Cracked iBook hinge covered under warranty?
December 11, 2006 4:21 PM   Subscribe

One of my G4 iBook's hinges has a crack and it's spreading. Should I be worried? Is there likely to be any hassle getting it fixed under warranty?

This laptop is a warranty replacement for an old G3 that had the unfortunate logic board of death. I've had it for 8 months. In sept it spent a month waiting for a new hdd.

I am not amused.

When I got the laptop back again one of the hinges looked to have a scratch on it. I hadn't noticed it before but I ddin't really check it all that well before relinquishing it for what should have been a 4-5 working day repair. The 'Authorized Repair Depot' certainly hasn't earned a lot of respect in this case.

Forward 2.5 months and the scratch seems to have become a crack.... and it's been joined by a sibling. Windshield style. Unlike a windshield, though, I really can't think of any event that might have precipitated them.

As I'm currently budgeting for a macbook in January I'd like this G4 to remain in fairly salable condition. It'd be nice to get the hinge replaced. I'm not keen on doing it at my own expense. The hinge thing doesn't seem to be a known problem and doesn't seem to be related to the flicker effect.

Am I likely to be met with complaints of abuse or out right refusal for warranty repair? In the past I've found that apple will generally be pretty reasonable about such things..... if I'm prepared to go straight to apple, facts and figures and invoices in hand and argue rather more forcefully than I'm comfortable.
posted by mce to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
First off, a month for a HDD replacement is ridiculous. I can imagine the outside of a week being the longest reasonable time that repair would take, and most of that is for shipping. Apple "Authorized Repair Depot" or no, that's not a place that had their stuff together then.

I don't know what you mean by "windshield style". Is it expanding outward like a spiderweb? Is the weakened hinge causing more pressure to be exerted on the opposing hinge?

When you got it back and noticed the scratch (back when it was only a scratch), did you point it out to them? Most places I've worked have a 90 day warranty policy for work performed, and coming back just before the three months is up would make me look close (at the previous workorder and the machine), especially if the customer had such a serious complaint out of the blue, e.g. a case with an expanding crack that only appeared after it was in-shop. Just even pointing it out to someone responsible there (and talking to them, prompting them to remember) will go a long way in getting this sorted under warranty.

But it depends on what kind of a warranty you have: the original warranty, the extended AppleCare, or a third party. You had a G3 that was replaced 8 months ago, did the AppleCare transfer? Without inspecting the computer directly and knowing more details (serial #, history, etc), I'm going to assume that your issue would be covered, if not by the store, then by AppleCare. But get in as soon as possible...The iBook g3 was phased out in October 2003 and AppleCare would have run out by now, but since you had work done in September, the 90 day warranty is due to run out any day now.

Alternatively, just go to an Apple Store and tell them the last place (Apple Certified, natch) took forever and your machine was damaged when it came back. Since then, the damage has gotten worse, and you don't trust them to fix it right. A retail store would probably send out a hinge replacement, but I believe your computer could be back in a week.
posted by now i'm piste at 6:18 PM on December 11, 2006

Ah - some really good points:

-Windshield style: a small crack grows, and deepens and grows some more. Daughter cracks are sure to follow.

-90days. I hadn't thought of that. I'll be sure to check the invoice

-Inspection. I didn't actually notice it (the 'scratch') right away. It was (emphasis on the 'was') pretty subtle.

-Applecare. I had applecare on the old G3 but it didn't transfer to the replacement. The applecare was, essentially 'bought' out. The new laptop should still be covered under the manufacturer's warranty. I've dithered about getting applecare on the new laptop

-'Certified' vrs Apple store. I've never been terribly impressed with any of the available repair depots. Stuff sent to Apple themselves tends to fair much better. Unfortunately there's only 4 apple stores in the whole country (Canada) and I live on the wrong coast. Options are limited.
posted by mce at 7:43 PM on December 11, 2006

Applecare on the new computer needs to be bought and activated within one year of purchase date. I'm not sure how this works in your situation but if push comes to shove, it might be possible to purchase Applecare (it's USD$250) and have this covered, all other circumstances be damned.

Because this was a replacement machine I'm not totally sure, but if it was new when you got it the one year warranty would cover this. However, if this isn't covered by the first-year warranty, it wouldn't be covered under AC. I think it is, as the hinge cover on the G4 iBooks is partially inset/recessed and pretty difficult to be abuse.

And for the future, check out the 90 day thing.
posted by now i'm piste at 6:05 PM on December 12, 2006

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