As Texas recovers from the battering winds and record-setting rainfall of Hurricane Harvey, Apple and Dell customers elsewhere in the US are learning the storm may have some unforeseen consequences.
"I got a call from an Apple employee at the Genius Bar saying that all of their laptop repairs go through Houston. I was told that it would probably take several weeks or even months to get the laptop back," a tipster wrote to Gizmodo yesterday. The tipster added, "I also had a similar conversation with Dell about delays in getting a monitor repaired."
Apple's entire Houston facility appears to be closed for the time being, according to a report by MacRumors. Customer support for Apple and Dell told Gizmodo that the companies maintain repair facilities in Houston.
An email forwarded to Gizmodo by a Dell customer supports our tipster's claim. "They sent a box for me to send it in and get fixed up. I sent to them on August 18. It was going to Houston... Perfect timing," our source noted. The apology from the Dell technical support representative claims the Houston facility will receive the malfunctioning item on September 1, a promise the company can't necessarily keep, as service from the US Postal Service, UPS and FedEx to many of the areas affected by Harvey is indefinitely suspended.
Took my laptop to Apple because it looked like it was going to explode from battery swell. They shipped it to Houston, TX …
— Peter Schmalfeldt (@mrmidi) August 30, 2017
Everyone knew a hurricane was hitting Houston,Texas. So why would you send my MacBook to get it repaired there? @Apple
— Danielle Krichevsky (@D_Krichevsky) August 30, 2017
— Adey (@adeybrewmaster) August 30, 2017
I called @Dell to get my computer fixed and it's going to Houston TX
— Tigerfairy (@crystalbh10) August 29, 2017
Email from @Dell support: "sorry for the incontinence the delayed repair has caused." Think they meant inconvenience but that made my day.
— Jordan Poland (@jordan_a_poland) August 29, 2017
Apple did not respond to Gizmodo's request for comment. A Dell spokesperson told Gizmodo, "Due to Hurricane Harvey that has impacted the Texas Gulf Coast, some of our Tech Support service calls are being affected. Our partners and carriers across all parts of the country are contending with flooding and airport closures. Our first priority is the safety of our team members, suppliers and partners in the affected area as we work to get shipments out as quickly as possible. We appreciate our customers' patience and understanding during this time."
While obviously the efforts to aid displaced people, repair infrastructure, and make whole swaths of Texas livable again takes overwhelming precedence, this has interesting implications for these major tech companies. It's also entirely possible that devices which had already arrived at these facilities have been damaged (even more) by Harvey.
Does it suck to have your stuff delayed for weeks or months? Sure. But not as much as it sucks to lose your home or loved ones. If you have the funds to spare, consider donating to an organisation on this list of charities aiding in the recovery of Houston.