Apple charges customer $871.42 to replace a key on a MacBook Pro

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Yet another victim of what I have begun to call "Crumbgate".

Twitter user Dustin Curtis posted about his recent experience with Apple's repair service and his MacBook Pro.  He stated that his "T" Key stopped working on his 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro,  and that the estimated repair cost from Apple to fix that single key would be $871.42.   You will find his original tweet embedded below:

He is not the only one.   In fact there is a class action lawsuit regarding the "butterfly-switch" keyboards in the 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro models.   Even the generally positive bunch of Apple pundits have been grumbling about this as a problem for over a year.   Many posting to twitter about how their own keyboards had failed and had to be replaced (most for free under AppleCare).

Now the cost of $871.42 is NOT the cost to replace a single key.   Not in the least.  The issue with this model of keyboard is that it is in fact, nearly impossible to replace a single key.   The course of action to replace a broken keyswitch on a modern MacBook Pro is to replace the ENTIRE TOP OF THE COMPUTER.   Which all said and done (if you don't have Applecare) will apparently cost you $871.42.   Dustin Curtis himself, in a later tweet put it best:

This keyboard first appeared in the 2015 12" MacBook.   I have to think that they have been aware of this problem for some time.    As far as I know, they tried to mitigate the issue with the 2017 models by adding a small bit of rubber under each key.   Though that doesn't seem to have helped.   As a cursory search of twitter finds people with broken MacBook Pro keyboards on nearly a daily basis.   

Apple itself has posted a knowledge base article on this issue,  stating that you should hold your laptop up in the air at a certain angle and spray compressed air in between the keys in the hope of dislodging any crumbs.   That knowledge base article would be truly hilarious if it wasn't a nearly thousand dollar problem for each user who encounters Apple's own design flaw.

The fact that Apple itself has the gall to be charging full price for repairs on a problem they themselves designed is unconscionable.   Especially when people have had to bring their laptops back to Apple 2 or 3 times for the same issue.   Even if the customer HAS Applecare Insurance and the repair itself is covered,  it still means that you will be without your $1000+ computer for nearly a week.   Most people who purchase laptops at those kinds of price points need them for their work.   While some people may be able to afford to have a backup machine on hand,  I know I don't have the means for that.

This is a huge issue for the MacBook Pro.   And I have to recommend highly at this time that you do NOT purchase one.    If for some reason, you absolutely NEED a MacBook Pro right now,  find a 2015 model with the old style keyboard on Ebay.   Otherwise,  wait for the next generation.  And then wait a month for the longer term reviews to come out.  I can't stress this highly enough. 

I used to think you could buy almost anything sight un-seen from Apple.   You used to KNOW that they made good stuff,  and that while it was expensive,  you knew you were getting your money's worth.    I wish I still felt that way.