So, here’s the story.
I bought, with excitement, the new Apple TV in October last year.
In fact, I pre-ordered it online. But a week after release it was still on order. No sign of delivery any time soon.
No worries, I was in Glasgow and popped into the Apple store one day,
“Got an Apple TV?” I asked wistfully.
“Actually, yes, 10 arrived about an hour ago, you’re in luck.”
Cautiously I advised that I had an online order, unfulfilled,
“Don’t worry sir you can cancel it.” (I think, in retrospect they could and should have done that on my behalf instore.)
I went home to cancel , only to find it had been despatched, when it arrived I had to take it back to the Apple store, unopened, for a refund.
It was refunded. Without a great deal of grief, although unbeknown to me they took back the shop sale, meaning the receipt I had was for the online product.
So, moving on. I now have a shiny new Apple TV.
But, every time I tried to demonstrate the wonder of this amazing invention to my pals it took, like, at least an hour to load my computer library.
I never actually used it, not once, because it’s, frankly, crap if you have a big music or photo library on your mac.
I have both.
Two days ago I gave up, phoned the Apple store and asked if I could take it back for a refund.
“yes” the manager said, I could. For cash.
So I did.
Thereafter ensued a bit of a trauma. It took over half an hour for me to establish that the return had been approved by the manager, for cash.
At first the sales assistant disbelievingly went to check with the manager and came back to say I could get a gift voucher to the value of the product.
“No, sorry.” I said.
Cash, my cash, had been spent on the product, and as, in my view, Apple TV is not fit for purpose I demanded it back.
He crumbled and relented (for me that suggests that the manager had gone for an initial fob off on the gift vouchers).
Thereafter, many, many attempts (and many, many staff) were involved in disentangling the fact that my receipt was for a purchase from the Apple Store online at the same price as the Apple Store on terra firma.
In the end the deed was done.
I was, ultimately satisfied.
So, what does this say about Apple?
Actually, in my view, a lot of positive things.
Despite the shambolic process they honoured an agreement to replace a four month old technology purchase without any real gripes. They accepted that the customer’s view of the efficacy of the product may be wildly wrong, but he is actually the customer.
They, reluctantly, and with great difficulty, crossed distribution channels, albeit the same price, product and firm. But they did.
Overall, I feel good about the Apple attitude, but the experience was pretty rank.