I had my first encounter with the genius bar today. I booked my appointment earlier in the week via the apple website and that was fairly painless. When I got there they were snowed under and I had to wait a while for my slot, but the concierge was polite, booked me in and showed me to the bar, a little wait wasn't a big deal. I'd brought my MacBook Air in as it was starting to lose screws from the base, I'd attempted to tighten the screw but it wasn't biting and rather than open up the case myself I figured I'd take it in. The loose screw wasn't a huge problem but the loose case was creaking and this would put stress on the remaining screws. While I was there it occurred to me that I should point out the slight loosening of the screen hinge. After taking a couple of details the guy whipped the machine upstairs to take a better look.
I was actually waiting for a little longer than I expected, it took some effort to remove the problem screw, the thread was stripped from the case, the case is a single piece of aluminium, it will have to be replaced. The screen however falls under a quality programme, and would be replaced free of charge. This was great news considering I could buy an iPad 2 for the replacement cost.
So my MacBook is in the shop for a week or so, and I'm a little out of pocket, but half of my machine is being replaced and it's not actually going to cost me all that much. Certainly these would have been terminal issues given another year were I still using my old Windows laptop, with no easy or cost effective way to get the remedial work done.
Top notch customer service, relatively quick (it was heaving in there!) and not as costly as I had imagined. I really appreciate that an expensive repair is being done free of charge because the fault doesn't meet Apple's quality standards. I certainly feel like an appreciated customer this evening!