How to use AppleCare: Drop the F-Bomb

“This is a very useful little tip from a Redditor: if you are lost somewhere in the menu hell of an automated telephone system a few well dropped profanities will lead to the almost immediate attention of a live human being,” Tim Worstall reports for Forbes.

It turns out that the automated system that Apple uses (but isn’t limited to just this company) is programmed to listen for signs of distress. If that additional menu option is one too many and you unleash a volley of terse language down the phone, it will immediately connect you with a real person.

Worstall reports, “There is one Redditor who says that any nonsensical world will do: he uses banana.”

Read more in the full article here.


    1. I’m pretty sure that FedEx and UPS use similar technology, except they use it for evil. Once their systems detect distress, they throw you further into a maze of nonsensical menu prompts. I love how “0” no longer works at either of them.

  1. Very smart move. Just last week I was on the phone for five minutes going through the automated system trying to get a customer service rep. That credit card company has lost my business by wasting my time and trying to get more money out of me.

  2. 1. cuss
    2. tell them you’re recording them too
    3. you will no longer recommend them & spread negative reviews
    4. remind them they lost their soul (previous quality care)

    and once you have a human,
    always ask for their name or id & extention if they have.
    as long you argue with total logic & straight-forwardness, ask them all the questions, they will succumb and no longer bullshit you, till you get your way.
    remember it’s your right, you pay for their job as customer. ask & you shall get.

    1. Always found out that being calm and descriptive while expressing how you feel but also acknowledging that the person that you are speaking with for that assistance didn’t make the product but works just like I do is better then resorting back to animalistic behavior.

      And then again after seeing all those so called “higher life-form” Humans that had attended many Black Friday store openings around the country as they so run over workers, break done doors and trampling slower bystander while all acting like a scared heard of Buffalo just to save a dollar,
      Can anyone be proud of the fact that they are part of the Human Race?

      We have a very long way to go, and until greed and hate ate subdued its going to be a very long wait.

      Apple has always been the most professional and attending to its customers, and if your nice, always the support representative will go above and beyond to help with your issue.

      You can have some great conversations and gain some insight while getting assistance if you allow it to happen.

    2. Rolf, sadly your philosophy that “it’s your right, you pay for their job as customer. Ask & you shall get it,” has gone down the tubes some years ago. It’s gone the same way as the old, “The customer is always right,” business philosophy. I assure you that many customers now judge whether your attitude is such that they even want to talk to you. Many customer service reps across a variety of companies are told to hang up on you if they aren’t happy for some reason. Even without profanities and such. I find that appalling and have no respect for that behavior on their part.

      Your suggestions will work with some, but totally fail with others. Big companies especially. They don’t need us anymore. Too many other fish in the sea. And, especially as individuals, we rarely have enough clout to damage big companies’ business enough for them to have a reason to change. But even getting a large enough customer group together to affect them is all but impossible in 98% of cases.

  3. I’ve long used this strategy with automated phone systems. As soon as they ask you to say anything, start saying, “Talk to a real f*cking person.” over and over. The odds of the automated system being helpful is so low, it’s not worth bothering with.

    1. It’s not the swearing that does it, all systems have a default to a person option. If it can’t recognize the voice it will dump you to a person.

      There are websites that catalog the way to get to a person from an automated system. They list the company, and the way to do it.

      Nothing new.

  4. This one works everytime. If you pick any option designed for existing customers, complaints, or help, you’ll be screwed. Always pick the “start a new account option.” Follow the money (in this case new revenue opportunity). and it will always lead to a real person.

  5. Hah hah. I can confirm that this works, at least sometimes. Optus,a Telecom in Australia, introduced a voice recognition system some years back which was (and still is) infuriating, especially if you have an issue which is not the usual account enquiry or new connection. The system would send you down a blind alley and then demand you enter a phone number. I only had a couple of 1300 numbers (virtual numbers which allow your customers to call nationally for the cost of a local call) and the system would reject them. If you did get through to a real person they never knew which department looked after these numbers. When i did find out, they wouldn’t give me a direct number, but i did eventually wangle a fax number out of them. The only way to speak to them was to yell profanity at the phone as soon as the robot answered, and then insist the operator find the department in Adelaide. I faxed them in the end to close the account altogether, pointing out that, for a phone company their own phone system was f*****d… I never got a reply…

    1. A lot of the time a “0” won’t get you anywhere either as an automated voice comes on to tell you that’s not a valid entry and if you don’t enter a “valid” number they will hang up on you. It is astounding how far companies will go to deny you access to a live operator who could solve your issue instantly or at least steer you in the right direction. Not every contingency can be programmed into an automated system.

  6. This writer seems to be an Apple-hater. He constantly produces pieces about Apple with negative undertones and the headline and lead in this story are no different, because they make it appear as if Apple hardware needs constant attention and that tech support is poor. Forbes is no better, publishing negative story after story about Apple. Forbes has an anti-Apple agenda, but I don’t know why’s. maybe it’s just link-baiting, but I am growing to dislike This publication.

  7. The point of the automated systems is to direct you to the person qualified to handle your situation.

    The same guy swearing a pressing ‘0’ is likely going to be swearing once they get transferred, or they find that the person on the other end of the line isn’t qualified or has the necessary skills, training and resources to assist them.

  8. It seems the main lesson to be learned her is how few people actually need service from Apple. Nobody here seems to know the real procedure.
    The normal approach is to define your problem via Apple’s web site, and then request a call from Apple, at a time that is convenient for you. A real, live, knowledgeable person will then call you. No profanity or expression of distress is needed. I have tried it on a couple of occasions, with very good results.

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