So, readers of my blog know I ordered an iMac and a Mac Pro on July 9. A month later, Apple announces a brand-new iMac and a new version of iLife. The new iMac most equivalent to the one I ordered is more powerful (better processor, larger hard drive and better video card) and $260 cheaper. The new iLife has substantial new features that my version of iLife doesn’t have. This, of course, is a little painful to this gadget geek, knowing that I ordered just before brand-new goodies came out. Time to call the highly acclaimed Apple customer service department…
I got a very friendly representative on the phone and explained my situation. She looked up my rather sizeable order, and clarified what it was that I was looking for: free upgrades to the new version of iLife for both computers, and some consideration on the price I paid for my iMac. She then did me one better on the iMac, wondering if I might be interested in simply exchanging my iMac for a new one, along with a price credit for the difference. This was even better than I’d originally hoped for, so I said that would be terrific. After consulting with her manager, that ended up being the agreement: basically, I would return my iMac for a full refund and order a new iMac, which would come with the new iLife and a price difference. She was also going to send me the new version of iLife for my Mac Pro, free of charge.
I was totally satisfied, and all ready to write a blog post on how Apple’s customer service ruled. Then came the kicker: in returning my iMac, there would be a 10% restocking fee, which works out to about $170. This was because my iMac was a custom configuration, and was ordered before July 19, the cutoff date after which they would have made the exchange complimentary. That seems like a pretty tight window of opportunity to me (I only received my computer on July 14, after all, and today is only August 10, less than one month after receipt), and I have to admit the restocking fee lets some of the air out of the tires. I’m still going to save about $100, and get the newest computer along with the newest iLife for free, so I guess I shouldn’t complain. But what had seemed like a perfect customer service call turned into merely a good customer service call, which was a little anti-climatic when all was said and done.
Am I wrong to feel a little deflated? Is this better than any other computer company would have done for me? Probably, but I was hoping for just a little more, the proverbial extra mile. The free iLife upgrade is a good deal; they didn’t have to do that if they didn’t want to, so I’m pleased they did. But the iMac exchange…I could have done that myself without calling customer service, so that doesn’t feel like anything special. I’ll probably go through with that, since it does shave $100 off the order and gives me an even better computer, but it would have been nice to have had the restocking fee waived – that’s something I couldn’t do for myself without the help of customer service.