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Consulting|Technology|International business

Apple care protection plan

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I have my MacBook insured for accidental damage (similar to the DELL Complete Cover protection plan that I had for my DELL desktop) by a PSU insurance provider. This AppleCare protection plan (APP) provided by Apple Singapore is an addition to that and there are technical differences in the type of protection/cover the device gets.

By the way, I have bought ALL of my electronic gadgets with this warranty cover and have even benefited multiple times with my DELL desktop Vostro tower with it’s CompleteCover warranty so I know the value of this – also, I learnt what it is to not insure an expensive electronic gadget the hard way when my iPhone (which was not covered by water damage) was rendered totally useless last December (2008).

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When I inquired from my insurance provider for these mobile gadgets, they only insure extreme damages such as water damage, electricity or fire damage etc. – they do not cover a valid hardware fault within the MacBook etc.

I immediately hastened to purchase a package from Apple (I am told I can do this only when my MacBook is under the first year warranty and after my iPhone fiasco 7 months ago, I had no interest in taking any chances with warranty invalidity (in that case, water damage!)).  Recently, my uncle had bought a Toshiba notebook in the US last year and it did not have a global warranty and his adapter  malfunctioned due to which he has to now wait for a replacement costing nearly Rs. 3000 and shipped from the US (add logistics cost to this). I had inquired if Toshiba notebook peripherals are available in Bangalore last week at many places including eZone, local dealers and even Staples on my way back from office to home but they all replied in the negative. Well, with Apple, it is something similar. These manufacturers have not built up a strong enough reseller network and it is quite niche so replacement spare parts are hard to come up unless you go in for warranty and extended warranty plans such as the one I went in for now. I also have a great history of my gadgets either being lost, damaged or simply deemed inoperable (with my recent BlackBerry Bold replacement free of cost!) so this was a valid buy for me (albeit a LOT of thought process went into it – cost/benefit point of view since I was paying a LOT of money for this simple utility item).

Having done all this due diligence, I went to the Reliance iStore that deals exclusively with Apple products to purchase the AppleCare Protection Plan. They opened a new sealed box in front of me and keyed in the entries on my MacBook to register it online but to their (and my) dismay, that particular Protection plan agreement number was already taken! We do not know how this was possible! The store assistant immediately placed a call to AppleCare in Singapore (most of Apple support happens from Singapore for APAC region) and they had a long conversation where they placed that pack separately and were discussing how that was possible – it is between the reseller store and the manufacturer. Even I spoke to that support person at the other end and asked for a brand new sealed pack (from Apple and the Reliance iStore Manager) since I did not want to take chances with the protection plan. The store guys had not yet billed me so they provided me with a new sealed pack and we repeated the process of registration and this time, it went through – flawlessly!

Coming to the AppleCare protection plan itself, here is how it works:

1. Any hardware defect, manufacturing defect etc., keyboard etc., adapter etc. at the manufacturer’s end would be replaced free of cost by Apple in the 2.5 years left on the warranty period of the MacBook.

2. This warranty is a global warranty – valid anywhere in the world at any Apple authorized reseller/service center.

3. I got the warranty certificate by email yesterday and the store assistant was kind enough to login to their Apple Intranet exchange server to show me that my MacBook Apple Protection Plan was indeed activated.

While the cost of all of Apple products is quite exorbitant (this AppleCare protection plan does not come cheap – it cost me almost Rs. 13100 or $280, it’s probably something that is worth it as a replacement of a simple circuit board or a motherboard would cost almost Rs. 35000-Rs. 40000 or $850 (this is what the store assistants told me).

I tend to believe them as spare parts are always more expensive than the bundled package taken together. ex: the battery for my MacBook (outside of warranty) costs $120, the power adapter costs almost $80 or Rs. 4000!

This AppleCare protection plan is prorated – I can choose to stop the subscription and receive a prorated refund; if need be.

By the way, since we are on the topic of insurance for computers and peripherals, I also renewed the insurance and warranty on my DELL desktop bought in 2007 for another 2 years last month for about Rs. 6500.

Both of these schemes cover free telephone technical support as well along with the hardware warranty.

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Written by Naveen Athresh

July 3, 2009 at 9:54 am

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