Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Apple Sales Support and UPS

Dave Winer:

I’ve been feeling pretty good lately, but when I have an interaction with Apple, I think seriously I should just write off the $1300 I paid for the iPhone 13 Pro and get a high-end Android phone. I probably won’t because I’m locked in to so many Apple services.

Anyway, 17 days after buying the phone from Apple, $1300 plus tax, it is still not here. UPS says it will be delivered tomorrow, but they’ve said that every day in the last week.


The person recited some boilerplate saying that Apple will issue the refund when they receive the phone. I stopped her and repeated I don’t have the phone so I can’t return it.

Dave Winer:

I’ve spent hours on the phone with Apple people, tried using the support address on Twitter, and have gotten conflicting advice from Apple people, and they’ve lost the case a couple of times.

Dave Winer:

After trying to get help from Apple Support on Twitter, I wrote an email to Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple. Within an hour of sending the email, I got a phone call from someone in “Apple Retail Executive Relations” who was empowered to blow through the problem. A third iPhone was sent, this time via Fedex, which is, in my experience, much more reliable in this area than UPS.


There’s not much more to say that isn’t spelled out in the email to Tim Cook, so I’ll just leave it there, except to say at all levels Apple people knew what the right thing to do was, but their system wouldn’t let them do it. That is, until we got to someone who was at most a couple of hops from the CEO, who was empowered to solve the problem.

John Gordon:

Based on my experience with Apple’s one day express shipping I recommend going to Apple Store for iPhone purchase or service. Lots of things are in bad shape now.


3 Comments RSS · Twitter

i purchased an iPhone 13 Max Pro online from Apple in late December 2020; the 256GB model i wanted was in stock at the Denver store, so i opted for the $5 (!) local delivery option; within an hour on a cold dark evening an Apple employee (not a 3rd party delivery service) knocked on my door and i had the phone

Kevin Schumacher

I've contacted ECR (through Cook's public email address) once, although I went straight there after a fiasco with the upgrade program with a few years ago. Long story short, it was before upgrading customers could prequalify--at the time, only customers new to iUP could do so--and apparently at 4 AM during the preorder I fat-fingered something and got an email 12 hours later that they couldn't verify my information. I was able to place another order but it pushed my ship date out by like two months. I emailed him with a succinct message expressing my disappointment that upgraders were being treated worse than new customers. Within a couple of hours I got a call from ECR basically saying they were listening to feedback and to keep an eye on my delivery because it would likely come sooner than expected, they just didn't like to overpromise. In other words, no real resolution at the time, although in subsequent years, upgraders have been able to prequalify, too.

I had a better experience contacting AT&T ECR through the email address of the CEO at the time. The backstory was I had added two lines for my parents by buying SIM cards for phones I was purchasing with no SIM directly from Apple. There was an offer for a $100 credit per new line for BYOD. Well, first, they charged me two activation fees because buying the SIM card was one, and then actually putting the new phone on the network was another. I got that sorted out pretty quickly. Several months passed and no credits for the BYOD deal, so I contacted customer service, though by this point, I also had to deal with the fact my dad went into an AT&T store to port a number in to replace his, and the opportunistic dillweeds at the store processed it as a new activation to make their numbers look better, thereby generating yet another activation fee. That got waived as soon as I got on the phone, basically, but I then spent several hours talking to different departments and nobody could find the promo for BYOD. I found the exact graphic that was advertising it still sitting on their server and I sent them the URL, but that wasn't enough.

So I sent that URL and a brief explanation to the CEO and I got a call the next morning from ECR who issued the credits while I was on the phone.

One thing I have always kept in mind in these situations is that the shorter and more to-the-point you make your message (with a brief story of the issue and directly stating your desired resolution), the more chance you have of getting it resolved. The Consumerist (RIP) had a great guide about the ECR escalation, and that was their primary point--succinctness wins the day. I was surprised to see the length of Winer's email to Cook just because of that.

(I say this realizing I often type up novellas in comments here. The irony is not lost on me.)

I did have a terrible experience with regular Apple customer service a couple of years ago. I ordered a refurb Apple TV that sat in "processing" purgatory, prior to being shipped, for a couple weeks. I contacted them multiple times and every time I was told to just keep waiting, that it was shipping soon and they're so sorry but there's nothing else they can do. I finally cancelled the order and bought a new one from somewhere else.

I had warranty work done on my AirPods Pro about a year ago and the case came back scratched and stuffed into a box that it clearly was not intended to be stuffed into (too small). I contacted them and I spoke with a woman who had to contact another department, set an expectation that they normally don't address "cosmetic" issues, and said she would call me back. Yeah, right. Well, she actually did. And she was right, they wouldn't address the "cosmetic" issue. But then she goes "Did you need any accessories?" Uh, what? "I can't send you a new case but I'd like to get you something for your issue. Do you have a wireless charging mat?" So she couldn't replace the $80 case but she sent me a $100 wireless charging pad. I don't know how to feel about this one. I got something of value out of it, but it's weird. I would have imagined they would pay more to Mophie for the charging mat than they would have paid themselves to just send me a new case.

I paid Apple $1300, not UPS. If they screwed up, and it's likely they did, telling me to go to UPS is no answer. I didn't choose to use UPS, you did.

Well said, Mr. Winer.

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