Why NOT to have your Macintosh serviced at a “Big Box” store’s repair department

MacMedics Locations in Severna Park & Lanham

When a “Big Box” store with a national advertising campaign hangs out their shingle for Mac service, it might feel like a good option. We’re quickly learning from our clients that having a Mac serviced by someone that’s primarily working on PC’s and not super experienced on servicing Macs might be a bad idea.
Lots of companies are now jumping on the Mac service band wagon. When you have a major Mac service service need like an LCD or logic board, please consider that MacMedics is the regional leader for Apple Macintosh sales and service. We pioneered on-site Macintosh service, and our in-lab service is also highly regarded and award winning. Macintosh computers are highly engineered and as such they often have very small parts, various sized screws, and very tight fittings cases. All three of these things frequently trip up firms that are NOT specialized in Mac service. We frequently see computers after they have already been someplace else and NOT properly serviced. MacMedics is an Apple Authorized Service Provider and we’ve been fixing only Macs for over 20 years. So, before you ship your beloved laptop (or desktop) to places unknown, consider sending or bringing it to MacMedics. Also, all non-warranty Apple repairs are covered by our no hassle 1-year MacMedics warranty. If it fails, we fix it free.
Today, we had a client with a MacBook that had liquid spilled on it. They wanted to act quickly, so they took it to their nearest “Big Box” store, and the guys there quoted them a new logic board. When confronted with a large repair bill, they called MacMedics for a second opinion. We told them it would be a good idea to have us look at it, and ensure that it really did need a new logic board. It’s a good thing they brought it to us, because it turned out they panicked about the amount of liquid that was spilled, and that was not a factor. We think all the unit needed was a “System Manger Controller” reset and it was back on it’s feet. So for $49 they got an in-depth spill inspection and a SMC rest and they were good to go.
In another case of a client taking the “Big Box” route, we had a customer who wanted to get his hard drive upgraded in his G4 iBook. He brought it to us, and because we did not have the exact size drive size he wanted (super rare for us), he opted to take it to a local “Big Box” store for service. It should have been a pretty quick turn around as it was just a hard drive upgrade. After a few days and a few phone calls to their shop to ask about the unit’s progress, it was clear they were having issues with his iBook. We had just seen his computer here when he checked it in for a drive upgrade, but when we figured out we were out of stock, he took the unit with him. Nearly a week later he called me for advice. I told him to pick it up and bring it in for me to check.
We found numerous issues:
• The iBook had not be reassembled correctly
• There were missing screws
• There were stripped screws and screws in the wrong hole
• The iBook’s frame was broken
• The iBook’s logic board was fried as it would no longer display internal or external video

This is the iBook that was damaged by a big box store's service dept.
This is the iBook that was damaged by a big box store service dept.
When we added up all of the repair costs to get this super sick iBook back in shape, it looks it’s a better bet to go with one of the new White $999 Apple MacBooks instead of fixing this one. It’s still here, so I assume he’s having a hard time getting the offending service department to pay for their mistakes.
Update 2/22/09:
I ran into our client who had the problem with the big box store’s repair department at the Stefan G. Bucher Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington event on Thursday (MacMedics was a sponsor). He gave me an update on the status of his complaint. He ending up taking the offending service department to Small Claims Court here in Anne Arundel county. The court date is coming up quick, and it appears they are not going to settle out of court. I have to say I’m pretty surprised. Our client has pictures and other pretty convincing evidence to show the court. I’ll let you know what happens.
Update 4/1/09:
I heard from this client yesterday and he informed me that the “Big Box” store that damaged his computer did settle out of court with him for $1000. That of course does not really take into account that he he had to buy a new computer out of pocket, and that he had to wait over six months for the court case. Sad, that the folks that did the damage, waited until the day before court to settle up.
We’re always accepting exciting and difficult in-lab Mac repair work (like liquid spills, LCD screen replacements, hard drive upgrades, and of course data recovery (PLEASE check your back up system if you have one, or get one now that works automatically (like Time machine), so if you’ve got an Apple computer that’s not working correctly, bring it by and let figure out what’s going on with it. MacMedics has a long award-winning track record for service, and as an experienced Apple Authorized Service Provider, we have the tools and knowledge to quickly take care of your repair or data recovery situation.

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