Praise for Apple’s iPod Warranty Support

Because we’re interested in sharing and hearing about users’ experiences with different parts of the iPod ownership experience, this news update discusses our pleasant surprise with an iPod warranty experience we had within the last 24 hours. We’d like to hear about your experiences – positive or negative – primarily with iPod technical and warranty support, so please use the comments section at the tail end of this message to share your thoughts.

Ugh! Time to Call for Repairs!

If you hate dealing with warranty-related repairs and replacements, join the crowd. In the past two or three years, American consumers have watched almost helplessly as their warranties have become harder to enforce, with all sorts of sneaky new corporate techniques rearing their ugly heads. Outsourced offshore technical support and warranty repair departments have become more common, as have Byzantine “resolution” bureaucracies and other downright dishonest practices.

Apple’s iPod support isn’t perfect – in fact, even though an iPod’s warranty lasts for a year, Apple mandates an unusual $29.95 “shipping and handling fee” for any iPod repair performed after the first six months, which we don’t like.

And we haven’t always liked how certain “Geniuses” at Apple Store Genius Bars have handled iPod-related support issues, either – no offense to any particular Genius out there, as many of them (and most of the non-Genius staff of Apple Stores) are great.

That said, when we had to call Apple recently for replacement service, the AppleCare staff sure impressed us with three aspects of their warranty support. And because they did such a great job, we wanted to take the time to praise them here.

Our Three Good Experiences

First, given that we’re living in an age when technical support requests to companies such as Dell frequently take hours to resolve or go unanswered (not to mention underanswered, improperly answered or dishonestly answered), we were impressed by the wait time for an Apple representative: only around two minutes. The company’s AppleCare telephone menu system was easy to navigate and quickly delivered our call to a friendly, understandable human support assistant who had the authority to resolve our concern on the spot. This was especially impressive by contrast to the bureaucracy and delays that characterize so many other companies’ warranty support departments.

Second, we were happy to learn that accessories included with the iPod are apparently not subject to Apple’s $29.95 shipping fee. Apple offered to replace our accessory, which had a plastic problem we were not responsible for, without dispute, delay, or an extra charge. This too was a welcome change from the lengthy, pointless and generally dilatory procedures we’ve previously experienced.

Third, our replacement arrived in fewer than 24 hours from the time we called about it. While this used to be a common enough occurrence amongst major electronics companies several years ago, we were impressed to see it happen today.

It’s worth noting that we never mentioned that we were reporters or otherwise requested special treatment – we were just “average joes” on the phone and yet felt very well-served by the end of the call.