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September 27, 13:19

Don't buy Apple equipment from Officeline

While I've been extremely pleased with the warranty from Apple, their official resellers are quite another story. My 17" iMac, which is now being used by my kid brother for his skating projects, has developed a periodical problem with the DVD-drive that results in frequent lock-ups and mechanical noises.

The machine is close to 19 months old, which places it outside Apple's own 1-year warranty, but well within the 2 years provided by Danish law for complaints.

It took Officeline 23 days to reach the following rejection on the complaint. Luke Garner, director of sales:

A DVD-drive is a mechanical unit that's exposed to media that might carry dirt, grease, and other things into the drive and hereby damage it.

Note that this is a general statement about DVD-drives used to reject the specific case without any reference to the latter. I called the Danish consumer bureau and here's what their lawyer with a specialty in CD cases said about it:

That's the biggest load of nonsense I've ever heard

Armed with that statement from a lawyer that might very well be part of a case brought against Officeline with the court of consumer complaints, I thought the company would be more than inclined to see the error of their ways. I was wrong. When presented with the statement and a recount of the case, Kirsten Brink (head of support?) said:

Everyone's entitled to an opinion

I was stumped by the sheer arrogance for a moment, but then went on to explain how the case processing time of 23 days was also beyond the two-three weeks of "reasonable time" stipulated by the law. And that by going beyond this, they had empowered the consumer with a wide range of options to either nullify the original sale (and get a full reimbursement), have the repair done at their expense at another shop, or demand a new computer. It didn't seem to help.

Speculating on the reasons behind the rejection
Interestingly enough, Kirsten Brink did mention that they would follow any ruling from the court of consumer complaints. Which is why I really don't follow the logic of this rejection.

I'd wager that this is one of the most clear-cut cases I've ever experienced in my long history with shady companies that tries to dodge their obligations to Danish law. So how can Officeline not see that this is a broken approach?

At the very least, they now turned a source of countless referrals (I gather I've referred at least DKK 100K in business over the last two years) into an extremely displeased maven that's going to tell his story broadly.

At it's most likely, Officeline will be sentenced to replace the DVD-drive. Which will make them incur the cost of bad will, staff time spent handling the case, and the replacement costs anyway. Instead of just the latter.

At the highly probably, Officeline could be sentenced to reimburse the original payment when the sale is nullified due to their long processing time. That's an expense at least eight times greater than just replacing the DVD-drive.

So I'm stumped again. But now the case will run and I'll keep you all updated on the ruling. In the mean time:

Don't Buy Apple Equipment From Officeline

P.S.: If you've ever bought equipment from Officeline and this recount of their disrespect for consumer rights and laws have changed your mind about ever buying there again, please sign the comments with your name and what you bought there. Let's make them realize the costly mistake of screwing individuals over in the internet age.

UPDATE: I've extended my warning against Officeline to (in Danish).

UPDATE II: Jarkko Laine blogs on how Officeline in Finland just lost his business on a new iMac. This is a great example of how the net empowers the consumer to turn the power structure around. The reach is far and the result is imminent.

Challenge by jarkko on September 27, 13:41

Hmmm... I'm in the process of equipping my parents with a new iMac and thought that Officeline (Mac&Carry until recently) would be a suitable store to get one, mostly because of their new large showroom in Helsinki. Well, I reckon they're not worth our money.

Challenge by Lars on September 27, 14:40

Here's my list of purchases in Officeline (approximately 70.000 DKR)
Just bought the flat screen 20'' - nice!!!
Beside that, I've bought two iBook plus additional equipment, AirPort, RAM, bags etc.
Apple Mouse and Keyboard
Bluetooth hardware
KVM Switch
iLife '04
and Mac OS X - Panther

And actually one of the iBook's dvd drive has just broke - funny enough after a year and one month. I'm currently in the progres of making a claim for the drive to be fixed at Officeline (your article really scares me).

Challenge by Anders Toxboe on September 27, 15:41

Bought an iBook from aprox. 20 months ago.
Since Officeline is an official Apple Center, you can go to them with any Apple product to get your warrenty rights fulfilled.

The first time I had trouble with my iBook was within the 1-year warrenty limit. So I went down there (100 meters from my appartment - the primary reason why I didn't use the regular Apple service, which is supposed to be a whole lot better) and got my computer fixed. They sent it down to Apple in the Netherlands to get it fixed. I had no problems that time.

The next time I had trouble with my iBook was unfortunately after Apple's 1 year warrenty. The backlight of my screen was out. So I went down to Officeline once again. This time they sent my iBook to their local repearshop in Allerød, Denmark. Two days after I turned it in, I received a letter saying that it was going to cost DKR 3.350,00! The description of the repear was:

So I went down to Officeline near my appartment again to complain over the bill that was sent to me. Apparently I needed to claim that I wanted to use my 2-year warrenty (I bought my computer as a private person and not as a company) instead of just saying I wanted the repair done... which seemed obvious to me, since I told them that I was within the 2-year law-warrenty when I handed it in.
So they called their repair-shop in Allerød again. Now they had to re-evaluate the whole thing. Then I spent over one week calling Apple's offical service center and Officelines service center to figure out what was going on and try to tell them what I was entitled to according to Danish law. Unfortunately I hadn't bought my iBook from Officeline but from Apple's webshop - so the whole thing was an awful three-way drama. There was no luck.

I did get a detailed description on the error though... the "flatrate"-repair was an "assumed error on the logic-board".

To my luck Apple had put out a pro-longed warrenty for logic-board errors on iBooks bought in the exact time-frame that I bought my iBook in. Fortunately the assumed error on the logic-board fell in this category. So 21 days after I turned it in, I got my computer back - repaired.

During this I was finishing up my bachelors project - without a computer.

Thank you Officeline!

Challenge by Poul Andersen on September 27, 21:59

I think that Officeline is a god place to do business. I have not had trouble so far... maybe it's a little bit "overkill" to state don't buy from Officeline.

Officeline as i recall, has departments in scandinavia. Because you have some trouble in denmark cause of the dainish law, what's then the trouble in Norway?

Sory to say, but I can well understand officelines statement, and do not think you are right when you claim a repair under warrenty... of cause a drive can fail with in 2 years, it's a complex optic mechanical equipment., 1 to maybe 5 % or more of all drives will fail with in the time of 2 years... just bad luck that one of them was yours. It seems that you think that a product will last a life time and never fail?
Apple use ordinary optic drives just with another firmware and bezel, if your Mac has a problem with the drive, look at the vendor ID and look it up on the internet. If you can't find a lot of unhappy users of that drive... the chance that there was a problem with the drive when you bought the Mac aren't very likely... cause the drive worked in nearly 2 years it a problem that likely are caused by use or environment ?? do you smoke ??.
If you think a product are "fail safe" you are wrong.
With computer hardware, and especially hard drives and optic drives.. it s not if they will fail, but when...
A computer are like a car, you have to put some money aside to maintenance...

But have you called Apple relations i cork??? What do they say about the case. Normal, if you are just a little bit right in your complaint, they consider an extended warranty.



Challenge by David Heinemeier Hansson on September 27, 22:18

It's a bit disingenuous to extend your warm feelings for the company in this context while at the same time admitting you haven't had a problem. Their shady behavior is only visible in the event of problem, so it's no wonder your view is rosy when that hasn't happened to you.

The problem is not with Danish law, but with Officeline's inability to follow it. When they don't feel obliged to do so in Denmark, why would they in Norway or Finland?

The consumer protection laws are made precisely to protect the "unlucky" 5% — at least within the first two years after purchase. The cost of replacing those 5% is the cost of doing business in Denmark. Companies should raise their prices to account for this percentage or stop selling their products in Denmark.

Yes, it really is that simple.

So no, I don't want a drive that lives forever. Just one that lives until my legal protection wears out. That hasn't happened yet.

Challenge by Poul Andersen on September 27, 23:05

When i say trouble.. I mean in company relations....
As many others i have had my share of hardware problem with in and out of warranty.. (both mac and pc). but as an electronics engineer maybe I see this in another perspective?
If a product should be "fail safe" (like most mil-spec products) they cost a great deal. I accept that "cheap" products get broken time to time.
Ordinary electronics as computers some % fails ( 1 - 5 % ), ..i can't se how you make legal protection about that.. thats just the way it is when you put more then 10000 components on one little board ...I could understand it, if they had put bad build drives in a whole series of Macs, and would not exchange them .. it seems this it not the case.. seems that you just have a defective drive.

But as written before, maybe you should talk to Apple, it's possible that they can help you with a solution.



Challenge by David Heinemeier Hansson on September 27, 23:14

I think you're misunderstanding my position. I don't think Apple should produce perfect products nor do I think Officeline should sell them. What I do expect is that they replace them when they break within the protected period of time offered by the law (don't be confused by the similarities between the two positions).

Yes, this raises the cost of doing business. As do many requirements specified by law. You must accept the basic premise that offering a product for sale in Denmark (or most countries in the world) is a regulated activity. You are not free to do whatever you like. There are rules and regulations.

Additionally, I don't have any legal contract with Apple (or at least I don't after the 1-year warranty from them expired). So they're not really all that relevant here. I do have a legal contract with Officeline, though. It runs for two years. It's called a sale.

Challenge by Rasmus on September 28, 0:07

Poul, I think you're missing something here. OfficeLine is required by Danish law to repair any technical failure David's computer might suffer from within the first two years of purchase, unless they're due to gross neglect, free of charge. There is nothing to debate here, if the DVD-drive fails within the first two years of purchase, OfficeLine is obliged to foot the bill. That's the law.

Challenge by Tony on September 28, 18:03

You obviously don't know much about warranties. You don't get 2 years warranty in Denmark or anywhere else for that matter. Respectable companies give you ONE-year warranty - just to show you that they believe in their product - but there's is no law stating that you have this right. And Apple goes a bit further and offers AppleCare for their products, which will extend this warranty. There is no such thing as a free second year warranty. Nothing is build to last forever and computers especially not - they age so quickly and besides it would make them prohibitively expensive. Stop sulking and get on with your life.

Challenge by mig on September 28, 18:06

According to the law you will be able to complain about errors within 2 years of the purchasing date. The first 6 month the dealer will have to prove that you havenīt broken the part yoursself The next 18 month the buyer will have to prove that hi she havenīt broken him/her selft. I that way we are talking about 1 step forward and one step backward. Forward because the right to complain has been extended to 24month from 12 month. 1 step backwards because the customers will have 2 prove that it was defective after the firste 6 month after purchase. With the old rull you had 12 month warranty and if the dealer thought you broke it by neglect. The dealer had to prove it through the entire warrently period.

Forbrugerstyrelsen (The one David is complaining to) arenīt to satisified with the new lawe because of the Customer has to prove that his she hasenīt broken the unit deal. If David does a google search he will discover, that ofter dealers like Merlin and Fona looks at it similary as Officeline and that their is a lot of confusion about who has the burden of proof. It would have been alot easier if we had 2 years of warrently where the dealer producer had the burden of proof. Sadly this isnīt the case.

Challenge by Fafner on September 29, 22:52

Tony, I don't know who you are and what your background is, but danish law does require all companies that wants to do business in Denmark to extend a two year warrenty. The only way Officeline can avoid giving that warrenty is by not operating in Denmark.

Since he has purchased his computer in Denmark, the computer is covered by a warrenty for two years. Given the information that David has presented here Officeline seems to have a lost case if he complains about the treatment they have been giving him.

Challenge by Guan Yang on September 30, 10:43

Tony: Many other countries have statutory warranties. Some US states even have this.

Challenge by Lars on October 01, 0:15

It's wrong to call it a 2 year 'warranty' since that's not the case (in Denmark at least).
The correct indication is:
"Consumers right to complain for 2 years with reverse burden of proof after 6 months" as 'mig' said.

That's indisputable and that's danish law.

Challenge by Martin on October 01, 1:36


Is it correctly understood that:

"A DVD-drive is a mechanical unit that's exposed to media that might carry dirt, grease, and other things into the drive and hereby damage it."

Was the complete explanation in your specific case ? or had they actually looked at the drive and "determined" that it had been damaged by dirt, grease or other things ?

Challenge by Anders Toxboe on October 13, 17:17

My lovely iBook is up for a repair again (3rd time)... I don't know who to thank Apple (for their undurable products) or Officeline (for their crappy service)

Challenge by Anders Toxboe on October 13, 17:17

My lovely iBook is up for a repair again (3rd time)... I don't know who to thank Apple (for their indurable products) or Officeline (for their crappy service)

Challenge by hmm on January 23, 18:00

I work in a unnamed store in a unnamed country, the guys telling you that you do not have two years of warranty are right.
You have one year of warranty, in which your repairs will be paid by the reseller. You also have two years of right to complain, if the machine was a consumer buy, and not bought for a company.
With in the two years, you have got the right to complain, in writing. It will then be determined if you are right in your complaint, if that is the case you repair will be carried out, and the reseller will pay for the repair.
The thing is, that with the CD-rom drive it is very hard for both the reseller and the consumer, to prove what has happend, and why. Can you proof that you have NEVER inserted a dirty disc into the drive, can you prove that the maschine never has been exposed to dust.
I do not thin kyou have a case sorry.
But I do hope, that that case has been solved, as one of the others mentioned, maybe you should contact Apple, in the end Office line will have to contact Apple regarding warranty and repairs anyway.

Your statement about not buying anything from Office line... Well you cannot really judge an intere chain of resellers, because of a prob, it might be the salesperson who took care of the reklamation (Did you hand in a written copy?), the repairman who had to deal with the case or the manager who had a bad day.
Going to extremes will just leave you out, nxt time a certain store has got a good offer :P

Chill :)

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