Why won’t Apple replace my defective iMac?

By | February 23rd, 2017

Reiner Keller’s Apple iMac has been on the blink for the last three years. Why won’t the company replace the defective computer?

Question: My Apple iMac stopped working in 2013. I’ve made numerous efforts to fix it, including calling Apple and visiting the Apple Store in Santa Rosa, Calif.

Finally, last spring, I asked them to replace the computer. A representative told me Apple would not give me a replacement computer, but would try again to fix the problem.

I rejected that offer because it would just be one more “guess repair” and thus continue the cycle of unsuccessful diagnostic attempts that has been going on for the past three years.

I agreed to the proposed repair, provided that I would be furnished a loaner computer and that technicians would transfer and retransfer contents, in my home office, then deliver and return the computer, all without charges to me. Apple rejected this counter offer.

I believe that I have been more than reasonable. Each of about 12 trips to the Santa Rosa store has cost me time, money, aggravation and assorted problems. Even though Apple technicians could not duplicate the problem, they know that it exists as I have countless sound and picture recordings of it and have transmitted some copies to them. In addition, an Apple service provider witnessed the problem in person.

Apple technicians, in countless attempts and with my cooperation, have been unable to find and repair the problem. Since the problem surfaced initially during the warranty period, the simple and economic action would be to furnish me with a replacement computer. Apple refused, and thus does not live up to its warranty.

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Please review my case, considering the facts as stated in this letter. I hope that Apple will reconsider its position and honor the warranty. I am looking forward to your response. — Reiner Keller, Sonoma, Calif.

Answer: Apple should have fixed your iMac promptly and within your warranty period.

Apple’s customer service is pretty much legendary in the industry. Every one of its computers comes with a limited one-year warranty, which you can extend with its pricey AppleCare product. Here’s a little secret: Its computers are so good, you normally don’t need AppleCare. But in your case, AppleCare wouldn’t have helped you. You discovered the flaw while you were still within the one-year warranty, but the company couldn’t help you.


I asked for the paper trail between you and Apple and saw what appeared to be a routine back-and-forth. Apple asked for more time to “research” your problem, you gave it more time, and then it told you that it couldn’t find anything wrong with your iMac. Case closed.

In a situation like this, you can appeal your case to someone higher up the food chain at Apple. I list the names, numbers and email addresses of the company executives on my consumer advocacy site.

Without the benefit of being on site and without knowing exactly what was wrong with your computer — your correspondence fails to say anything beyond the fact that your iMac was “defective” — I was left without much to go on. But I can tell you this: You were without a doubt an unhappy customer. And neither Apple nor I likes to see an unhappy customer.

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I asked Apple to take another look at your case and for details of your iMac problems. In the end, this was like one of those legendary visits to the mechanic on the old NPR show Car Talk. The problem was impossible to duplicate for Apple’s technicians, and according to the company, everything worked fine.

If your computer still works, then there’s nothing Apple can do — and sadly, there’s nothing I can do, either. I’m disappointed that Apple didn’t just trade out your computer in the interests of good customer service. But maybe it doesn’t think anyone will pay attention to your case outside the Apple store in Santa Rosa.

It’s wrong about that.

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