Do You Know About Apple's Flat Rate Repair Pricing?

Updated on June 23, 2015
My poor MacBook Pro, waiving the white flag and giving up the ghost.
My poor MacBook Pro, waiving the white flag and giving up the ghost.

I service and repair computers on a regular basis. However, when it comes to my Apple products, like my 17" MacBook Pro, I often purchase Apple Care. Apple Care extends my warranty for a few more years and allows me to drop off my machine at a local Apple store and have it repaired for free—most of the time, at least. However, when that particular computer turned almost five years old, all warranties have long gone away, and I'm on my own dime to get it repaired.

I knew this was the case when my faithful sidekick wouldn't boot up earlier this week. I was at least two years out of warranty, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that Apple had a recall in effect for my particular model—even after all these years, from a faulty video chip that was causing issues with the display. I had experienced these same issues, so I was extremely optimistic as I headed up the freeway 40 minutes, to the closest Apple store. However, all hopes were dashed once the Genius Bar technician pointed out that it was most likely my logic board that was the culprit, and not the video on the board. I half suspected this but held out hope nonetheless.

Now, this is where it gets interesting. I knew from previous repairs that a logic board replacement was a $500-1000 repair, easily. Sure enough, as he selected the Logic Board replacement part, the item rang in at $486. Tack on a $98 labor charge, and I was just under $600 for the repair, on a five-year-old laptop. Granted, this machine was probably pushing $3000 when it was new. However, chances are good that its value would maybe only rival the cost of the repair, and I'd still be in 5-year-old technology. Not only that, but my display had been getting wonky, and some of the keys were acting a little weird. It was getting hard to justify the repair when none of those other items were even on the table yet.

The tech guy must have seen my hesitation because he then said, "Do you know about our flat repair rate option?" I didn't. Years and years of owning Apple products until they run into the ground, and I'd never heard about this. I know now I probably hadn't heard about them because I usually didn't need repairs after warranty—they just went to the end of the life cycle.

He then went on, "Do you have any other issues with the MacBook, anything at all worth pointing out?" I told him I did, and he then proceeded to tell me some shocking, yet fantastic news.

Apparently, my vintage of a machine, out of warranty as it was, qualified for a flat repair rate of $310. For that price, they would go through the machine, and fix anything that was clearly an issue. I mentioned the display, and how it had a 2-3 pixel wide vertical blue stripe, and often got amazingly pixelated for no apparent reason. Covered. Of course, we had just discussed the dead $486 logic board. Covered. I mentioned that some keys were wearing off and acting weird. Covered. He also pointed out that they would check things I hadn't mentioned, just to be certain and to top it off, the entire machine would have a 90 day warranty, not just the parts I would have repaired in the ala carte option. (Did I mention that option was almost $600?)

I thought about it for a second and figured that in the very worst case scenario, I'd get my $600 repair done for $310. But, in the best case scenario, my trusty sidekick would have some new life breathed back into it. Also, it would be covered under a fancy little warranty again, if only for just a few months. I signed off on this, and had them ship it off.

So why does Apple do this? I have a couple thoughts, and they all revolve around squeezing out every last penny from customers that they possibly can. I'm not complaining because, in this case, it also helps me out. I figure Apple must have thousands of logic boards in their warehouses, and many people, when faced with a $500-1000 repair bill on a five-year-old machine, will probably walk away. The longer those parts go unused, the better chance they have of staying that way. But put a price that isn't too hard to swallow, like $310, and I think most people will jump on it. At least they recoup some of the cost. I also figure that those $486 logic boards probably only cost Apple about $100 real dollars anyway.

If you find yourself with an older Apple computer product in need of a repair when it has exceeded its warranty period, ask about the flat rate repair option. Especially if your bill gets more than a few hundred dollars big. Your mileage may vary, but as I look around on the Internet, I see many people have saved hundreds of dollars by using this same option. Best of luck, and here's to hoping you never have to use this to begin with!

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        3 years later, FYI... 

        5 months ago

        That "flat-rate" has risen to $475.

      • profile image

        Oh no not THAT guy 

        18 months ago

        Ripoff. They know most repairs are a 1/10th cent capacitor or a sub-$5 SMC. Louis Rossmann will tell you everything you need to know about Apple. Look him up.

      • profile image

        Matt 

        4 years ago

        Just wanted to toss in another opinion of why they may offer this service. I think it adds considerable value to the original purchase knowing I can get it repaired for about 15% (on a $2000 macbook pro) of purchase price at any point in the future. I've had two macbook pros that needed service after about three years of use. They would have been under warranty if I'd bought AppleCare but that runs about $300. So the flat rate repair cost me no more in the long run and enables me to get repair well past 3 years as well. I'm of course making the assumption I won't need multiple repairs within that 3-year period and I think that is a logical assumption given Apples reputation.

        I'll reiterate the value here. I have a three year old macbook pro ($2200) that actually runs as fast as the low-end current model (According to published tests). That means the present value of my computer, if bought new, is $1299 (the current price of the lowest model) . If I can get it repaired for $300, that is of extreme value to me over it turning into a brick that may only be salvageable for a few hundred dollars in parts.

      • profile image

        12345 

        5 years ago

        The flat rate repair is only offered in the United States and Japan

      • profile image

        inca 

        5 years ago

        hi, I am told by Apple UK that flat rate does not apply to Macs, but only to iphones, ipads etc.

        Do you know where I can find more information about this to show to the service people?

      • profile image

        inca 

        5 years ago

        hi, I am told by Apple UK that flat rate does not apply to Macs, but only to iphones, ipads etc.

        Do you know where I can find more information about this to show to the service people?

      • howtoguides2learn profile image

        Vidhya L 

        5 years ago from Chennai, India

        Nice piece of info. useful.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, turbofuture.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://turbofuture.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)