Love on the Rocks: Why My 15-year Relationship with Apple May Soon Be Ending

Apple Care
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An Open Letter to Steve Jobs

Late last spring, my beloved iMac began shutting down unexpectedly. At first it happened once every two-three weeks. Such luck, I thought, I had purchased that Apple Care plan. I called in, I was given a case number, 179894157. Since it was an intermittent problem, I was told to wait until it got worse and then take it to the Apple Store near where I live in Fort Lauderdale, the Galleria Mall.

Summer vacation came and went. The iMac began crashing more frequently, once a week, every third day, once a day. I visited the Apple Store the first time in August. They replaced the processor. I brought my baby home, excited to be reunited and have our problem solved. I remember thinking how great Apple service was. And then, the next day the computer crashed again. I called back the Genius‘s at the Apple Store, Galleria. They told me to return with my iMac, and they would send it out to the “depot” for testing. I brought it back to the store. After several days, they told me they couldn’t find the problem, but gave me a new power cord in case that might be the issue.

I returned home once again and the computer repeated its bad behavior, a crash. I tried to speak with my friend Christelle on skype, but the microphone wasn’t working either. I called back the store. Bring it back, they said. Accidentally, they had loosened my cable for the microphone while tinkering around inside, they could fix it in 5 days. But what about that pesky shutdown issues that was now happening on a daily basis? When I brought the computer back in (3rd time now, if you’ve lost count), the “genius” bar guy (He wasn’t wearing a name tag or I would name him here.) refused to check it back in for the shut-down issue. He said it was caused by my battery back up and that the problem was my fault.

So, I waited once again as Apple fixed the microphone problem that was created by the Genuis’s at the Galleria. A day or two later I picked up my computer.

When I got home, I called Apple Care to complain about the store, how rude the genius bar guy was, how he flat out refused to look at my computer for the original shut-down issue and how they had actually broken my microphone in this process. That’s when they assigned me to Ludy G, who I have been working with on this issue ever since. Let me just state here, we haven’t made much progress as you can guess, or I wouldn’t be writing this letter.

Ludy is unquestionably very skilled in customer service and very polite. She has been serving mainly as a liaison between my computer (represented by me) and Apple engineering. The problem is that the problem PERSISTS and it is now November.

Each time it crashes, engineering has a creative way for me to plug it in. Don’t plug it into the back-up just into the surge protector. It crashed with the surge protector, ok plug it into the surge that isn’t the APC  brand. Oh it crashed again, plug it into the wall. It crashed again, well plug it into the other outlet in the room. Oh geez, it crashed again. We don’t have the data for the computer plugged directly into the wall. Plug it back into the wall, wait until it crashes, run this program and then we will have an answer. I did all of those things. Last Friday, the day after the last piece of instruction, it crashed again. I wrote Ludy the following message: “Dear Ludy: it crashed again plugged into wall.. Here is the data for the engineers, barring having me run it while standing on my head, I can’t imagine they could ask for this info in another way, so hopefully they gleen something from it.”

I’ve also gone through endless reiterations of testing software issues. We removed the battery back up software as it was supposedly incompatible with the current OS version. Still crashed. It must be the time machine backup. Hmmm…you don’t have it plugged in..How about carbonite? Oh, you installed that after the problem began in order to save your data. Can’t be carbonite then.

Today, I got this answer from Apple engineering, “the program is showing you aren’t plugged into the wall.” Well, I said I most certainly am, not appreciating now after all these months being called a liar on top of getting an endless run-around.

The next step…Steve, you’ll love this one. They want to partition my hard drive and do a clean install on the partition. Then, I will have my internet on one part and my work and everything else on the other side. To go back and forth between them, I get to shut the computer down and reboot.

I ask you, Sir, could you work like this? And is this what you had in mind when you came up with “Apple Care”? Because, Steve,  I am not feeling the love right now or the care. I thought Apple Care was a contract that meant you actually had to fix the iMac in the event of an issue, not go through endless reiterations of the problem only to have it persist. And is this how you treat 15-year customers? The ones like me are the ones who stuck with you when your stock was in the tank and believed in your infinite creativity and your products. I’ve recommended Apple to so many people over the years. But I can’t work on a computer that keeps crashing. Could you? If this were a car, I would have already gotten a new one under the lemon law. For this aggravation, I might as well have stayed with the PC. So I ask, how will you resolve my issue?

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