Frequently Asked Questions
This is what we call our Service FAQ (i.e., “Frequently Asked Questions” list). There are many like it, but this one is ours. Click on a question to reveal the answer. (It’s fun — really, try it!)
How long do repairs take?
The answer to this question will vary, depending on a number of factors. Generally, however, we usually estimate three to five business days for most repairs, with some of that time allowing for it to come up in our service queue. You can, however, bump your repair to next in line—we call it “hot bench” service—for $99.
We also offer computer rentals, a service you may wish to take advantage of during your repair. If you would like us to transfer data to your rental machine, there may be an added charge to do so.
What repairs are covered by my Apple Warranty or AppleCare?
Apple’s website offers the full text of warranty agreements for the one-year hardware warranty and AppleCare. In general, however, Apple (and therefore, we) will cover hardware problems caused by manufacturer defects and in the course of normal use. Apple does not cover the cost of data recovery or damage caused by spills or drops. AppleCare customers have access to free phone support to cover software problems caused by the Mac operating system and some Apple programs; for more information, call them at (800) 275-2273.
We do not have the ability to resolve Apple-covered software problems; instead, you must use Apple’s phone support for free software support. Any problem caused by non-Apple software or peripherals will not be covered under either Apple’s manufacturer’s warranty or AppleCare.
What's the difference between a hardware and a software problem? How does this affect me?
Software repairs are required when a program, data, or the operating system itself is having a problem. These repairs are usually not covered under warranty, but they can often be solved at home. Try calling AppleCare at (800) 275-2273, checking Apple’s support website, or simply searching the Web for information on your problem. If the problem is with a specific application, check the manufacturer’s website for software updates and support. If those resources can’t solve your problem, back up your computer and bring it in to CapitolMac.
Hardware repairs may be needed if your machine is having an electrical, mechanical, or physical problem. If the machine and its problem are covered by Apple Warranty, an Apple Repair Extension, or AppleCare, Apple will pay for the repair. If your problem is not covered by Apple, we will give you an estimate for the best solution.
How much does CapitolMac charge for estimates?
For work that’s covered under either Apple’s warranty or AppleCare, of course, we charge nothing. For work outside of warranty coverage, we charge an $89 diagnostic fee that is applied in full toward the final cost of the repair (which effectively makes it free). If you opt not to have your machine serviced after we give you the estimate, however, then you will be charged the diagnostic fee.
Can I get an estimate over the phone, or by e-mail?
In most cases, we need to see the computer or device in person in order to offer a proper estimate.
Do I need to make an appointment?
Not at all! In fact, one of the things we pride ourselves on is that, unlike the always-crowded (albeit really pretty) place in the mall, we don’t require appointments, and never have. Feel free to drop by any time we’re open (though we suggest you come no later than 30 minutes before closing time). We do close and/or shorten our hours on major holidays, though, so be sure to check our hours to make sure we’ll be here.
(Sorry — just so we understand this correctly: You’re saying there are places where you have to make an appointment to drop off your computer? That’s ludicrous!)
Why is my computer/Apple device having problems?
We’d love to know ourselves, and as soon as we can take a crack at your device, we’ll be happy to let yo know. Sometimes computers, iPads, iPhones, and the like fail for specific reasons, like being dropped or being on the receiving end of a nasty spill. Other times, a delicate part like the hard drive fails during normal use. Occasionally, some computers have known issues that Apple will cover, even after the normal warranty period has ended. We can tell you whether your computer is covered by an Apple Repair Extension.
Will I lose my data during the repair?
In most cases, no. Still, for added peace of mind, it’s never a bad idea to back up your data before bringing it in (provided you’re able to do so). If you are unable to backup your computer, CapitolMac’s technicians can usually do so for an additional charge. Many failures and repairs don’t affect the hard drive (which is where your data lives). When you come in for an estimate, we’ll let you know if your data is in jeopardy and how we can back it up or perform a data recovery prior to the repair.
My computer isn't the problem; it's a peripheral device that isn't working. Can you help?
If it’s a hard drive that’s not working and the data is important, we recommend that you bring it to us right away. For printers, scanners, and other external devices, it’s often better to search for solutions yourself before coming in.
The first step is usually to check the manufacturer’s website for software or driver updates—often, updating one piece of your system can cause problems with other parts that can be fixed with a free download of updated drivers. The second step is to do search the web on the problem you are having (e.g., “Epson Snow Leopard print jobs disappear” or “X4500 paper jams”). The third step is usually to call the manufacturer. These days, most inkjet printers (and increasingly, even laser priners) aren’t repaired when they fail. Instead, “warranty repair” usually means the manufacturer will ship you a refurbished replacement. And once the warranty is over, it’s rarely economical to repair a $50-$300 printer or scanner.
Although we can help with connectivity problems, we don’t do hardware repairs on printers, non-Apple monitors, or scanners. There are many resources online, however, that will help you do some basic repairs on your own. Be wary, however, of spending more time or money than necessary on a computer accessory that originally cost a fraction of the price of your Mac.
I’ve got a variety of little issues on a fleet of Macs/I don’t really have problems with my Macs, but I’d like routine, preventative maintenance and onsite visits/My whole computer network is down. We’ve got work to do, and bringing all these machines to you is out of the question. Can CapitolMac still help?
Absolutely. This is the reason we’re also certified members of the Apple Consultants Network, providing onsite IT and other professional services to businesses throughout Maryland, DC, and Virginia. Please call our professional services division (in Richmond, (804) 358-3100; in Baltimore, (410) 657-8000; in Williamsburg, (757) 320-5800), and select option 4, to speak with an ACN who’ll be dedicated to your account, or to arrange an onsite visit.
Can I set up a corporate account to simplify service?
We’re happy to offer corporate accounts to established businesses of all sizes. Please call us at (804) 358-3100 in Richmond, (410) 657-8000 in Baltimore, or (757) 320-5800 in Williamsburg. Or e-mail us at [email protected].