Apple: Genius Bar reps should have known

After what seemed like an eternity, I can now report back with answers directly from Apple concerning the discoloration issue select MacBook owners have endured for the past few weeks.

A few days back reports surfaced that Apple did indeed acknowledge that the discoloration on an isolated number of MacBook was due to a manufacturing defect. Upon discovering the news, I immediately phoned Apple with hopes that my once white MacBook would shine bright white as it once did. Naturally, with my luck, I ran into a series of AppleCare blocks with conversations summarized below:

  • Me: Hi, I was calling in today to inquire about Apple’s stance on the recent discoloration issues that have surfaced over the past few weeks.
  • Rep #1: I have not heard of any issues. Can you please explain the type of discoloration you are seeing?
  • Me: Sure. I’m seeing grey and yellow spots (discoloration) forming throughout the palm rest area. I have seen 4 year old iBooks in better condition. I don’t think my one month old MacBook should look like this.
  • Rep #1: Hold please, let me search the database… Ah ok, I’ve read about discoloration on the Black MacBooks sir.
  • Me: What? Are you saying that you have not heard of any discoloration issues on the white MacBooks? You’re saying that you’ve read about yellow discoloration on black MacBooks?
  • Rep #1: Yes sir. Is it possible that the clothing you’re wearing is transferring its color dye to your palm rests?
  • Me: I’m sorry, what’s your name? [writes down name on paper] Could I please speak to a product specialist?

Thankfully, a product specialist by the name of Manuel was more than helpful with providing a little background information on the issue along with the words “Apple will replace your top shell under warranty“.

Without going into specific details concerning the reason for an isolated case of discoloration on white MacBooks, I will close with the following:

  • Apple was aware of the discoloration issue approximately two weeks ago (June 17th +/- a few days). Genius Bar reps were advised to accept repairs under warranty.
  • Two weeks ago, that’s about the time I went into a few Apple Stores only to be told that the discoloration was probably caused by sweaty hands or oil.
  • Re-read point one. Stop. Let it marinate for a little bit and consider re-reading my experiences. Now return and re-read point one.

I hope and pray that this is the last issue I have concerning my MacBook until it dies a natural death. Apple, your employee network really needs to have better access to support related material. Here’s hoping that when I go into the local Apple Store on Monday – which Manuel confirmed to be a supported repair center – I will have a spank’n new palm rest by the time I leave. I have my case number in hand. Just for kicks, I think I’ll go in under the pretense that I am oblivious to the discoloration issue just to check if the Genius Bar reps have been updated by the mothership. Digg this.

Discuss - 28 Comments

  1. Matt says:

    I own an iBook and have unfortunately undergone a long series of issues with it. I have gotten by far the best results using a tip someone else sent me:

    When you’re having issues that a Mac Genius or AppleCare Specialist can’t seem to help you with, CALL (408) 996-xxxx [removed for possible abuse - email for inquiries] AND ASK FOR “CUSTOMER RELATIONS.” This is your direct line to support in Cupertino… NOT another AppleCare rep. Politely explain your issue and they’ll give you a case number and an extention code incase you need to call back.

    The person on the other end of the phone is authorised to do just about anything they deem neccessary to resolve the issue. I purchased my iBook used and unfortunately encountered countless logic board issues, backlight issues, power supply issues… the list went on and on. In half an hour Customer Relations had shipped a replacement iBook G4 that was probably a $500 upgrade, plus, they restored my faith in Apple’s customer care.

  2. JR says:

    Derek. Good luck showing up and expecting your top case to be replaced same day. I went to my local Apple Store recently to see if it was possible to get a spare battery for the MacBook and there weren’t any. Considering that is a part which customers would gladly pay for if possible but which was not on the shelf, I doubt your local Apple Store is expecting many people to need a part fixed within months of a new product announcement. It is understandable that you are upset if something you purchased hasn’t performed as you expected, but if go into a store and shout “jump” the Geniuses should do so when they believe it is appropriate to do so. Even if they had the part do you expect them to open up the computer right in front of you? I took the top case off my old PowerBook and it’s a bitch and not something you should expect same day, nor should you expect any repair which involves disassembling the computer to be completed same day. What about the guy that came in the day before you with the same problem and is waiting to get his top case replaced?…. Just food for thought. It would be cool if you did get the part replaced same day, but do you really expect this to happen? If you’ve worked in the service industry before, hopefully you’ll have more realistic expectations.

  3. [...] Don’t you think that Apple Quality Control has gone down the past few years. Post this!These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

  4. Derek says:

    Oh I am being realistic. Realistic enough to know that if the part is not in stock, it can be ordered. When those parts do arrive, I was informed that the replacement would be done same day. Follow-up post tomorrow with the results of today’s visit.

  5. Ryan says:

    I am floored by the trolls around here! People calling OSX ‘snobby’ and generally insulting it?… This post was about a macbook discoloration issue (mine doesn’t have the problem! woot!) not the OS… And it’s obvious these people haven’t even USED the OS.

    It’s one thing to be a fanboy because you’re a FAN but quite another because you’re ignorant of other options. People who use windows and insult osx is like someone driving around in a civic and insulting bmw’s because “they come in gay colors (like red, and blue… and… uhm, black, and stuff) and cost so much!”… Gimme a break.

    Great post, glad you’re getting it fixed and I’m glad I don’t have the issue! :)

    One guy thought that Apple is a ‘monopoly’ obviously not up to speed on what the word means. Another recommended a Dell!!! LOL!

  6. Derek says:

    I discovered that the trick is feeding the trolls just enough, and then leaving them be to mingle with the rest. Kind of like when you feed the ducks at the pond. You don’t want to go overboard otherwise the geese will come out and start nipping at your fingers.

  7. [...] Now, as many of you have probably read around the net, there are a lot of people having this problem (the discoloration issue) and Apple knew of the issue and was apparently replacing the affected MacBook pieces. However, when I called regarding the issue, Apple Technicians gave me the run around and in the end transfered me to a “Product Specialist”. Now I talked to a “Product Specialist” on 3 separate occasions regarding this discoloration issue, But only one of them actually know what they were talking about. One of them even went so far as to explain to me that I should change my hand soap! It finally came down to me getting someone-what disgruntle with one of the Product Specialist before they said they would fix it. I told them I wasn’t going to take any bullshit about changing my hand soap or something stupid like that. I also made it clear to him that I know people that work at Apple and THEY knew of the issue and had told me that it was a known problem and that Apple would take care of it all I had to do was call them. But I guess the 6 people at Apple that I talked with (3 Apple Techs, and 3 Product Specialists) didn’t get the memo. [...]

  8. [...] I spent about an hour on the phone with Apple today. After being passed around through the AppleCare dept, I have learned that Apple Genius Bar reps were aware of the discoloration issue warranty replacement two weeks ago! Why the hell was I repeatedly told that the yellowing was my own doing?! Going in Monday to a local store case # in hand…read more | digg story [...]