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This morning my external monitor refused to turn on. After examination I found my second thunderbolt port damaged. A small metal plate/contact on the top of the port had been dislocated, bent out of shape and was preventing the monitor from plugging.

I brought it back in shape (see pic) but it still dangles and makes plugging the monitor difficult. I managed to plug-in once and confirmed that the port was working.

thunderbolt

I have a few questions on this.

First the technical:

  • Does anyone know what is the functionality of the dislocated piece? I googled for the specifics of the connector, but couldn't find any documentation.

And a couple of warranty related:

  • I have an AppleCare Protection plan. Shouldn't this be covered by AppleCare?

I didn't misuse the port in any way and the machine was only 10 months old when this happened. Still the genius bar folks were less than friendly and claimed misuse based on minor scratches on the chasis. They even implied that my regular schedule of plugging/unplugging 2 times a day was somehow "heavy" use.

  • Are there any other avenues to pursue a repair from Apple? (I live in the EU.)

Thanks!

  • 2
    Call Apple and keep asking for Customer Relations. They will do almost anything for you. – Jay Thompson Nov 25 '14 at 21:50
  • Thanks Jay. Is it easy to get through to Customer Relations? They may be the right persons to talk to, as I'm very dissatisfied with my treatment at the Genius Bar. I was actually offered me a discount on the repair bill, but only after I showed them the above photo to prove that their "check" was clumsy and actually further damaged my laptop. – m000 Nov 26 '14 at 14:41
  • It can be difficult to get through to them sometimes, depending on who answers the phone. I've been able to find a direct number for the US Customer Relations department before, so maybe some searching will get you directly to EU Customer Relations. – Jay Thompson Dec 2 '14 at 17:36
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    I have the same problem, but my macbook pro 15 retina is out of warranty now. Its a bad design or material quality because a port is meant to be used constantly. Those hipsters at the genius bar said that if I want to fix it I must pay $500 for a new logic board. Its like saying your car have a problem with a wheel so you need to buy a whole new motor. They didnt want to open the laptop and take a look or bend with the right tool this little piece of metal, the only solution for them was paying, I talked to the mananger and was the same thing. Apple is losing some loyal clients because they ar – Mac User Aug 8 '17 at 9:32
  • Hey @MacUser. Sorry to hear you have similar problems. I'd suggest taking a second chance in an Apple Store located in a more upscale area. You can tell those because the clients waiting will be mostly older people setting up their iphones, rather than younger kids or students. If you are out of options, you can even try cutting the plate before trying a repair. Chances are that everything will be fine afterwards. I didn't do that because I happened to be in cover and had even paid the extra for an AppleCare plan. – m000 Aug 9 '17 at 10:51
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I had this problem fixed by Apple. Phone support claimed they could only help me with software problems. I didn't try to get through to the Customer Relations. Instead I tried visiting another Apple Store, where they were happy to fix the problem within warranty. This is a costly repair to pay yourself, as the whole "logic board" has to be replaced.

Regarding my specific questions:

  • Does anyone know what is the functionality of the dislocated piece? I googled for the specifics of the connector, but couldn't find any documentation.

    In my best understanding, the dislocated piece is only used to hold the connector in place. The only other use I can think of is for grounding. However, thunderbolt connectors already have a ground pin. So if you are out of warranty, before shelling around $600 for a repair, you may want to try cutting the metal pin and see how it works for you.

  • I have an AppleCare Protection plan. Shouldn't this be covered by AppleCare?

    Well, it depends on whom you ask. In the first Apple Store, the Genius was adamant that the problem was caused by misuse so it was not covered. In the second Apple Store the Genius directly recognized it as an assembly fault and fixed it for free. So, don't be discouraged by a first rejection of your claim. Try again, different time, different place (if possible).

  • Are there any other avenues to pursue a repair from Apple?

    If you don't manage to get a repair from an Apple Store, trying to get through to Customer Relations as suggested in the comments above may be an option. Another option would be to try having the problem fixed by an Apple Authorized Service Provider, who may have a less judgmental attitude.

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    Final tips: Sadly, playing clueless seems to be the best tactic to get help. Also, if you have the option, prefer an Apple Store in some rich residential area over the overcrowded downtown one. – m000 Feb 5 '15 at 16:49
  • Just my .02 as someone who's worked both sides of the Apple repair industry. Apple Premium Reseller only indicates that they are permitted by Apple to sell their products. Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP) indicates that they are allowed to perform warranty/AppleCare repairs for Apple, this would be the proper designation to look for when seeking repair. – Mr Rabbit Feb 5 '15 at 17:03
  • AASPs are still worth checking out when seeking a repair on a questionable issue, however... When working with in warranty Macs they have far less leeway than Apple. Their part returns (when they ship back the faulty part) are tested and verified to be both failed and warrantable without damage. If damage is found they are then fined by Apple. Because of this you'll find that many AASPs are unwilling to bend on any questionable issues such as this. A Genius however is able to pass judgement with little to no fear of repercussions if the part is later found to have been damaged. – Mr Rabbit Feb 5 '15 at 17:06
  • Thanks for the insightful comments @MrRabbit. I changed to the correct term in the reply. Although AASPs may be cautious to not get fined, I guess they still have financial incentives to help you. And they surely won't go into God mode. So if you fail to find a friendly Genius, they may worth a shot before going thermonuclear (TM). – m000 Feb 5 '15 at 17:30

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