Is Apple Care worth the wompa?
December 6, 2006 6:37 AM   Subscribe

Is Apple Care worth the money in the UK?

So I have an Imac G5 that is coming up to being a year old. Apple Care UK called me to say that my free year's service is coming to an end and that if I want to take it for another two years it will cost £139 (about US $280). Now, I think this is quite a lot of money for two more years support for a machine which has never had any problems, but, I am think if I wait two days after the year runs out it'll just crash on me never to wake again.

So my questions are:

-Is Apple Care worth the money in the UK?
-Are there any third party repairers in the UK who can provide a high quality service for cheaper/better?
-Can I buy parts if anything needs replaced (I have heard that Apple parts aren't available for purchase-- is this true?)
-Glasgow/Scottish Mefites-- Has anyone used this company before? Would I be as well just taking it to them?

I have heard USians raving about Apple Care but not much from the UK and I dont know if it is of a similar standard to that in the US so comments from UK Apple Care customers are particularly welcome.

Many thanks in advance.
posted by ClanvidHorse to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
it's not worth it because your rights under the UK sale of goods act go beyond the limitations imposed by the manufacturer's guarantee.

it is almost always possible to get a (responsible, top-brand) retailer to repair an item that has broken down out of warranty. i, personally, have had an ipod replaced by the apple store in london months after the guarantee expired.

of course, your mileage may vary, and it kind of depends how tenacious you are - but in the uk consumer rights are a lot stronger than in some other countries.
posted by ascullion at 6:48 AM on December 6, 2006

Logically insurance policies are never worth the money, because the company wants to make money from selling them.

It does help smooth the way when getting repairs but it isn't essential for getting the repair. Apple has a list of authorised service dealers - these are the third party repairers you'll be wanting to go to as they'll actually know the way round the inside of your G5.

My laptop happens to be in with one at the moment. They say on the jobsheet that for out of warranty computers they'll diagnose the fault and give you a quotation, order the part from Apple and fit it, so getting third party repairs is definitely doable, and will be identical in quality to AppleCare service - it's the same service only you're paying. It may or may not be cheaper - it depends on what fails.

I'm on my second Mac. Both have needed repairs (in warranty), and so I tend to buy it, but then I don't want to be living without my computer for long and while I can afford AppleCare I can't afford a new Mac or any parts costing much more than AppleCare.

So it's just like any other insurance policy really. It'll not be impossible to get service without it.
posted by edd at 7:56 AM on December 6, 2006

Apple repairs are very expensive, and parts are hard to get hold of yourself, and independent service centres tend to be just as expensive. On the other hand, an iMac that's worked reliably for a year is unlikely to suddenly fail.

A much better use of that money would be selling your current iMac and putting the proceeds towards an Intel iMac.
posted by cillit bang at 9:06 AM on December 6, 2006

Ditto ascullion on the Sale of Goods Act. The retailer you bought the iMac from (this is only Apple if you bought it from Apple directly) must be "of satisfactory quality (i.e. not inherently faulty at the time of sale)" meaning "they reach the standard that a reasonable person would regard as satisfactory, taking into account the price and any description." If they develop a fault after six months, you must prove that it was their fault to enforce this at law.

If you did buy from Apple directly you should know they are notorious for not following the law in this regard. It is pretty easy to sue online in England, but looks like you're in Scotland. In either case, you may have to pay to have an independent assessment of the fault done in order to prove it.

What you get extra with AppleCare:
  1. Apple is much less likely to dispute that a fault is due to their own materials and workmanship.
  2. They'll repair your item on site, whereas SOGA will require you to send them the item, and they'll repair or replace it in a reasonable time. Unfortunately, this reasonable time may be longer than you think it should be.
Despite the above benefits, I would skip the AppleCare. I think it's a scam as it mainly provides things that the retailer is already legally obligated to provide.
posted by grouse at 12:22 PM on December 6, 2006

Applecare is the same price no matter which iMac you have. My rule of thumb is 10% - if you can get applecare for less than 10% of what the machine cost then it's a bargain.
posted by Lanark at 1:11 PM on December 6, 2006

Do not, under any circumstances, whatever the need, ever, ever use Scotsys for anything. Ever. They are shady, sheisty motherfuckers, who will be deservedly doomed by the new Apple Store.

The staff are incredibly unhelpful, needlessly vindictive and plain useless. Anecdotes:
Dude buys iPod. It breaks after 3 days. Takes it back. "oooh, you'll need to go to Apple on this one, we can't replace this."

Lass has iBook with dodgy screen cable. Sends it to them for repair. They call -- "do you want our data protection service, only £120?". "Er, no. Just fix the cable, please.". Comes back: HD deliberately wiped.

I have more, but I'm at work and busy.
posted by bonaldi at 1:40 PM on December 6, 2006

They'll repair your item on site
That's not true any more either. Now in most cases they make you take it to your nearest centre. In Scotland that's either Scotsys (arrrgh) or a company called S3, who gave me good enough service. (Five day turnaround on a job Scotsys quoted nine weeks for)
posted by bonaldi at 1:46 PM on December 6, 2006

Bonaldi-- Just googled "Apple Store Glasgow" and found that I will now need to go elsewhere for my scented candles and faux leopard skin cushions in the New Year as The Pier goes bye-bye.

Thanks for the advice regarding Scotsys. I had heard a few bits and bobs about them but as they seemed to be the only guys in Glasgow with any knowledge of Apple products I thought that they were best to go to. Thanks for the warning.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 2:00 PM on December 6, 2006

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