As Edu says in our conversations at Slack (messenger used by the team at MacMagazine), I must be a beloved person on Apple's support, due to the use and abuse of the company's services.
In this time of social isolation and several closed businesses, I believe that I managed to use a good part of the Apple support options available, either for a product of mine or those of people close to me.
Here in Brazil, I usually go to Apple Morumbi (in So Paulo) to solve my problems with the company's products; but with it closed, I had to explore alternatives.
Telephone hardware support
My brother came up with a problematic Apple Watch. As we still had AppleCare +, we called the company's 0800 number, explained the problem and they said that a more detailed investigation would be necessary, since the Apple Watch did not call.
It was super-simple: the attendant generated a service order that came with instructions to send the watch by Post to Apple which, after a few days, sent us a new watch.
Free shipping to Apple; you just need to be responsible for properly packing the product and printing the proofs that Apple sends by email to put inside and outside the box. If you leave to use the post office box, it will be charged only shipping and return of the product are paid by Apple.
Telephone software support
A colleague began to complain about the slow iPhone and battery life. Just call Apple's 0800 number to get some data from the device and send a link to my colleague to authorize a remote phone diagnosis.
With the result obtained, they made the necessary adjustments to solve the problem. This is an option that many people are unaware of and waste time going to stores / authorized to solve simple things.
Support for hardware that is not sold in Brazil, such as HomePod
For hardware that is not sold in Brazil, I usually call 1-800-MyApple via Skype (because it is free) to try to solve problems with them directly.
Support in English or, with luck, you can try someone who speaks Spanish and, very lucky, try to ask for someone who speaks Portuguese; but I already notice that it is not so simple. As I manage reasonably well in English, gringo support is always an interesting option for some more serious problems.
My HomePod just stopped working. As I have AppleCare +, the attendant tried to do some procedures to see if it was something that could be solved over the phone, but it was not the case. So, the option would be as simple as it was in the case of the Apple Watch in Brazil, but only if I were / lived in the United States was it only by sending the postal service there that they would send me a new one.
As is not the case, we leave a note in the system explaining that I was out of the country and that there are no flights available at this time of the pandemic, and that at the first opportunity (when I return to the USA), I will contact support so that they try to make an exception, that is, if AppleCare + has already expired.
The attendant was still friendly and tried to see if he could make an exception for me to send the product directly from Brazil, but it didn't work. An interesting point here is that the clerk was working from home until we had the opportunity to talk a little about the situation of isolation for them, in the USA, and here in Brazil.
Hardware support at an authorized company (So Paulo)
As I mentioned at the beginning, I usually go straight to the Apple store here in So Paulo, as I consider differentiated service and that respects some of the main points of the company's culture, I would venture to say that some of the attendants there still bring the “essence” of the old Apple , which was trying to make the customer have the best experience possible.
I even have the option of using authorized ones closer to my home, but normally I don't have luck with the service for a number of reasons (the three main ones are: service, knowledge and lack of availability of products in stock).
It is worth remembering that my opinion is based on my experiences, and this cannot be generalized, many are authorized in Brazil and I do not believe that all of them are like this; however, I used a lot of third-party support a lot and, almost every time, I had some kind of problem.
In this specific case, it was to change the screen of my wife's MacBook Pro, which gave the famous problem of wear of the protective “film” already reported a few times here on MM.
I made the appointment by 0800 from Apple Brazil to take an authorized one, and I was recommended to call before going, to confirm if it was really scheduled. I already thought this was strange, but given this phase of social isolation, I thought it might even be prudent to ensure that they were not closed.
I called the day and, after the phone rang a lot, an answering machine answered me. I could have answered on the first ring, since he was a robot. Only after speaking a text of the attendance schedules, the rob transferred me to someone who confirmed my appointment.
Arriving at the place, I was relatively calm. I was not yet in that phase that everyone should wear masks, but the place already provided alcohol-gel for those who were waiting, and the service desks were far from each other.
We created the service order and the first problem: I was told that, because it is a MacBook Pro (2017 model), it would be faster because they had easier parts, and in 2-3 business days they would solve it. When the service order arrived by email, a much longer deadline came (which, in fact, turned out to be the correct one).
Second problem: while we were creating the service order, I saw several products on display, including a HomePod. This caught my attention, as I knew that it was not officially sold in Brazil. I then asked the attendant if they supported HomePod; he said yes it was just me taking the product, as I did with the computer.
Luckily, I had my HomePod's serial number on my cell phone (in a photo) and asked him if I could pass on that information, open the service order, and then send the HomePod through some delivery service to not have to go home and come back.
As he did not know if it could be a third party to deliver the equipment, he went to get this debt off. Another person reported that they did not support HomePod.
After almost two weeks, I received an email telling me to go and remove the computer that was ready. As soon as I received the email, I told my wife and we organized to go to the store to get it. I got there, gave the service order number and they handed me the computer in a plastic bag. I got in the car and went home.
When I got home, I opened the computer and, well, they hadn't even touched it. The Mac was having exactly the same problem, with the same spots. I called the store right away, explaining the problem, and they said I would have to go back there. The manager tried to argue, explaining that he sent an email then saying that the first email had been sent in error. Okay, but they still gave me back the computer, personally, without it being repaired, that is, they made two mistakes.
I tried to argue for them to come to my house to get the computer, but they said that this was not possible because of the value of the equipment. When I committed that this type of situation was that it gave me material to write and report my experiences with authorized persons, the service changed from water to wine. They quickly changed their minds when it came to picking up the Mac from my house, but I thought it best to take the computer myself.
When I left the Mac in attendance, I received some more apologies and, in less than 2h30, the computer was ready normally, they ask for 24 hours to be able to carry out all the necessary tests.
Still, the manager insisted on sending the computer to my home because of the inconvenience caused. I didn't want any special assistance, I just wanted everything to be solved correctly. For these and others, I prefer to face the lines of Apple Morumbi.
As a consumer, I would very much like to be able to count on the authorized ones, it would make my life a lot easier, since MorumbiShopping is far from my home. But I still haven't found a place that can have a bond of trust like the one I have with Apple.
What is your experience with Apple support in general? And in this phase of isolation, have you ever needed to use it? Comment below!