Customer Service Rave – APC

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It sure seems like all we hear these days are complaints about the way that companies handle their customer service. As a nice change, I’d like to share a rave instead of a rant with you today. Long time reader and friend of the-gadgeteer LeoBv sent this in. Read it and share your own raves…

In browsing through all of the various tech and gadget websites I visit, there is often a rant about the poor state of customer service for gizmos, gadgets, whatnots, and even the occasional laptop or desktop. I’ve seen “MAC hell” and one on jkontherun about Comcast customer service telling the guy that he was not home when they supposedly showed up to install his broadband – when he and his wife were home all day waiting. I have five ThinkPads (don’t ask) and my very few calls for customer service have always been extremely satisfactory.

I seemed to have been spared most of the reasons for rants, except a couple years ago when the Adobe representative in India declined to refresh my license for Adobe Professional as reformatting the hard drive of a laptop apparently violated my licensing agreement. Finally, a supervisor (in Ireland?) set things straight.

Recently, though, I had quite an experience. I was looking for an extra battery for my ThinkPad X-61. I also have an X-61 Tablet, but the batteries are not interchangeable. I thought about getting a universal laptop battery that could be used on both and went and did my research. I decided on the APC UPB60 as being small, light, but with enough power to run either laptop for quite a few hours. I also have a small APC universal battery for USB-powered gadgets, and it works great on my HTC Advantage, so I know that they make good stuff. I did my on-line research and came up with a best price, and then I checked eBay. Bad call.

I found an eBay “Power Seller” selling a “new” UPB60 for about 40% less than any on-line store. The seller had good ratings, so I bid on it and won. It arrived reasonably fast, although not in an original box or container. However, all the pieces were there and it looked new.

One problem, though. The APC units use different tips for various laptop brands. The UPB60 literature says it works on all ThinkPad X series laptops, but no tip in the bag would fit.

I e-mailed APC’s customer service through their website and got a surprisingly fast reply that the X-61 required a newer tip and that they would send one free. I gave them my address and a few days later it showed up via UPS. It didn’t fit.

Another e-mail to APC resulted in another quick reply that the customer service representative had been given the wrong information and that the correct tip (the “M” tip) was on its way to me. This one arrived in two days via UPS second day delivery. The invoice and the label on the tip’s plastic bag said it was an M tip, but inside the bag was a K tip. Ooops.

So, another e-mail, another apology, and a promise that the correct tip was on the way. The next morning it arrived via FedEx overnight. Wow.

I plugged in the battery to let it charge, but no lights came on. Odd. I let it charge for over six hours, and still nothing. I connected it to an X-61, and nothing. I used another tip for a Dell (my wife’s work laptop), and nothing. Charging overnight did nothing.

I contacted the eBay “Power Seller” about the DOA battery. I was told that the battery was thoroughly checked out by a technician before sale and must have been damaged en route or I tried the wrong tip and shorted something out. I started to consider PayPal buyer protection.

I then sent APC another e-mail, inquiring if they would honor an eBay sale. I got a reply within an hour saying that a new battery was shipped to me with a UPS label to return the old one.

The NEXT MORNING the new battery arrived via FedEx. Brand new. It charged perfectly, works perfectly, and all is well.

I just thought folks out there might like to know that there are still some companies providing good customer service.


4 thoughts on “Customer Service Rave – APC”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. The people at APC are great.

    Seven years ago, I purchased a UPS for my desktop pc, but it was too small to back up my machine and peripherals. I called APC customer service, and the representative told me he would send out a larger (more expensive) UPS and a return label for the smaller UPS I had purchased. I was flabbergasted. Not a single expense on my side.

    How did they know I would vow to only buy APC products for the rest of my life? I could have been some jerk trying to game the system. I will not get an APC logo tattoo, but I will NEVER buy from any other vendor.

    I haven’t had a single issue (in seven years) with any of my APC UPS’s or powerstrips, so I haven’t needed to call their customer service department. I’m heartened to hear that APC still carries on with such magnificent integrity. I guess there’s a reason they remain the industry standard.

    I read this article and was so moved to share my APC experience, I registered with gadgeteer, just so I could post this comment. My login name is not a prurient description, I happen to be a nice person who is fat.

    [Edited at July 19, 2008 13:02:19 PM.]

  3. Johnny:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and welcome to our band of merry gadget folk :o) We’re glad to have you.

  4. I had a lot of dealings with APC in my last job looking after power redundancy – both desktop and server room.

    I can only concur with what’s been said, and add that they have been an oasis of customer service satisfaction for me.

    I think APC realise that customers aren’t there to waste time and ask for replacements if there’s nothing wrong with the equipment. On every occaion when we had faulty UPSes (not that many to be fair) after some basic troubleshooting steps, they were happy to replace units at extremley short notice.

    Thumbs up.

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