During the past couple of weeks, my iMac 24’ was acting strangely: applications were freezing or quitting unexpectedly. Last week, it became more serious when the finder blocked many times throughout the day. I ran Disk Utilities and got this wonderful message: This drive has a hardware problem that can't be repaired. Back up as much of the data as possible and replace the disk. See an authorized Apple dealer for more information.
Basically telling me that major problems were looming.
My iMac is less than a year old (April ’09), fortunately I got the Apple Care plan when I purchased it. So it was not a financial concern.
Last Monday, I called Apple and spoke (of course after a 15 minutes wait) to a tech (I don’t know if they are called "Genius" in the call center). In less that 10 minutes, he made the same diagnostic that I had surmised.
First I was told to bring the machine to an Apple retailer. I asked if instead, they could send me a new HD and I would replace it myself. He said that I would not be able to do so, it is against Apple policy, voiding the warranty.
The solution the Genius came up with was to send a technician to my office and do the repair “on site”. He then told me that an Apple retailer would contact me in the next 48 hours and come to my office and change the hard-drive.
Good news. I was happy that it was so easy.
On Tuesday a company called “Maintronic” phoned me to ask for the size of the iMac HD (?) so he could order a new one and told me that they would call me back to set up an appointment when they received it. Guess what, they did! on Wednesday and set up the appointment for thursday morning.
I could not believe how easy everything went. I was very satisfy so fare. A good and fast resolution to my problem.
The Maintronic’s tech arrived on time to unscrew and open my machine. In less than 30 minutes the new HD was in place and working.
I watch the process. I was really curious to see the inside of the imac with my own eyes.
Two things happened:
First: when he closed the machine, I did not like that he had no tools to remove the dust on the display before putting back the glass of the screen. He remove some of the dust by blowing on the display. BLOWING on the display!!!! how safe that is? I did not say anything but I really did not like that at all!
The second problem was when he started to put my old HD in his bag. When I saw that, I told him that I wanted to keep it. He explained to me that he had to take it and return it to Apple.
I said that I cannot let him leave my office with the hard drive since it contained sensitive informations and files about me and my company. This data is not only important but confidential.
This HD contains data of many years of my office’s accounting, all my personal and business bank records, passwords and even copies of my ID, passport and social security number. Not to mention those of my employees. How easy would it be to steal my identity? Of course the man was not understanding my concerns.
I explained that nobody informed me that I had to give back the broken but still functioning hard drive.
Of course, if I knew that, I would have erased and reformatted the HD before he came. Apple or Maintronic never informed me about this, so I was not prepared or willing to let this data leave my office. One would have to be insane to let informations like this out of their control.
The man told me to drop the HD on the concrete floor to brake it. I certainly did not want to do any such thing! It made me even more suspicious.
The tech guy called his office. A very unpleasant women wanted to speak to me. She threatened me by saying that I was going to have a major problem with Apple.
She asked for a deposit check (without telling me how much). I refused.
Then, she said that her tech was going to remove the new HD and put back the old one in the iMac.
I nicely told her that it will not possible and that the man had to leave my office immediately, which he did.
I called Apple to report that little incident.
Even if I have not gotten an official answer from Apple, I am feeling that the people I spoke with, understood my concern.
Why Apple never mentions in their phone procedure that the HD goes back to them. Especially after I told them that I still could access my data even if I was getting the error message.
Why did not Maintronic ask if I had erased it?
The only question Apple or Maintronic ask was : Did you back up the data from the disk? Today I’m still expecting a phone called from Apple. I really don’t know how the Apple customer service is going to answer this problem.
Even if Maintronic or Apple said to me that my old hard drive is going to be destroyed and that I need to trust them. That sounds great on paper, but unfortunately, that is not how the world works today. I do not take them for their word.
I certainly do not want to take the risk to have all this confidential informations fall into the wrong hands.
What would you do in this circumstance? Are you concerned about Identity theft?