FAIL + Noise = Replaced Apple 24″ LED Cinema Display


sad macA few days ago I had the most bizarre thing happen. I was working on my computer, a MacBook Pro 15″ 2.53 HHz Intel Core Duo Uni-body and an attached Apple 24″ LED Cinema Display. I was in the middle of something, when the image on the screen split in half. The left half of the screen was on the right and the right half on the left. For a split second  (no pun intended) I freaked! Then my brain immediately went into troubleshooting mode. After I tried a few things in the Display System Preference, I just decided to restart. That fixed the issue. And I thought nothing more about it.

Now a day later … Thursday June 12th … I was again working on my computer, when the whole 24″ display went black! No warning. No dying wheeze. Nothing. Blackness. Wow … the screen went to sleep? No. The MacBook Pro screen was NOT black. Panic time!

FAIL + Noise = Replaced Apple 24" LED Cinema Display 1I reached deeply into my troubleshooting repertoire and tried everything within my powers to resuscitate it … but it was DEAD JIM! I tried zapping the PRAM (holding the “Command”, “Option”, “P” and “R” keys while restarting) 4 to 5 times. Nothing. I searched the Apple Support site and Apple Discussions. Some similar issues, but not results, other than replacement. I tried starting up from one of my multi-partitioned external USB drives which have clean installs of both OS 10.5 and OS 10.6. No go. Still blackness. I reached into the depths of my Library folder and trashed the Users/xxxxx/Library/Preferences/ByHost/ and did a restart. Still nothingness.

It was time to admit the problem. My 16 month old, our of warranty, no AppleCare extended warranty, 24″ LED Cinema Display was gone. History! After about 10 minutes of shock, anger, and grieving, I went online to the website of the Seattle University Village Apple Store and made an appointment with a Genius.

FAIL + Noise = Replaced Apple 24" LED Cinema Display 2Fast forward to my appointment. The Genius hooks up the display to his MacBook …. and … nothing! Black! He tells me it’s out of warranty and that it will cost $600.00 to replace the LCD panel. Though he will wave the $160.00 per hour labor fee. WTF!!!! More Shock (anger) and not much awe! I grabbed my display and went home. I WAS PISSED!!!!!!!

After only 16 month of use on a $899.00 display, and that’s it? I expected much more. Oh … like a replacement, and an apology? This isn’t the Apple I knew and loved. I was angry and depressed. After dinner that night, I cleared my desk, and reorganized it to work without the 24″ display. I was ready to move on.

Friday morning I woke up and was pretty much resigned to my fate. Not having enough money to repair or replace the display, I had to make due without it. So I started my morning ritual. Start the MacBook Pro & check mail. Wouldn’t you know …. a survey from Apple. “How did we do?” Oh boy … I get to unload! Of course there were the rate-us-questions. Fail! Fail! Fail! And finally, do you have any comments? With razor tongue I was ready to slice, dice and julienne! But then I had a “What Would Chris Do” moment. Chris being my partner, and the more business savvy person in this relationship. I heard him say, “…leave the anger and emotion behind. Give the facts. And don’t berate.” So I composed a letter.

In the letter I spoke of my disappointment that Apple didn’t stand behind a product that was only 16 months old. I spoke of how I had been purchasing and using Mac computers since 1986 and expected longevity in all their products. I stated that I was Mac consultant and would now have to think twice before recommending Apple displays without the caveat of buying AppleCare on all Apple products, because they don’t last as long as they once did. I also commented that I would have thought Apple would have replaced the display without even a second thought. That was the Apple I knew and loved.

At the end of the survey, I was asked if I would like someone from Apple to call. So I left my number etc. And sure enough … I got a call from Kelii Moreau, the Senior Manager of the University Village Apple Store just a few hours later. He told me that he read my eMail and I was right. Apple should have replaced my display. And if I stopped in later today, they would! It was music to my ears! I was told to box up my old one, and ask for a manager when I entered the store. A brand new fully (1 year) warrantied display would be waiting for me to swap for my old one.

After finishing my morning errands, I was at the Apple store with my defective and boxed display. I asked for a manager, handed the greeter the eMail from Kelli … to eliminate repeated explanation. Within a minute I was greeted by a salesperson and he went off to retrieve my new display. The entire team had already been briefed. Another manager Jennifer Dance came out to greet me and thank me for my letter. She said (and I paraphrase) ” you are a bit of a celebrity here. Everyone on the team got to read your letter. It reminded us all of what Apple has been and what we need to strive to be. You made an impression! And you did it without getting angry. Thanks you for that too.” Really? Wow! Cool! Thank you!

FAIL + Noise = Replaced Apple 24" LED Cinema Display 3

And that was that. I got my display replaced and went home to set it up.

Thank you Apple. And thanks to all the Apple managers and staff at the University Village Apple Store, for stepping up, and doing the right thing.

The moral of this story …. be the squeaky wheel! Use all the avenues available to obtain what you think is a fair result. No anger. No animus. Just honesty and fact. Leave hyperbole home. You may end up getting more than you bargained for.

Thanks again to everyone at Apple who helped achieve this result! :)


6 Comments On:

FAIL + Noise = Replaced Apple 24″ LED Cinema Display

  1. In England I would just resort to the statutory protection of s.14 the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended) that provides (amongst other things) that goods sold in the course of a business must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, and last a reasonable length of time, and courts routinely interpret that to mean 6 years for consumer products, having regard to the relative cost of the product in the marketplace (eg, an Apple display is an expensive display and a longer service can therefore be expected than from a £100 display etc). If Apple tried to turn me away with “out of warranty” for a product that failed and was not subject to an accidental damage or abuse then I would have little difficulty succeeding against them in court, although I doubt Apple would allow that to happen as they wouldn’t want the negative publicity that would be likely to engender.
    It is the retailer that is liable, not the manufacturer, although purchases from Apple directly fall under both of those headings. I recently negotiated a 4/6ths payment for a repair to a dishwasher that incurred a fault at 2 years old, and out of warranty. The shop gave me £95 toward a £143 repair charge and I didn’t need to go to court – although a retailer who accurately understands their obligations under consumer law is of course a rare thing!
    For those reasons, in England, Apple Care, and all extended warranties are an utter waste of money unless they also cover accidental damage, although Home Insurance may protect against that and render any extended warranty pointless. I would be very surprised if there was no similar consumer protection laws in the US, or some of its States, that achieved a similar outcome.

  2. Wow!! That’s impressive. I have a cinema display that is only 4 months old with issues. Despite numerous phone calls and store visits to attempt to get a replacement instead of a repair of my LCD, the answer is still “no”. I’m obviously within my warranty. The warranty states that it is at Apple’s descretion and they won’t replace it no matter how many people I talk to. You are a very lucky man!!

    1. I can see where you would want a new display, but Apple’s policy is to repair first. That’s why they offered me the $600.00 LCD replacement/repair option first. It was only after the fact, after filling out the follow-up survey that I got satisfaction.

      Apple’s policy has always been to repair first. And yes outright replacement is always at their discretion. Sometimes if a repair issue is persistent, and Apple has to repair a product a few times, then they will replace, and usually with a refurb.

      If you haven’t already, let them do the warranty repair, while it’s still free. Sometimes you have to go through the process to get satisfaction. And though I wanted to yell & scream at all involved, I got far superior results through calm & restraint.

      Maybe had your display failed 2 weeks in, it would be a different story that 4 months in. That’s why Apple has repair policies in place. Discretion is just that. Also Apple repairs usually happen more quickly that I’d imagine.

      No offense to you .. but in all the time it took you to make all those calls, it might have been repaired by now. ;)

      Good luck to you too! Better yet … good repair! :)

      1. I understand your points. However, Apple’s policy (limited warranty) gives them the descretion to make one of three decisions in cases like mine – 1) repair at their cost. 2) replace. 3) refund money. I told them that I would be very happy with 2 of the 3 options and if option #3, I would immediately use that money to buy their 27″. I am a huge Apple guy and so is my entire family. Our house has Apple products everywhere. I am okay paying extra for their products b/c of the quality and b/c I believed that they would stand behind their products better than this. It’s only been 6 months and I have two growing LCD spots and it occasionally will go completely black on me. Always comes back but it shouldn’t do that. I get it – they don’t HAVE to replace it according to their limited warranty. But it is an option for them and in this case, I think they are making a very poor business decision. They can have it back, repair, re-issue it as a refurb display the next time someone comes in with a display that is 2+ years old but still under Apple Care and make more money given that I told them I would pay extra for their 27″ display. And yes, I was VERY calm and rationale with everyone I talked to. Instead, they have an angry guy who up to this point has been an avid Apple guy. You had your monitor replaced and it wasn’t even within warranty. Why shouldn’t the same apply to me when I have only had it 5+ months? And yes, I did spend a lot of time talking to Apple via phone today. But that is not holding up my repair. When they get the LCD part in, they will call me. I’m not slowing down that process.

  3. Nice story, glad to see that Apple takes care of its customers.

    However, I think should should’ve bought the Applecare just for good measure but to each their own.

    1. Juan …

      I appreciate you voicing your opinion.

      I’ve been a Mac user since 1986. In my years of experience, I’ve seen the longevity of Apple products decrease. When Apple started outsourcing fabrication offshore, rather than building their products in the US, quality started to suffer. In the early years, AppleCare was mostly a waist of money, for myself or my clients. Apple products on a hardware level, far outlasted the extended warranty. Today more than ever, it’s a roll of the dice. I know this first hand because I was an Apple certified bench technician in a local Seattle Apple reseller store. (when they still existed)

      Case in point, the MacBook Pro 15″ unibody & the Apple 24″ LED Cinema Display that I purchased at the same time. With only 2 months left on the warranty of the MacBook, the DVD drive started to fail. Apple replaced it, no problem. The Apple LED display lasted only a few more months past the warranty. That to me is not the quality of past years. Like I’ve said before, for my clients I do recommend AppleCare, especially on MacBooks & now on Apple displays. Though you can only cover a display with AppleCare, when you combine its registration with a Mac/MacBook purchased.

      I understand that it all relative, it’s all subjective. When I bought my MacBook & display, I decided not to get AppleCare at purchase time. To plunk down an additional (aprox) $300.00 after having paid over $3,000.00 for a computer and display, sometimes I have an issue with that. You can not just buy AppleCare for a display. Otherwise I would have. I also knew that once my equipment was registered, I’d have 1 year to buy AppleCare. In days gone buy, Apple would always notify you by eMail a few months before your warranty would expire and offer AppleCare. In my case, that did not happen. I don’t know if they’ve stopped this practice. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t notified, I did not keep track, and both my warranties expired. That’s life.

      Fortunately for me … Apple stepped up. With a little coaxing. Otherwise I’d still be LCD-displayless in Seattle.

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