Non-Lightroom-Related Consumer Alert

I know this one isn’t Lightroom related but its an interesting story I felt like I should share since there may be others affected by it. About 18 months ago I bought an Apple Time Capsule. Well, two days ago I woke up and it was turned off. No life whatsoever. I did my hi-tech repairs on it (switched the power cable from one outlet to another) and still nothing.

So I did some research that night and found an article released about 2 weeks ago talking about time capsules going belly-up after 18 months. The article actually called out the power supply as being the culprit. After a little poking around I found some one who mentioned that Time Capsules are covered under the Applecare warranty for your computer. See, I have Applecare on my Mac Book Pro, but not on the Time Capsule so I thought this could be good news for me.

So I called Apple. The woman on the phone took my Applecare info (for my laptop) and indeed said that it should be covered, but to bring it into a store. Now, you should know something about me. I am SOOOO not an Apple geek. I avoid the Apple store at all costs. I don’t watch the Apple keynotes and honestly could care less about the latest Apple gossip. I like their products though. So I took my Time Capsule into the store last night totally not knowing I was supposed to make an appointment (who makes an appointment to go to a retail electronics store right?). I got there to find they had no appointments left for the night. But I had driven almost 30 minutes to get there so she said they’d fit me in. After waiting an hour (I got some blog posting and forum surfing done while waiting so it went by pretty quick) I was able to see some one.

He took my info and I informed him that I had Applecare for my laptop so this should be covered. He said that was true only if they were both purchased on the same receipt. Well I started screaming and making a scene and… just kidding. I was very polite through the whole thing and he was extremely patient and helpful. I did ask him to pull out the Applecare agreement. We found the area in question and sure enough it mentions nothing about the “same receipt”. He went back to his manager (who said the “same receipt thing” too by the way) and showed him and he couldn’t believe it either.

In the end, a quick call to Apple got my Time Capsule added to my laptop’s Applecare warranty. They didn’t have any in stock so I’ll probably have to wait a day or two to get a new one. And no, they didn’t just give me a new power supply. In fact, they never found an extra power supply to try out on my Time Capsule so I don’t really even know if that was the culprit or not.

Moral of the story… If you’re an Apple user check your Applecare agreement. You’d be surprised about what you’ll find in there amongst the babbling lawyer talk. Heck, if you get any kind of warranty agreement, give it a read. I know I will from now on.

Author: Matt K

Matt is a full time Education Director for the NAPP and Kelby Training. He's a best-selling author of various books on Photoshop and Photography co-hosts the live weekly photography talk show "The Grid" and is co-host of "Photoshop User TV". In his spare time he practices as a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo and enjoys spending time with his family in Tampa, FL.

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13 Comments

  1. I know what you mean about agreements. I used to handle billing disputes for a cell phone company in the 90s and you’d be surprised with the things I was expected to do in defense of company bottom line and the Terms of Agreement was like my shield and sword.

    My most vivid interaction was with a woman who used her cell phone while it was on vacation plan. Which if you use the phone during that time it costs per min. She ran up a $3,000 bill. She was given misinformation and I truly believed a rep gave her misinformation but I couldn’t get anyone to admit to it, there was nothing in her account notes what she was told and the kicker was in the letter pleading her case she mentioned “I thought or assumed”

    And there is a line in the Terms of Agreements that stated that “Company is not liable for customer’s thoughts, assumptions or omissions.”

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  2. Hi Matt,

    I called Apple this morning after reading your post. Ended up talking with someone in the Airport/TC department. He said Apple has not released an official announcement, so he could do nothing about it. While I was on the phone I pulled up a Apple Discussion that has 159 replies with the latest being today. He said this does not matter too, but informed me since I have 2 years under my MacPro warranty the the TC will be covered. Good new in a way, it can be replaced if it goes south, but hope I do not need the backup during that time… Do you have any ideas on getting this replaced? I met you at one the lightroom tours last december. Alway enjoy your blog, keep up the good work..

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  3. Matt,

    I had a hard drive failure in my 6 month old 24 ” IMac. Apple took care of everything, but the Time Capsule was instrumental in restoring my computer exactly as it was before the crash.

    I guess I need to make sure it is added to my Apple Care.

    Joe

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  4. Sounds like the built-in end-of-life timer, if I had to guess. Why is it that Apple products tend to go at specific intervals? Bummer dude.

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  5. The power supplies on many external drives are pretty suspect. If you look a the price of an external drive and subtract out the cost of the disk inside, you get a pretty good sense of the quality of the case, power supply and software. For desktop users, I highly recommend just installing an extra drive in your machine (my crazy setup here) and for laptop users, looking into a high quality NAS. Having an undependable backup device kinda defeats the purpose.

    BTW: the whole scheduling time with a “Genius” is a little odd now that you mention it.

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  6. Where you able to take the dead one home? I wouldn’t be comfortable leaving my data in the hands of strangers, even if the drive was “dead”.

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  7. I am an Apple user and love their products, but your story here about your Time Capsule failure is why I chose to get a separate Apple Airport Extreme and plug an external hard disk drive into the USB port. Yes, it’s bulkier, but it isolates my hard disk drive (which will fail at some point) from my wireless router. If I can separate things and mitigate downtime from component failures, then I am better off. Thanks for sharing this info about AppleCare also.

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  8. Those in the EU might care to now that, warranty or no warranty, consumer items are expected to have a “cost appropriate” lifespan, and it seems like this is being defined at about 2 years for anything non-trivial. You’ll have to do some digging to get the details I’m afraid (try the bbc or moneysavingexpert sites) but it might be worth it.

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  9. I’d like to send you a starbucks card. I too had a 16 mos old router time capsule that suddenly went belly up. I was about to rip that sucker open and retrieve the drive but thru divine providence I saw your post and had the requisite macBook pro on applecare. I went in Sunday to present my story and the genius said no problem …….. all I needed was the unit and cord and my apple care number and it will be here Tues. Thanks, you saved me $500 and the new ones are not refurbished. Did I really pay $500 ? next time I’ll just attach a 1tb drive via usb

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  10. When you call the Applecare support and they say it’s covered and to take it to a store, make sure to get an a case number and use that at the store. It almost always results in a straight walk into the back and come out with a new one, hardly any questions asked.

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  11. This exact thing happened to me a couple of weeks ago – and I can say that Im happy I live in a northern European country where the consumer laws give me all the rights I could ever dream of – 5 years expected lifespan on all electronic purchases.

    My TC was delivered to my local Apple Store, and no more than 1 week later I received a new one – at no cost.

    American consumers should demand better juridical protection for such purchases as most European countries have today. A TC should be able to survive its 2nd year birthday…

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  12. We started having trouble with our time capsule a couple of weeks before the warranty was up. We took it in on the last day of the warranty and the manager handed us a brand new one. No appointment, no questions. I left that place loving Apple, but after reading your story, they must have also been experiencing lots of problems or complaints to replace it so quickly.

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  13. Only just found your site today, so don’t know if you will even read this but I have one word for you; Drobo

    I have a drobo storage system and it is leaps and bounds above anything else. Drives can be replaced hot (meaning while the unit is on) you can add more space or upgrade existing disks without having inturption. There is even a module unit you can buy to turn it into a NAS(network access device) I do my timemachine backups to this using the great addon ‘backupmyfruit’ and I have no problems.

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