on Apple’s iPod FAQ page:

Question 29: How long is iPod complimentary telephone support?
Answer: Newer iPods come with a single incident of complimentary telephone support within the first 90 days. This change in the complimentary support offering applies to:
iPod (Click Wheel)
any iPod minis sold on or after July 24

Previous models of iPod (such as the Dock Connector and Touchwheel models), as well as iPod minis sold before July 24, still come with 90 days of complimentary support (covering unlimited incidents).

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Comments

21

socaldj,

You are the scum of this world. Just pathetic.

Just know what goes around comes around. You are no exception.

Posted by unbelievable on August 26, 2004 at 4:53 AM (PDT)

22

What I fail to understand is the fact that most people will not even use Apple Phone Support to begin with for the simple reason (as pointed out on some of the feedback that I read) that most people are able to solve whatever problems that arises, themselves. Yes, there are software issues, compatibility issues but most of them are easy to solve either by forums such as these or via support online or by using common sense. How many people don’t even take the time to read the user manual and blame the company for a problem that could have been prevented by reading the owners manual. Now, all of a sudden, there is concern about the support issue that Apple has decided to take but face it, this is how business is practiced at this time. You have the option of buying a warranty or not. If you want the added support, then that is part of the plan as they say. Many companies have moved away from offering “free” anything because profit is the bottom line in this society and Apple is jumping on the bandwagon. The iPod will continue to sell regardless of the support issue.

Posted by ezflyer on August 26, 2004 at 4:54 AM (PDT)

23

socaldj, give me your address, i’ll come over and set you straight

Posted by chiefroastbeef on August 26, 2004 at 5:28 AM (PDT)

24

This is definitely true as I was cold-called by apple yesterday to sell me the $60 2yr. warranty package.  On the call, the marketer asked me if I had made my one complimentary call to Apple support, as it was almost 90 days since i had purchased my 3G ipod.

Posted by ambipod on August 26, 2004 at 5:46 AM (PDT)

25

Excellent move by Apple - first rush to market with a product flush with problems and then cut support down to next to nothing.  (I called them last week for assistance with a 4G issue and the folks I spoke to were completely helpless and less than informed.)

Thanks to this experience, the chances of me buying another Apple product in the future are nil.

I thank Jehovah for two things, a 4 year Best Buy protection plan and this forum.

Posted by ape on August 26, 2004 at 6:37 AM (PDT)

26

Way to go Apple. Put out a new *improved* Ipod that wasn’t pre-tested enough, realized you’re selling a faulty product and screwed the customers; then actually figured a way to make even more money off it. Brilliant…....

Posted by okmike in USA on August 26, 2004 at 6:38 AM (PDT)

27

That’s a single telephone support call for free, but you’re still covered by a 1 year warranty. With my 3G, at least, that’s totally free for the first 6 months, but then they charge you a pretty substantial courier fee, which makes the extra year with the apple protection plan worth it since that covers all shipping costs and lets you deal with battery issue if it craps out a year later.

The 1 Apple support phone guy I spoke with was pretty arrogant and rude and wasn’t able to solve my problem. Fortunately, I was able to figure out a fix on my own, which wasn’t the most trivial fix, actually.

My suggestion within the first 6 months if you need a second incident taken care off, is just skip the phone call and fill out the online warranty service request form. Won’t cost you anything, you’ll be couriered a replacement the next day. If it was a hardware problem it should be fixed. If not, you’ll know it wasn’t a hardware problem and you can post your problem here to get help with software issues.  It’s up to Apple to pay the courier fees and the technician to check out your old iPod, and the new housing for it so they can send it to someone else as a refurb. Yep, I can see how they’re saving lots of money…

Posted by tinaa on August 26, 2004 at 7:11 AM (PDT)

28

Wake up peope. There is a 1 YEAR WARRANTY on all iPods.  For those of you who believe that the iPod was not “pre-tested” enough and a “faulty” product full of defects, then go turn it in at a retail store and get it serviced.  In most cases they swap the thing.  They did that for me yesterday.  The complimentary 90 day/1 incident customer service is for QUESTIONS (usually resulting from human error or ignorance).  It doesn’t mean that you are stuck with a defective machine. 

Posted by WAKEUP on August 26, 2004 at 7:26 AM (PDT)

29

Gee “wakeup” - I sure would prefer someone being able to diagnose and fix an issue on an iPod with all my preferences and data already on it than having to go through a period of not having an iPod and/or having to go through the trouble of returning to a retailer.  Thanks though for pointing out the finer points of the warranty.

Posted by ape on August 26, 2004 at 7:45 AM (PDT)

30

no problem, “Ape”.  good luck with that phone call.

Posted by whatever on August 26, 2004 at 8:29 AM (PDT)

31

Sing it with me now, “APPLE SUCKS!! APPLE SUCKS!!! THEY ALWAYS HAVE!!! YEAH…”

Posted by Sing on August 26, 2004 at 8:42 AM (PDT)

32

This is to cut down on people calling to request new headphones and/or remotes that keep breaking. I went through 2 sets of headphones and 2 sets of remotes in 7 months.

This really pisses me off.

Posted by X-Rey Hipp on August 26, 2004 at 8:51 AM (PDT)

33

TBH before reading this article I didn’t have a clue how many calls I was allowed, how much these calls cost, heck I still don’t even know what number I have to call. But so far my 4G ipod has absolutely no problems, and I’m really satisfied with it, it’s great.  I do agree with the guys above that they play on people’s fears to get them to buy the extended warranty, but I plan on buying that just before my 1 year warranty runs out.

Posted by smirf83 on August 26, 2004 at 8:59 AM (PDT)

34

I think that everyone is just over reacting. Omg they cut some of there support were all gonna die. I have owned an iPod for almost a year now and never have had to use it once

Posted by Paul on August 26, 2004 at 9:20 AM (PDT)

35

Apple’s Tech Support in my experience was pretty bad.  I didn’t appreciate asking them for help only to have them direct the blame on me or my equipment.  Perhaps, you’re treated better if you pay for the $49/call.
Just have one thing to say:

Dell - 1 yr no hassle warranty + lifetime support.

I’m starting to regret my decision to buy the iPod.

Posted by Just bought an iPod on August 26, 2004 at 9:38 AM (PDT)

36

socaldj didnt do anything wrong, its his product and his waranty. He paid for it he might as well use it. Its not costing Bestbuy anything, they get his extra 20$ and just ship the player to the manufacturer. when i bought my waranty at bestbuy they told me i could exchange it for a newer player anytime i wanted to.

Posted by socalsfine on August 26, 2004 at 10:05 AM (PDT)

37

While I think this is quite a cheapskate move by Apple, I have to wonder if they made this move out of necessity.  How many people do you think call Apple and ask stupid questions like “Dude, does this thing have a radio in it?” or “I thought this came with 10,000 songs built in! WTF? What do you mean I have to buy CDs or iTunes??”, or just ask questions that are clearly answered in the manual?

It’s one thing to sell someone a $1000-$3000+ computer and tell them “go ahead, call anytime you want for 3 months!” For a $250-$400 mass-market gadget that is easier to use than the average DVD player, TV set, or VCR, if people don’t RTFM before they call, the cost of answering all those calls could be crippling. And trust me, either the people who make the calls will have to pay, or *everyone* will have to pay via the cost of the calls being rolled into the price of the iPod.  Apple *definitely* wants you to RTFM and, if necessary, check the support web site before calling them.

In all honesty, if you can’t figure out how to use an iPod and/or get it to work after reading the manual and looking at the support site, you’re either a complete idiot *or* your iPod is broken.  So, the complete idiots get one free call. After that, they pay. People who are suffering from an actual hardware defect don’t have to pay the tech support charge and they receive warranty service. People who don’t want to worry about it can pay for AppleCare.

Posted by Matt on August 26, 2004 at 10:42 AM (PDT)

38

I come from the old school of Apple customers and can remember the days when, if you wanted to talk to someone at Apple, you just picked up the phone and called them - during your computer’s warranty period, or four years later! No charge at all. Of course, back in those days, my 33 mHz Mac cost almost $4,000 - which would probably be more like $6,000 in today’s money!

The thing that really bothers me about Apple’s new-fangled support policy for their computers (ipods aside) is I feel that if I have a product that is currently under warranty, I should not *ever* have to offer up a credit card number to request warranty service - with Apple making the decision as to whether or not they’ll charge me for the privilege of calling them.  Of course, *I* know enough about Macs and iPods that if I’m actually bothering to waste my time on hold waiting to talk to someone at Apple, the freakin’ device is most likely BROKEN. I’ve already done all the steps the tech-support person wants to “walk me through” several times over! They didn’t work! Why the heck do they think I’m calling?!?!?!?

I think Apple should have some sort of free, automated phone system that goes over basic trouble-shooting steps, keyboard combinations, etc. before allowing you to talk to a live person. “To reset your iPod, press and hold the center button and the menu button at the same time. Press 1 if this fixed your problem, press 2 if not.” This approach would weed out the “easy calls” and increase the likelihood that if the person’s iPod/Mac “fails” all the tests and he’s still on the phone, it probably is in need of warranty service.  If a person got to the point of talking to a support rep, the rep could discuss *only* things that might be a hardware problem and insist they call the (paid) support number for any other questions.

Posted by Matt Part 2 on August 26, 2004 at 10:44 AM (PDT)

39

Sing: Actually, I spoke to someone in the Apple store yesterday.  I asked them about problems such as that, ie. your headphones break twice.  He said anything that can be considered a single “issue” will be treated as a call, no matter how many times you actually need to talk to them.  If your replacement set of ‘phones doesn’t work either, he said you could call back again at no charge…  Just thought I’d chime in.

Posted by Gizmo on August 26, 2004 at 10:54 AM (PDT)

40

If you have dealt with Apple’s support you probably know that the company barely distinguishes between operational support and product defect support. For instance, Apple doesn’t consider anything greater than a 50 percent reduction in battery time during the first year to be a defect. It doesn’t consider the bad habit of 3G iPods of going from fully charged to drained in a day (while turned off) to be a defect. Apple simply redefines defects as normal performance, and tough luck. To get a 3G iPod that worked at all (though badly), I had to buy 4 units. The first three were DOOB. Dead Out Of the Box.

I cancelled AppleCare on a PowerBook a few months back. Apple never sent me a check, and by calling “AppleCare Administration” I learned that Apple had deducted $150 for alleged suppport I received. The only support I did request was for hardware defects that required the machine to be sent in for repair twice. “AppleCare Administration” doesn’t have any idea what the deduction is specifically for. They have to ask accounting, they say. And they won’t call me back to tell me, I have to call them. I’ve done that twice and there is no record of my original callback. Still no check.

Unlike, say, 7 years ago, Apple sells products with many defects. I’ve owned more than 30 Macs since 1984. Apple has always been arrogant and dismissive of customers. The problem is amplified, though, by products that are substantially less reliable.

The only reason that Apple ranks (in some surveys) high in customer service is that the computer industry as a whole (according to Consumers Reports) ranks low among all industries.

Posted by Nicolas on August 26, 2004 at 11:17 AM (PDT)

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