My MBP battery replacement saga

Late in February, I noticed that my MacBook Pro (13”, Early 2015) “teetered” while I was typing on a flat surface. I checked it on a couple different surfaces and confirmed that there was a bulge in the bottom of the case. Having read that a bulging battery can constitute a hazard, I brought it in to my local Apple Store for a battery replacement.

Upon checking my serial number, the Genius told me I wasn’t eligible for a free replacement. I asked, incidentally, whether Apple was still fixing delaminated screens for free, as they had done for a while. I was told that program had ended, and I could pay for a new screen. The delamination wasn’t affecting me while using the device so I declined. I was given a price of $199 and told it would take “3-5 business days” for the battery replacement. I accepted.

I received email notices from Apple that my repair had been logged, and later, that my device had arrived. The status didn’t update for a few days.

Eight business days after dropping off, I received a call from the store to inform me they couldn’t replace the battery because it had a third-party SSD in it, and they couldn’t warranty the repair. Yes, I had replaced the SSD a couple years ago. In order to be able to proceed with the repair, it would now cost $750 (presumably to replace the SSD as well). I expressed my displeasure and declined.

Two days later I received a call from the store (different person) to tell me my computer had arrived and I could come in to pick it up. I had a few days to stew about this, and proceeded to (politely- really!) express my disappointment (I had researched my options - I did NOT want to deal with a glued-in battery, nor did I want to drop over $2,000 on a new machine). I asked if I could drop the old SSD back in and try again (yes, he told me he would try that). The Apple Store employee listened to my complaints about being without my MBP for another two weeks (I don’t pay for my shoes with this device, so it’s inconvenient, not critical, to be honest) with the usual empathy, and we concluded the call.

Fifteen minutes later, the same Apple Store employee (Noah at the Ridgedale store in MN!) called back. He told me they could do a “top case replacement” in the store, for the same $199, but couldn’t warranty the machine. Another 3-5 days. Sold!!

The next day I received a call telling me my MBP repair was complete and that I could pick it up. When I received it, I noticed that my stickers were gone. I asked about it, and the employee told me they must have replaced the display. Color me shocked. New display, new top case (includes battery and keyboard and probably some other stuff). I feel like I got 2/3 of a new machine!

I’m obviously happy with the outcome, but I’m left with two questions:

  1. Why didn’t they offer the in-store option right away?
  2. Why did I get a new display? I assume they did this when it was sent for repair, and not in the store. I was told they didn’t perform these repairs for free.
1 Like

Perhaps they didn’t have the top case for your machine in stock when you brought it in. I took my 2013 15" MBP in a couple of years ago for the same bulge issue after phone support assured me that they would be able to fix it in store. When I got there I was told that they “go through a lot of these” and were temporarily out of stock. Umm… Doesn’t Apple excel at supply chain management and shouldn’t you have known that? So they had to send it out. Add another $30 (I think it was) to the cost - although that did mean that it came back with a warranty. I wasn’t happy to have to leave it - both for the extra repair time and because the closest Apple Store is a 3 to 4 hour round trip drive. And no, they won’t ship it back to you if you bring it in.

I also got a long lecture about was a horrible customer I was for having dared to open the machine to investigate the problem (not exaggerating). I’d needed to remove the third party SSD anyway since I’d suspected that would complicate repairs. I think that he was looking for an excuse to refuse to take it but in the end was told by his management that he couldn’t do that.

I was very unhappy with the interaction and with the whole process.

They offer this, at least in the US stores I’ve worked with.

I asked. They refused. That made no sense to me. Perhaps I should have taken it up with the manager.

1 Like

Here in the US… if Apple repairs your computer in-store, ship to customer is not a normal option. If your computer is sent to the Repair Service Center (referred to as Depot), they offer to Ship to Customer or Store. If you call AppleCare and request self service, they will ship a box for you to package your computer in. You then drop it off at a FedEx location and after the repair is completed, it is shipped back to you.

It is shame that you were treated the way you were by that technician. And YES, you should have brought a Manager into that conversation. That being said… some customers think they live on Mount Olympus and “How dare this mere mortal” question my skills with a pentalobe driver? That is a fine line for both parties to walk sometimes.

1 Like