Monday, July 13, 2009

Apple: Great Products, Awful Support

At the risk of provoking the wrath of the “iTelligentsia” I must rant about my experiences getting cheated by Apple.

The iPhone’s dandy accelerometer reports the device’s orientation to iPhone apps. Except that my iPhone is calibrated 6 to 7 degrees off kilter, as shown in this photo on a flat horizontal surface (taken by my reliable Blackberry). Within a month of purchase I demonstrated this problem to an Apple store Genius who replied that sorry, my phone is operating within spec, nothing he can do.

In my second encounter I rented a movie from iTunes that would never finish downloading. I tried to report the problem but the Apple site does not offer up an email address for support. I tried to follow Apple’s protocol for reporting the problem, but the Report-A-Problem button failed to launch the helpful reporting wizard that iTunes Help promised. I finally found a form I could fill out on the web site seeking help with my bill, but a week later I’ve still had no response.

You know, I get better service from the Romanian Viagra suppliers who spam my inbox. Is this a fluke? If not, has Apple always been so incompetent and uncaring about customer problems, or do you think this is a temporary casualty of the iPhone’s hyper growth?

Blogged with the Flock browser


  1. It's been the case as far back as I can remember (1996 or so). It always cracks me up when people cite as a great website. It's fantastic when you want to look at pretty pictures of the new iPods, but awful if you actually need help with anything. Apple's saving grace is that their products are generally better designed than their competition, so you are slightly less likely to need their horrible support to begin with.

  2. I will say that the one time I asked for help on apple's message boards, their community was very helpful (more so than any I have used before). I had an answer to my question from a friendly gentleman in Ireland withing 5 minutes of my asking.

    But that was after searching unsuccessfully through Apple's site and incredibly sparse helps.

    This seems to be a trend for many companies, to let the customers do your work for you... especially when it comes to help and support.

  3. I am a raving apple fan. After two weeks of iPhone ownership, my over-eager 8 year old yanked the iPhone out of its charger irrevocably damaging several of the connectors. When I returned to the apple store I was given a brand new out of the box replacement, no questions asked and within minutes they had reloaded all my data onto it for me. When my Treo's battery stopped charging it cost me $50 under warranty to get a reconditioned phone as a replacement and I had to figure out how to activate and reload it myself.