Apple fixing broken keyboards right in the store

my broken keyboard getting fixed at the Apple store(Updated 9/8) I’m super-impressed today with how much repair work Apple is performing on broken keyboards right at the local-store level. I really munged up my Macbook Pro’s keyboard this week. I spilled a little bit of water on it but the even worse move was my next — I tried to “dry out” the keyboard with a hairdryer. About 10 seconds of close exposure to the hairdryer left a half dozen keys melted and cracked. Ooops.

So I made an appointment this morning at the Chestnut Hill Apple store’s genius bar. The wait was longer than I’d have liked but I got seen only about 20 minutes late. After I told my sob story, I was expecting the genius to tell me to pack up my laptop and see it shipped off to Austin or something for the usual 7 to 10 day repair. Nope.

Instead, he pulled out a little putty knife and carefully pried off the deformed keys. Then he went round the back and rustled up some spare keyboards. He carefully replaced the melted keys with spanky new keys from the spare boards. I was so excited I almost jumped out of my seat.

But it was not to be — the “a” key still didn’t function because of the water damage. Again, however, Apple came through. The genius said they could perform the keyboard replacement right at the store, $66 for the new part and $85 for the labor. Sometime Monday or Tuesday, they’ll give me a call and all will be groovy. Good service is a killer app in the retail industry and Apple seems to have that one nailed.

UPDATE: The store actually called on Saturday morning and said the repair was finished. Speedy!

  • Mr Bungle

    $85 dollars for a 2 minute swapout? NICE

  • monoclast

    The “F” key on the aluminum keyboard that came with my Mac Pro started sticking recently, and finally started to come completely off the keyboard right after I noticed a small, white piece of plastic come out of the crack between the plastic key and the aluminum frame. I brought the keyboard to the nearest Apple store (we have two here in Austin, Texas), grabbed someone in an orange shirt, and explained the problem. He asked me if I had an appointment first thing. I'm sure the surprise was visible on my face when I replied “I need an appointment for something like this??”. He then said he'd check with the manager to see if he could squeeze me in, which took about 10 minutes, because the place was packed and he was helping other customers at the same time. After this 10-or-so-minute wait, he walked out from the back of the store, asked for the keyboard, and disappeared into the back of the store again. A couple minutes later, he returned with my keyboard saying they had replaced the “F” key. All in all, it was a pleasant experience, considering just how busy these guys are. I'm a satisfied customer. : )

  • monoclast

    Mr Bungle wrote:

    “$85 dollars for a 2 minute swapout? NICE”

    At first, I though he may have meant that the *total* was $85 with labor. But it certainly could be that Apple, like most other repair centers, charges a minimum hour fee for service. If that hourly rate is $85 an hour, that means you'll pay $85 – even if it takes them only 2 minutes.

    It was the customer who damaged the keyboard being replaced. I guess in your world, Apple should just eat the cost?

  • True the price is high – but the price for fixing keyboards in my experience — when ole' butterfingers me is to blame — has always been high. What I loved was that they can do it locally now instead of taking away my MBP for a week or more AND charging me the big premium.

    On the phone, before going on to the store, I asked Applecare to send me a new keyboard to install myself, which I thought I did way back when with an old iBook. But they said they can't do that on the MBP.

  • anonymoose

    Replacing a MacBook Pro keyboard is not “trivial”. Tiny screws, sticky plastic film, tiny connectors; you have to be careful to not mess up the backlight.

    It's not a 2 minute swapout.

  • Bob

    It's cool that you like this, and I don't know exactly where Chestnut Hill is, or how long that store's been around, but Apple has done this (replacing key caps or keyboards) in the store since the chain opened in May of 2001. I was there. ;o)

  • I didn't know that. It's really weird that they didn't mention this as an
    option when I called on the tech support line, don't you think? They almost
    tried to dissuade me from taking my laptop into the store.

    On Sat, 06 Sep 2008 07:19:05 -0000, “Disqus”

  • Bob, again

    The “tech support line” is AppleCare, and not connected to the retail division. AppleCare folks can set up mail-in repairs for you, but they don't deal with retail stores (or third-party service providers) directly at all. They're trained NOT to make promises (“set expectations”) about what someone else may or may not be able to do. After all, how would they know whether someone else has the right keyboard in stock (there are TONS of slightly different, incompatible keyboard models out there).

    From the call center perspective, the easiest thing is just to set up a mail-in repair and go on to the next call.

  • Ted Landry

    Nice story, but the issue still wasn't resolved in an easy / timely manner. The underlying problem is those keyboards should be designed to be swappable. G3 & G4 iBooks were designed this way, thus a customer in this situation could be sent home with a 5 minute fix. A laptop keyboard remains one of the top fail points, and Apple's increasing direction is to make fixing them more costly and time consuming for the customer and the Apple Stores themselves. No wonder you had to wait 20 extra minutes, it's all related to poor “future repair” design.

  • This is so great. I wish every company has such a policy. I love design of Macs

  • This article I so true, keep on writing like this, enjoyment to read :) 954

  • great news! nice to hear that Apple is fixing up the broken keyboards right at there stores! i wish every company has this kind of policy. i just love this kind of services!
    thanks for staring this kind of services!

  • wow! great news that Appale is fixing up the broken keyboards in there stores!
    really a great news. but don’t yyou thnik that $66 for new part and $85 for labor is a little much for students!!! well its my opinion…i don’t know about the others. thanks anyway for sharing that great news.

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  • I suppose thats great news if you have an apple :)

  • weer001

    Honestly, what is covered by the warranty? There's no reasonable explanation for a hinge torquing like that other than manufacturer defect.

    When I was in charge of laptops at my last job, we bought Dell and I kept a very close eye on hinges for the full duration of the warranty, because they are such a common point of failure. To Dell's credit they almost always erred on the side of replacement with any issues we had.

    But not covering the hinge? That's like having a powertrain warranty on your car that doesn't cover the transmission.

  • you have no idea how i m glad to hear this, i have my old macbook that is all messed up. thanks !

  • you have no idea how i m glad to hear this, i have my old macbook that is all messed up. thanks !

  • David Martin

    I agree with you as you’re in some extent, but there’re lots of other things that must be taken into account while determining a problem. I also went through a post that given me plenty of information on how to replace keyboard keys on the laptop.