Claire and the Giant Apple [Product Recall]

I remember the day I bought my iPod – it was the first day that I remember owning a piece of “hot technology.”  I’ve aways been a geek at heart, but I was never an early adopter.  Simply because I couldn’t afford to be.

So back in 2005, with my student loan burning a hole in my pocket, I decided I’d treat myself to the brand new iPod Nano.  I also remember having no idea how to work it.  It was new, selling out everywhere, and I simply had to treat myself.  Six years on a couple of the buttons didn’t work, the battery life was minimal, but I still used my first generation iPod Nano every single day…


But back in November an email landed in my inbox from Apple telling me that my faithful mp3 player could catch fire and therefore was subject to a global product recall…

I dutifully sent for the returns box, but I was torn.  It might sound silly to admit that I had an emotional attachment to a gadget – but I did!  My iPod had helped me select the tracks that featured in my wedding, it had helped friends celebrate graduation, and had provided an escape bubble when I went through some tough times, so simply slipping it into a pre-paid jiffy bag seemed somehow unceremonious.

I understand the need for the recall, however I feel that Apple could have handled it better.  I accept that my attachment to my iPod may not be normal, however I do know that I am not the only first generation iPod Nano owner who has been disappointed by Apple’s level of communication.  I sent my iPod back to Apple in November and since then, aside from the first email I received that directed me to the Apple website, all of my knowledge about the recall has come from whispers shared in blogs and forums.

At first I was worried that my package to Apple had got lost in the post or in Apple’s system (the instructions said that Apple had to receive the returned item within 10 days of me registering for the recall, but it had taken 9 days for me to receive the return envelope), then I was worried that I was looking on the wrong area of the website, maybe I had the wrong repair number.  I then worried that my replacement had been delivered to my office under my maiden name, and might have been returned by a colleague…  But as the weeks ticked past I gradually stopped worrying.  A quick Google search lead me to handfuls of forums where other Apple customers were in exactly the same information-lacking boat.

So the reason I’m writing this blog is for all those UK participants of the first generation iPod Nano recall who are still waiting in the dark: there is light at the end of the tunnel.  I received a package on Friday.


Over two months since I last heard from Apple I was finally sent a replacement iPod – and it seems that the whispers were true, for I haven’t received a refurbished like-for-like first gen 2gb iPod Nano, my long-awaited box contained a (I suspect refurbished)  sixth generation 8gb model.  So is it not only half the size of the one I sent them, but has four times the storage.  Not bad.

But whilst I’m happy that I’ve finally received a replacement (and I hate to think how much the recall is costing Apple), it really is disappointing that for such a huge organisation their communication has been so poor.  I didn’t even receive a dispatch notification when my replacement was sent, and my “repair” on the Apple website hasn’t been updated either…  Apple has always been about innovation, and as a brand has tapped deeply into the gadget-loving geek mindset, and yet they haven’t been utilising any communication control.  If they can’t get their internal communication processes in check then I have to wonder whether the global recall has been so expansive that any attempt at social media and forum monitoring would have been deemed too costly, hence the information blackout…

But what ever the reason, I am pleased to confirm that it seems that the cogs are still moving in the Nano replacement programme – even if it’s at a snail’s pace.