Was Bad Apple, Now Good Apple 5


This story follows on from my post yesterday, so if you’ve not read it click here to do so.

Today was the day where my Genius appointment was. It was originally for 14:20, however upon checking to see if anyone had canceled I managed to get squeezed in for 11:20. Perfect get their early get it sorted and then enjoy the rest of the afternoon. Well sort off. My Genius was called Mo and was really nice, didn’t treat me like an imbecile and respected the computer knowledge which I had.  We once again ran through all of the same things, booting from an external hard drive to ensure it wasn’t the OS and burning a disk – all to no avail so I had managed to convince the Genius their was in fact a problem and he agreed with me that it was most likely caused by a faulty drive. Excellent the problem has been confirmed; now all we need to do is repair it.

This is where the issue arrived, I knew that in order for the repair to be carried out I would have to surrender my Macbook Pro so that they could work on it. What I didn’t expect was once the parts had arrived they estimated that the repair would take between 5-7 days, a standard repair, depending on how long the cue was. I inquired if I could keep hold of my mac, and return it to the shop when my repair was next, allowing me to keep hold of my mac as long as possible. Mo explained to me that this wasn’t possible as if when my turn came my mac wasn’t there I would lose my space. I thought that this was obvious, and if I didn’t return my mac at the specified time and lost my space it was my own fault. Anyway we settled on a comprise; I could keep hold of my mac until the parts arrived, when the parts arrived Mo would ring me and tell me how long he thought the cue was but advising me that I would still be without a mac for about 2-5 days.

In my opinion this is where a flaw exists within AppleCare. Most people who purchase AppleCare (at great expense) are usually people who need to be with some form of a mac every day; and whilst we understand that things do go wrong and are more than happy to give away our MacbookPro/Mac Pro’s for a limited period of time – we do need a machine to work on. Being a student doing exams and coursework I fall into this category. I would have been more than happy to hand over my Macbook Pro then and there if a temporary replacement would have been offered; for all I care it could have been one of the oldest Mac’s out there, as long as it had firewire I could boot from a SuperDuper copy of my drive and be back in business within in minutes. However alas this service isn’t offered.

So I headed home quite upset and trying to get to terms with the fact that if I wanted my SuperDrive fixed (which I did) I would need to hand over my mac for a couple of days while it got fixed. The thing which annoyed me is that replacing a Superdrive takes several minutes if you do it yourself (which if I had done would have voided the warranty, something which I didnt want to do, so that wasnt an option), so why would it take between 2-5 days. Anyway that was that and it was something I was going to have to deal with.

I then remembered both Don McAllister (from ScreencastsOnline) and Stu Helm (International Mac Podcast) – hosts of two mac podcasts I listen to, talking about ProCare. A service that in effect pushes you to the front of the repair cue and allows you a greater range of Genius appointments. This isnt a product that I had heard of before and it isnt a product that Apple advertise very well, and up until now thought that it was only available to business customers. However upon researching deeper I found that for £79 a year I could cover three macs for this 1st class repair treatment.

I ran back to the Apple Store in the Arndale (for the 2nd time today – personal best is 4 visits in one day tho) and asked if I could purchase ProCare. The first guy I saw was himself confused as to what this was and initially thought I meant AppleCare (the extended warranty), however a quick word with the Genius bar informed him of what I was after. I asked him if there were many sales of ProCare and he said since being introduced back in 2007 this was the first he had sold. The guy who was serving me called over to the Business Manager of the store, James, who instantly shook me by the hand and thanked me for getting ProCare. He explained to me exactly what benefits I would get and if there was anything he could do to help simply to ask for him and he would do all that he could to help. I showed him the report that I received earlier in the day giving details of my fault and asked if when the parts came in, now that I have ProCare, how long would the repair take; expecting 24 hours as advertised. To my sheer delight he said “probably around about 30 minutes”! I literally was speechless. He took a copy of my report wrote some notes on it and told me that he would now personally deal with my repair.

Walking out the shop this time I was wearing a huge grin compared to the huge frown that was being displayed 4 hours previously. I was now a ProCare member receiving 1st class treatment with my mac not being away from my side for less than 24 hours. Now dont get me wrong I am really happy that I am a ProCare member, however this is an additional £79 on top of the £250+ AppleCare that I purchased. I fully understand that they cant include ProCare as part of the AppleCare – as if everyone was pushed to the front of the cue; we would all be back exactly where we were without the ProCare. However I then remembered I can have upto three macs use this fast-track repair. We are a family of mac lovers; in our house we have 6 macs, so if I allow my mum and dad to use the ProCare (as they wont be cant be without their machines long either) the cost of £79 is now less than £27 for the year; much more acceptable.

It would seem that if you throw enough money at someone or something you can make what ever you want happen. If I would have known about ProCare earlier I would have been more than happy to pay my money several months ago and get all the benefits as being without a computer for more than 24 hours is something which just cant happen and the thought fills me with dread.

ProCare is something that Apple do seem to keep rather quiet, so if you own a mac which you just cant be without and need repairs to be seen to ASAP as well as receive other benefits such as: Advanced Genius reservations, yearly tune-ups, fast track, rapid repairs and backup consultation pop into an Apple Store and ask for ProCare. For more information click here.

I will post a follow up on what my experience is with ProCare later this week when my repair has been carried out.

For £79 a year the repairs of upto three macs are given 1st class treatment and dealt with in under 24 hours. You even get a very cool looking membership card!

For £79 a year the repairs of upto three macs are given 1st class treatment and dealt with in under 24 hours. You even get a very cool looking membership card!

  • Great story Jonathan,

    ProCare saved my butt recently too, as you probably heard me mention. My Mac refused to display anything on the screen, but could be connected to via ScreenSharing, and this was two days before a major event I was running live video and graphics at.

    We don’t have an Apple store here in Leeds, but do have a great service centre called Clockwork, however they said even at their best we were looking 3-4 days, so I called the Apple store at Sheffield Meadowhall and told them the story and explained why I needed my Mac fixed ASAP, they said to come in and buy ProCare and they would see what they could do, but could only promise 24 hour turn around, which would have meant a very rushed trip back to Meadowhall on the day of the event.

    When I got to the store and had my Genius Bar Appointment the staff were incredibly helpful and sympathetic, and to my sheer delight told me to go watch a movie at the cinema at Meadowhall and by the time I’d done that my Mac would be repaired, which blew me away.

    I think I should defend the standard AppleCare a fair bit too, it’s a good price, but compared with other offerings, say PC World’s Tech Guys coverage, the turn around times and service is outstanding. I remember having my old PC laptop in for 4 weeks to replace a faulty motherboard, I was so angry, but every time I’ve dealt with Apple or one of their service centres I’ve never been without my Mac for longer than 4 days.

    Glad you got everything sorted out!

    • Hi Stu, I fully agree its a fantastic product and the proof of the pudding will be in the eating later this week; however I am a lot happier we are talking hours now and not days.

      Do you have any idea why its not advertised very well? I mean you have to type ‘ProCare’ into the search on Apples website to find it, and even then very few people in the Apple store seem to be aware of it. Seems a shame as its such a useful thing to have.

  • Don

    Hey, glad to see you got it sorted, even if it did cost you an extra £79!

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