The notebook dilema for the road warrior – Part 2

In a previous post, I explained the dilemma of a MacBook with a constantly failing keyboard. Well, its gotten worse. Now being eight months out of their four year warranty, Apple will no longer replace my faulty keyboards for free. As I explained, my request for a repair was denied and I was offered a replacement keyboard for almost $400.

That’s the result of the computer being designed not to be repairable and requiring half the computer to be replaced along with the keyboard. The computer parts are essentially all glued together in two parts: the top half and the bottom half. Fixing the keyboard means replacing the entire bottom half.

While Apple did clean my keyboard on a recent visit, the space bar key has now popped off and is no longer usable. Since there is no current MacBook, except for the huge and heavy 16-inch model with a reliable keyboard, there is no option for a lightweight or moderate weight MacBook for traveling. None exist. Apple has gotten into this position as a result of its own stupidity and terrible product decisions.They used an unreliable design in a product that was designed not to be repaired. Short of creating a safety hazard, that’s one of the worst errors in product design possible.

I tweeted to Tim Cook and emailed to their VP marketing, Phil Schiller, asking for a reasonable solution. I got a call back from a customer service agent explaining that I was out of warranty and there was nothing they could do. She did note that since my keyboard was recently repaired, to go back to the store, because it would be under a 90 day warranty. I did do that, but the store said the 90 days relates to replacement of defective parts and they never replaced parts, just cleaned old parts.

I asked the store manager for a more reasonable solution than spending $400 for a 5 year old computer to replace a defective keyboard with an unreliable one. He offered me a 10% trade in towards a new computer, but admitted there is no MacBook with a reliable keyboard available, other than the 16 inch heavy.

After a very civil conversation, he offered to replace the keyboard and not do the normal checkup of the rest of the computer as part of their service. Cost: $175.


by Phil Baker