Apple sued over iPhone 4 reception issues

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  • mr underhillmr underhill Posts: 678member
    Here's me calling my daughter with NO SERVICE on my iP4.



    I just held my index finger and thumb over the antenna to totally drop the service, whilst dialling the number and then capturing the image. She answered the call.



    Amazing this iP4. So even though my phone tells me there's no bars or sometimes no service i can still call.





  • bagmanbagman Posts: 349member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Just to be clear, you are annoyed at having an issue in general, not because you can't buy a product from one store and return it to another store for a full refund using the reciept from a separately owned business simply because they carry the same product, right?



    Not entirely - I just thought that Apple should be more willing to offer a solution, but they weren't even interested in talking to me, even though I had bought one of their Apple care warranty agreements. I then realized that they were correct in steering me back to ATT, since the original 30 days was in effect, after which you will find that ATT will not deal with it, and will send you to the Apple store for warranty issues. I accept their explanation, but It is a question of customer courtesy, since, after all, Apple derived a significant portion of my purchase money, and I was treated as if I didn't know what I was talking about. At least at ATT, they didn't even question my reception issues, but were trying to get out of refunding the Apple care agreement, even though they sold it to me. This is a typical "not my problem" issue. At least I was able to get squeaky on the wheel, and persevered with ATT until they agreed to do the right thing.



    (since I am a first time poster here, some may wish to know my background, which started out in engineering in college, wound up in business, research and University teaching. Retired Army reserve colonel and Navy Fleet adviser, and now am an Optometrist, practicing in Palo Alto, CA. and have been a happy iPhone user, up until now, and have purchased several Macs for my son, who is in the audio engineering and recording field).



    I have enjoyed reading in this forum, and look forward to contributing my 2 cents from time to time.
  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bagman View Post


    Not entirely - I just thought that Apple should be more willing to offer a solution, but they weren't even interested in talking to me, even though I had bought one of their Apple care warranty agreements. I then realized that they were correct in steering me back to ATT, since the original 30 days was in effect, after which you will find that ATT will not deal with it, and will send you to the Apple store for warranty issues. I accept their explanation, but It is a question of customer courtesy, since, after all, Apple derived a significant portion of my purchase money, and I was treated as if I didn't know what I was talking about. At least at ATT, they didn't even question my reception issues, but were trying to get out of refunding the Apple care agreement, even though they sold it to me. This is a typical "not my problem" issue. At least I was able to get squeaky on the wheel, and persevered with ATT until they agreed to do the right thing.



    (since I am a first time poster here, my background is in engineering and business, research and University teaching, and now am an Optometrist, practicing in Palo Alto, CA. Am a happy iPhone user, up until now, and have purchased several Macs for my son, who is in the audio engineering and recording field).



    I much enjoy this forum, and look forward to contributing my 2 cents to an excellent resource.



    Welcome to the forum. This is one of my favorite forums even though it's not as technical as some (since they cover business aspects quite a bit) it's usually the most mature and well rounded.



    It's definitely shitty that they were trying not to refund the AppleCare you bought with the product, and it's good you persisted. At least you didn't buy it at BestBuy where screwing the customer is part of their training. I wouldn't be surprised if they accepted returns if you also bought a Bumper because otherwise you wouldn't have a bumper-to-bumper warranty (wow, that one was really bad).



    But the conclusion is they refunded you every last penny and canceled that contract because of the reception issue?
  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    You all thought Apple's Bumpers were expensive?
  • trajectorytrajectory Posts: 647member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    You all thought Apple's Bumpers were expensive?



    HOT!! Love that case design. But, wow, pricey!!! $80 for a strip of formed aluminum?? But, it does look slick on the iPhone 4. I love this part of the product description:



    Quote:

    The inside of the Vapor case is lined with a very high tech shock absorbing material that reduces the G-forges of an impact. It also creates a non-conductive barrier to help maintain the iPhone's antenna signal strength.



    Suddenly Apple's faulty antenna becomes a selling feature for case manufacturers! Maybe this was the goal all along.
  • dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 11,410member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bagman View Post


    Not entirely - I just thought that Apple should be more willing to offer a solution, but they weren't even interested in talking to me, even though I had bought one of their Apple care warranty agreements. I then realized that they were correct in steering me back to ATT, since the original 30 days was in effect, after which you will find that ATT will not deal with it, and will send you to the Apple store for warranty issues. I accept their explanation, but It is a question of customer courtesy, since, after all, Apple derived a significant portion of my purchase money, and I was treated as if I didn't know what I was talking about. At least at ATT, they didn't even question my reception issues, but were trying to get out of refunding the Apple care agreement, even though they sold it to me. This is a typical "not my problem" issue. At least I was able to get squeaky on the wheel, and persevered with ATT until they agreed to do the right thing.



    (since I am a first time poster here, some may wish to know my background, which started out in engineering in college, wound up in business, research and University teaching. Retired Army reserve colonel and Navy Fleet adviser, and now am an Optometrist, practicing in Palo Alto, CA. and have been a happy iPhone user, up until now, and have purchased several Macs for my son, who is in the audio engineering and recording field).



    I have enjoyed reading in this forum, and look forward to contributing my 2 cents from time to time.



    First, congratulations on the way you handled the issue. You prevailed by persisting and behaving rationally in a sensitive environment.



    I am disappointed that the Apple store did not resolve the issue, but instead directed you to AT & T.



    Did you talk to the store manager at the PA Apple store?



    If so, and if you acted reasonably (as you appear to demonstrate in your posts), He and Apple missed a golden opportunity! They could have / should have evaluated the situation and resolved it then an there (including all the AT & T bits)* Having done that, they would, likely, have won you as a loyal customer for life... and that , sir, is a precious commodity!



    * procedures must be in place so that either vendor in a multi-vendor sale, can resolve the issue on behalf of both vendors without shuffling the customer amongst them!



    If the vendors can't establish a procedure to do this, they ought not be selling each other's products or services... simple as that.



    The customer may not always be right, in fact... but in his eyes he is, and should be treated accordingly!



    Boom!



    .
  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Trajectory View Post


    HOT!! Love that case design. But, wow, pricey!!! $80 for a strip of formed aluminum?? But, it does look slick on the iPhone 4. I love this part of the product description:



    Suddenly Apple's faulty antenna becomes a selling feature for case manufacturers! Maybe this was the goal all along.



    Note that you can spend an extra $20 for a Carbon Fiber* back plate.





    * Some of you might be thinking that carbon fiber (CF) Bumper would be great. Stylish and lightweight. Note that only the backplate is CF as CF is not radio transparent. In fact, one of it's uses in jets is to absorb RF to make it invisible to other radar. As I'm told, it essentially it works as a Faraday Cage letting RF into the plane of the material but then molecule alignment doesn't let it out, somewhat like Lobster cage for radio signals. (please correct or expand as needed)
  • dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 11,410member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    You all thought Apple's Bumpers were expensive?



    That is pure sex!



    .
  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post


    First, congratulations on the way you handled the issue. You prevailed by persisting and behaving rationally in a sensitive environment.



    Ditto. More a few people here can learn something about how to deal with a defective product.



    Quote:

    I am disappointed that the Apple store did not resolve the issue, but instead directed you to AT & T.



    While it sounds like they didn't explain the reasoning very well, they were right to send him to an AT&T store for a refund (since this wasn't a warranty issue).



    Apple sells the iPhone to their partners and they sell to consumers, making the sale itself the responsibility of the partner. There are legal issues here with balancing the books and whatnot. If you bought it at Best Buy which activated the iPhone 4 for AT&T where you signed the contract, you'd have to go to Best Buy at that point, not AT&T or Apple for any issue with sale.



    Overall, buying an iPhone is pretty easy process compared to other phones. At least with the iPhone you have Apple dealing with all warranty claims. That is a very good thing. Remember the Nexus One launch where Sprint was pointing the finger at HTC and/or Google, and HTC pointing at Google and/or Sprint and Google pointing at Sprint and/or HTC for warranty claims. Good times!
  • captain jcaptain j Posts: 313member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    Well, but weren't those all posted by the same person? There has also been evidence presented to contradict that this policy is applied as indicated. So, which is really the final word?



    No, it has been linked to from Apple's site. The words are there in plain black and white English. No evidence has been presented to counter this that I have seen. People have stated they were told other things, but salesman say many things as it doesn't mean anything. When I see in writing that one can return the phone for 100% refund without a restocking fee, I'll believe it.



    I have however found in writing an Apple Store policy saying that no restocking fee will be charged within the first 14 days,
  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Captain J View Post


    No, it has been linked to from Apple's site. The words are there in plain black and white English. No evidence has been presented to counter this that I have seen. People have stated they were told other things, but salesman say many things as it doesn't mean anything. When I see in writing that one can return the phone for 100% refund without a restocking fee, I'll believe it.



    I have however found in writing an Apple Store policy saying that no restocking fee will be charged within the first 14 days,



    1) There is at least one testimonial ? written this very thread ? that an iPhone 4 was taken back and all fees were refunded and the newly signed contract was dissolved.



    2) There are many posters who claim they've been told by Apple Store employees ? written in this very thread ? that you have 30 days to use the device risk free because the box has to be opened to activate the account.



    3) The return policy for every Apple Store product, sans the iPhone, is 14 days. The return policy for the iPhone is 30 days. That isn't only written ? in this thread?, but also linked to ? in this thread ?to it being written on Apple's site.



    4) I myself wrote ? in this very thread ? as well as linked to Apple's site ? in this very thread ? of Apple's refund policy showing no risk for those who wish to return a faulty item and get a full refund over a replacement.
  • bagmanbagman Posts: 349member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Welcome to the forum. This is one of my favorite forums even though it's not as technical as some (since they cover business aspects quite a bit) it's usually the most mature and well rounded.



    It's definitely shitty that they were trying not to refund the AppleCare you bought with the product, and it's good you persisted. At least you didn't buy it at BestBuy where screwing the customer is part of their training. I wouldn't be surprised if they accepted returns if you also bought a Bumper because otherwise you wouldn't have a bumper-to-bumper warranty (wow, that one was really bad).



    But the conclusion is they refunded you every last penny and canceled that contract because of the reception issue?



    Yep - Don't get me wrong, because the Apple store in Palo Alto is one of the best in the area, as is the ATT store - they have to be to exist in the heart of Silly Valley. The Apple guys were cordial, but weren't entirely buying my explanation, since they cannot get the same problem in the store (probably an ATT cellphone tower built into the woodwork, for all I know). Same issue at ATT - this means everyone who goes down to these stores is likely to get the "rolling of the eyes" unless the staff member has personally gone out into the hinterlands to test the ip4 in the real-world of spectrum variability.



    Anyhow, I know the ATT guys, who are among the best in the whole state (supposedly), and they were finally nudged into receptiveness by my very squeaky wheel routine (don't ask), and agreed to take it back, and even bent the "rules" by agreeing to credit my ATT account for the aforementioned Apple Care agreement ($69). I will be taking it back next week, as soon as I receive my new ebay purchase of a 3GS. Not too unhappy, since I sold my 3G 8gb on ebay last week for $220, and bought the 3GS 16gb (white even) today for $260, so not a bad tradeoff, since I can readily sell it once the ip4 "new and improved - cough, cough" version comes out - who knows when, so I will keep my original contract, which ends in Sep, and see how it all transpires.



    Only trouble is, who will reimburse me for over 10% loss in my Apple stock this past week.
  • captain jcaptain j Posts: 313member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    4) I myself wrote ? in this very thread ? as well as linked to Apple's site ? in this very thread ? of Apple's refund policy showing no risk for those who wish to return a faulty item and get a full refund over a replacement.



    No argument there, the only catch being Apple has yet to admit there is a fault. If they would do that, this thread would be about 20 posts long instead of 10 pages and growing.
  • captain jcaptain j Posts: 313member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    1) There is at least one testimonial ? written this very thread ? that an iPhone 4 was taken back and all fees were refunded and the newly signed contract was dissolved.



    2) There are many posters who claim they've been told by Apple Store employees ? written in this very thread ? that you have 30 days to use the device risk free because the box has to be opened to activate the account.



    3) The return policy for every Apple Store product, sans the iPhone, is 14 days. The return policy for the iPhone is 30 days. That isn't only written ? in this thread?, but also linked to ? in this thread ?to it being written on Apple's site.



    4) I myself wrote ? in this very thread ? as well as linked to Apple's site ? in this very thread ? of Apple's refund policy showing no risk for those who wish to return a faulty item and get a full refund over a replacement.



    I understand everything you're saying. My point is only that Apple can always point to it's written policy and say F-you we're taking the restocking fee,
  • freddychfreddych Posts: 266member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    ROTFLMAO. So the only people complaining are people who have bought the phone -- EXCEPT for people like you who haven't bought it but are still complaining. You couldn't have contradicted yourself more fully if you had tried.



    I never implied or meant to imply that ONLY people who have purchased the phone were complaining. I was just stating that there are owners that ARE complaining, and they never purchased the phone intending to bash it.



    Anyways, I was genuinely excited to upgrade my 3GS to the iPhone 4. But the reception problems are a major issue that are keeping me from doing so.
  • dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 11,410member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post




    While it sounds like they didn't explain the reasoning very well, they were right to send him to an AT&T store for a refund (since this wasn't a warranty issue).



    Apple sells the iPhone to their partners and they sell to consumers, making the sale itself the responsibility of the partner. There are legal issues here with balancing the books and whatnot. If you bought it at Best Buy which activated the iPhone 4 for AT&T where you signed the contract, you'd have to go to Best Buy at that point, not AT&T or Apple for any issue with sale.



    I hear you, and understand the perspective,



    But the Apple store is different than other resellers of the iPhone. In the eyes of the customer, they are not a reseller, they are Apple!



    If intelligent minds at Apple and AT & T (in the US) can devise effective and legal ways to sell each other's products and services... they should be able to devise effective and legal ways to unsell these same products and services.



    I can see a potential problem where the customer wants to exchange a supply-constrained product and the seller doesn't have sufficient exchange inventory... but, set that aside for now.



    This particular customer was looking for a return/refund, and I assume he had the proper paper work to support the purchase transaction. Apple should be able to take the return product, capture the support documentation and issue a refund on the spot,



    Apple & AT & T have accountants and lawyers that can establish procedures to handle the details, after the fact of the return/refund.



    Apple does this all the time with it's resellers products binging delivered for resale pass returned products in transit!



    The ironic part of it... If the Apple Store had issued an on-the-spot refund, there is a good possibility that the customer would have spent the refund (or even more) while he was in the store... the customer has money to spend, is in a positive frame of mind... that, sir is a qualified customer! From the Apple store POV it is the old bird-in-hand sales technique.



    Apple, and the Apple Stores pride themselves in providing the best customer experience.



    Part of any sale is an implied potential return/refund. This is a major part of the sales experience, and should be planned for, and treated as such.



    Sorry, but I am hard-headed and don't see any way to compromise this!



    .
  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Captain J View Post


    I understand everything you're saying. My point is only that Apple can always point to it's written policy and say F-you we're taking the restocking fee,



    That's the point, they can't. There are laws to protect consumers, if you choose not to use those laws to protect your interests then I don't see how you can blame someone else for your carelessness or apathy.



    The bottom line is: THEY WILL REFUND ALL YOUR MONEY IF YOUR DEVICE IS FAULTY.
  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post


    I hear you, and understand the perspective,



    But the Apple store is different than other resellers of the iPhone. In the eyes of the customer, they are not a reseller, they are Apple!



    If intelligent minds at Apple and AT & T (in the US) can devise effective and legal ways to sell each other's products and services... they should be able to devise effective and legal ways to unsell these same products and services.



    [...]



    Sorry, but I am hard-headed and don't see any way to compromise this!



    .



    This really is out of Apple's hands unless the manager willingly wants to take back a product they didn't sell. By they, I mean the retail aspect of Apple, not wholesale, to a consumer.



    I think above and beyond in this situation would be to have numbers and addresses of the local retail partners (not just AT&T) so that a customer can feel as if they were competently routed to the right place for a refund.



    Remember, we're talking about a replacement or a repair, we're talking about a sale of a device from a completely different vendor. If I bought a Mac at Amazon should I be able to bring my receipt to an Apple Store and have them refund me? The only difference here is that Apple is a wholesaler and a retailer, but that doesn't change the way business is done, they are still separate, and Apple is not responsible for the retail side of business from their wholesale customers. I'm not sure they could legally do it if they wanted to.
  • dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 11,410member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Captain J View Post


    I understand everything you're saying. My point is only that Apple can always point to it's written policy and say F-you we're taking the restocking fee,



    No, you don't understand the purpose of "policy"... especially "written policy".



    It is a way to boil-down many complex day-to-day decisions into codified rules, so that such decisions can be handled by front-line employees without the need to send each up the chain of command for higher-level approval-- it expedites "doing business".



    But, like rules are made to be broken, policy is made to be overridden.



    Done properly, a good policy will satisfy the bulk (let's say 90%) of the decisions quickly and efficiently to the satisfaction of the customer and the company, alike!



    Then, when an unusual situation arises, that requires policy override, it is easily escalated to a higher-level where it can be resolved with the attention it deserves.



    Any company who writes policy that is unfair to the customer (and will not adjust as necessary), will soon have no need for that policy-- as they will have no customers!.



    .
  • dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 11,410member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    This really is out of Apple's hands unless the manager willingly wants to take back a product they didn't sell. By they, I mean the retail aspect of Apple, not wholesale, to a consumer.



    I think above and beyond in this situation would be to have numbers and addresses of the local retail partners (not just AT&T) so that a customer can feel as if they were competently routed to the right place for a refund.



    Remember, we're talking about a replacement or a repair, we're talking about a sale of a device from a completely different vendor. If I bought a Mac at Amazon should I be able to bring my receipt to an Apple Store and have them refund me? The only difference here is that Apple is a wholesaler and a retailer, but that doesn't change the way business is done, they are still separate, and Apple is not responsible for the retail side of business from their wholesale customers. I'm not sure they could legally do it if they wanted to.



    Well, I chose not to address the Amazon, BestBuy, Radio Shack cases as they may require different handling,



    I simplified to AT & T selling Apple iPhones and Apple selling AT&T services. There are 2 specific vendors and 2 specific components of the sale.



    I also set aside replacements in a supply-constrained environment.



    So, what it boils down to is this: for a sale to be consummated, you need to buy product a and service b. In my simplified world there are 2 vendors that sell both. Why can't each vendor unsell both.



    Take a hypothetical situation; Say the customer lives in Palo Alto, but couldn't get a phone in Silicon Valley because of demand, He calls around and convinces the AT & T store in Monterey to hold an iPhone for him (gives his credit card info). He then drives down (100 miles) and gets his iP4.



    After discovering the problem he decides the best solution for him is a return/refund.



    He goes into the local PA Apple store... we didn't sell it you need to return it to AT & T. Does that mean AT & T Palo Alto (5 mile round trip) or AT & T Monterey (200 mile round trip).



    If he has to take the 200 mile round trip that would be stupid, and he would have the right to be pissed... After all, were talking about computerized sales of communication devices. Why should the customer need to travel 200 miles to resolve this? He shouldn't!



    I maintain that the customer shouldn't need to travel the 5 miles to the nearest AT & T store.



    There are 2 vendors that could have made this sale AT & T and Apple. The customer is in the store of one of those vendors-- why can't they reverse the sale (of product a and service b) for the convenience of the customer?



    The iP4 will go back to Apple, the contract and fees will be refunded to AT & T-- any special considerations (restocking/refurbishing, subsidy adjustments are worked out contractually or by mutually accepted procedures). This ain't rocket science and it is done all the time with businesses integrating sales of products and services of multiple suppliers.



    Apple is one of the top manufacturers of "smart: phones, and AT & T is one of the top suppliers of "smart" phone services. The fact that they can't/won't develop a "smart" procedure for handling customer returns reflects poorly on both!





    /sermon



    .
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