Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Annoying. My iPod is causing me all sorts of stress and anxiety.

Background: I got an iPod (the really cool U2 special editions one. And it's not so much that I needed a U2 iPod -- I'm a fan, but not that kind of fan -- but I definitely needed a black iPod) for my birthday back in August. It is my constant companion at the gym and whenever I get the all-too-rare opportunity to go shopping by myself. It was doing just fine for a while, but then, back in December it started locking up on me during usage. Hard drive was going bad. It would sort of hang for a while. Then it would refuse to restart and I'd get the "Sad iPod" image, but I found that if I tapped it on the side it would usually get itself up and running within a few tries. However, it became progressively worse, and I finally decided to put in a service request at the beginning of this month.

The request went swimmingly: I was suitably impressed with how smoothly the process went. They sent a nice little overnight shipping box to me that arrived the very next day. I sent them the iPod. The diagnosed it, said it needed to be replaced (duh) and sent me a "new" one -- "new" in that it could be new, or it could be a refurbished unit. I honestly don't care. Just so long as the damn thing works, right?

Yeah, well, there's the catch. I get the new iPod, and after a few busy days I get around to plugging it in overnight to charge so I can use it the next day, and lo and behold ....

Almost no battery charge the next morning. It dies within 25 minutes of starting to use it. I try to charge it again, this time by leaving it plugged in all day at work. Same result. Sigh. So, this happens on a Thursday, I do another service request the next day, and within a couple of days get another nice overnight package to ship this latest iPod back for service, diagnosis, and replacement. Several days later, I get a notification that yet another iPod will be shipped to me. And Friday it arrived.

I plugged it in, noted that it charged up nicely. Hooray!

I plugged it into my computer, updated the firmware, and then loaded about 10GB of music onto it. Hooray!

And then, yesterday morning, I went to use it at the gym and ... hrrrm. It seems to like to spontaneously restart when I use the click wheel for anything. Adjust the volume, sometimes it makes it louder, sometimes it stops working and reboots. Navigate menus, sometimes it works, sometimes it stops working and reboots. Skip a track, sometimes it skips ahead, sometimes it stops working and reboots.

Unreal. Two iPods, meant to replace a defective unit, that should never have made it past QA. Either I'm astonishingly lucky (or unlucky, perhaps) or their QA of refurbs is essentially worthless. I have to assume these are refurbs, because the likelihood of 2 defective units going to the same customer fresh from the production line is almost nil -- and if for some reason it's not almost nil then Apple will wind up going out of business real soon now. All these shipping charges are adding up, and by now they have certainly not made any money on my particular purchase.

So, anyway, last night I'm on the phone to them, waiting and waiting and waiting. I hate using phone support, but I really want them to make sure that this is the last time I have to do this damn dance. After a while I get a kinda grumpy service guy, we walk through the reset/restore/test process (again: this is exactly what I'd done 3 times earlier in the day), he says it sound like it need to be replaced. I ask if he can kick off the replacement process on his end so I don't have to go through the web page crap and he says no. I say thanks, head to the web page enter my info and ....

Now they want me to pay shipping. Because now, after nearly a month of trying to get my defective iPod, purchased back in August, replaced with a functional one, I am now a couple of days past the 6 months mark in my 1 year warranty, after which you are responsible for shipping the unit back and forth. To the tune of $32 or so.

And that just ain't gonna happen. This wouldn't be happening if they would just send me a functional replacement iPod ferchrissakes!

So, it's back on the phone. This time, after about 15 minutes of hold time I get a nice service gal who is very sympathetic to my plight. She pulls up the case info, sees what's going on, agrees that there's no reason I should be paying for the shipping in this case, and tries to put the order through for me. But of course, the freakin' system won't let her do it. She needs to bump me to a shift supervisor.

And needless to say, they all left at 5:00. So I'll need to call tomorrow. Lots of apologies and sympathies, yet another note in the service file regarding the status of this particular product debacle. I'll be calling them again in about 20 minutes, once it crosses over to 9:00AM PST. So I waits and sees.

Mood: Grumpy
Now Playing: Fall Out Boy, "From Under the Cork Tree"

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