by Fred Condo -- CONDOF@CGSVAX.CLAREMONT.EDU
Recently, my Apple CD-ROM drive's eject mechanism failed. The warranty had expired. I took it to my authorized Apple dealer for service. The technician there identified a gear, whose cost he estimated to be $5, as the faulty part.
Apple, however, absolutely refuses to sell its dealers anything but the entire drive mechanism (that is everything except the power supply and case), whose cost is approximately $500. This cost is borne by the customer.
A call to 800/SOS-APPL, Apple's hotline, put me in touch with Scott, a polite young man who confirmed that Apple would not sell parts, but only the entire "module," which in this case is virtually the whole unit. Scott cited a corporate concern Apple had about complex inventories as its corporate reason for this policy.
Scott politely took a formal complaint from me to be forwarded to Apple management.
The Macintosh is a great product. It deserves to be backed by a fair and reasonable service parts policy.
Meanwhile, my friendly local Apple service technician is scouring the Earth for someone who will break the conspiracy and sell him the contraband $5 gear. If I sound a little bitter, I suppose I am, as any consumer would be in the face of a bald-faced corporate scam by a company he used to respect. For the $500 Apple wants me to pay for a $5 gear, I could easily buy a new CD-ROM drive. [Admittedly, at least you could get a better drive for the money, not that that's any consolation. -Adam]
I will even concede that Apple's "modules-only" policy may make sense for purely electronic modules such as motherboards. It does not make sense, however, for mechanical devices such as CD-ROM drives, as their mechanical components are subject to higher failure rates, by their very nature, than are electronics with no moving parts.
If you disagree with Apple's policy, I hope you call their 800 number or write them to let them know (politely, of course) that their policy is wrong. I also suggest avoiding the purchase of Apple peripherals with moving parts until their blatantly unfair and rapacious repair policy is rescinded. If this policy has caused you substantial, unfair costs, I hope you will join me in reporting it to your local consumer protection authority (in California, the Department of Consumer Affairs). Please also report your experience as I have on the net. Perhaps public embarrassment over a patently anti-customer policy will sway them to alter it.