It doesn’t take a genius to fix a Mac.
In fact, avoiding the Apple (Stock Quote: AAPL) Store “geniuses” altogether will typically save Mac users quite a bit of time, money and frustration.
When my beloved dog knocked a cup of coffee onto my Macbook, as a recent convert not knowing any better, I made an appointment with my local Apple store, only to have it rescheduled when I got there. When I got to speak with someone and explained the situation, I found out that any liquid damage meant a minimum, standard fee of more than $800.
And when I asked why no one could tell me that on the phone, I heard that the people who answer the phone aren’t trained “geniuses,” and couldn’t give out such information.
A friend recommended a local store that fixed me up for about $200. And the person who answered the phone was the person I met with when I arrived.
John Deas, a friend of mine in Philadelphia, had a similar experience when his two-year-old Macbook Pro crashed. Apple told him the computer was fried and that the repair bill would have a comma in it; his local Mac guys replaced one newly-recalled part for free and sent him on his way for the $40 inspection fee.
How They Do It
Many of these local stores are not Apple Authorized Service Providers, meaning that anything they fix is no longer covered under warranty. But it also means that they don’t have to buy their parts directly from Apple for heavily inflated prices.
For example, it costs Ken Gould, the nearly 20-year owner of MacAlliance in Austin, Texas, $25 for a Macbook charger as opposed to the $80 it costs from Apple.