Apple ProCare: Let me get this straight?


I use my Macs for work. So if I have a problem, I need that problem fixed pretty quickly (read immediately). My local Apple Store is great. I know most of the reps on a first name basis. They treat me wonderfully!! Although I could probably walk in and get special treatment, I try NOT to abuse their kindness. I don’t walk in expecting special treatment. Therefore, I pay for Apple ProCare, which gives me (or you) Priority Support. You get to make advance reservations for a Genius Bar appointment. You get rapid repairs and moved to the front of the queue. This is the kind of stuff/treatment that I’m more than willing to pay for as I hate waiting in lines!

What I don’t get is why does Apple treats this program so oddly?

With Apple you can do almost anything online including ordering thousands of dollars worth of equipment that will be delivered to your door. I have called support on occassion (prior to the Apple Retail stores)  and when the problem couldn’t be resolved over the phone, Apple has shipped me a box to ship my computer back to them in and turned it around relatively quickly. Once they even sent a rep to my home to swap out a logic board.

You can buy MobileMe online and you can even buy AppleCare support online. Out of everything that Apple allows you do do online, the one thing that don’t allow you to do online is buy ProCare ??? You have to go into the store and signup/pay for it in person! OK, fine! Whatever, I’ve done that. That’s not the odd part. The odd part is that you get a ProCare card with no printed experation date. Sure you can keep track of it from the invoice and I do. However, once it expires, Apple sends you no notification whatsoever. No emails, no phone calls, no SMS messages, no nothing! I would think that they would want another $99 for the next year, but it seems like they don’t care. Still this is not the odd part. OK, here it comes: Let’s say that I keep track of my own expiration date. It’s not to hard, simply put it on your iCal or other calendar. My card recently expired on 5/2/09. Again no notification, I only know this date because I’m manually keeping track of it. I want to renew it. However, the only way to renew it is to make another trip to the Apple Store and wait in line to do so. So I have to go to the store, possibly wait in line to renew the thing that I pay for not to have to wait in line. Apple! Dude! What’s up with that? Why are you making it so hard for me to give you money?

13 Replies to “Apple ProCare: Let me get this straight?”

  1. You know why, If you go to the store they’ll hope you shop around the hopefully…. that you’ll buy some more hardware. Its like the video store you going around maze of candy line by getting to the cash register to pay your movie.

  2. Why not make a personal shopping appointment online. Walk in, report to the concierge and have them immediately hook you up with a sales associate. Apple is one of the only retail stores that I know of where you can schedule an appointment with your own personal sales person up to two weeks in advance (and it’s free – no special card needed for a Personal Shop). Yes it would be nice if they auto-notified regarding renewal. But your slight rant about having to wait around in the store simply doesn’t play.

  3. in the know, you seem to be missing the point of my post. Sure I could pick a day where I think there is no one there and just walk right in, but the point is why can’t this be done online? Is there some technical reason why this needs to be done in person?

  4. You can’t use ProCare unless you are in the store, it provides completely no benefit for mail in repairs or phone support. Just renew it when you need to use it next since you have to be in store to use it. It’s not as big of a deal as you seem to think it is.

    1. Bill, yep, I know it’s not that big of a deal to renew in the store. I’ve done so for years. Yes, I know it can only be used in the store. Yet, you (or no one else) still haven’t given a valid reason as to why it can’t be renewed online?

  5. I’m curious, can you use your ProCare support at *any* Apple store or is it valid on at the store you purchased it from?

  6. Any Apple product such as ProCare or One-To-One can be used in ANY Apple store, just within the specified time frame of once per week use/etc. You can schedule a meeting in LA one week and another one in Chicago the next, per their terms. “intheknow” and most Apple employees will never know why because Apple keeps it buried/hidden as to why. Talk to a store manager and see what they say.

  7. I think it’s because Apple is too busy cruising the bleeding edge to pay attention to some of the “small stuff.” I’m a die-hard Mac fan, but I’ve noticed this lackadaisical attitude toward the “small stuff” fairly often:

    iCal got worse in the last iteration, making you have to click more times than the previous version to edit an entry; the much better sidebar went away.

    Mobile Me is great for email and syncing bookmarks and iCal, but lousy for iDisk: it’s slow, v. difficult to setup for trying to synchronize data on two Macs, and poorly documented. Sugar Sync does it right – “it just works.”

    Windowz lets you set a default printer on an application-by-application basis, which is great when you go back and forth between Photoshop and Word. Not Mac.

    Once you set up the short name for your “Home” account on a Mac, you can’t change it without some extreme effort.

    It’s annoying, but I’d rather have their “huge” innovations and frequent OS updates than a super-detail-oriented business, but since they’re mostly super-detail-oriented much of the time, I agree that it’s esp. annoying when they aren’t…

  8. It most likely can’t be renewed/purchased online to prevent people whom do not live near an Apple Store from purchasing a product they will never be able to take advantage of. It would be nice if we could do it online, but the problems for Apple outweigh the business benefits.

  9. I was told that I could use in ProCare only in the story where I bought it. Doesn’t matter much to me.

    Last Sunday a friend’s iPhone was acting funny. I went online at 7 pm to make an appointment. The next opening was at 7:40. We hustled and got to the store at 7:30. The young woman managing access to the Geniuses checked her iPhone and said we were next. I mentioned my ProCare and read my number off my iPhone. She checked on her iPhone again and said that it had expired in February (I’m not as meticulous as Terry) and offered to renew it on the spot. No pressure, just an offer. It would have made no difference that evening since our wait was about 3 minutes.

    I agree with Terry. The convenience of fast service is well worth it, especially since I support close to a dozen Macs that family and friends have around the world – for free of course.

  10. Terry,
    Back in 2006, when I went back to Macs, I purchased ProCare and used it (back when it was both 1:1 training and tech support). They actually did send me at least two email notifications that it was expiring and offered to renew it, though I can’t remember if it was online renewal or in person. Maybe this was a site-specific emailing from our especially good Apple store.

    San Antonio

  11. Pro Care is worth the cost, but I just can’t believe they do not send any notification prior to expiration. This is terrible and seems very inconsistent. There must be a reason. I’m extremely aggravated about this.

  12. TW… You’re right; the strawman arguments some of the other posts have presented don’t actually address your question: “Why can’t you just pay for your renewal online?”
    Interestingly there are no supportive marketing statistics showing all users in any demographic will once in a retailer store, especially for a service call, purchase something not directly related to their service call.
    In fact the opposite is statistically true, people seeking to renewal service contract agreements often chose to forgo a trip to the retailer and defer their renewal if it requires face-to-face contact, postponing the renewal until they must go to the store front retailer for a “time of need” purchase.
    In the current times of ultimate self-service internet savvy purchasers, the “missing” feature is just another in the history of little mistakes Apple has made since 1980. Never enough to push the real Apple product user away but never really reaching out to be a full service company.
    I’ve been using and working with and on Mac’s and other Apple equipment for 25+ years but I’m not a tech biggot. I do get sorely disappointed when I run into these weird things from Apple when I see that the other side has solutions which are more fully engaging.
    It just makes NO good common sense.

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