Apple lost my iPhone 8 Plus during repair: The horrific customer relations experience

I am an Apple fan! I absolutely LOVE apple. I think today there is only one brand I love more than Apple: Amazon. I am that person who has been switching phones every year, I own the latest and shiniest apple products: I have MacBook pros, Apple watch, iPads, etc… Heck, I give presentation on how the iPad supports learning.

This post is really one those that comes out of utter frustration like you must feel when the person you love and hold with the highest regard has betrayed you. I feel betrayed and I am in utter dismay by my ongoing experience.

I even googled ” Apple lost my phone” to see if anyone else was experiencing the same problem. Google thinks that I lost my iPhone, not Apple. Which one would obviously think. I have my own business, and I have always been interested in customer support and how you treat your customer will define you as a brand. I have learned from big brands like Apple and Amazon and how they have handled my own small customer problems, like when Apple printed my photo book wrong, they promptly refunded me the money on one phone call. Amazon has been even better! I absolutely LOVE AMAZON’s Customer service. Their customer service representatives have actual power to make decisions regarding refunds and changes and make determinations about the validity of a problem. Apple appears to lack this portion entirely. The funnel of problem resolution is in my opinion a mess! Let me get to the story:

My iPhone 8 had a cracked screen on the lower corner. I am going on vacation and decided it would be wise to get it fixed so I could have a great looking iPhone 8 Plus to take photos during my trip. My trip is scheduled for 12 days from the day I took the phone to the UPS store as Apple instructed me to do.  On Apple’s website, they say the turn around for a phone is 3 to 5 business days. Meaning: I would have my phone back by Friday may 8th, 2018.

I quickly knew something was wrong when four days after I sent my phone in, I got no change of notifications on the Apple tracking system. It still appeared as if I had never sent my phone in. However, the UPS has record that someone received the phone on June 2nd. But nothing else was done to the phone. Today 8 days later, the phone is nowhere to be found.

What amazes me is not the fact that Apple lost my phone. Heck they likely receive and process hundreds of phones daily.

However, they know that neither me or anyone else is attached to a SPECIFIC device. We just want to be able to have A PHONE. Guess who manufactures and sells phones exactly like mine: Apple!

The story goes: I call Wednesday and explained that I am going on a trip and  wanted to know what the status of the phone is. They have no idea and give the standard 3 to 5 business days ( even though it had already been 3 days and the iPhone had not even been checked in). That was a 45 minutes phone call.

Thursday: I call again and get transferred to customer relations, Markita, a very nice agent. But you quickly realize all she can do is send messages for someone to check on it. She has no power to actually DO anything. That was over one hour on the phone. At that point, I knew Apple had lost my phone and I told her I needed my phone back fixed or broken. She said: We will send your phone back no problem.

Friday: Markita is not available so I get assigned to speak with Megan. Megan is even nicer than Markita both with customer relations. Just like Markita, Megan had no power to do anything. She had no news on my phone, she escalated the problem ( whatever that means) and was saying ” if I don’t hear anything, I will find a way to get you a device”.

At this point I am very frustrated for spending 3 hours on the phone with Apple. Apple offers me no resolution. What I quickly learned on my call Saturday is that every time you call Apple and your assigned advisor is not available, they assign you a new advisor who takes over the case. This is how when I called on Saturday I was assigned a new advisor ” Monica”.  I didn’t get to talk to her much, and asked to speaker with her supervisor. That’s when thing really turned south when I spoke with ” Sharyn Ferrari”. Both her and me were having a very bad day: my son was in the hospital with my husband, I was calling Apple on Skype on my computer, and was already on hold for one hour with no information on my phone, no apologies and no solutions.

Now we going over four hours on the phone with Apple between holds to check on the phone with the update being absolutely nothing. Just when you don’t think Apple losing a phone, wasting 4 hours on the phone, no updates whatsoever. The senior advisor tells me ” We will have an investigation and it takes 10 business days”. That’s when you absolutely LOSE YOUR MIND.

That week my accounts got hacked, and now everything had two way authentication and I was locked out of my accounts because I didn’t have my phone to confirm I was the owner of those accounts. Of course, this is not Apple’s problem. However, if you are in the business of selling people a phone, and fixing that phone.  You would expect that they KNOW the value of people actually NEEDING a phone to call doctors, keep in touch with family members in emergency, GPS, etc… They list of what we use a phone for is endless.

The senior advisor was the worst at this, she showed zero empathy and willingness to resolve it. In my mind any half decent company that misplaces a $1000 worth device, would promptly offer solutions: A replacement phone or AT LEAST a loaner phone. None of this has been yet offered to me.

Since I am about to go on my vacation in two days, and I already missed business opportunities, doctor scheduling and lots of other unimaginable small daily life things I decide to go to the Apple store about 40 minutes out to see if a manager could help me.

Now, picture walking at an Apple store on a Saturday: PACKED! Luckily I immediately asked to speak to a manager and he came within a couple minutes. I am so glad I went there. The manager was kind, understanding and very surprised Apple has done nothing to resolve my problem. I am fully aware that he didn’t have to do anything to help me. But he did! The manage for the Apple Store at North Park Mall should be promoted! Of course, his resolution is still quite obscene: He offered me to buy a phone for the time being and he would waive the return deadline since I am going out of the country.

Yes, I put $1200 on my credit card, bought a phone like the one Apple lost and now I am taking the risk of losing money if anything happens to this phone. Because I need to return in mint conditions. However, I am very grateful that he waived the two weeks return policy. So, now I am able to access accounts, get to where I need be and take photos during my vacation.

Let’s pause for a second: Apple lost my phone, offers no resolution, I am forced to buy another phone. What kinda of customer relations is this?

I still love Apple and this makes it even more painful to be so publicly putting my story out.

Today, Sunday that senior advisor called again just to say ” I have no update”. Of course, I am in utter shock as to how poorly this woman handles things. I told her once again ” I am amazed how apple is not offering any resolution to this situation”. Her reply “You want an immediate resolution and there is nothing we can do. We have to see what happened to the phone and it is going to take 10 business days to complete the investigation”.

I did reply to her ” What is your definition of immediate?”

She replies ” You want your phone sent back right now.”

I responded that I have been wanting A phone, mine or any other for the past five days. In no book the definition of immediate is five days much less her 10 additional business days to conclude an investigation as to how they lost my phone.

The bottom line, I don’t care, and it is not my problem Apple lost my phone. But here we stand, with Apple having lost my phone and an extra $1200 charge on my card for a temporary phone and no resolution in sight.

Of course as I am going on a trip for a period of time, I imagine Apple will send me a phone, there won’t be anyone here to receive it, the phone will return to them and the saga will continue.

 

UPDATE: Monday, I called again. At least the duration of the call was better now just 30 minutes. Also, Bob is taking over my case, and he seems more interested in solving this. However, again he has NO POWER to do anything other than checking with the repair center, which has not done anything any good. So, bottom line here we go on day 9, no phone, no repair, no update, and I leave on my trip tomorrow.

 

 

 

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