Applecare from the perspective of a Windows PC user

Started 11 months ago | Discussions thread
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Schnapper
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Applecare from the perspective of a Windows PC user
11 months ago

I was always a Windows PC owner, as Apple was always a bit too "Apply" (aka mostly pricey, difficult to service and upgrade, and non-interoperable, without some effort, with a lot of things I use on my "work computer") for me.  Then I moved to Korea and got an iPhone (3GS)... After a few weeks of using it while living in the hotel while looking for a more permanent residence, once we moved into a place I decided I'd consider a Mac.  After walking into an Apple store and seeing an iMac 27, I went home and ordered one, and it was delivered a few days later... that was about May 2010.

I've been happy with the purchase, but there have been a few lessons that I've learned...

-  Since I was in a foreign country and I had heard horror stories about how much it costs to get Apple products repaired, I opted to purchase 2 extra years of warranty (Applecare).  I'm glad I did.

- A little over a year into ownership - sometime in mid-2011, I had a hard drive - it's a 1 TB one - fail... the dreaded spinning beachball on power up.  I brought it in and had the hard drive replaced (luckily I had time-machined a back-up only about a week before... I haven't set up frequent auto-back ups because I have heard they can tax the drive and actually make a failure more likely, so I've been doing it manually periodically).

- While it was in for HDD replacement, they also replaced the display for "staining" (looked like the glass panel was dirty, but it was actually something with the LED screen that was mostly only visible on bright backgrounds).  "Wow", I thought... that would have been EXPENSIVE had I not bought the Applecare.

- Things cruised along pretty well with no major issues for the next 18 months or so...

- In early 2013, I started noticing a bit of flickering of the display - occasional and intermittent.  "That's something I'd better get checked out before my Applecare runs out."

- One thing lead to another, and I was to mid-May and still hadn't called Applecare about the flicker, which had gotten to be a bit more common but still wasn't all the time.  Oops, I'd better call now as I think it was late May that I bought it.  I called, and was informed that my Applecare had expired THREE DAYS PREVIOUSLY.  "Don't worry, sir, I'll still see what I can do to help you."  He had me do a few things on power up to reset the default settings and told me to see if that helped.

- It didn't.  The display kept flickering intermittently - not really enough to drive me crazy, but I was thinking I'd eventually have to do something.

- Late 2013, the display started going partially dark on the left half... as if I had turned the brightness down from 80 percent to about 30 percent.  It was intermittent, but was happening enough that I knew I'd have to do something.

- I searched the internet and found lots of people in forums talking about the issue - a connector on the lower left corner (left when facing the computer from the screen side)... down by the power button on the back.  As discussed in the forums, if I squeezed the case (one hand on the front of the computer, one on the back near the power button and push together pretty hard) when the issue was present I could get it to disappear for a short time... but the problem was getting worse.  Worse yet, people in the forums were talking about it being a $600-$800 repair for a whole new display panel.

- I brought the computer in to an Apple shop (in Myeongdong in Seoul) and explained that the problem had started about a year previously (while my Applecare was still active) with flickering and had deteriorated to this point.  He said that he'd see what Apple says about it, and I could come pick it up in about a week.  I asked how much it was going to cost, and he shrugged and said "I don't know... maybe free, maybe not.'

- I went to pick it up after just over a week, and it was fixed.  A new display panel had been installed, and I wasn't charged!  He indicated that in addition to the LED backlight connector, some display staining was evident... and they replaced it under warranty.

Had it gone the other way, and had I been charged $800 for reporting the defect 3 days after the warranty expired, I would be in here complaining... so I figured I'd come in and tell the above story out of fairness.  The lesson's I've learned:

1 - When purchasing a new iMAC, Applecare is totally worth it! (I NEVER buy any kind of extended warranty when I get Window's PC's, as they're usually pretty cheap/easy to fix... but with Apple I think it's a necessity).

2 - Keep better records about when my warranty expires!

3 - When I have an issue with something under warranty, get it looked at RIGHT AWAY... don't wait until the warranty is almost up (or up thanks to poor memory/record keeping)

4 - Other than the fact that I've had a HDD and two displays replaced on this iMAC, I'm pretty happy with it.  I would get another Apple computer, but next time I might not get an iMac all-in-one unit.  I am ok with having the system unit and the display being two separate pieces.

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