Apple says go to Best Buy for repairs. A Best Buy salesman gave me the bad news

Apple says it has expanded its authorized service network to 1,000 Best Buy stores. A visit to a Best Buy, however, reveals some of the catches. They're quite big.
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer

Not quite the best for Apple repairs, perhaps. Yet.

I can be moved by an exciting headline.

So when I read this one, all the hairs of my beard swayed in perfect unison.

It read: "Apple partners with Best Buy for expanded repair service."

Yes, this was written by Apple and it offered deeply exciting news: "Apple today announced the completion of a major expansion of its Apple authorized service network. With nearly 1,000 Best Buy stores across the US now providing expert service and repairs for Apple products, customers have even easier and more convenient access to safe and reliable repairs."

Could this mean no more visits to the bedlam and cacophony of an Apple Store? Could it be that Apple had secretly trained thousands of Best Buy staff to be Geniuses overnight? 

Why, Apple's press release said that "Best Buy's Geek Squad has nearly 7,600 newly Apple-certified technicians ready to make same-day iPhone repairs or to service other Apple products."

This sounded like a lot. 7,600 new quasi-Geniuses? This was like Beethoven drifting through my nostrils.

I was forced, therefore, to hotfoot it to a Best Buy to learn how it all worked.

A very helpful saleswoman walked me over to the Geek Squad counter, as she said she wasn't really sure of the minutiae, but the Geek Squadder surely would be.

Repair Your MacBook? Well, In Kentucky.

He emerged, sporting a fine smile and a glorious haircut.

I've generally enjoyed excellent service at Best Buy, where the staff are open, alert and relatively unbiased.

I explained my excitement on reading about Apple's beknighting of Best Buy's new Geniuses.

"So you can now repair my iPhone and my MacBook?" I asked.

"Well, we've been Apple-certified for a quite a long time," he replied.

"Ah, so you've been doing this for a while? Why did Apple make such a big announcement this week?"

"It was probably the company expanding it," he replied, as if he hadn't really heard about it at all.

I then reached for the nuts and bolts.

"So I can bring in my iPhone and MacBook Air and you can repair it here?"

"The iPhone, maybe. And only if it's less than five years old. The MacBook, we'd have to send that away to our service center."

"Ah, OK. Where's your service center? A few miles from here?"


"Ah. Oh."

"It's called Geek Squad City."

Which sounds a lovely place, like a Westworld for Geeks.

"So I've been having trouble with my MacBook Air, the keyboard has been sticking -- even though it's OK right now. How long would it take you guys to repair it?"

"Two to four weeks," he said. "We can't give you a definite time. It just depends. But we tell you what's going on. It goes express delivery, you get an email when it arrives, you get an email when it's been worked on, an email when it's fixed and an email when we expect it back."

"That's a lot of emails."

Moreover, Apple has been promising one-day keyboard repairs.

"Yeah, but if it's your iPhone we have same-day repairs here," he added.

"Ah, that's more like an Apple Store then. So if my iPhone breaks down, I can just bring it in?" I asked.

"If it's the simpler stuff like a cracked screen or a battery replacement. If it's the receiver, then we have to send it to our service center," he explained.

Which is still in Kentucky.

You see, that's the thing about headlines. They're generally short, which means some things are left out.

Clearly, Apple wants to expand repair possibilities and make Apple Stores feel slightly emptier. Best Buy, on the other hand, can often feel quite cavernous. So a few more people wandering in surely wouldn't hurt.

Yet if you live near an Apple Store, there's still the reassurance that you might get your repairs done there more quickly than if your machine has to be sent to Kentucky.

I thanked the very kind man for his bad news and felt sad, but understanding, that a concentration of Geniuses was in Mitch McConnell's state, rather than my own.

But as I made to go, the Geek Squadder had one more thought for me: "In case you wondered, we're the same price as the Apple Store."

Apple products you should and shouldn't buy: June 2019 edition

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