Back in June 2007 I experienced a weird problem with my year old MacBook Pro: I was unable to click the mousepad button and for some reason nothing happened when I left clicked the attached mouse either. Weird stuff. It turned out that the reason for all this was that the battery had started to expand, applying pressure to the bottom of the mousepad button, effectively locking it in a pressed down state. But not to worry, I brought the battery to an Apple store and got a replacement, no questions asked. That’s some great support for you!
About a month ago, the new battery started to act up, too. My MacBook would suddenly turn itself off when running on battery power. Even though the symptom was another one this time, the cause as the same: The battery had started to expand a little, as you can see on the picture above. It had not expanded as much as last time, but enough to make it a problem. So I took the battery with me to an Apple store to get it replaced. Being somewhat naive, I thought that I would get the same great support this time, too.
The first time I got to the store, they told me I had to bring the receipt with me. Well, fair enough, I probably should have thought of that, even though I was trying to replace a battery, not the entire laptop and the receipt would not say anything about the battery. Neither was I asked for the receipt last time. But I went home, dug up the receipt and returned to the store the next day and handed it over to them. “Thanks for the receipt”, they said. “But we also need the serial number of the laptop.” This didn’t make that much sense, there is a serial number on the battery and there is - as far as I know - no link between the battery and the laptop.
Unfortunately, the fourteen year old behind the counter wouldn’t listen to my arguments and kept saying something about his boss and whatnot. There was, of course, nothing he could do. Regulation and rules, you know. And once again I left the store with my defect battery and went home to find the serial number on my MacBook. The next day, I entered the store for the third time, with both the receipt and the serial number and a slight hope of leaving a new battery that I could use without the risk of blowing off my nuts.
This time I was told that the receipt I’d brought wasn’t actually a receipt. It was only the order confirmation from Apple and it was not valid as a receipt. After all, I could have “canceled the order afterwards and might be using the order confirmation to try to scam the store”. Their exact words. Yes, I dug up a messed up battery from a dumpster, went back in time to 2006, placed an order for a MacBook Pro, canceled the order, and now, four years later, I was trying to scam them out of a $129 battery with the order confirmation from the past. Thank you, Apple, for labeling me a time traveling criminal.
On top of this, they now - after my third visit to the store - told me that they didn’t replace batteries for free if it was older than two years. On my two first visits I’d mentioned the purchase date of the laptop and that I’d already replaced the battery once, in 2007. Would it have be so hard to tell me about the battery return policy the first time I came to the store? On my second visit, you even saw the order date on the
receipt order confirmation. What they told me now was that they could of course send the battery to their technical support people, but I would have to pay for the repair or a new battery if they were unable to repair it.
What the fuck happened to you Apple? In three years time you went from being a nice guy to what you are today: An incompetent ass with little regard for you customers. For the third time I left the Apple store with my battery. By now I’d grown so tired of the whole thing, I decided I didn’t want to give Apple the $129 they wanted for a new battery and instead use my MacBook as a very flat desktop computer. The battery I left on my desk, wrapped in the order confirmation.
Today I was cleaning my desk when I noticed that the battery had actually continued to expand. Picture below.
What. The. Fuck? Tomorrow I’m going down to the Apple store again. I don’t really care if I get a replacement or not, but I’m sure as hell is not leaving with this battery. I’m not sure if it can be considered a hazard of some kind; explosive, fire or other. At least it has not gone through an explosive expansion, but who knows what kind of chemical reactions are happening inside it. Unfortunately, it’s not much I can do about the battery right now. It’s Sunday, all the stores are closed and I can’t just throw it outside either. Let’s hope it stays stable until tomorrow.
If you own an Apple laptop with a battery, maybe it’s about time to have a look at it? Yes, it probably is.