Genius bar experience, tips and tricks

Getting excellent support from Apple has always been one of the big arguments for switching to the Apple ecosystem. I personally have used Genius bar services quite a few times and in the grand scheme of things, the quality of service has been close to perfection.

But there are times, when you "don't truly deserve it" or you really aren't at fault but are not getting the support you deserve due to other factors. Here are some basic tips to get you over the hump:

Before heading out for your appointment

  • Do some online research. Sometimes, it is Apple's fault when you suspect it is you. Once, the battery on my over 3 year old MBP started swelling up. Turned out that it was a known issue and they replaced it with a new battery, no questions asked.
  • Clean your device prior to the appointment to reinforce that you do take care of your device. Small details matter.
  • Back-up your data right before stepping out, in case they offer to replace your device.
At the Bar
  • From the first moment, put your likable character act on. Not suggesting being somebody you're not but be cognizant that you are dealing with other humans who have the power to make decisions based on their perceptions and biases. If you act stressed, angry, rude, or any of the other hundred of negative things we tend to project, it will be another tick on the negative column. A genuine smile and respect goes a long way.
  • Don't try to act smart with a Genius. If anything, act dumb. Only give out limited information and only reveal more information when specifically asked for it.
  • In the case of i-Devices, Apple replaces more often than repairs. You can use that to your advantage: Sometimes, you may be suffering from a secondary and minor issue that you really don't care about but you can raise that as a warranty issue to get a replacement, thereby fixing both.
  • If it was obvious that you caused the issue, fess up but play down the severity of the "accident" and argue that either the device should be able to take the daily wear and tear or prove/insist that the symptom and accident are not correlated.
If refused warranty/complementary repair/replacement
  • If you are a loyal customer with a lot of purchases from Apple, you can sometimes use that history to plead your case if the Genius seems hesitant to cover the repair. This has been usually a miss for me except once, if I recall right. The success rate may be higher if you visit your regular Apple store and run into a familiar Genius. You can also plead for a one-time exception based on your history but remember that it will get noted, if you do get it.
  • Escalate your issue. This has worked for me, once. I had a good case though not water tight. It's worth a try if you run out of options. This will not work if you are obviously at fault.
  • Walk away, try again at some other store or the same store a few days later, hoping you meet a more sympathetic Genius on a happier day. This is one reason I've always eventually got what I wanted, if I cared enough.
Finally
  • Consider getting Applecare or some good third party warranty which covers accidents for your future purchases. To some people, spending a little more for constant piece of mind is worth the price.
  • Having said that, I personally live by the "no-extended-warranty on consumer goods ever" method. This means that I save a few hundred dollars every year and every 2-3 year end up covering a bad accident or out of warranty repair on my own dime. I am pretty sure that I'm way ahead at this point.

None of this is new information for most of you veterans but I wanted to list my experience and hope to learn from others in the community. What has been your experience and any tips you may want to share?