How Many Ways Can One Repair Shop Break an iPad?

Every once in a while, my sister-in-law stays over at our house.  We live fairly close to her work, and if she has something else going around our part of town, she’ll sometimes crash in the guest bedroom.  A few weeks ago, she was staying over and came out of her room, upset.  She had dropped something on her screen and now had a cracked iPad.

It was still usable but definitely not something you want to live with long term.

Repairing A Cracked iPad

She looked around but was finding most screen replacements to cost in the neighborhood of $125-150.  Money has been a bit tight so she was holding out for a better deal.

I came across a Groupon where it advertised that they would do replacements for “as little as $85.”  Trying to be helpful, I sent her the link.

I looked up the place and it was basically a side business off of a cell phone sales shop, where I’m guessing they sold phones from different carriers and plans.

She called and asked some questions and they directed her away from the Groupon and said that they actually had a deal where they replaced the screen on the iPad mini for $75.  So, she dropped it off.

mb-2016-05-crackShe said that to this point, everything seemed pretty straightforward, and that they said they would have the repairs done the next day.

Starting To Get The Runaround

The next day they called and said that they were running a day behind.  Hmmm….red flag?

So, the following day she drove down there to pick it up and was told that it still wasn’t ready.  She was a bit upset by this point because the shop is out of the way and added about an hour drive to her day.  Time that she would now have to repeat.  They promised that it would be a day or two longer (I think Sunday was somehow part of it and they may have been closed).

On Monday, she called and received even more bad news.  They admitted that while replacing the screen, they had somehow broken the power button.  So she now had a new screen but they needed to fix the button.

At this point they refunded the money and promised that it would be another day or two to replace and repair the button.

From Bad To Worse

Another day or two passed, and shockingly, things didn’t improve.

At this point, my sister-in-law turned the handling of the situation over to her boyfriend, who she figured would be a little bit more forceful to the situation.  (He’s a big guy and I definitely wouldn’t want to mess with him). At that time, she also mentioned potentially taking them to small claims court, at which point the relationship started to break down and the guy got mad and said that they would not award her anything if she didn’t give them time to fix it.

So, they waited a few more days.  By this point, I think the reality was setting in that they had really screwed up this device.  They still had the opportunity to make it right.

They didn’t take it.

10 Days In With No Signs Of Improvement

On about day 10 to this whole thing, the person from the store said that he couldn’t fix it but that he was going to make it right and that he had personally made an appointment to take it into the Apple store the next day and would have it repaired.

My sister-in-law’s boyfriend found out that you can call the Apple Store and verify, by the device serial number, if in fact there is an appointment scheduled.

I’m sure you can guess that there was no appointment scheduled.

He texted them asking them why this was, and tried also calling.  At this point, they stopped responding altogether.

My sister-in-law is good friends with a lawyer (they went to college together), and she called and asked for some legal advice.  He advised moving forward with small claims court, and also offered to write a letter on her behalf.  I don’t think the letter really said much, but the lawyer speak was largely designed to get them to respond.  Basically, at this point they just wanted to scare him.

It worked.

A Less Than Ideal Resolution But Still A Resolution

The guy called my sister-in-laws boyfriend and said that he was done, that he was not working on this anymore and that they could pick up the f-ing iPad. Exact quote!

My sister-in-law took to the web.  She went on Yelp and a couple of other sites and immediately posted one-star reviews and detailed the situation,of course advising people against ever working with this business.

The guy called and cussed some more at her and tried the ‘scare tactic’ threatening to sue her for slander.  She laughed and told him that it’s not slander if every word is true, which it was.

The day after that some reality called in.  He called again and offered to pay her near-replacement cost for a new iPad.  She just had to go down and pick up the money.  The following day she went (with others as backup) and picked up the money.

The funny part about it is that the owner’s father was in the store when she went to pick up the money, and he got mad and started cussing….at his son.  He knew that his son had messed up the situation so badly that he couldn’t even come to his defense in the slightest.


When A Repair Shop Makes It Worse

It turns out that they completely messed it up.  She has her iPad with a new screen but everything else doesn’t work.  Her boyfriend knows someone who looked at it and said that on top of everything else, the system board was damaged and that it is useless.  She’s wondering if they did it on purpose.

Looking back, several things pop to my head:

  • My sister-in-law really put up with a lot.
  • She admitted that she probably should have just paid more up front to a qualified facility.
  • If a deal is too good to be true, it probably is.
  • The Groupon purchase may have been more effective in reaching a conclusion once things had started to go wrong.  They will typically get involved and stand behind sales that had gone through their site.
  • It was really cool that my sister-in-law didn’t get mad at me at all for passing along the referral.  I’m sure she wishes (as do I) that I had simply scrolled past that Groupon.  In the end, it was just something that didn’t work out.

Readers, have you ever had a repair gone bad?  Tell me your experiences in the comments below.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

I Almost Lost My Fitbit…Twice!

I’ve been really happy with my Fitbit now that I’ve had it for a little over six months.  For the most part, it’s worked flawlessly.  I’ve had some sync issues, but have been able to work through that.  I also had an issue where it stopped ‘buzzing’ when I hit my step goal for the day.  For this, I found that modifying the goal to a different number fixed that.  Other than that, it’s been great.  Except when I almost lost my Fitbit.  Twice!

Putting Away The Camper

We recently got back from a quick weekend trip and after getting the camper cleaned out.  I headed back to the storage yard on Sunday evening.  One thing that I had to do was empty out the dirty tanks.  We do this at the storage yard because there’s no line.  When we leave a campground on a Sunday, the line tends to be long.  So this is a huge time saver.

I pulled up and put on a pair of disposable gloves, and took note that I wanted to make sure they covered my Fitbit.  This ended up being very critical.

I did what needed to be done with the tanks, drove it over to the spot and got it all settled in, and then went home to get cleaned up for dinner.  As I was getting ready to jump in the shower, I looked at my wrist, and there was no Fitbit.

Ugh.  I did a quick look around the house to make sure that I hadn’t taken it off, but it wasn’t anywhere obvious. mb-2015-02-oops Lucky I had the memory of covering it up with the gloves, so I knew that I had to have lost it during the brief window from when I put on the gloves until getting home and in the shower.  I still had the gloves in a plastic bag ready to be thrown out. Since the Fitbit wasn’t there, I was able to narrow it down further.

I had dinner, and then drove over to the storage place.  Lo and behold, sitting right next to the camper was my Fitbit.  It was a twenty minute round trip, but I was still, as I told my wife, a little “Fitbit to be tied”.  Get it?


Not more than a couple of weeks later, my wrist came up empty again.  This time, my memory stretched a lot further back.  Unfortunately, I’d been out in the yard doing a bunch of stuff.  Cutting grass, potting plants.  I was all over the place!


This time I was ready.  Having almost lost my Fitbit once, I did some online reading.

One piece of advice was to use a device that you have it synced with as a mechanism to find it. Brilliant!  Since I sync it to my smart phone, I pulled that out, fired up the Fitbit app, and told it to sync.  I was in the kitchen and sure enough, within a few seconds, it told me that it was connected and had completed a sync.  Cool!

I walked around the house and noted that it stayed synced.  I went outside into the garage and in the yard and started walking around.  It would not sync in either place.  So, this told me that the device was inside the house, and that thankfully I did not have to comb through the entire yard looking for it, and it also took away the fear that I would have to dig through the re-potted tomato plants looking for the buried Fitbit.  That would have not been fun.

Going back into the house, I started retracking my steps.  It occurred to me that before I went outside, I’d changed into my work shorts.  I went over to where the pair of shorts were that I’d worn earlier, and sure enough, there was the Fitbit in the pocket of the shorts.

The biggest bummer in all of this was that I didn’t get credit for any of the steps I’d taken while cutting the grass and working outdoors!

Lessons From Nearly Losing My Fitbit

After having this happen more than once, there are a couple of things that I regularly do.

  • Keep it in sight –  My Fitbit has a wrist band.  This is great because I can almost always see it. Some people, even with devices that are wearable, prefer to keep it in their pockets or hooked around their belt loop.  This gets it out of the way, but if you lose it, you’ll have a harder time remembering when you last had it.
  • Take notice of it – Both times that I lost my Fitbit, I was able to remember a recent time that I last saw it.  Anytime you lose it, you’ll end up having to retrace your steps, but the less time you have from when you last saw it can mean a lot less steps to retrace
  • Sync it – If you have a mobile device, install the app and keep it synced.  As worked with me, this will help you at least know if it’s in the area where you think it might be.
  • Consider a label – I haven’t figured out a way to do this, but I’m trying to think of a way to label either the device or the band. The device is tiny and the little crevice that it slides into often gets damp, so trying to put paper in there would be a mess.  I’ve considered trying to scratch in some info into the inside of the stretchy band, but I’m afraid of slicing through it or creating a weak point that would cause the band to fail.

Readers, have you ever lost or known someone to lose a Fitbit or other wearable technology?  What tips can you think of to keep your stuff from going missing?

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Business Owners Use Technology to Grow

As in almost every aspect of daily living, technology has become an integral part of retail for both the consumer and the business owner. Technology comes with a lot of advantages on both sides as well. Consumers can find precisely the products for which they are searching, compare prices, and make purchases from stores that are not within a comfortable driving distance. Businesses can reach more potential customers and get feedback to discover what works and what does not. Marketing has changed from the standard commercial to crafting a website that will be found through the most popular search engines. Technology is also helping businesses that see the majority of sales offline grow as well. The integration of e-commerce and point-of-sale (POS) transactions in a single store system has contributed to the success and growth of many small businesses, as well as plenty of larger ones.

Benefits of a Cloud-based POS System

Many online businesses are opening brick-and-mortar store locations to meet consumer demand. Shoppers are looking for more than the standard national chain brands. They want to see unique items in-person, and to touch them and make a connection, before making a purchase. POS software puts everything the savvy business owner needs in a single program. Systems like Shopify give business owners the chance to create an eye-catching online store that doubles as a POS system for physical store transactions. Users can set up a website and add real-time product inventory. Whether an item sells online or in the store, information is synchronized automatically to provide the most up-to-date data.

Hardware is straightforward and easy to use. An iPad serves as the cash register screen, and credit cards are swiped through a plug-and-play card reader in the audio jack. For cash transactions, a cash drawer can be opened through the tablet as well. Receipts are sent wirelessly to the printer. This comprehensive system includes everything a traditional cash register does, without the added hassle. It also gives shoppers peace of mind that their private information is secure.

Other features provide even better customer service solutions. Receipts can be sent via email when shoppers would prefer to avoid a printed version. Analytics keep detailed records of pertinent information such as e-commerce page views, product inventory, and sales history.

It is this flexibility that helps successful businesses adapt and move forward.

Real Businesses Find Success

Many businesses have seen measurable growth in a short period of time when using technology to offer the best of both worlds to customers. Dylan Clifton, owner of Perception Apparel, has been running his business for only a few short years. Like most startups, he tried to limit expenses by handling store design and marketing himself. He entered the Huffington Post’s Build a Business Competition and found instantly that the entire process became easier. Perception Apparel immediately took off to the degree that Clifton intends to open a physical location eventually.

“My sales have more than doubled in the first month, and my social media efforts are growing at an exponential rate. I am now looking into expanding my shirts into brick-and-mortar locations. I have never been more confident about the success of my business,” says Clifton.

Other businesses have found similar success and credit goes to the functionality of being able to use the same software for both online and in-store transactions. Daymon John, founder of FUBU and star of ABC’s Shark Tank reality television program, hits the nail on the head about why this is such a successful model. “With this easy to use ecommerce solution, entrepreneurs save time and money, so they can focus on other aspects of their business.”

This is what most business owners want, to focus on what motivated them to start a business in the first place. Most entrepreneurs are creators. Although designing a website can be a creative expression, when all is said and done, most want a product that is easy to maintain on a day-to-day basis.

This is the modern face of retail. It is versatile and adaptable, no matter how technology continues to change.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

When Technology Backs You Into A Corner

We have a whole house DVR, where wecan record or play up to six shows at one time.  It is all centered upon one device, a media gateway, which then communicates with media players positioned at each TV.

Problem 1: Single Point Of Failure

When we upgraded our service, I knew right away that we were introducting the mb-201402tabletproblem of a signle point of failure.  Prior to that each TV had it’s own signal box.  We had one DVR and several regular cable boxes.  If one failed, that TV was out of commission.  But, with a whole house DVR, if there’s a problem with the media gateway, the entire house has disruption in TV.

Problem 2: A Second Single Point of Failure

In our case, the media gateway actually provides another point of failure: internet.  Since the media gateway also serves as the cable modem, not only does your TV go out if there’s a media gateway problem, but the internet is also unavailable.  Before we upgraded, in addition to the various cable boxes I outlined above, we had a separate cable modem device strictly for the Internet.

Problem 3: Minor Problems Don’t Get Dealt With

If the media gateway were to completely fail, obviously we would call and get it serviced.  Actually, the most likely scenario would be that they would replace it.  This would mean that we’d lose all of our recordings which we haven’t watched (in addition to some we keep as they are favorites of the kids), but we would also have to re-load all of our settings, as they don’t have any way to transfer data or settings between devices.

I know, first world problems, right?

But what about minor problems?  We’ve been having a few small issues with our service.  There are times when the HD channels will no longer display, and we get a message that the CableCard is not authorized for service.  Simply put, this is basically the tuner in the box that communicates with the central office to authorize us using service, preventing someone from simply getting a box and plugging in to the wire.  Usually, restarting the media gateway resolves the problem, although there have been a couple of times where we’ve had to call in and have it reset on the computer.

We’ve also had issues where the box provides lousy service.  It will pause every few seconds, making watching or recording anything impossible.  For some reason this seems to present itself as a problem overnight.  This has actually kept it tolerable for us, because we can reset the device and fix it.  It would likely be a bigger problem if it happened during the day or evening, as it would then make any recorded TV unwatchable.

We also noticed that a feature that we used rarely, but was a nice one to have, has recently stopped working. With the media gateway, you can log in remotely and make changes to your device.  There are smartphone apps or you can do it through a website.  This way, if you’re away from home and realize you want to record something, you can make the settings from anywhere where you have an internet connection.  It’s pretty nifty, but the last few times I’ve tried to use this, it wouldn’t connect.

The problem is that because these are ‘minor’ issues, we just deal with them, simply because we don’t want to lose the recordings and the settings we have.

Backed Into A Corner

This made me think that technology often backs you into a corner.  In addition to cable, think about:

  • How often do people live with a cracked screen or malfunctioning phone because they’re not yet out of their contract or because data transfer would be too much of a hassle?  Technology in the last couple of years has largely taken this element out as ‘the cloud’ makes it easy to power down one smartphone and power up another, but a few years ago, it was pretty much impossible to have any type of pain free transition.
  • Laptops and computers provide the same challenges. People spend years accumulating their settings, their music and video files, their bookmarks, and building their folders full of spreadsheets and documents, and the idea of losing it or having to move it is enough to make many people keep using a computer that may be malfunctioning or cannot support current technology.

It’s kind of a paradox that the more complicated and awesome a technology is, that it can have the unintended consequence of tying us down to that technology as time goes on.  Luckily, part of the technological advances seem to be centered around this various obstacle, as there seems to be a bigger push toward seamless data sharing and device transition.  I would expect a lot of this is out of necessity, as the manufacturers want you to buy their stuff more often, so removing this is not only beneficial to you as a consumer, but to them.   Make sure you consider to whose benefit it is in favor of before making any upgrade decisions!

A Hopeful Update

In the case of our cable box, I made some changes that I’m hoping might alleviate our problems.  As I started jotting down notes, I did some checking not just on our box but also looking at anything that interacts with it. We have three things that ‘hook off’ of our box:

  1. A wireless signal booster – Our house is big enough that we had some dead spots along the edges, and one of the edge spots most frequently affected was our bedroom.  We added a signal booster which basically acts as a relay and provides coverage, specifically to the Apple and Windows devices.
  2. A second wireless router – We have a second wireless network running in the house.  Unfortunately, my Android devices would sometimes have issues with the wireless signal booster, so I keep the second wireless network alive.
  3. A Sprint Airrave – We have Sprint service and our house is on the fringe of having reliable service.  They provide a signal enhancer that uses your cable internet.  It’s basically a mini-tower in our house.

After doing some digging, I found that the third option, the Sprint Airrave, was a potential problem when hooking it directly to the media gateway.  People recommended plugging it in downstream if possible.  This was no problem for me as I wa able to plug it into our second wireless router.

So far, the Airrave works and the ability to remotely access our media gateway works, both immediately after making this change.  As it’s only been a couple of days, I don’t have enough information to see if it was also the potential source of the freezing up issues, but it’d be nice.

Readers, have you ever had a situation where cool technology is so involved that getting it upgraded or fixed provides more of a headache than it’s worth?  

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.