My Massive Apple Support Fail

OK, this is going to be long and ranty I think, so I apologize in advance.

About a month ago I bought a set of “premium” apple headphones for use with my iPhone. The default iPhone headset had been the victim of being crushed under my laptop, and the microphone/clicker wasn’t clicking properly. I figured why not. Two days ago the clicker and microphone on the new, premium, expensive headphones stopped working. Aside from the fact that this is the same issue as before, I was a bit perturbed. So I call the store that I got them from. First they told me I’d have to go through apple, but when pressed (as in “I bought them a month ago and they’re not working, why the hell can’t I just bring them back for exchange?!”) they said I could bring them back, but they were out of stock. I told them to order them in, but that I would deal with Apple and if they could help me, that’d be fine.

Based on my previous Apple support experience, I figured this would be a quick 5 minute call which would end up in waiting a couple of days for boxes to be delivered to the right places, and all would be fine.

This is where my troubles started.

My first call to the support line landed me in automated computer phone system hell, and I ended up with a computer trying to troubleshoot my phone, which I didn’t need, and screaming “just let me fucking talk to a person you stupid piece of crap!” apparently wasn’t in their system as “transfer to customer rep immediately”. Guess the system doesn’t detect voice stress yet.

Call number two somehow thought I had said “yes” to the “speak to me in french” option, and I ended up screaming at the french voice.

Call number three started better, I got to speak to a real live person. The problem was, after I explained what the problem was, and how this was actually an Apple product and not a third party accessory, they couldn’t find the headset. Thinking the guy was an idiot, I said no problem, I’ll look for it at home and call back so I have all the information for them. To be fair, I was driving at the time which I probably should have realized was a bad idea in terms of looking up things, etc.

Call number for finally got me to the right place. I had the product number, and was talking to iPhone support. After a fair amount of explaining back and forth about how I’m using a set of headphones that are technically not compatible with the iPhone (the volume up and down clickers don’t work, but everything else does). After numerous times being put on hold the guy almost was able to set up a repair for me, but wasn’t able to because the iPhone support system doesn’t have these accessories in it.


I told him to just pass me over to the iPod people if that’d work better and be easier. A bit of a pain, but if they can pass me over to someone who can finish the job in a few minutes, all the better. I even got my case number so I didn’t have to re-explain everything again.

I spent the next few minutes re-explaining everything again.

This guy seemed almost more worried that my iPod (which I had and gave the serial number for, as it seems that accessories, regardless of when they are bought, are under the iPod “account”) was almost out of it’s warranty period. Eventually we got things more back on track, and after being on and off hold another few times, and after far too long of him explaining how the return procedure works (“you get a box with new headphones in it, take them, put the old ones in their place, put the shipping label on it, call Fedex to pick it up and send it back to apple”… see, explained), we got to the address confirmation for the shipping.

“Oh, you’re in Canada” he said surprised. “Yes,” I said, I called the Canadian Apple number.” What the fuck??

So this guy (and now this is about 50 minutes into the phone call) transfers me to Canada. He does this though, without any information for the person he’s transferring me to, just sends me to the Canadian iPod support line.

The nice lady Laura takes my explanation about why I might be sounding a bit “snippy” in stride, and after being giving my case number, and then me re-explaining things yet again, puts me on hold for 10 minutes. When she finally gets back I’m transferred yet again to Don, who assures me that the buck stops here and he will get this dealt with for me.

I believe Don. He’s from PEI and I hear those guys always tell the truth. After re-explaining what’s going on, and a bit of venting, I get put on hold for another 10 minutes. After he gets back, and apologizes to me for being put on hold, we’re ready to go. Unfortunately Don also doesn’t have the details for my case, and is under the impression that I’m replacing the original in-the-box headphones, so I give him the case number and product number again (I know the product number for the headphones off by heart now, MA850, as they are actually not that easy to find through the Apple Store, go on, try it).

Then I get put on hold again. I’m now over an hour and a half into the call. It’s now 9 minutes later and I’m still on hold. I could have watched a movie in this time. Heck, in the time since I started blogging this I could have watched almost all of an hour long TV show (excluding commercials).

So after another eternity on old I spoke to Don again. The silver lining though, was the first thing I was told “it’s all dealt with”. This is good news. A new set of headphones is on the way, no more information is needed, and outside of getting a new case number and repair number, and a direct contact line to Don, that was it. He laughed off my ha ha only serious suggestion that sending me an iPod Shuffle for my troubles, apologized a bit more, and let me go.

Total call time: 1h 51m
Resolution: Success
Blood Pressure: Elevated but falling.

5 Comments on “My Massive Apple Support Fail”

  1. wow, sounds like Telus should get their tech support from them.
    when I got my highspeed at my new place. I got the telus modem pretty quickly(iknow telus sucks but I am on campus and don’t have a choice).
    but they said they screwed up the databases, and I couldn’t log in.
    it took them over 8 days! to get my password and log on correct for the modem to connect.
    they said it was because they have many databases and they all need to be the same.
    and I asked another person what database were they using and she replied “opera”
    I asked how many databases are they using she one guy said at least 17.u
    they need a different database for everything, if you live in an apartment. that one database. if you want highspeed in an apartment thats another database. and so on and so forth.
    if one database doesn’t say the same thing as another,the whole thing won’t work.
    the final guy that got it working,(he phoned me, said he doesn’t usually go on the phone but he fixed it by hand), I asked him about the many databases. he said there are managers that “manage” each database. and amalgamating them would void 16+ managers jobs.
    I laughed.

  2. Working at an ISP for a while I completely believe this. It’s even worse when companies merge and you have to leave all the old remnants behind. The ISP I was at had something like 3000+ different codes for all the different types of service they have and the costs to deal with all the legacy deals, different pricing models, etc. Nightmare. Pretty sure they only have the one database though.

  3. For the most part, I’ve had pretty good luck with Apple support calls. 2 previous iPods needed work or replacement and the process was reasonably smooth.
    Where the FAIL factor comes into effect is the delivery. Without a doubt, Purolator will find a way to cock it up.

  4. My previous experiences have been good too, which is why this one was such a shock. Could be worse I suppose, and they did make good at the end. I was really close to tossing my phone through the window each time I was told I had to be transferred somewhere or put on hold though…

  5. Next time you ‘enjoy’ the on hold and transfers, ask for their name and their manager’s name. If you keep hearing one particular manager’s name more often, you know whom to contact next time …