Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Web Secret #306: Tech Support

Note: while I mostly reference Apple products in this post, EVERYTHING I discuss is equally relevant to your Android/PC/other devices.

I get these calls from my kids: "Uh, there seems to be condensation inside my iPhone/MacBook Pro/iPad screen."

To which I respond, "Uh, did you have your device near liquids?"

Over the years they have confessed:

"The phone kind off slipped into the toilet."
"I jumped into the pool and the phone was in the pocket of my swim trunks."
"I was tanning and a wave sort of went over my iPad."
"I spilled a hot chocolate/espresso/Mocha Frappucino on my laptop."

I also get these calls:

"Uh, my phone disappeared during the Skrillex concert."
"My iPad is gone. I guess I left my dorm room unlocked."

Finally, I get these calls from my friends and family:

"Uh, my phone isn't synching."
"I can't download iTunes - it won't let me."
"My email isn't working."

This is a public service announcement:

Unless you are independently wealthy or have the tech skills of an MIT undergraduate, if you own a smartphone, laptop or tablet, you need to buy device protection insurance and pre-pay for tech support.

Yes, it's expensive. It means that iPad Air isn't $499, (like it seems when you go onto the website.) Its actually $598, because you bought Apple Cares for $99.

But here's the thing. That Apple Cares gives you the right to call Apple anytime, with any issue, and the tech on the end of the line has to hold your hand and help you fix your issue no matter how long it takes. Better yet, if your mother/daughter/friend asks you to fix her wireless printer, you don't have to. You can have her call tech support.

With respect to insurance, I promise you the first time your child informs you that their brand new iPhone 5S "got lost," and you discover that the replacement cost is over $600, you will see the light.

The good news is that you no longer have to use your carrier's insurance. There are now third party insurers like Seccuranty, SquareTrade,, and more.

You can also purchase tech support like Fixnow and iYogi.

Caveat: if you meet the criteria for an upgrade and are planning to buy the latest and greatest, you can discontinue your insurance plan. If the device breaks, you just buy a new one.

Oh, one more thing. There are now companies that will buy your old devices. They give you an estimate in a matter of seconds, they send you a box in which to pack your device, you send it in and BAM, you get money. Check out Gazelle. You'll get less than if you sold the device yourself but it's hassle free.

Just remember to scrub your device completely before sending it in.

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