Shop Will Not Acknowledge Faulty Laptop

My dad bought a second hand MacBook Pro from a brick and mortar store. It comes with 3 months' warranty. He passed it to me to set it up and within the very first hour of setting it up, I found 2 keys that were not responding properly — they either simply did not register or acted as if I pressed the key twice when I only pushed it down once (to keep this already long post brief, I am aware of the laptop issues with this generation of MacBooks. I would have advised my dad strongly not to buy the laptop had he consulted me first).

I told my dad to return to the store to have them repair the keyboard under warranty. While he was in the store, the staff pressed the keys and said that they could not see an issue and all key presses were registering correctly. Dad left the store with the laptop and gave it back to me to set up for him.

Earlier this morning, went through the process of setting up the laptop and I was having issues with the keyboard again. This time, I recorded footage with my iPhone clearly showing my fingers pushing certain keys and either the laptop not registering the keys or the character would appear on the screen twice after only pushing the key once. I went into the store and had the most bizarre experience. I'll summarise it below:

Me: Hi. My dad came into your store a few weeks ago with this laptop and said there was an issue with the keyboard. You could not reproduce it at the time and he left. Well, I'm back and now I have video evidence.

I show the video to the store man

Store man #1: OK, can I have a look myself?

Store man #1 opens the laptop and starts to type. He reproduced the faulty key issue multiple times

Me: There you go. Could we please have this repaired?

Store man #1: OK. Leave it with us. Please leave your dad's mobile number and yours so we can call you when it's fixed.

Immediately after I left the store, they called my dad and told him there is no issue with the laptop and that he needs to return to pick it up. Dad calls me, and I call the store back. In brief, I speak to a different person (Store man #2) and he says to come back to discuss the issue.

Store man #2: There is no issue with the laptop.

Me: I have video evidence and I showed Store man #1 the problem while I was in here. He reproduced the issue himself. Can we please have the laptop repaired?

Store man #2: There is no issue to repair. Laptop is working fine.

Me: Can you open the laptop and I can hopefully reproduce the issue with you present.

I open the laptop and I reproduced the issue where one key press makes the character type out twice.

Store man #2: When you press and hold down a key, multiple keys can appear. See? I can make two characters come out twice by pressing and holding.

Me: OK, how about you do it yourself? Press the key once and let's see what happens.

Store man #2 reproduces the issue

Me: See?! You just did it!

Store man #2: No I did not. There is nothing wrong.

I was quite annoyed at this point and Store man #2 no longer wanted to deal with me. I don't want to make an already long post even longer, so to summarise the end of the conversation, Store man #2 said "I sold the laptop to your dad. I will only deal with your dad now. He needs to come in and tell me there's a problem. You have no right to speak to me about a laptop you do not own."

I believe this is a tactic he's using to brush me off and get my dad to come in, not be able to reproduce the issue and leave without any recourse.

As you can probably understand, I am annoyed beyond reproach. I am reaching out to the community now for advice on sure fire ways to get this business to comply. It's not about the money anymore — it's the principle. I will not stand idly by while scummy business practises like this are being employed.

Aside from going down the path of making a complaint with the ACCC, what other recourse do I have available? I want to go thermo nuclear here and take an avenue that will get the most likelihood of an outcome.

Comments

  • +7

    charge back if paid by card?

    • I've had a look at Westpac's guidelines for a chargeback and I don't know whether this is a viable option. The reason for a chargeback to be accepted that relates closest to the scenario is "The goods or services have not been received". The goods were received.

      • +3

        Goods and services must be received in a working condition that is to be expected without faults and working as intended. You are within your rights to do a charge back.

        • +2

          This seems like a good route to take. I’ll see what my next visit brings and decide from there.

  • +6

    Sounds like a cash converters doing a dodgy.
    Is it covered under apple warranty otherwise?
    Did they do a recall?

    • -1

      Ah, this is good to know. Apple did indeed provide a global repair program. https://support.apple.com/en-au/keyboard-service-program-for.... I knew of this repair program before making my post but thought it was only valid for 3 years after sale. It appears they will cover a repair 4 years post retail sale. Hopefully the MacBook my dad bought is still within this period. Thank you for bringing this up.

      I've been following this saga quite closely (tech nerd) and from the annecdotes I've read online, the repairs performed by Apple don't 100% fix the problem, so this is a band aid fix at best.

    • +6

      certainly has crime converters written all over it.

      • +14

        I know a guy who worked for Cash Convertors, he said they were dodgy and left, because he couldn't deal with Ripping people off etc. Fortunately he got a job at Harvey Norman.

        • +3

          I see what you did there lol.

          • +1

            @KSMLJ: It wasn't me. :)

            Hey HN is one of Australia's most trustworthy Retailers. :)

        • +3

          Had a chuckle there!! Thank you for the laugh!

  • +11

    Get your dad to go back, and go with him again.tell your dad everything to say

  • +4

    If no luck with the retailer, contact your state Consumer protection agency: https://www.accc.gov.au/contact-us/other-helpful-agencies/co...

  • +3

    ACCC won't do anything other than take the complaint, it's your state/territory fair trading department that'll actually take action. Other than that just do a charge back, it'll be quicker.

  • +3

    It comes with 3 months' warranty

    Tell your Dad to go get his money back (you go with him).

    • My dad is going back in tomorrow and unfortunately I won't be able to go in with him (I need to be in the office this week). I've told my dad to not argue with them and simply have them either acknowledge there's an issue (something tells me this won't be the outcome) or to take the laptop back and we'll go down another means to have them comply with a repair or, ideally, a refund.

      • +15

        If you want this issue sorted, you should find the time to go in with him. Without you, your dad is screwed and will likely just come back with a "this is all too difficult" attitude.

        • Yep, agreed. Not brushing it off. I'll try and WFH on Wednesday so I have the time to go in with him but I'm not expecting anything different from today, i.e. the salesman absolutely lying through their teeth.

          They both reproduced the issues multiple times with me right there in front of them, and yet they refuse that there's any issue.

          • @barney: get them to reproduce the issue and video them doing it.

      • +7

        My dad is going back in tomorrow and unfortunately I won't be able to go in with him (I need to be in the office this week).

        Your dad has been there twice already to try to get them to fix it and they won't. He probably feels shit as it is…. what's the point of asking your dad to go alone again?

        Might as well name and shame the store too so that no-one else gets the same treatment..

  • +3

    Please complain to the ACCC and see where it gets you.

    • Yeah I will, but I don't like my chances. It's very much a "he said, she said" scenario. To add to the complexity of this issue, it's an intermittent problem that can't be reproduced 100% of the time.

      • Make sure you investigate what the ACCC actually does and what they do with complaints.

  • +3

    Reading this, I already know it's cash converter lol. Dodgy.

  • +2

    Bikies for Store man#2

    • Plot twist: store is run by bikies

  • +2

    When a store person says you have no right to speak to them about a laptop you don't own, all you need to say is you are the authorised technician by the owner of the latptop and are providing a service to the owner. It is irrelevant if he speaks to the owner or not as you are acting on his behalf.

    • +1

      Authorised Representative/carer.

  • looks like you found a "comic book guy" from the simpsons. There's keyboard testing apps that show the response of each key like here: Youtube. So in test mode, you press each key on the keyboard once and it gives a report. You can probably print that out and stop having to physically demo the fault. You can also try vacuuming, detaching the keys and cleaning or a PRAM/smc reset.

    • Worst. Interaction. Ever.

  • +4

    That's genuinely terrible service - you should name and shame tbh.

    At this point, it's simply an escalation process. Take your dad into the store and literally get him to reply with everything you say, in response to their questions; then escalate it to the store manager.

    I would hazard to guess that "store man #2" is the manager though - so unless you're up for trying to find the business owner (who even be the same person), Apple is your best bet.

    Very frustrating situation but as others have said - a complaint to the ACCC or state trade authority will get them in trouble, but not really solve your issue in an acceptable timeframe.

    • I dare say Apple would say, 'Oh dear, this unit is 4 years old', however we can repair it for $247, as its no longer part of manufacturers warranty.

      • Its likely - but the alternative is loving with a laptop you can't really type on, or waiting 12/18 months for your day at Fair trading…

        At the moment , OPs dad has a very expensive desktop pc

        • Yep. After this ordeal with the store today, I really just want to cut all ties and get a refund, ideally. I’ll head into the store with my dad on Wednesday and see what happens. If they refuse to assist, I think a CC chargeback is in order. I’ll also register a Genius Appointment with Apple to have the keyboard replaced under the replacement program (valid from 4 years of date of retail sale. I’m hoping we’re still inside that timeframe).

        • I did a quick search and saw Apple repairs could be $600 on a keyboard.
          Failing any immediate resolution, OP may need to ring around, and ask for quotes from 3rd party repairers.

          I've not replaced a keyboard on a Macbook, but I know it was a real b### on an Asus and Asus. You had to remove the MB, before you could get to the keyboard, and the LCD ribbon was really thin etc.
          Depending on the model, there are plenty of How to videos on Youtube.

  • Take a video, using a program such as this. When you have found the intermittent fault, save it etc. You may need to do this a few times. Make sure each video, is saved and maybe put on a cheap USB2 key that OW surprisingly do sell.

    Then say to your father, this is not right and they are taking advantage of him, you want to do the right thing, as so many people take advantage of older people, and their trust etc. That's why they get scammed all the time.

    Next either
    1. Have your father, write a letter out, saying that you are his authorised representative, as due to health reasons, he cannot venture out to the store
    2. Visit the store with your Father, with the notebook and evidence. No doubt, when you go back to the store, you will probably see the same culprits again.Start off with an apology and say, 'look I'm sorry if I was a bit out of line before, but my father purchased this, it has an intermittent issue with the keyboard, and has been doing this since the day he arrived home with it. I don't want to have to pursue this through Fair Trading, though I do have the option of pursuing this as per ACL . As per this extract you have the right to a Refund, Repair or Replacement.

    When a customer comes into our store, with a defective product (they are generally all brand new, or ex-demo, or a return that has been tested, and sold at a reduced price), my Boss or techs, after hearing them blurt out their story, will say okay, 'What would you like me to do?", and come up with a solution, that the manufacturer will allow. Obviously anything outside the DOA period, will need to go away for assessment by the manufacturer.

    • The issue presented itself when both employees of the store typed on the keyboard. They then both completely ignored that it happened and tried to gas light me to say that it didn’t happen. Your suggestion would be only be helpful if the retailer is genuine and helpful — the store I dealt with today does not meet that definition by any stretch.

      • +1

        They obviously don't want to give a replacement, as they don't have one, or cannot afford to wear it. They took it in and it tested okay. Their Problem.

        I know you are trying to keep all info discreet, but Model number and ballpark figure of the price paid?

        • 2018 13” MBP with Touchbar. 256GB SSD. $850.

          • @barney: Seems like a fairprice. I paid @$2100 for my MB Pro last June. 512gb SSD

  • OF interest have tried plugging in a 3rd party keyboard from a reputable company IE Logitech, to see if there are any issues there?

    Also, other than a NVRAM reset, have you tried a restore/recovery?

    • +1

      Yep, the laptop has had its PRAM, NVRAM reset multiple times. I also did a complete internet recovery twice. It’s definitely a hardware issue, and a very highly documented one at that.

      • And the external keyboard worked ok?

  • This reminds me of the time I traded my EA Falcon in 24 years ago. I was hoping they wouldn't drive it too far at the dealership. :)

  • +3

    The problem is that a dodgy company is a dodgy company. A company that won't acknowledge a fault when you are standing in front of them showing them it happening will if forced to accept there is a fault, just say they have fixed it, and run down the clock until your warranty is expired.

    • +2

      Yes ideally OP should get a refund and not trust them to have it repaired

  • Is the store part of a chain? Can you go higher to a regional level?

    • No. Stand-alone company, it appears.

      • +1

        Bugger.

  • Post up on their stalkerbook page.

    • They have the FB and Instragram logos on their business card, but I’ve not yet had a look at their pages. I’ll see what comes of from my next in-person interaction with them before I decide what to do.

      • +2

        Just remember, be nice, smile, and if you don't get what you want, say thank you, I'll be speaking to Fair trading in regards to this. Have a nice day. PS Prepare to be 'Ozshamed'.

  • +1

    Fill out the small claims form & before you submit it present it to them. Give them the option of rectifying the fault or having it filed. If it goes to small claims the store will lose.

  • +1

    I used to work for a company that sold used computers so I was really expecting to not take your side here, but assuming your post is accurate you're 100% in the right.

    As the other commenters have suggested, I would take it back with your father and request that they accept the return and refund the device. It's clearly DOA as acknowledged by Storefella #1, and a repair, although ordinarily reasonable, is no longer what you should be after given the company is clearly not going to be reasonable going forward.

    • I’m quite tech savvy and I worked for almost 7 years in the hospitality and retail industry. I would like to consider myself very self-aware when dealing with people in this industry. My post is 100% accurate (some conversations shortened for brevity’s sake.

  • +5

    I’ll be taking on board some of the helpful responses here. To summarise:

    I will be heading back to the store on Wednesday with my dad. I have pre-filled an NCAT tribunal claim and have printed it out. I will let the store tell my dad their proposed course of action. If they do not offer a repair or full refund, I will let them know that I will be submitting the tribunal claim.

    • +8

      I would be sticking with the refund if I were you. You gave them the chance to do a repair and they didn't take it. And you can't trust them to get it done properly. You don't want to have to come back to them in a few months with another problem, maybe they'll screw up some other components while attempting to repair. You should get a refund and help your dad get a good computer that meets his needs from somewhere more trustworthy.

    • I will be heading back to the store on Wednesday with my dad.

      Soo….?

      • Final update posted below as a new comment!

  • If you use it for telecommunications, you can contact the telecommunications ombudsman.

  • Will be interesting to see how this pans out. As others, I would rather get my money back and be gone from these grubs.

  • +3

    Hi all. Appreciate those who’ve checked back in to see how it all went. I took yesterday morning off work (for reasons that are boring and I won’t get into) and arranged to meet my dad at the store at 10am. It wasn’t until we turned up that we found out they don’t open until 10:30am. I had printed the NCAT tribunal paperwork and had it all ready to go, but I couldn’t take off any more time for work. My dad was also busy for the rest of the day, so Wednesday was very uneventful.

    Something that I didn’t mention in my earlier post was that the store refused to give me the laptop back on Monday after they told me that there was nothing wrong with the laptop. They said they would only return it if my dad came back to pick it up. I’m sure they would have tested the laptop while they had it over the past few days and confirmed that there was an issue with the keyboard.

    This morning, I receive a text:

    “Hi, the MacBook Pro your father has purchased is not faulty however if you don’t need this laptop we are ready to refund him.”

    My dad went to the store today and they gave him a full cash refund. Certainly an interesting turn of events seeing as how on Monday, they told me that if my dad wanted a refund, there would be a 30% restocking fee.

    This, by far, has to be one of the most bizarre series of events I’ve ever experienced, but I’m glad that it’s all over. For those interested, I’ve since bought my dad a brand new M1 MacBook Air.

    • +1

      My dad went to the store today and they gave him a full cash refund.

      Happy to hear :)

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