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Computer problems – a neverending story

A couple of days ago I blogged about the problems with my Apple Powerbook, and the very bad service I got. The problem has in the meantime been solved, but certainly not to my satisfaction. The Apple store in Hong Kong where I bought my Powerbook seems to have replaced the orginal harddisk when I bought the laptop (that is what caused the warranty problems when it broke down). Even though I called the store many times I never received an answer from them. They kept saying that they had to check with Apple and would call me back. The last call I made was last week Monday, when they told me they would call me back within one day. That is 10 days ago now and I still have no reaction. I already had a problem with them once before when they ‘forgot’ to install the airport card (wireless card) in my computer before shipping it to me. I will never buy an Apple laptop in Hong Kong at the Designer Group Company in Causeway Bay anymore. They claim to have received the worldwide best Apple store award in 1999 and 2000 – but they are not performing up to that standard anymore.

The Apple service center in Shanghai is not much better. They forgot to call me when they figured out what the problem with my computer was and I am still in conflict with them on how to compensate me for the problems they caused me (their current offer: a free keyboard cover and an bag). After two weeks without my computer I decided to switch back to Windows and bought a BenQ laptop. Nice computer, but of course not an Apple. The quality is just not the same, the laptop looks and feels cheaper and the specifications are much lower than my powerbook (only max. 512 MB internal memory to 1.25 GB for my Apple – even though my Apple is over a year old already). But it is quite nice to finally be able to use Windows only software like Gtalk, Google Earth and a regular version of Skype.

Anyway, the BenQ worked well for a few days… Until the mousepad started having problems and one USB port did not work correctly. I went back to the store, where they tested it but could not find anything wrong (in German this is called the Vorfuehreffekt – not sure if there is an English expression for it). So today I went to the service center. They wanted to keep my computer for 4 days for a detailed check, but I told them to first run a quick check. Luckily I did that, because it turned out there are some serious hardware problems. But they solved it nicely: tomorrow I will get a brand new computer (and my harddisk will be replaced so I do not need to reinstall all software). Apple should learn from them!

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  1. It’s a shame you were having all those problems with your apple laptop. In most situations problems on a Mac can be easily resolved given the right knowledge. The situation you experienced was probably a case of people not knowing what they were doing. You should consider going back to your powerbook, it really is a better solution for most instances, except in some exceptions when you have to use windows specific software.

    Anyway, i wanted to ask you if there was a large user base of Apple in china, or shanghai specifically?

    I am thinking of working either in shanghai or hong kong, and my background is service and support for apple and mac os based environments.

    Could i make a living out of supporting macs in shanghai/hong kong? Assuming I did an exceptional job, what are the typical charges a computer company charges for mac servicing? eg. cost per hour.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

  2. @ global fugitive: I do like Apple much better than Windows, the problem is that the service is not up to standard. I cannot afford to be without my laptop, my business depends on it, so if they cannot improve their service I will not continue to use Apple.

    There is not a very big Apple community in Shanghai. Most people using it are either foreigners who brought their machinese with them, or people in the ad industry.

    Pricewise, I spend about 50 RMB per hour (USD 6) for an excellent, English speaking Apple repair guy (hard- and software). He works for an Apple repair company and he is doing a good job. Problem is that he cannot do warranty jobs.

    HK is probably a better option in terms of users and fees.

    Hope this helps a bit.


  3. @Dreas: I am not a big fan of Dell’s design, it it just too standard. Furthermore, they are too expensive compared to local Chinese brands. BenQ has nice designs and an excellent screen, so I went for that. Price of my 14″ Joybook S72 is about EUR 1100 (with bigger HD and extended memory). It even comes with a remote control if you want to use it as a DVD player or for PPT presentations.

    In the China Bay office we use Dell desktop computers and they work well. However, once we had a problem with all of them (a power surge killed them all), and it took days to get it solved. I think that Dell’s service differs from country to country, and that China is not a priority for them because of heavy competition.

  4. Hi, my MacBook just died today and apparently it is due to a hardware problem. Could you forward me the name of your apple repair guy in shanghai? It will save me the trip to Beijing tomorrow … Thanks!! 138172six1639