updated 06:40 pm EST, Tue January 31, 2012
Blog post leads to phoney 'takedown' notice
A blogger who has had ongoing difficulty with an AppleCare transfer on a replacement monitor received a rare admission from the company that it suffered some form of system failure in its AppleCare database recently. Upon reporting this and urging readers to revisit their own AppleCare profiles, writer David Boles now claims to have received a warning letter from Apple.
The story starts with a unexpected failure of Boles' new Thunderbolt Display shortly after purchase. Boles reported the problem to a nearby Apple Store and they arranged for him to get a replacement model, which happened as expected. The difficulty began when Boles noticed that his service plan was not immediately transferred to the new display from the old one.
Since such transfers normally happen within 24 hours, Boles wrote an e-mail inquiring about the status five days after the monitor was replaced. He was again assured that the process would be complete in another 24 hours. On January 25th -- a further six days later -- he wrote again on the matter, and received a more detailed e-mail that explained that a "systems failure" had occurred and that "all processes that were in queue have been backed up but are still in processing. We have fixed the problem and will re-process the coverage transfer."
The next day, Boles checked his AppleCare status again and found that not only was the transfer still incomplete, but that two recent purchases still covered under AppleCare were now missing from the profile. He re-added them without issue, but the incident prompted him to write a blog entry urging readers to check their own support profiles to ensure that covered items were still listed.
Shortly thereafter, Boles received a questionable e-mail purportedly from Apple that announced in very broken English that Boles had violated the disclaimer wording at the bottom of Apple (and other company) e-mails that prohibits reproduction of confidential information. The e-mail is unlikely to legitimately be from Apple, as the company is meticulous about its written communications and does not use phrases like "It came to our concern that our policy was broken" and "This is a very strict policy that we enforce, and that the government is under watch of" although its possible that a rogue AppleCare agent may have sent it on their own initiative. The e-mail concludes with "If no compliance is made, further action will have to be forced upon" and is signed "Apple Policy Restrictions" which is not a legitimate department within the company.
Boles had written a last reply back to the company prior to the e-mail asking for a supervisor to take charge of the issue, which may have offended a service rep that received the e-mail. Boles posted the headers and a screenshot of the dubious warning -- which he received shortly after a phone call from Apple notifying him that the problem had been resolved -- but the headers are inconclusive as to whether the phoney e-mail was just well-spoofed or actually came from somewhere within an Apple facility. Ten minutes after the "nasty" email (which lacked both personalization and the standard confidentiality disclaimer), Boles received a normal follow-up email (in business English) reiterating the phone call and expressing appreciation for his patience.
Boles called Apple back to report the suspicious e-mail, which a supervisor said he will investigate. Boles says he will post the outcome when he hears back from the company.