Terrible Apple Store for Business support

Well, I never thought I had to write this blog post, but sadly I do. I’ve been let down terribly by the Apple Store for Business in Belgium. With the exception of one service representative, I’ve been lied to on multiple occasions, I’ve been put on hold for now in total over 6 hours, I’ve made my payment 20 days ago and I still have to receive my order … with no clear view on when I will get this.

What is going on?

Well, I decided to upgrade my old but trusty iPad Mini (almost 4 years old) to a 10.5 inch iPad Pro. So I ordered the tablet through the Apple Store for Business, as I will be using it for work and teaching purposes. I’m trying to work iPad only, with limited reliance on my tools on my desk … a Mac Mini which, together with my NAS, functions as my hub.

The history

What happened? Well, I ordered through the Apple Store for Business, instead of through my trusted Apple reseller. What a mistake:

  1. The initial contact and service was excellent. The service representative, Olaf, helped my in selecting what I needed, was very courteous and very supportive in going through my order. He quickly sent me the payment instructions which I followed to the letter the same day for payment the day after;
  2. I had to wait for VAT clearance. Okay. If I order online this takes all of five seconds, but I can imagine there are some procedures to be followed. That it takes 3 to 4 days is acceptable to me;
  3. However, 10 days afterwards I still had no confirmation of dispatching of the order. Nothing at all. No communication. So I called. Or I tried to. Connecting to the Apple Store for Business in the EU to enquire as to the status of an order proves to be impossible. I was on hold for over 3 hours that day. Imagine the cost to business of holding that long. Eventually I called Apple Care which put me through to the right people, who assured me that had received everything and were waiting to expedite. As I was leaving on vacation, I asked them to put a hold on delivery until August 30th. They assured me it was all in order and would be delivered on August 30th.
  4. Come August 30th, no information. No information at all. So I tried to call again. Again terrible problems connecting to the Apple Store for Business. Eventually I called Apple Care again, who assured me everything was in order and the goods would be delivered on August 31st. I would receive a conformation in the coming hours.
  5. But at the end of the day, no confirmation. So today, I called again. I dialled into the Apple Store but instead of selecting the option to enquire as to an order, I selected purchase a new product. Lo and behold, I caught the person that sold me the iPad. Olaf. Excellent guy. He informed me that had no record of payment in their systems. Something that everyone to date in the past 20 days failed to tell me. I forwarded him the proof of payment.
  6. He could not confirm me any delivery in the coming days, as they need to clear this out, but he would to his best to expedite this as soon as possible.

Where are we now?

Well, I still have no iPad Pro. Not 20 days after payment … so I am wondering how much of that Apple cash hoard is prepayments for orders they then fail to deliver because of internal issues.

What have I learned?

  • Do not buy through the Apple Store for Business. If you are a business customer, work through an authorised reseller. They care more about your business.
  • Don’t trust all/most Apple service representatives. There are a few good ones out there (Olaf, here’s looking at you), but most will give you any reply necessary to get you of the phone.
  • The Apple fulfilment website is really bad: no updates on issues, just a simple “almost ready to be shipped” without any status update.

I had never thought that the company I admired the most in the world for its products and its vision would be this terrible at a simple process flow issue. It’s something I deal with every day, so Mr. Cook, if you need help, don’t hesitate to ask me.