Saturday, July 3, 2010

Dealing with the F'Idiots at the Woodfield Apple Store

  • May 28th 
    • I make a trip to the local Apple Store (Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Il) and purchase a Mac Mini ($799)
  • June 15th
    • I find out that apple has just released details fo the new 'unibody aluminum' Mac Mini. There is no longer a $599 and $799 version. 
  • June 25th
    • After calling around to double check on the ability to exchange my Mac Mini from 5/28 with for a new one, I'm told that I can return and repurchase the same one that I have. This would result in a $100 credit going to me as a result of the End Of Life pricing on the product that I'd purchased previously. Alternately I can return the previous generation Mac Mini and get the new one with no problem.
    • I go to the Woodfield Apple Store:
      • Point of Sales system was down so we (about 20 customers) had to wait for that the be brought back up 
      • In talking to another customer trying to make a purchase while the POS was down we discovered that the Sales Rep who had tried to ring her up manually, ended up overcharging her by $100. 
      • While the system was still down I asked if it would be possible for them to start a memory upgrade and data swap so that things could be done in parallel. I was told that was not an option and I'd just have to wait. 
      • I finally get checked-out and I'm told that my memory upgrade and data swap will take about 2.5 to 3 hours. Based on this information I decide to hang around in the area and get some shopping done until my new Mac Mini is ready. 
      • 3 hours later I get a call from a woman calling her self "Cat" saying that my data will take at least another 7 hours to transfer because they didn't know I had so much information on my system. I asked why I was told only 2.5 to 3 hours before and she said that she didn't know how much data was on there before the transfer started. When I asked why, when they figured out that it would take more than 3 hours, they hadn't called me to adjust my expectation, I got no direct reply. She continued on stating that my machine would need to be stuck in the store overnight to complete the transfer by morning. This was unacceptable. I asked about coming in and just getting my mac and transferring the critical pieces myself. She said the whole process would have to be started all over again. I told her that was on my way in and that I'd decide what to do when I go there. She said that she would keep the transfer in progress and not stop it until I let her know what I wanted to do.
      • 15 minutes later I show up at the Woodfield Apple Store and ask a sales rep. who I can speak to about the data on my two Minis that was being transferred. The rep. disappears into the back room, then comes out and hands me my new aluminum Mac Mini. I asked him about the transfer and tell him that I'd been told it would take another 7 hours. He said that "Cat" told him that the transfer was done and that sometimes the calculation is off on the program that does the transfer. I asked him pointedly "Are you absolutely sure that all of my data has been transferred? I'd hate to find out that there was some sort of misunderstanding here". He replied that "Cat" had told him that the transfer was done and he trusts her when she says it. Based on his confidence in her word I decide to go and do some other shopping before returning home for the evening to take care of the dogs and get started on a project (part of the reason I needed to have the data transferred). 
      • 2 hours later I return home, plug-in my Mac Mini and discover that my user account is there:
        • I log-in:
          • Looks good. I should be able to get some work done this evening
        • Later I discover that my email application doesn't seem to be available. Then I notice that some settings are off. Suddenly I realize that not all of my data had been transferred. I did a quick du -s on my home directory to see that only about 72 gigs of the 250gigs had been moved. 
      • I call the Woodfield Apple Store and end up speaking to a guy who identifies himself as "Tommy". Tommy tells me that he'll try to get to the bottom of what happened with 1) me being told 3 hours then 7 hours for a transfer time 2) me being told that everything had been transferred when it, in fact, had not and 3) what the Woodfield Apple Store could do to make sure that I got my data back. After being away from the phone for a bit he came back and said that he didn't know what the breakdown was between "Cat" and the sales rep. who had brought my mini to me but that if I wanted to come back to the store (in the 20 minutes left before they closed), they would make sure the transfer happened and I could pick up my machine int he morning. I told him that there was no way I could get back over there in that short period of time and that I'd been expecting to work (on my new Mac Mini) that evening. "Tommy" told me that he'd keep my Mac Mini there so that I could return anytime in the next couple of weeks to get my data transferred. He then asked me if I thought I'd be in on the next day (Sunday) to complete the transfer. I told him that there was no way I'd be able to be there the next day as I had things to do outside of dealing with the magical and revolutionary customer support at the Woodfield Apple Store. He said that was fine and that I should just know that it will be there when I'm ready to come and transfer my data. I replied that it would most likely be on one of the next two weekends. He said that was fine.
    • July 2nd I make an appointment at the genius bar because my one of the four USB ports doesn't seem to be functioning properly. When I arrive I speak to one of the geniuses who says that the unit will be replaced. I asked him about buying back my old Mac Mini that is waiting for me there so that I can just do the data transfer at home and return it when I'm done. He goes in back, then returns. He tells me that there is no Mac Mini back there waiting for me. Trying to refrain from putting my fist through the Genius Bar I say "are you flipp'n serious?". He is. 
      • Later he asks me if I want my data from the old aluminum Mac Mini transferred to the replacement they are giving me. Initially I said "yes, please" then I find out that they will do it the same way as they did the previous "transfer" and I changed my mind, stating that I didn't have any confidence that they could do so without screwing it up. I said that I'd just rather find out what happened with my old Mac Mini (the one purchased on May 28th) so that I can do the transfer from there.
    • July 3rd I call up the Woodfield Apple Store to ask for "Tommy" and try to figure out what happened to my data. I get a manager named "Dan" who telle me that my Mac Mini from 5/28 has most likely been shipped back to Apple. He further states that he was told that I have a back-up of my data at home that I'd prefer to use rather than having them (do their f***ing job and) transfer my data. This struck me as odd given that I never told anyone that I had a backup. I did say that they were inept but I never said that I had a back up. "Dan" keeps telling me that from what he knows of the situation my data is basically gone and if I have any questions I can speak with "Tommy" tomorrow sometime. In his vast ineptitude he continually responded to my questions with answers to questions I'd never asked. When I told him that I'm trying to figure out why there seem to be so many issues of miscommunication there at that store he said "...if I could get your data back for you I would but I just don't have it here with me. Maybe Tommy did something with it and he can find it for you tomorrow". This is, of course a perfectly appropriate answer to the question that had been asked 5 minutes prior but for the question of "miscommunication"... uhmm all this response does is prove the necessity to figure out what the hell is wrong with the capacity of the employees at the Woodfield Apple Store to communicate effectively. They don't seem to listen. When I'd asked "is there anyone who can get in touch with Tommy so I can figure out what's going on with my data". He responded "Tommy is off today". To which I replied "Great now can you answer the question that I actually asked; I didn't ask whether he was off today I asked whether there was anyone who could get in touch with him.. ". Dealing with idiots is rather vexing. I think I'll have to have a shirt made up that says "I see dumb people (everytime I deal with the Woodfield Apple Store)"

As it stands now I have to wait to talk to Tommy to figure out what happened to my data. Never mind the fact that I'm out of time and money on the project that I had to hand off to another party to complete because of apples' ineptitude. Do you think Apple will send me a $15K gift card to make up for the difference? No, I didn't think so. 

If Apple hadn't pulled a time estimate out of their asses I could have made an informed decision to either transfer the key data myself  and leave the rest to be done later or decided to purchase back my old unit and do the transfer at home. If they hadn't lied to me by saying that the transfer had been completed when it hadn't I could have made arrangements get the key data and proceed with my work. In both cases I would have known not to continue shopping and running errands. I could have just gotten to business. Instead by trusting Apple employees to know WTF they were talking about, I ended up being screwed. Screwed out of time (which I'll never get back), money (which Apple is not likely to fork over to me), oh yeah and my flipp'n data which is apparently off in bit heaven. We'll know more tomorrow, hopefully. 

It's interesting to me that no one at the Apple Stores knows of anyway for customers to provide feedback on their customer experience other than the survey that may or may not come to you via email after you've completed a transaction there.

UPDATE: according to the sales rep. that I just spoke to at 800-My-Apple. There is a Customer Relations Group to be sought by calling 408.996.1010. We'll see where this leads.

UPDATE: Just about a hour ago I was informed that my data is likely unrecoverable. They have offered to take half off the cost of the Mac Mini that I'd purchased most recently. It's a bit insulting to think that they have cost me so extensively and move to remedy this by offering half of my money back without regard to the time and money I've been out as a result of trusting them.

UPDATE: Yesterday (7/3/10) I got spoke to another manager at the Apple Store in Woodfield who was under the impression that I'd chosen to not have my data transferred and then got upset when I discovered that none of my data was available. I corrected his perception of the situation by going through the above time line. In the end I told him that the offer to just credit back half of the purchase price on the mac mini was insulting. I stated that I wanted something in writing detailing; 1) why I was told 2 - 3 hours given that it was obviously not a reasonable time frame to transfer my data; 2) why I hadn't been notified in advance of 3 hours passing that it would take 7 more hours than they had originally told me to complete the transfer; 3) Why it is that I was told my transfer had been completed when in fact it had not been completed; 4) Why I was told that my data would be maintained in the store for later retrieval when in fact it was not; 5) Why my data was not maintained in the store; 6) how this will be avoided in the future so that I can continue to patronize Apple in the future with confidence. I further added that if they were going to give me a credit they could also give me 50% off of the unit (Mac Mini)  I'd planned to purchase before all of this happened seeing as it was only because of this mishap that I haven't been able to make that purchase.

This morning I received a voice mail from "Tommy" saying basically that Apple will give me 50% off of only one unit.. either the one I've already purchased or a new one. There was no mention of the statement of how this all happened or what will be done to make sure that it doesn't happen again. Personally, the credit/money is a much more minor issue than the issue of confidence, which is something that I told the last manager that I'd spoken to. Further "Tommy" added that "... unfortunately Apple is not responsible for lost data...". This just galls. 1) we're past the issue of just the lost data, we're on to the issue of the fact that Apple has told me several things that have turned out to be as far from reality as one can get without working as an intern for Carl Rove.

I just called to reiterate to the a store manager that money is not my concern but that confidence is.. we'll see if they care enough to actually address the issue.

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