Airborne Express PowerBook Shipping Fiasco

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Date: Wednesday, January 22nd, 2003, 00:00
Category: Archive

The purpose of this letter is to outline a fiasco that I’ve had with Apple Computer and their contract carrier, Airborne Express. Neither of which seems to care about reimbursing me for my loss, a seven month old 800Mhz G4 PowerBook. Click Read More below to find out the whole story.


The purpose of this letter is to outline a fiasco that I’ve had with Apple Computer and their contract carrier, Airborne Express. Neither of which seems to care about reimbursing me for my loss, a seven month old 800Mhz G4 PowerBook.

During the first few weeks of May, 2002 – when the new DVI G4 PowerBook models shipped – I promptly bought the 800MHz (US$3200) model at the Tyson’s Corner Apple store. Roughly after two months, I began to have what many TiBook owners have discovered, the notorious paint chipping problems. Not only was it chipping but it was bubbling up, only to get worse. I was able to tolerate it until I read on the internet that Apple was indeed replacing the problem top case. Apparently on the newer rev D models, the paint problems have been solved and Apple was now replacing previous defective parts. I personally returned to the Apple Store in Tyson’s Corner to confirm that Apple was honoring the repair. I was greeted by two geniuses who at first said, “sorry – Apple is not replacing that part.” I had to literally argue with them to check the knowledge base to verify that I was right. After five minutes of searching, they ate their words and said they would replace the part but it had to be sent to Texas for the repair. I said fine and that I would call Apple to arrange the repair at a later date. Further more, during this time the hard drive also decided to go south. After doing two zero all data initializations and system reinstalls, the ‘grinding’ hard drive continued to worsen. I now had TWO solid reasons to send my TiBook back to Apple for warranty repairs.

One week before Christmas, I sent it in with specific instructions to replace the hard drive and top case. The carrier that Apple had deliver the box was Airborne Express. I received the TiBook back on Christmas eve with a very giddy feeling – until I opened the box. Apple had replaced the hard drive and the logic board – but not the top case! I immediately called Apple furious, inquiring why my repair was not done correctly. They had no excuse, only that they would arrange to send out a second box and repair it a second time. So, while waiting for the second box over the Christmas holiday, I proceeded to get my TiBook back up and running with 10.2 and setting up and installing all my applications, email, etc. (after-all, Apple would just be replacing the top case). I send it out to Apple a second time on December 30th. A few days later I tracked it inbound through Airborne’s Web site and watch it arrive in my town 7:55 AM January 3rd, 2003. Naturally, I anticipated the delivery of my TiBook that afternoon. I never saw it again.

After four calls to Airborne on both January the 3rd (Friday) and the 6th (Monday), I eventually got a Airborne representative to admit that it had been lost. No more detail were given. On Tuesday the 7th, I followed up with Airborne again and they informed me that not only were they involved in a search for the lost package, but they were reviewing surveillance tapes for possible theft at the depot. They told me standard procedure in instances like this was they would reimburse Apple and Apple would reimburse me. I promptly called Apple to get to the bottom of this. After speaking to multiple Apple representatives, two individuals told me they would be handling this case – Cindy Light and Scott Sellman. Cindy Light told me that Apple would do there own investigation and that after roughly seven days, I would be reimbursed with a newer 867Mhz G4 PowerBook. However, after more than two weeks and multiple messages left with each individual – neither has returned my calls or left messages with at least an update. Getting no where with Apple, I called my contact at Airborne again. She informed me that Apple had filed ‘something’ with them on January 16th – nine days after I reported the loss with Apple.

Call me impatient, but I feel I should not have to put up with this! Apple prides it self on quality support, but I can’t get anywhere with them. Now for the REAL kicker. I’m an Apple authorized desktop and portable technician working for one of the DC area’s premier Apple/Macintosh support and consulting firms. Not only do I work with hundreds, if not thousands of Mac users in my area, I influence their purchasing decisions and often sell over US$20,000 worth of Apple hardware a month! I could have originally performed the work myself and never had been in this situation (But Apple has ALL laptop repairs sent to Texas). Further more, if Apple had fixed it right the first time, I wouldn’t be in this situation.

Needless to say, I still don’t have a replacement PowerBook. Want to contact me? mikeharrison@mac.com.

It should be noted that this is the first time we have heard of this problem with Airborne and that it would be highly unlikely if not impossible for a shipper of their size to never lose a package.

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