Apple currently has a wall plug adapter exchange program for certain wall plugs produced during a period 12 years (the so called “duckheads” which are an elegant solution to make any iOS or Mac power adapter compatible with different outlets across the globe, to be exact). Lamia and I have bunch of these, so I had called Apple to arrange for a replacement of seven of these “duckheads”.

The replacement arrived today: each head in a separate air cushioned bag, which I am also supposed to use to return the old ones, by putting them into seven dedicated DHL satchels. Cumbersome, but this makes sense: I imagine most customers will replace one or maybe two of the heads, so having diligent hands preparing hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of pouches is what you have to do to be able to replace them quickly.

Here are my seven satchels, ready to be picked up by DHL:


So I called DHL and followed the steps given by Apple in the Return Process Instructions.

DHL agent: What is the account number please?
Me: [I told her]
DHL agent: Oh, I am sorry. Apple told us that we are not allowed to use this account number for return shipments.
Me: It’s written here in the instructions…
DHL agent: I understand, but you would need to call Apple and ask for the right account number.
Me: Heck, why don’t you just tell me? You know the right one, don’t you?
DHL agent: Yes, but I cannot tell you…

Aaaaargh! So after some grumpy comments I accepted that this is how it was going to play out. Here’s what angers me even more, though:

DHL agent: Is there anything else I can help you with?

I know she has to go through her talking points, but asking such a question is simply ridiculous. I mean, at least modify it, like “While I could not help you with this problem, maybe there is something else you need help with?”

But I do not want to blame the agent or DHL here.
Really, this is simply baffling on Apple’s part. How can you screw this up so badly?
I admit I came up with a conspiracy theory that this might be intentional: legally they likely have to request that the old heads are returned to make sure these won’t be used and won’t cause problems later on for which Apple could be liable.
But shipping so many of the heads back and forth costs a lot of money. If customers are “encouraged” not to bother requesting the DHL service because of an account number snafu which requires a follow-up, money is saved on the return shipment and cost is cut. And the deniability element is that if something happened, it is the customer who should have sent the old ones back which they never did…

I guess that is not what is behind this.
But it is weird.

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