Imagine this little scenario:
- Your Macbook hard drive fails.
- You take it to the Apple Store to get fixed.
- They charge you a fortune for an out-of-warranty repair and then refuse to return your broken hard drive to you – they say it is Apple’s property, not yours.
- Your original hard drive gets refurbished – and somebody thinks to look at the platters before they zero it for the next person.
- Next thing you know, your data is for sale on Ebay.
The first 3 bullets happened to Dave Winer – and he has no control now over whether the last 2 bullets become a reality.
What I find especially interesting about this story is that this wasn’t even a case where Dave got a free drive through warranty — he actually paid for the new drive, he paid for the computer itself — yet the original drive was not considered his property. How does that work exactly? And how does Apple get away with an opaque policy with no option for redress?
I sincerely hope that none of Dave’s data shows up in the wrong hands. Apple should hope so too; that is assuming Dave’s story even penetrates Apple’s shiny white corporate iExterior.
I recently had this same experience. I got my hard drive replaced somewhere else. I did, however, print up an agreement and present it to the Apple store staff for their signature. It said “We acknowledge that we are receiving media containing credit card information, personally identifiable information referring to several individuals, and trade secret information of one or more corporations. We agree to accept full responsibility for proper handling of this information in compliance with all applicable regulations and laws, and we accept liability for any failure to protect this information.”
I told them I’d happily have them fix the computer and retain the drive if they signed the agreement. Needless to say, they declined. If the computer in question had been in warranty, my next step would have been to ask for a refund of my warranty costs, on the grounds that they had refused to service my equipment under warranty.