Wow. I must put off the intended posting for a terrifying Tale of Customer Service, once again featuring the monstrous Apple zombie army.
This time the army was marching in support of a rampaging Frankenstein’s monster:
My laptop’s automatic Software Update program alerted me a little while ago that there was a security fix and Web browser update available. I began the process immediately, quitting the other programs I was running while the update made its way to my laptop. When it arrived and a message box told me to restart my computer, I restarted my computer.
When it was back up, taking all of a minute, I went to the Mail program, which is made by Apple. It didn’t work. I tried my Web browser, Safari, which is made by Apple. It also didn’t work. Going through the program Apple provides to help get users back on the Internet, I discovered that all of the stuff needed to connect a specific machine with its Internet service provider — the DNS numbers, IP addresses, PPPoE information and all those other incomprehensible acronyms and mysterious data — had disappeared.
I called Apple technical support, plunging deep into their policy horror.
If your product is within its AppleCare protection period, dealing with technical support is like being royalty, but when that time runs out — and the plan cannot be renewed — you’re a vulnerable villager, cast out and invited back inside to safety only briefly and only for $49.99 a pop. That is, each time you call with a question or problem, tech support must get that money before helping.
Even after I explained the situation, my tech support reps insisted on charging me the $49.99. I argued with the first guy, who transferred me to the second guy, and there it ended, with him insisting on the money and me insisting there was no way in hell I was going to pay Apple for creating a software update that wipes out Internet connection information. There is no appeal. I was hung up on.
Basically, I wanted to know from Apple whether my Internet connection information was buried somewhere on my computer where I could get at it and correct the problem. I also wanted the company to know I was upset by it unleashing an update that would do such a thing.
Little luck. The tech support rep just kept repeating that he would need my $49.99 before he could troubleshoot my problem, which could have been hardware, or software, or anything, really ... he wouldn’t know until he got my money. Having told them my story and reminded them that there was another computer in the house still connected to the same Internet router with no problem, I couldn’t believe they were still trying to suggest my problem could be mechanical or the result of an “existing software problem.” That it was their software anyway moved them not at all.
It was the software updates, you freaks. The software updates. It’s what changed from one minute to the next. The only thing. On my Apple laptop with the latest Apple operating system using Apple’s Web browser and Apple’s Mail program getting the latest Apple software updates at Apple’s suggestion. Before the update, the information was there; since the update, the information is gone. This is worth $49.99?
I was forced to bother the Internet service provider to get the information. For the record, the provider is XO.com. Very nice people who didn’t ask whether I was on some kind of protection plan or charge me any money. Very nice people who just gave me the information I needed, essentially saving me from an unprovoked attack of the Apple software updates while the Dr. Frankensteins at Apple, who let loose the monster, looked on in feigned helplessness:
“How can we correct what we did to you if you don’t give us your money?”