Posted on 12-09-2015 10:51 PM
Help me JAMF Nation, you're my only hope....
I am the sole proprietor of my company's IT department (approx. 75 units), a department I've been growing from scratch for a little over a year and a half. I do it all: Casper Suite, Network Services, Cloud Services, buy/sell/inventory all equipment... the list goes on. Back at the beginning of the year, I applied for a "Parts-Only" tier, for our company, in a SSA. I was contacted, shortly thereafter, by two SSA reps, who both agreed that our company could definitely make the requirements of the "Parts-Only" tier, but thought it MORE beneficial for us (or rather me) to obtain ACMT, and therefore leverage us into the "Parts & Labor" tier (which they were willing to waive the device count requirements), and with it all the bells and whistles: GSX, etc.. With their suggestion, I agreed, went and obtained (paid) access to the training materials, and began studying. This was in March.
And then life happened... being the sole member of my department, I'm handling all sorts of stuff week in and week out. The next thing I knew, it was November... I had gotten so busy in those months between with all sorts of tech issues, fires, and new things every week... so I slammed the books, studied up, took the tests (that we bought and paid for), and passed with flying colors. I'm now an AMCT.
I then reached out to the same SSA reps to resume our application, and they "kindly" (rather "coldly") informed me that the program requirements had changed. Yes, no longer 50 or 300 units... it's now 1000 combined units. They didn't care that we had already paid hundreds in training materials, ESD equipment, diagnostic server, etc. It was just really really disappointing... a huge letdown to say the least. And I'm highly considering billing Apple for all the stuff they're now giving away, that we spent money on: "vouchers" for initial certification? What a slap in the face...
Here's my conundrum... I highly respect Apple's ethic behind repairing their products. It has to be done a certain way, in a certain manner, with a certain Apple methodology and care. I get that, and learned that thru my AMCT training. I also justified the AMCT in thinking that, considering 80% of our employees work from their homes, all over the world, having access to additional manuals, perhaps first hand "express lane" contact to tech reps, etc., would allow me to make better informed decisions about how software/hardware issues should be handled, on a moment's notice, without either A.) completely replacing a "faulty" device, or B.) taking time out of my day/week to make an appointment to march the device over to the store, only to be told by a fellow AMCT what I already probably know, and could fix myself. And let me stress the fact that taking a faulty product into a store to be repaired is such a chore, I loathe when I have to do that because our lone local store is in a major mall (I'll let you put together all the inconveniences). I also have a fair number of users who would have to drive to another town to get to an authorized service provider or an actual Apple store itself. Don't get me wrong, I'm not about to start repairing all of our computers when they break, I probably won't have time... but, if I can diagnose the issue, I'd be more obliged to take it to a store to have it fixed, utilizing someone else's time, when I don't have the time. So was all of this in vain? What am I to do now?
Things I haven't attempted yet:
- contacting my local Apple business rep to vouch for me
- emailing email@example.com from scratch to try to just re-apply, maybe bluff the system?
I want to make good on my ACMT, and make good on Apple products by treating them with respect, and repairing/servicing them utilizing Apple's specific procedures and requirements... anyone have any advice or thoughts?
Posted on 12-10-2015 05:48 AM
Did you get far enough into the "parts only" process to be introduced to the channel/account manager for your area? If so, they may be able to help.
Posted on 12-10-2015 07:18 AM
Same story here. While we have a number of nearby Apple Stores to choose from, including several where I know plenty of people (ex Fruit Stand-er myself), taking one tech out of the business for several hours to handle one ticket just isn't a good use of time (5 techs, one ACMT serving a K-12 school). Also, their payment policies make life tough on us too. We have a school Amex card, but it has the director's name on it, And having him trek out to the store just to pick up a repaired product is a non starter. I'm going to be watching this thread closely, hopefully the community can come up with something to help us out here.
Posted on 12-10-2015 07:49 AM
For what it's worth -- We are a school that is a SSA. For quite a while, our account was parts only without us realizing it because we had access to the take apart guides, chats, and other resources it sounds like you're most interested in. If you're still eligible for a parts only SSA, I'd initiate the request for that to acquire the resources. If you have a local Apple system engineer, I'd probably also discuss the situation with him/her. We have a couple of occasions where our Apple reps have been our biggest advocates and really helped us resolve situations efficiently.
Even though we have a parts and labor SSA, we're a small IT department. The time required for some repairs and our workload during portions of the year occasionally necessitate that we go through other channels. In our case, I call in to Apple Care for education and send the Mac out for repair. Downside is we're without the Mac for 3 - 5 days, but it doesn't take us away from other tickets. Though it doesn't solve the time, money, and effort put forth for the ACMT, it does get the repair job done. I'm not sure if that option is available to other types of enterprise customers.
As a side note to @JZaczyk, I'd highly recommend speaking with the business team at the Apple Store you frequent regarding payment concerns. I avoid our local Apple Store as much as possible (it's a 30 minute drive and we've had some interesting experiences with techs), but on occasion I need to purchase an item urgently. We're in much the same position as you, where the credit card available to us is issued to our Directory of Technology. It does, however, have the name of the institution on it. At worst, I've had to provide a statement of authorization or the ability to produce a PO for larger purchases, but it has not required his presence.
Posted on 12-10-2015 08:25 AM
FWIW These changes were implemented around the time of the introduction of Applecare for Enterprise, which offers onsite service. I suspect Apple had a desire to consolidate the number of SSAs out there. I don't necessarily agree with it but I suspect they would assert "small" business with under 1000 units should just buy Applecare for Enterprise. I take some issue with this because as your number of units grow Applecare becomes less of a value. At large volumes even if 10% of our machines require significant repair, like MLB replacement, it's still significantly cheaper to pay per repair than Applecare.
Your rep or store business team may be able to grease some wheels but with only 100 units I am not sure they will be able to help.
@Lewandowski If you are grandfathered into an old SSA they are not dumping them but they really really tightened the requirements for both parts and parts and labor SSA tiers.
Posted on 12-10-2015 09:26 AM
Kudos to you for taking on and running a successful shop. Not sure which way you will end up going, I ended up with the "taking it to the mall( NO really its in a mall)", but we had them recognize us a a business customer. so I call ahead when I have to come in and get express service, perhaps that may work for you.
@Lewandowski, AMEX does have authorized user cards that can be managed, would that help?
Posted on 12-10-2015 10:16 AM
I'm connected with a company that runs a repair shop, which up until recently was 'Apple Authorized"...
After many years (15-20? a while) which something like 98% positive ratings, Apple cut them out of the AASP program, with no real explanation.....
We have reached out to various Apple resources to no avail-- The system is setup so there is essentially nobody to talk to regarding why or how to fix...
And if you go to the page to apple to be an AASP, it says they are not currently taking applications....
And this has happened to several local, well-respected shops around the LA area....
Posted on 12-10-2015 11:16 AM
We have an Apple Parts Agreement, since both myself and a coworker came from Apple with current certs we were able to maintain it here and saves us a lot on the applecare as well. I think they are still figuring out how important the Edu sector is and how much work they need to do to make things easier for people like us.
My big beef is that the state contract (WSCA) with Apple ran out recently and since they cannot come to terms, it means we cannot legally purchase any Apple equipment. When I asked our rep if this had happened before, they said in NY it took 5 months to settle back in 2009. Well if it takes that long in NJ then I can assure you chromebooks will make even more inroads in the over 600 districts affected. They really need to not help this migration and settle this damned thing.
Princeton Public Schools
Posted on 12-10-2015 08:17 PM
Thank you JAMF nation, I'm really happy with all the feedback I got here!
My whole intention here is to be better informed about the repairs ahead of time, and the time and logistics involved in either repairing the broken device, or replacing it. I want that info. wether I do the repair myself or not. And like @Lewandowski mentions, I would probably err towards either sending it out, or taking into the store to be repaired, ultimately, only because I'm the only one in my department.
Therefore, if Apple either wants us to take it into a store, or have an Enterprise agreement, they should absolutely not be making the training materials, nor the ACMT tests available to anyone. I literally bought the access to the materials online, thru the Apple store, and then took my tests (bought and paid for) thru Pearson's testing site. And mind you, this was all at the suggestion of the AppleCare reps.... BEFORE the requirements changed.
Anyway, I've booked a meeting with my local business rep early next week on a few other things and plan on bringing this situation up, and seeing what their "read" on it is. After that, if nothing gains traction, I did remember that I did get contacted by the lead Regional AppleCare director back in 2014, so I do have an additional "up the food chain" contact.
And to clarify, at the first get-go, the AppleCare reps canceled our application for "parts only" and requested that we reapply when I completed my AMCT.
And thanks @LSinNY for the compliment and suggestion... I did have our local business team tell me that we could get "priority" or "fast lane" service, but my problem here is that I already paid for all the training, certification, and infrastructure. Isn't it fair that I should get what I paid for?
I'll keep this thread updated as best I can, when I find out more info. Thanks again all for your support!
Posted on 12-14-2015 08:38 PM
Wanted to update this thread as soon as I knew more, so here goes:
Scheduled a meeting with my local business team rep today, and went in and talked to him about the situation. Needless to say, he was very understanding about my situation, and commented that he had another business customer who had done the same thing (bought the training and certified themselves). My local rep assured me that he'd "work on that", which knowing my rep pretty well it sounded like he was willing to go to bat for me (good sign).
After talking to him about the situation (which he commented that having GSX integration into Casper Suite was a cool thing, so clearly he sees the benefit in it all), it became more clear that Apple is trying to crack down on folks buying, and then selling parts for a profit, hence the change in requirements. Totally get it, and I assured him that this is not what I was in it for. I'll just say this, I felt a ton better that I had a voice for me to advocate... crossing fingers.
I'll update again soon when I find out more.
Posted on 12-15-2015 06:17 AM
I'm interested to see how this ends up as well. I'm in a similar but not as bad situation. Joined a company already having my ACMT and everything, checked the requirements before they had changed, applied for parts only and then was immediately denied for no reason. Took two weeks to get the answer out of them, they changed the requirements and then didn't update the page for them.
Posted on 02-29-2016 04:24 PM
For anyone who might follow up on this thread:
My local Apple rep (here in the PNW) was able to advocate upon our behalf, and I managed to in on a phone conference with the West Coast Head of AppleCare, and the Business Leader for all Apple Stores in the NW. I basically laid out the same case you've all read here in this thread. The conference was used as a chance for our company to be "vetted out"... at the end of the conversation, I was basically told, or at least what I understood, was that "there shouldn't be any reason why we shouldn't be in the program".
Let's also cover a few important points: it was explained to me the Apple decided to cut a lot of institutions/businesses from the program because "many were not using the program". Although I did not ask for it at the time, I wish I would have asked for statistics on that. Also, it was explained to me that the SSA program conducts a strict "account review" every year, and if it's deemed that you, or your company, is not using the account, they have the right to terminate it. I explained to these guys that this condition was completely fair.
After the phone meeting, I was instructed by my rep to email the SSA program again, requesting access, while CC'ing the people mentioned above. I got a reply today, and in typical "automated" fashion: "... the install base has since increased to 1,000 units. The reason for the increase is due to the scalability of the software and processes utilized by a Self-Servicing account. With an install base of fewer than 1,000 units a Self-Servicing Account proves to be more problematic than beneficial. The most efficient support for an account your size would be through the ease of the Contact Center (1-800-APLCARE), who are trained to assist with technical and administrative issues 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This will always provide you the fastest turnaround with minimal interruption to your business."
And so far, neither my rep, nor the people mentioned above have jumped in on this conversation....
What's interesting about all this is that I actually had to make a trip to the store, on a busy Saturday afternoon, (because that's the earliest time my rep could book) to have a TECH hook up an iMac and run a graphics test (that I could have run on my own with access to the same diagnostics)... AND, to make matters worse, there was a road closure and traffic was insane. Total time IN THE STORE: 15-20 minutes, total time TO AND FROM THE STORE: 1hr 15min.
AND, if you go back to the SSA application page online, one of the "Benefits of joining the program"?
"Maintain control of the installed base of products, quality and time of the entire repair process"
TIME, time = money.
Posted on 03-01-2016 09:11 AM
Honestly email Tim Cook. it wont go tot him but it will be read by one of his EA's. as a former Genius i told people to do this all the time and it almost alway worked.
Posted on 03-01-2016 10:26 AM
Thanks @Matt.Ellis - I'm kind of in a holding pattern to see if my reps or the other guys will chime in on what SSA told me yesterday. But, yes, that just might be one of my next steps. I actually did that a few years ago on a completely different issue, and managed to get a nice response from a "higher-up" that helped me resolve the issue. So, yes, you are right, emailing Tim can "shake the tree" if you will.
Posted on 03-02-2016 10:56 AM
Matt, brings up something I think about a lot... one user upset about a bad iPhone can "email' Tim... however have to think long and hard if I should when my issues effect a lot more users...
How many people are "skipping chain of command" and "emailing" Tim? Is it a good idea to do this? I kinda thing not but, the longer I do this job and the more "software issues Mac OS X is having the more I want to...
PS that said it's quite clear from Apple E-staff Daring Fireball interviews that they feel their software is better than ever..
Posted on 03-02-2016 11:15 AM
@gachowski Your right alot of people do email Tim. We saw it all the time at apple. But some times when your at a point that no one not even those who said that this could be done cant or wont help now. Sometimes you have to break the chain.
When i worked there no matter how wrong or stupid of a promise a genius made. Especially in writing if they said it it was gonna happen. it happened one way or another. Someone promised no matter what your data thats not backed up wouldn't be touched and then they screwed it up. we shipped the drive to drive savers and paid the 5k to recover.
The should have honored what they told @gachowski or specifically put in a time limit on it. Apple changes very fast so its not a surprise the rules changed but someone he talked to dropped the ball. And a mistake can be forgiven if you actually fix it.
Posted on 03-02-2016 08:04 PM
Sure millions of people I would guess ... I was really asking how many Mac Admins email Tim... : )
I was also trying to make the point that I am not sure that it matter any way as Tim and the gang think their software is better than ever....