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Persistence pays off as customer gets new G4 cube
(IDG) -- Kevin Pedraja has become the "poster child" for the concept that persistence pays off. Three weeks' worth of efforts to get a replacement for his visually marred G4 Cube netted him a personal call from Apple CEO Steve Jobs, and a new machine. His new Cube has the same cracks as the old one, but this time, he said he'll keep it.
Pedraja told MacWEEK that he originally ordered his Cube early in August. When it arrived late that month, he'd already seen mentions on Mac message boards that the outer enclosure was prone to cracking or stress fractures. He inspected his closely and found what he described as "a small scratch that appeared to be on the inside of the plastic, just below and to the right of the Apple logo."
Noting that he'd paid a premium for the Cube "largely because of its aesthetic appeal," he said he was nevertheless willing to let it go because the scratch wasn't too noticeable. However, a day after bringing the computer home, he said noticed two new, larger cracks, one beginning inside the DVD-ROM slot, the other running down the rear from the cooling slot.
A feature or a bug?
Pedraja said that he proceeded to speak to three separate Apple tech and customer support people for a total of more than an hour and a half. All assured him that the cracks were "not a defect," but were instead "manufacturing seams." However, by the end of his calls, they had agreed to ship him a new external case, even going so far as to issue him a confirmation number.
When the unit hadn't arrived in ten days, he again called customer support, only to discover something had fallen between the cracks, so to speak. "I was told that I wouldn't be getting a new case after all, because the cracks weren't really a defect ... and that 'every Cube has them.' So, like a good consumer, I went postal." He demanded that he be allowed to return the machine for a full refund.
Two hours later, he said, he received a call from an Apple customer relations specialist. "He repeated what I'd heard before, namely that 'every Cube has the same scratches.' But he also said that engineering and manufacturing (were) aware of the problem," and that he could only offer sympathy and a refund. Pedraja said he then told the Apple rep that he was in the process of writing a letter to Steve Jobs. The rep's reply? "Good, they need to hear about this."
Jobs steps in
So, on September 7, Pedraja faxed a letter of complaint to Steve Jobs, threatening to take his comments public if no action was taken. Then, early this week, he received what he described as a cordial call from the CEO, who promised him a new Cube in exchange for the original unit.
Pedraja said he was "very surprised" by the call, and thinks the effort shows that "Jobs is unique among CEOs. Can you imagine Michael Dell making this kind of call? I don't think so."
How about the new unit? "It has the same cracks in the same places," Pedraja said, "but I'm keeping it." As for Apple: "The bottom line is that I'm hoping Apple gets this straightened out. I think they'll do the right thing and fix the plastics."
Apple representatives were not available for comment about Pedraja's conversation with Jobs or the cracks in Cube enclosure.
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