Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Apple support - the case against...

WARNING: Before you unleash the angst and fury of this blog post, you might want to make yourself a coffee or a cocktail to enjoy while reading - this tale does go on for a bit...

A few of these might help

So at the time my wife picked up what I like to call 'The bargain of 2017.' On the hunt for a iPad type device the kids could use while we travelled, she came across one going for not much at a local auction clearing house near my work. Before I could even say 'Oh god, one of the very first iPad's ever invented - how is that still working?' she had put through a bid and scored it...for roughly fifty bucks. 'I hope it's still okay?' she mumbled on the drive to go and get it.

Only when we paid for it and picked it up and opened up the kids cover that was falling to pieces did I discover something amiss.
Namely a lighting charging port.

'Wait, the first one's didn't have that kind of charging port did they?'

No, no they did not. A quick check of the model number through Google turned up that we had instead netted a fourth generation Apple Ipad. The only reason I believe she got it for a price so low was that the auction company had listed it as being a 1st gen and everybody saw that and avoided it like the plague. She is absolutely amazing at spotting a bargain she is.

Can't wait to get this thing working

So now we had a second hand iPad that just needed to be charged and off we went. Oh and the previous owners pin code would have come in handy too because guess what? Nobody had wiped anything. And so after attempting to guess at the four digit pin while staring at a family that wasn't mine, I gave up after roughly half an hour and decided to factory reset through iTunes. Which was a massive mistake as suddenly I went from trying to guess a pin to a password as we now faced an even bigger wall known as the Activation Lock.

Okay that's enough, get off our iPad.

It seems the previous owners had registered this iPad with the FindmyiPhone app in case of theft...and forgot to disengage it before handing it over to the auction company for sale. Which meant we know had some options:

a) Get the auction company to track down the original owners and ask them to take the iPad off Find my Iphone (they weren't keen to do this, all sales are buyer beware yada yada).
b) Sell it for parts
c) Deal with Apple

Now if I was foretold of the mountains of miscommunication I'd have to scale in order to just get things underway, I would have sold the damn thing for bits and pieces months ago. But I didn't want my wife to be disappointed by factors neither of us could have seen coming so I called them. And called them again. And again. Quite a few times actually as they kept finding incredible ways of stuffing things right up.

CALL NUMBER 1: I spent twenty five minutes on the phone with an Apple consultant/technician/some title and a lot of that was on hold as this was a new situation that she'd never dealt with and had to consult with her supervisors. A lot. However she opened up a case for us and promised to send it to the relevant department to unlock it...in the US.

Can I just put you on hold for a sec?

CALL NUMBER 2: (Two weeks later) 'Could I find out how my case is going please?' and the new Apple consultant went from ultra helpful to flat out confused in record time as he read up on consultant number 1's work and realised she had written it in the system and just left it there. It never made it there because she never sent it. So I got an apology and a promise 'someone would have a word with her about proper procedure' before they sent my wife's invoice over to the correct department in the US.

CALL NUMBER 3: (One week later) Quoted case number and found out that our case had gone over to the states as it was supposed to, but somehow ended up in the business section instead of the personal consumer section whatever that meant. Since the business section in the states couldn't make head nor tale about what the Australian contingent was rambling on about, they just sent it back. Possibly with a red e-stamp saying 'rejected' or something like that on it. Got more apologies and a promise to send it to the right department this time. Oh good.

AN EMAIL ARRIVES! (Two days later) 'We have received your case, now you have to contact your local Apple support team'. So ring the local mob again, okay.

I apologise, this should be the last time..

CALL NUMBER 4: (One day later) 'It seems that your submission didn't have enough info on it and wasn't a proper transaction receipt'. So I ask for the exact details that this transaction statement needs, my wife finds her original bill of sale from her email and for good measure I write the serial number of the iPad in far bigger letters than what is probably required. I send it through the upload service they provide, cross all of my lucky bits and hope like hell that this is the last time I have to deal with this.

ANOTHER EMAIL ARRIVES! (One week later) 'We have received your case, now you have to contact your local Apple support team'. Gah! Again? What's wrong this time?

CALL NUMBER 5: (The next day) 'It seems there was a problem with the serial number you provided...' so I read it directly off the back of the iPad even though it's in the worlds smallest print. Then I get the call team member to read it back to me and while he does that, I compare it to the massively printed serial number I supplied on the form.
And wouldn't you know it? They're exactly the same.
So back to the US it goes with the hopeful words of Mr Helpful 'Hopefully you won't have to call us again and this will be rectified shortly...'

ONE WEEK GOES BY: No email from the US. Good, maybe they're working on it.

TWO WEEKS GO BY: Still no word from the US. Okay, they might be busy.

THREE WEEKS GO BY: Right well they've had enough time, what's going on here?

Did they email you at a bad time?

CALL NUMBER 6: (The way I'm going I reckon I'll get the tenth call free...)
'Can I just put you on hold so I can read across your case?'
'Okay I've read your case, can I just put you on hold so I can confer with my manager?'  
Oh ffs...
'It seems you needed the original bill of sale from when the iPad was first purchased so that we can register you as the latest owner before we can unlock the activation lock. I'm so sorry - have you considered using a 3rd party service? Obviously it's not something Apple recommends but it might be your only option at this stage..'

So they were going to get back to me when exactly? Appreciate the updates Apple!

Wow. So many different consultants, case numbers, emails, knock backs, form re-submissions, mistakes and not one person could correctly tell me 'Yeah look, this is what you're going to need here...' It's times like these where I really reinforce my decision of switching from Apple to Android (hating iTunes was a massive part of it) all those years ago. If someone had set me straight during the first call (and actually sent what they were supposed to) I probably wouldn't be sitting here stunned at the incredible lack of anything involving reliable service from this major company.  

So what to do now? 

Well we're looking into a third party solution as we speak. So far it's cost me roughly the same price as the iPad through the auction but we'll see how we go. Anything has to be better than another 'Can I put you on hold so I can finish drawing this lovely tree on a napkin' level of tech support I've received so far. 
And if that doesn't work - anyone need any parts from a 4th gen Apple iPad?


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