My Macbook Pro charger started to behave wiered few weeks ago. Sometime it works, and sometime not, until I later found out that the MagSafe connector seems to be the problem.
I then searched whether there are similar cases, and whether Apple allows replacement. OK, my macbook Pro warranty ended Sept 2011, by right I am no longer entitled for replacement charger but I wanted to give myself a try.
Search Apple Support site, found the following paragraph seems encouraging:
Whether your product is in or out of warranty, you can take your adapter to an Apple Authorized Service Provider or Apple Retail Store for evaluation and replacement if necessary. Pending the results of the evaluation, you may or may not be eligible for a replacement adapter free of charge. Signs of accidental damage would negate any coverage. Be sure to bring in the computer used with the adapter; it is required to process potential adapter replacements.
Next step is: call Apple Support.
Why? This is always a good habit to lodge a case before sending the faulty unit to service centre, it will normally cut down unnecessary red tape especially dealing with authorized service centre or dealers.
Lodged the case, explained what I've got, then inform them that I will go to any one of the dealer/service center which is easier for me.
The same night, I went to 1 Utama. When I showed my charger to a guy appeared to be the store manager, he keeps saying: "Your unit already after warranty, and the cable at the charger end is the problem, not at the MagSafe connector, I don't think you are qualified for free replacement."
Well of course, I refused to buy a new charger simply because if Apple were to ask me to send the faulty charger for inspection, it is already a high chance that I will get a free replacement, what is needed for Apple is to have someone to confirm the issue.
I called Apple next day, telling them that I am not happy. They encouraged me to go to another service center of my choice. Besides, they took note on what 1U told me for their further investigation and to issue a warning. Why? It is simply not Apple's intention to get its customer to buy replacement unit if the fault is on Apple.
I then reconfirmed with my old friend that the company that he worked for is able to do the task. Appreciate, I made a trip to the Gardens.
Instead of him, a junior tech was serving me. He is careful, gentle, everything is good until he told me: "We need to keep your charger for max 2 weeks so that we can certify with Apple whether it is qualified for free replacement."
"2 weeks? I am using my MacBook Pro daily, charging it daily, and you want me to work without the charger for 2 weeks?"
"Sorry Sir, this is the turnaround time that we can provide as our response is largely depends on Apple's feedback. OK, what if I try to arrange a loan charger for the 2 weeks? Of course, subject to availability."
"I guess it is OK if I can continue to work."
"May I speak to my manager over the phone on your case, as well as the arrangement of loan charger?"
"Sure, please go ahead.".
After a while, he passed his phone to me, the other side is his manager.
This guy said "We can only promise that we will get back to you by 2 weeks time, as Apple may want us to do some tests. As for loan charger, we need a deposit if you want a loaner."
"Holy shit! Apple said what they need is someone like you to inspect the physical condition of the unit, take some photos, send to them, and get their response, for this you need 2 week?" I was pretty angry already, "Further, you offered a loan charger and now you want a deposit. What if you give me a near dead charger and I ended up have to pay?" I shouted, not realizing that everyone else was looking at me.
"You have a choice, sir" Said the manager.
"OK, my choice is : I don't need your service, I'll go somewhere else. And I don't like your attitude."
I left, angrily, and I text my friend : "I know it is not your fault but I have to tell you that I have never expected to be treated like this. The process cannot be longer than 30 minutes to determine if it is eligible for replacement, yet, your manager insisted 2 weeks, and offered me a loaner, then asked if I can place a deposit."
Friend called up shortly, I told him I have tried, but this is not the Apple experience that I am expecting, too bad.
Next morning, before I called Apple again to brief them what transpired, the MagSafe connector finally separated from the cord leading to the charger.
I told Apple that the second outlet is unacceptable, 2 weeks wait, and I need to fork out deposit for loaner that I cannot even be assured that it will work while in my possession.
So I told them, I am going to the next service center, and I reached there around 5pm.
At first, the tech told me that I am not qualified for replacement since my warranty is out. I told him that I have spoken to Apple, and if it is a straight forward case, they would have asked me to buy a new unit instead.
Interestingly, Apple commented my case as "Service Denied", the tech showed me.
"OK, I am going to call Apple now."
After a long wait, right before 6pm, Apple answered. I told him that I am extremely not satisfied as I was asked to send for physical inspection on one hand, and on the other hand, my case is marked as "Service Denied".
"No worry, I'll help you from here. ..."
Shortly after I described the issue again, he said he need to put me to senior support staff, which is based in Ireland.
"Can you hold while I am trying to put you through? "
10 minutes on hold, finally a voice from the other side "I am looking at your case now, by the way, can you do me a favor? Can you snap a few photos, one at the MagSafe connector, another at the charger end, and send via email to me?"
"Sure, I'll do it now."
"I'll call you in 20 minutes, after we inspect the photos."
Put down the phone, snap a few images, including the 2 above, sent via email.
Waited for 25 minutes, I sent a reminder that I am still in the service center, and it is about to close for the day.
That Ireland guy called me about 5 minutes later after I sent the second mail, and he wanted to speak to the tech guy.
in 5 minutes, the tech guy told me that it is confirmed that I can have a free replacement charger, but due to procedure, he can only release the replacement unit after receiving confirmation from US HQ. he then advised me to collect the replacement the next day.
OK, looks good.
There other minor issues the next day between Apple and the service center, but I got my stuff back finally.
I wrote this just to remind you that even it is after warranty, with Apple, you may have pleasent surprises.
So it is important to do your home work googling, and call Apple to lodge the case.
Why must I either buy a new charger, or place deposit and wait for 2 weeks, where I can get it done in less than 48 hours.