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Saturday, 20 October 2018

UPDATED - KEEP THE CUSTOMER SATISFIED? A RETAIL STORY - CASE CLOSED

On 25 November, 2016, I purchased a MacBook Air 13 inch from John Lewis online. After research, the reason I chose John Lewis was because of their 2-year guarantee.

Since the purchase, I have been the sole user.

Around the beginning of September, 2018, the MacBook's track pad (the in-built mouse) stopped working.

I took the MacBook to John Lewis, Sheffield and reported the problem to the technical support department. They recorded the problem, gave me a receipt and said they would send the MacBook to their repair centre.

At the end of September, I received a phone call from someone at the repair centre who said they had investigated the problem and they had found liquid damage inside the MacBook which they classed as accidental damage and therefore not covered by the 2-year guarantee. I said that I was the sole owner and nothing has ever been spilt on or near the MacBook whilst it has been in my possession. I said I have no idea what might have happened to it whilst in John Lewis's possession. The repair person stuck to his script and said there was nothing he could do. He said it could be repaired but at a charge. Very annoyed, I told him to send the MacBook back to John Lewis, Sheffield.

On 2 October, I collected the MacBook from a rather lacklustre assistant and returned home to consider my options. At the time I felt seriously let down by a company I had been pretty loyal to for a long, long time and where I spent thousands of pounds over the years. The supposed 2-year guarantee clanged like a big con.

After a few trips away, and on the advice of my son, I took the MacBook to the Apple store in Meadowhall shopping centre, near Sheffield. They couldn't have been more welcoming and helpful. Nothing lacklustre here.

A technician took my MacBook to a repair room to have a look inside. He returned and said that the inside was "immaculate" and, as he noted on his report, "no signs of liquid on internals of device" and "no signs of customer misuse". At this news, I felt misled or even lied to by the John Lewis repair centre.

The technician recommended that I return to the Sheffield store with the MacBook, which is still within the John Lewis 2-year guarantee, along with his Apple report and present them with another chance to resolve this matter satisfactorily and free of charge, with some "inconvenience" compensation for time and travel.

I will return to John Lewis, Sheffield, next week.

Update 1

21 October 2018

Nick, from John Lewis, picked up my blog post above on Twitter and responded:

"We're concerned to see this, Joe. Please send us a DM confirming your billing address and any reference numbers you have linked to the MacBook so we can look into this further for you."

I replied with the requested information and as at 13.15 on 22 October 2018, no response yet.

Update 2

22 October 2018

I travelled to John Lewis technical support in Sheffield and explained the story from the beginning and highlighted the very different reports from John Lewis's repair centre and Apple's diagnostic check.

In brief, the technical support people in Sheffield said they would send the MacBook back to the repair centre with a clear instruction to fix the problem as per the John Lewis 2-year guarantee. No quibble. No fuss.

Sometime, within the next 28 days, I will get a call to collect my repaired laptop.

So far, I have accumulated 3 x 40-mile round trips to Sheffield re this problem and 1 x 35 mile round trip to Apple at Meadowhall, plus car parking and time wasted.

Update 3

24 October 2018

I got a call from John Lewis customer relations, KMcC, who introduced himself as my personal contact until this matter is resolved. He had the whole story in front of him and said he would monitor the MacBook repair until its conclusion. He gave me his direct contact number should I need to get in touch. This is a good step.

Update 4

26 October 2018


Email from John Lewis & Partners Tech Support

Dear MR J CUSHNAN

This is to confirm that our workshop has received your APPLE Laptop Computer. 
Our technicians will assess and diagnose the fault with it, and will then carry out the
necessary repair.
If we need to discuss your repair at any point, a member of the Tech Support team will be in
touch.
Thank you.
Kind regards
John Lewis & Partners Tech Support

Update 5

1 November 2018

Customer relations contact KMcC phoned to update me. He said (and I paraphrase) that after a second check, the John Lewis repair people stand by their original 'liquid damage' diagnosis. Confusing as this is coupled with Apple's exact opposite analysis, KMcC said the MacBook would be repaired under the guarantee at no charge to me. 

Update 6

12 November 2018

After an email at the weekend, I travelled to the John Lewis store in Sheffield to collect my repaired MacBook at no charge. All fine and dandy.

Now, I ponder 5 x 40-mile round trips during the course of this after-sales palaver and a considerable amount of inconvenience to my freelance writing.

In addition, I am very nervous about trusting the 2-year John Lewis guarantee and I may well avoid buying any big price items ever again. I trusted John Lewis for many years but that trust has been dented severely.

Don't get me wrong, I am pleased to have my repaired MacBook back. But I have serious concerns about JL's after sales service.

Final update

13 November 2018

KMcC called today to ensure the matter was resolved to my satisfaction. In addition, he offered a satisfactory goodwill gesture. 

I have my MacBook back. I have a welcome goodwill gesture. I thanked KMcC for seeing the matter through to the end.

Case closed.

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