Apple's policy change on out of warranty iPhones

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by chris, May 11, 2012.

  1. chris

    chris Administrator

    I made a trip this morning to the Genius Bar. My wife's iPhone had an issue whereby people could not hear her on the other end of calls, so it appears something had gone awry with the microphone. [Some husband's might actually pay extra for an iPhone like this:D].

    Her iPhone was purchased in June of 2010, so it was well out of Apple's 1-year warranty. It's not Apple's responsibility to fix an iPhone out of warranty. Beyond 1-year, it's my responsibility to either get Apple Care or deal with the consequences if things go bad. I've had incredibly good luck with my iPhones in the past. If memory serves me correct, this was the first trip to the Genius bar with an iPhone.

    Having spent a fair amount of time here on the everythingiCafe forums, I've seen a number of stories regarding amazing levels of support from Apple. In many cases, going above and beyond, including for devices that were out of warranty. My expectations were high based upon things I had read from others. Plus, I figured the condition of her iPhone was something that would be considered. It's got screen protectors on back, front and has a custom Case-Mate case. There are no scratches, marks, dings or any visible signs of damage. To her credit, she's done a good job keeping her iPhone in tip-top shape.

    Hardware isn't perfect. Things break. The microphone being a relatively important part of any phone, we had no choice but to attempt to get it serviced. I was there promptly at 9:05 for my 9:00 appointment, but the Genius' were still not available. My support session got underway at around 9:15. I informed him of the issue and he used the store phone to call the iPhone. This came after he inspected the iPhone for water damage using some sort of pocket flashlight. The problem was verified and he said he could replace the iPhone. I thought great, everything I had heard about heroic Apple support was coming through for me. He entered a few things into the iPad and then boom. "Unfortunately, your iPhone is out of warranty. I do notice that you are out of contract, so you could consider getting an iPhone 4S". I explained that we did not want to extend our contract, considering the new iPhone would be coming out soon enough. His dry reply, "There is no new iPhone". To which I said, "C'mon we all know there is a new one coming this fall." He continued with to use verbal head fakes along with a poker face that makes me think he should consider becoming a professional card player. Either that or he was attempting some Jedi mind trick to make think there wasn't a new iPhone coming at some point in the not so distant future.

    He then said he could replace her iPhone for $149. I asked nicely, explained that it seemed like a lot of money, which was essentially the cost of a new phone. He said I could go to AT&T and get a free iPhone 3GS. Again, I reminded him of my contract situation and that I wasn't looking to get into a new 2-year contract.

    He wouldn't budge. No way to fix it. The only option was to replace it.

    My wife needs a phone. She explicitly told me that she "wasn't go to use some Android phone"(actually, I was going to put her into a Windows Phone).

    Given the choice of no iPhone or $150, I opted for choice B.

    Once we started processing, I told them about all of those stories of Apple going above and beyond -- many times to out of warranty iPhones. He explained that Apple Care Plus came out in October. With it came a new corporate policy that doesn't allow any flexibility. If your iPhone is out of warranty, the only option is to pay for the repair (to receive a refurb). The previous policy wasn't consistent said this Genius. I could see that. He said that the new policy provides him with no flexibility.

    Let me reiterate, it's not Apple's responsibility to replace and/or repair an out of warranty device. I'm sure that could get costly and I'm sure a good number of folks don't care for their iPhones, thus resulting in a need for replacement. My expectations of what would happen today during my Genius bar appointment were based upon their unwritten policy. A policy that wasn't fiscally great for the company, one that did result in conflicting results for customers, but also one that resulted in customers applauding them for heroic service.

    The service I received today was fair under the terms of my purchase. Apple didn't wrong me in any way. They are just like every other company who explicitly follows the warranty period. Before today, I thought they were something more.
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  2. bballrob

    bballrob Evangelist

    I don't know if I'd say this is a change. It just seems like a memo from corporate calling for stricter adherence to the actual policy.
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  4. chris

    chris Administrator

    That's the definition of change. You'd never find it written, but they previously had flexibility that allowed them to make decisions on a case by case basis. Prior to October, chances are that my iPhone would have been replaced for free. I'm basing that on the conversation I had this morning at the Genius Bar.

    I do remember hearing something about how the launch of Apple Care Plus would affect how they handled these situations. Today, I found out for myself. If you're out, you're out.
  5. iamtko

    iamtko Zealot

    thanks for sharing chris

    i too always understood that there might be some leeway if your phone looked okay but something strange broke on it. in my past they almost always replaced it which gave me mad respect for the company. unfortunately now it does look like they are getting even more rigid on the policy and it makes me think a little less of them.

    that being said i will still be getting the 5
  6. ZR_Yancy

    ZR_Yancy Genius

    We were spoiled which set our expectations too high. That sucks to hear though. Even having read all the stories of awesome geniuses, I still walk into an Apple store expecting the same service I get at the DMV. :mad:
  7. Michael Baturin

    Michael Baturin Evangelist

    This confirms what I hoped was mere rumors. I am one of many who have had multiple iPads and iPhones replaced - sometimes under warranty for internal hardware issues - but a couple times for in warranty accidental damage. Like This Time. I am wondering if AppleCare+ is a good idea for my new iPad.....
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 3, 2013
  8. chris

    chris Administrator

    I went to the DMV yesterday. Been a fun week.
  9. iamtko

    iamtko Zealot

    they always say warranties are a joke but when these products seem to go sour so quickly i can't really say that i wont be getting applecare+ for the iPhone5
  10. JimD

    JimD Member

    You may have already thought of this, but if not, try jacking a headset in/out of the iPhone's connector several times. The contacts can get dirty or just not make for various reasons and the symptom is that the mike does not work. It happened to my iPhone 4.
  11. Sorry to hear you had no luck.
    I might have tried at least one other store, or made a second attempt at a later date.

    As I have discussed before, Apple Care+ really has put the kibosh on free out of warranty replacements, for the most part.

    I did have this positive experience recently:

    Can I exchange at Apple Store? Bought used, no receipt.

    As well as this:

    Just Dropped my iPhone 4S!

    It does still happen, just not as it used to....
  12. imutter

    imutter Genius

    I had used a 3rd party repair shop before and was very satisfied. You could have probably gotten it cheaper done, But like you I'd take the refurb and be done with it since you are already there.
  13. Tattooed Alex

    Tattooed Alex Genius

    Always a fear to be locked in a contract and being out of the warranty period. It will definitely make me think twice about purchasing Apple Care when the new iPhone comes out this year.
  14. chris

    chris Administrator

    Here's what you get for $99.

    Every iPhone comes with one year of hardware repair coverage and 90 days of telephone technical support. AppleCare+ for iPhone extends repair coverage and technical support to two years from the original purchase date of your iPhone and adds coverage for up to two incidents of accidental damage due to handling, each subject to a $49 service fee.1 With AppleCare+ for iPhone, Apple experts can help troubleshoot issues over the phone or at an Apple Retail Store. They’ll answer questions about iOS, Apple iPhone apps such as Mail, iMessage, and Calendar, and help you solve interconnectivity issues between your iPhone and Mac or PC. And if your iPhone needs service under the plan, Apple technical support representatives can even set up a repair during the same call.
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  15. Worth every penny, if u ask me...
    I believe it stays with the device should you sell it, so that will also help to maximize resale value.
  16. Watcher

    Watcher Zealot

    This is great information. Thanks, Chris!
  17. iamtko

    iamtko Zealot

    this almost sounds like they are trying to get you to pay for being able to use the genius bar.. i know it doesn't exactly say that but it sounds fishy..

    i guess me getting applecare+ all depends on how much exactly my total will be on iDay
  18. Europa

    Europa Moderator

    Not at all. I think it's a good deal. The Genius Bar eval is free. It's your choice if you want to pay for the work if it isn't covered under the manufacturer's warranty. It extends that warranty from one year to two. Water damage and broken glass aren't covered in the regular warranty, so you'll have to pay $200 for the repair if you don't have Apple Care+. It's only $49 if you do have it. You also get free shipping (it's $29 without Apple Care+) if you don't want to drive to an Apple Store for the replacement. It's pro-rated, too, so you'll get a portion of the $99 back at the end of the year if you sell it after a year and upgrade to a new phone.
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  19. iphoneint

    iphoneint Member

    Europa, how do you request the pro-ration or does it just happen automatically when you upgrade?
  20. Europa

    Europa Moderator

    No, it's not automatic. You have to call them and request a cancellation and refund for the remaining months. The other option is to sell it with the Apple Care+ and have it transferred to the new owner. It might slightly increase the resale value. I'd rather go with the refund and use it towards Apple Care+ on the new phone.
  21. iphoneint

    iphoneint Member

    @Europa, Thanks for the info, I was not aware of the pro-ration will try to use it on my next upgrade.

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