Right to Repair – Sidelines

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Story by William Chappell

            One of my computer’s two USB-C recently broke. This extended my streak of luck with things breaking while on the road for the year. In June, my car battery died the day after arriving in Colorado. In July, my phone bricked out on me and within a week both my clutch and transmission failed and had to be replaced while I was on the road in Southern California.

            I looked up the computer repair online and saw that it was a simple matter of installing a $25 part to replace the one which had broken. I began calling around town to see who might be able to do the job for me.

            At the moment, I have moved my hermetic COVID existence to the beautiful ski town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. For those unfamiliar with Colorado geography, Steamboat Springs is smack in the middle of the state about 40 miles south of the Wyoming border, as the crow flies. It’s a beautiful town, but an Apple store there is not.

            Despite this, the third local repair shop I contacted said that, unlike the first two, they were willing to work on late model MacBooks. They would order the part and when it came in, they would need my computer for two to four hours to complete the job that would take between thirty minutes and an hour. The helpful technician on the phone then asked if I had AppleCare, which I do, and told me that if they did the work, it would void my warranty.

            Not wanting to do that in case of larger issues in the future, I resigned myself to making the six-hour roundtrip drive to Denver and an Apple store. After booking a Genius Bar appointment, my mom suggested that I call the store to be sure that they would have the part in stock and be able to complete the repair for me the same day.

            So, I called the number listed online for the store. I was connected with an automated system that wouldn’t connect me to an employee, instead opting to connect me to Apple’s main automated system. Luckily, this system saw fit to transfer me to a human representative who was able to connect me to his own company’s store after a…

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