Apple's quality dwindling: My MacBook Pro sob story

When faced with the dilemma of upgrading my iBook G4 in June, I started looking for a replacement that would have the same performance as my Intel iMac. I decided upon getting a MacBook Pro 15". With money in hand, I eagerly clicked the "buy now" button on Apple's website. Little did I know that I would be trading in my MacBook Pro more than 6 times over the next 2 months.

I received my first MacBook Pro, and it was beautiful. I loved everything about it. However, after 2 weeks of use, I started noticing the screen striping symptom that others before me have noted. This problem usually occurred after charging the computer from a half-filled battery and unplugging the MagSafe power cable. I didn't think anything of this problem, since it only happened once or twice. After another week of use, the striping problem started becoming an everyday part of charging the computer. I called Apple and even emailed them the picture that you see above (minus the additional note) -- they did nothing and said it was a "software glitch."

The first MacBook Pro did have another problem: When I went to check my email one day, every program would crash repeatedly. I immediately ran the Apple hardware test (AHT) to find out what was going on. As any unlucky person (me) would have it, the memory sticks were dead. I called AppleCare, told them all of the problems I was having and then told them about the AHT results. They set up a replacement order since I was having hardware problems within the first month of ownership.

Continue reading to learn more about my MacBook Pro woes.

Replacement #2
Here goes again ... a new MacBook Pro would surely fix the situation, right? Nope. This time, Apple completely fails when they send a refurbished unit (even after they told me it would be new). I call Apple back and they can't believe the situation. They offer to send me yet another replacement.

Replacement #3
Replacement number three comes via FedEx. What to my amazement do I see? Yeah ... it's another refurbished unit. Complete with finger prints on the screen, glue substance on the trackpad, and broken up pieces Styrofoam in the box. I called Apple back with a little less less amusement this time: they offered to cancel the current order, return the refurbished unit, and let me order the same product. They claimed this method was faster than going through AppleCare. I asked them if they could upgrade the RAM or do something for my wasted time. They offered me $45 off the new order and free overnight shipping. I was a little disappointed, but accepted.

Replacement #4
I returned the previous MacBook Pro and went to order the new one. With my order processed, I called Apple back to claim my $45 and free shipping. The representative tells me that the shipping has been added and the price has been adjusted. I get home to see that the MacBook Pro would be arriving in 5 days. "What? How could this be ... they just added the overnight shipping!" I called them back and found out the the rep did not, in fact, add the shipping. They offered to give me a $50 case to go along with my MacBook Pro. At this point, they could have just upgraded the RAM and called it a day.

Replacement #5
My "new" order arrives. I stared at the box for several minutes, speechless. Apple had sent me a box with a previous person's shipping label still attached. I peeled back the white sheet of paper Apple had covered it up with. There was a note to Apple from the previous recipient: "Opened and noticed that this was not my correct order." I opened it and notice that it had been resealed. Nice. Very nice. I called Apple back ... once again they sent me another replacement.

Replacement #6
When was the last time Apple was shipping MacBook Pros with Tiger installed? That's right, I received a MacBook Pro running Tiger. There wasn't even an upgrade DVD included! I once again called Apple only to hear that they would be sending me another replacement. I told them, "This is my last time doing a replacement. Make sure you get the order right this time, or else you've lost a customer."

Replacement #7
I received my seventh replacement yesterday, and so far all seems well, but we'll see.

Situation outcome
"7th MacBook is the charm," or so the saying goes. I must admit, the FedEx lady and I have become good friends. This situation has definitely changed my view of Apple and how their products might not be necessarily worth the "Apple tax" that we all pay.

Oh, who am I kidding? Tomorrow morning I'll be the same fan boy that I've always been.

Do you have an Apple story like this to tell? Be sure to sound off in the comments.