Friday, December 24, 2010


Last night my computer, an early-2006 iMac 17", suddenly hung from launching the screensaver and being curious, I decided to poke around the Apple forums to see what was causing the problem.

Instead, I sidetracked to a bigger problem (which I was initially resigned to accept) of vertical lines appearing on the lcd screen. The first time one line appeared was in Oct-2009 which was blogged here:

The defect affects a batch of screens made within a serial number range. At that time in the forums, people were saying Apple was not recognising these widespread defective screens and we would have to fork over $700-$1000 just to get the problem fixed, because the screen tends to fail right after Apple care or the warranty expired. There was a problem also related to the graphics card that would render these lines too, but mine is a screen problem.

I decided to give up calling them back then (it was a public holiday so the lines were closed), and save myself the trouble of venting my frustration on whoever was unfortunate enough to pick up my call lol.

Besides, the warranty was long over and if Apple was not going to recognise the problem I might as well wait till angry customers kick up enough ruckus for Apple take some responsibility.

So fast forward 1+ year later, and using the iMac much less since I have a new computer, there are now 10 lines. This may sound stupid but I was ALMOST getting used to the lines obscuring my videos! So through out of renewed hope in the forums that Apple was fixing screens on these iMacs for free even though it was almost obsolete, I called the local Apple Technical Support (Singapore toll) 800-186-1087

First step: be very polite, couldn't help my hacking cough lol; and don't take no for an answer because other people had theirs fixed for free. The ones who pick up your call - the Level 1 reps - aren't able to authorise any fixes, they just document your case and put you through to the next higher up consultant so don't scream at them. Also bookmark the threads relating to this problem just in case.

So level 1 representative was polite and I didn't mince my words just said my lcd screen has that infamous vertical lines and tried resetted PRam, total shut down (for a month as I was overseas) and it's still there and new ones being born every few weeks and it's bugging me very much.

So after searching his database for similar problems, he tried but didn't manage to get the senior advisor and I was instructed to call the next day at 8am with a Case Number in hand, and not to worry. They will ask you for your serial number and to take a screenshot and observe whether the lines appear on it as well.

And since you have to PAY to talk to any Apple rep in the call center, he said (standard protocol) this is a one time exception that it was free, and an exception that they were looking into my out-of-warranty, no-applecare machine.

I overslept and called them at noon instead and a new level 1 rep managed to get hold of a senior advisor, a nice lady who granted me a free fix... what else but an... exception lol.

So after Christmas I will send the machine to the repair center as am now backing up data and this problem will hopefully disappear forever.

Anyone with these vertical line problems I suggest you make the call NOW in case the model becomes too old and they run out of parts to fix them. Mine is 4 years old and the problem occurred over a year ago and am quite pleased they finally changed their policy. Oh and I think the call was directed to an overseas base, the lady appears to be either based in India or Australia as she was using the site to direct me to my nearest repair center.


Bubbles said...

My sisters laptop had horizontal lines in it and half the screen would be black and the other half would have the desktop on... after a good smack it would sort it out. My brother took it to the place it was bought (after 6+ years) and they replaced some part and its good as new again. I don't know if its the same for computers but I'll ask him exactly what they replaced incase it helps you.

My HP laptop was a complete loss because that was a common fault with all HP laptops and they were of no use in fixing it.

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