How do I get my MacBook Pro problem fixed (for free)?

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By Christopher Elliott

David Narita just wants his  MacBook Pro problem fixed. But after he pays to have it repaired, Apple offers to fix it for free. Does he deserve a refund?

Question

I had a problem with the backlight on my MacBook Pro keyboard last year. Since it was out of warranty, I paid for it to be repaired. A few months later, Apple came out with the MacBook Pro display backlight service program to fix this problem at no cost.

I contacted Apple the week the program was announced. Apple Support had said my model definitely fell into the warranty guidelines. I spent hours on the phone with multiple people, trying to get this repaired.

Finally, Apple sent me a letter saying my computer wasn’t covered. They offered no further explanation. Can you help me? –– David Narita, Rocklin, Calif.

Answer

I’m sorry to hear about your MacBook Pro keyboard. Apple should have repaired your computer if it was covered. Disclosure: I’m a MacBook Pro owner, and I like Apple’s reliability and excellent customer support. When I had a keyboard problem with my MacBook Air, the company fixed it promptly and without charging me.

I hope your case is an anomaly.

The backlight repair program affected a small percentage of 13-inch MacBook Pros made in 2016. It fixed two issues that affected the laptop computer — continuous vertical bright spots across the bottom of the display or a complete backlight loss. You experienced a complete backlight loss and paid $504 to have it fixed.

By the way, if you’re reading this and you think your MacBook Pro might be affected, you can find details about the free repair program on Apple’s site.

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Getting a refund for the fix for this MacBook problem

Like you, I find it incredibly frustrating to have a company make a promise and then renege. Apple should have given you a straight answer and then stuck to it. But it appears that Apple only told you about your MacBook Pro’s qualification by phone, not in writing. It’s important to get a promise like that in writing since you don’t have a record of what’s said by phone. (Related: Should I advocate for myself?)

I list the names, numbers and email addresses of all the Apple executives on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org. A brief, polite email might have helped you get a faster answer from the company.

In one way, I’m not surprised by your case. Companies, by nature, like to keep your money, even when you deserve a refund. Many, if not most, of the cases I work on are related to promised refunds that never show up. (Related: I was so touched I almost cried.)

So is your computer covered under the MacBook Pro Display Backlight Service Program — or not? I asked Apple, and it said yes. It refunded the $504 you already paid for your repair.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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