Here we go again: Apple's iPhone battery service terms igniting complaints from users

Posted:
in iPhone
A report from the BBC complains that Apple isn't replacing the battery on some iPhones with damage, re-launching ridiculous complaints that the company won't fix everything put in front of them.

iPhone 6s Battery
Image: iFixit


The report by BBC's Watchdog show highlights users who contacted the show after Apple refused to replace a battery in an iPhone. All of the complaints were made after an iPhone was sent to Apple for service, and rejected because of damage.

In one case, Josh Landsburgh sent his iPhone to Apple to have the battery replaced in February. Two days later, Landsburgh got an email from Apple rejecting the repair on the grounds of a "small dent" -- which Apple would fix for 200 ($272) if he had opted to do so.

Landsburgh turned to a third-party repair shop to replace the battery, leaving the dented case intact.

In another case cited by the BBC, David Bowler claimed that his iPhone was in "perfect condition" but needed a battery replacing. Apple returned the device, claiming that there was internal damage to the microphone and speaker.

An un-named third-party repair shop was consulted by the BBC, and were told that "obviously these things are working; they shouldn't say that they are faulty."

Here we go again.

Apple's terms of service

The BBC report does point out that Apple has restrictions on battery replacements. Apple's support webpage notes that:
"If your iPhone has any damage that impairs the replacement of the battery, such as a cracked screen, that issue will need to be resolved prior to the battery replacement."
Furthermore, like with the Linus Tech Tips iMac Pro saga, Apple's terms and conditions of any repair, say that Apple can refuse repairs based on any damage caused by the user.

Dents and microphone damage

The difference again is how users want to interpret this, versus how Apple does from a legal and accountability issue.

In the first case, we see the "dent" but the damage goes beyond that. The screen assembly is chipped as well. Tensile strength of a screen drops dramatically with even minute chips or cracks, as demonstrated practically by a windshield chipped by a rock.




Tolerances in the iPhone are very tight, and a case dent elsewhere doesn't need to to be profound to start impinging on the battery or other components. Too-tight tolerances cause problems with batteries, a matter that Samsung is all too familiar with.

In Bowler's case. the third-party repair shop's comment as gathered by the BBC is a red herring. Just because something is working, doesn't mean that it isn't damaged -- ask any hard drive user who has dealt with increasing drive noise over time.

As a general rule, Apple's diagnostics are more trust-worthy than an un-named third-party repair shop's assessment.

Apple's rules are there for a reason

The question is not if Apple is refusing battery replacements for other issues. They clearly are.

Apple is interpreting their statements and policies in a restrictive fashion -- and in the same way that Dell, Samsung, and every other manufacturer that provides first-party service can and does. In the case of the battery, or a failure of any other part that isn't covered under the default one-year warranty, Apple is under no legal obligation to repair a device despite how much users may want them to be compelled to do so.

Leaving damaged parts inside an iPhone, even if the customer wants them to stay in there, is problematic from a service accountability standpoint. Failures of, say, a motherboard, after a battery repair job are often blamed on a service provider well after the repair job is over -- and there's no good way for the service provider to disprove the claim.

A dent is user-induced damage, and Apple is choosing to not replace batteries because of them. A speaker that works that doesn't pass diagnostics is still a failed component, and Apple chooses to not be "on the hook" for that part later, should it fail a day, a week, or a year after the battery replacement.

If you don't understand that, spend a week in a high-volume service department someplace. You'll understand after you do.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 45
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,934member
    Too many people are "entitled" today and think they deserve something in return (usually for free). 

    And I don't know what it is with British news outlets but they have an obsession for just shitting all over Apple for some reason. Its like their favorite past time. 


    If Apple were to just replace a battery with something wrong the customer could just come back and say Apple broke it and demand they fix it. Now not only is Apple changing the battery for a low price, but also changing out parts that were damaged/non-working in the first place that wasn't normally covered. So its not really a case of Apple screwing the customer...its more like protecting the other way around. Just because Apple has over $200 Billion in the bank doesn't mean they're going to start performing free repairs for those who think they're entitled for it. 
    edited May 2018 Stargate70racerhomie3jbishop1039macbootxjbdragonjony0Shelterwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 45
    " Apple rejecting the repair on the grounds of a "small dent" —which Apple would fix for 200 ($272) if he had opted to do so. Landsburgh turned to a third-party repair shop to replace the battery, leaving the dented case intact." Apparently the iPhone owner, DROPPED his/her phone and was too lazy or naive to spend $50-60 for an ounce of prevention for their $400-$600 phone! Oh well! Learn to protect and take better care of stuff you buy! Otherwise, Cest' La Vie!
    baconstangberndogjbdragonjony0Shelterwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 45
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,331member
    BBC be trollin’!
    macxpresswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 45
    wonkothesanewonkothesane Posts: 1,382member
    “Hello Apple, I’m a user and I contact you because you’re doing it all wrong. I have rights, you know. You MUST make the phone smaller. And bigger too. And longer battery life. And thinner. And you HAVE TO provide all repairs I want. Even if I throw the phone around like a piece of garbage. Oh yes, best for free. Talking about money: it definitely must be cheaper as well. You know. Oh, and don’t glue. Because I need to have the right to put a different processor in it. And please finally be green and stop using all this chemicals. And to really serve my precious customer’s needs stop asking for all this money for iCloud storage, or apps. It should be free as well. Just like all you other services which are pretty cool actually. I wish finally you would listen to me. I know so much better what is good for both of us. Your dear customer (with rights!, you know)”

    edit: fixed a typo, or two. 
    edited May 2018 Stargate70jbdragonjdb8167watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 45
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,789administrator
    Hey gang, as a reminder, we have commenting rules for a reason. Adhere to them, and you can disagree all you want.

    Attacks will not be tolerated.
    Stargate70watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 45
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,925member
    Of possible importance is Apple's support website and the contractual warranty document included with the buyer's purchase may differ. Example "If your iPhone has any damage that impairs the replacement of the battery, such as a cracked screen, that issue will need to be resolved prior to the battery replacement." Apple is presumably basing that requirement on terms and conditions in Apple's written user warranty. FWIW BBC said it could find no evidence of any such clause in the warranty documents requiring other possible device issues be taken care of/ paid for by the owner prior to a battery replacement by Apple under warranty. Whether that's accurate I don't know.
    edited May 2018
  • Reply 7 of 45
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,789administrator
    gatorguy said:
    Of possible importance is Apple's support website and the contractual warranty document included with the buyer's purchase may differ. Example "If your iPhone has any damage that impairs the replacement of the battery, such as a cracked screen, that issue will need to be resolved prior to the battery replacement." Apple is presumably basing that requirement on terms and conditions in Apple's written user warranty. FWIW BBC said it could find no evidence of any such clause in the warranty documents requiring other possible device issues be taken care of/ paid for by the owner prior to a battery replacement by Apple under warranty. Whether that's accurate I don't know.
    None of these were warranty repairs. The BBC report puts the incidents in the context of the battery replacement program.
    Stargate70
  • Reply 8 of 45
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,925member
    gatorguy said:
    Of possible importance is Apple's support website and the contractual warranty document included with the buyer's purchase may differ. Example "If your iPhone has any damage that impairs the replacement of the battery, such as a cracked screen, that issue will need to be resolved prior to the battery replacement." Apple is presumably basing that requirement on terms and conditions in Apple's written user warranty. FWIW BBC said it could find no evidence of any such clause in the warranty documents requiring other possible device issues be taken care of/ paid for by the owner prior to a battery replacement by Apple under warranty. Whether that's accurate I don't know.
    None of these were warranty repairs. The BBC report puts the incidents in the context of the battery replacement program.
    I thought the battery replacement program was a conditional extension of their hardware warranty. 
    edited May 2018
  • Reply 9 of 45
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,789administrator
    gatorguy said:
    gatorguy said:
    Of possible importance is Apple's support website and the contractual warranty document included with the buyer's purchase may differ. Example "If your iPhone has any damage that impairs the replacement of the battery, such as a cracked screen, that issue will need to be resolved prior to the battery replacement." Apple is presumably basing that requirement on terms and conditions in Apple's written user warranty. FWIW BBC said it could find no evidence of any such clause in the warranty documents requiring other possible device issues be taken care of/ paid for by the owner prior to a battery replacement by Apple under warranty. Whether that's accurate I don't know.
    None of these were warranty repairs. The BBC report puts the incidents in the context of the battery replacement program.
    I thought the battery replacement program was a conditional extension of their warranty. 
    $79 to $29? Nope.

    You may be thinking about the iPhone 6s REA. With those, the "other stuff needs to be repaired" still applies, though.
    edited May 2018 Stargate70watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 45
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,925member
    gatorguy said:
    gatorguy said:
    Of possible importance is Apple's support website and the contractual warranty document included with the buyer's purchase may differ. Example "If your iPhone has any damage that impairs the replacement of the battery, such as a cracked screen, that issue will need to be resolved prior to the battery replacement." Apple is presumably basing that requirement on terms and conditions in Apple's written user warranty. FWIW BBC said it could find no evidence of any such clause in the warranty documents requiring other possible device issues be taken care of/ paid for by the owner prior to a battery replacement by Apple under warranty. Whether that's accurate I don't know.
    None of these were warranty repairs. The BBC report puts the incidents in the context of the battery replacement program.
    I thought the battery replacement program was a conditional extension of their warranty. 
    $79 to $29? Nope.

    You may be thinking about the iPhone 6s REA. With those, the "other stuff needs to be repaired" still applies, though.
    Thanks. And yes I was.
    edited May 2018 Stargate70
  • Reply 11 of 45
    nunzynunzy Posts: 662member
    Other companies do this all the time, but they pick unfairly on Apple. Typical.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 45
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 688member
    After working in retail for a number of years I learned that the customer is often right. The customer may even usually be right. But the customer is NOT always right. There are always a percentage that want to game the system. These customers are jerks and should be shown the door. No loss to the company.
    andrewj5790watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 45
    KuyangkohKuyangkoh Posts: 344member
    Wow, email me and i will send you my old iphone6 and quit whining.....
    if you cant afford iphone, there are many many android phones out there.
    andrewj5790watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 45
    They rejected my iPhone battery replacement. Said due to damage.  My iPhone was in flawless condition; however, I had replaced the battery myself. Since it was a 3rd party battery they wouldn’t service it. I asked them if I could just have a battery for the price and I would do it myself. They refused. Honestly this is my only complaint so far with Apple - they have always repaired my stuff before and some of it outside of the warranty for free.  I just bought another 3rd party battery and did it myself.
    airnerdretrogusto
  • Reply 15 of 45
    zimmermannzimmermann Posts: 219member
    I have a dent in my 6s, and Apple refused to exchange the battery. The shop around the corner saw no problem and did it while I waited in 10 minutes. I had been waiting in the Apple Store for two hours to receive my verdict. I could understand Apple’s side though, it is an ugly dent. But I wish they would have told me right from the beginning, when they inspected my phone but said nothing about a possible problem. 


    edited May 2018 retrogustojdw
  • Reply 16 of 45
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,789administrator
    I have a dent in my 6s, and Apple refused to exchange the battery. The shop around the corner saw no problem and did it while I waited in 10 minutes. I had been waiting in the Apple Store for two hours to receive my verdict. I could understand Apple’s side though, it is an ugly dent. But I wish they would have told me right from the beginning, when they inspected my phone but said nothing about a possible problem. 


    Yeah, I don't disagree. Apple could do better on nearly every level with consumer communication. In this case, it was likely a difference between the guys in the front, and the guys in the back.
    airnerd
  • Reply 17 of 45
    airnerdairnerd Posts: 664member
    nunzy said:
    Other companies do this all the time, but they pick unfairly on Apple. Typical.
    This weekend I had a windshield chip repaired.  They told me before they started there is a chance as they are trying to fix it that the crack will spread and require a new windshield.  I signed that I acknowledged that risk.  Is that what Apple is worried about as well, that they may cause more damage when trying to open/repair?  If so couldn't they have that option of a waiver signed before they open a dented case or chipped screen?

    I fully get why they won't bother with that hassle, but seems they could make these annoying trolls shut up if they were willing to pass the risk to the customer in some minor instances.  If the screen is spider-webbed then no chance, but that little nick could probably still be opened without doing more damage.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 45
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,789administrator
    airnerd said:
    nunzy said:
    Other companies do this all the time, but they pick unfairly on Apple. Typical.
    This weekend I had a windshield chip repaired.  They told me before they started there is a chance as they are trying to fix it that the crack will spread and require a new windshield.  I signed that I acknowledged that risk.  Is that what Apple is worried about as well, that they may cause more damage when trying to open/repair?  If so couldn't they have that option of a waiver signed before they open a dented case or chipped screen?

    I fully get why they won't bother with that hassle, but seems they could make these annoying trolls shut up if they were willing to pass the risk to the customer in some minor instances.  If the screen is spider-webbed then no chance, but that little nick could probably still be opened without doing more damage.  
    They could do that sure, and that's what the third-parties generally do. They just choose not to.
  • Reply 19 of 45
    airnerdairnerd Posts: 664member
    airnerd said:
    nunzy said:
    Other companies do this all the time, but they pick unfairly on Apple. Typical.
    This weekend I had a windshield chip repaired.  They told me before they started there is a chance as they are trying to fix it that the crack will spread and require a new windshield.  I signed that I acknowledged that risk.  Is that what Apple is worried about as well, that they may cause more damage when trying to open/repair?  If so couldn't they have that option of a waiver signed before they open a dented case or chipped screen?

    I fully get why they won't bother with that hassle, but seems they could make these annoying trolls shut up if they were willing to pass the risk to the customer in some minor instances.  If the screen is spider-webbed then no chance, but that little nick could probably still be opened without doing more damage.  
    They could do that sure, and that's what the third-parties generally do. They just choose not to.
    I know, I just wonder why they choose not to.  It would be more money in Apple's pocket and they could control the products going into their phones which is something they have said before they care about.  Why force someone to go put a non-Apple certified product in their phone?  


    And before anyone does it, which I know they will, please don't tell me about their recent earnings report.  That's saying Apple doesn't need to make any more money, which is naive and disappointing to shareholders like me.  A great businessman once said "Manage in good times so you'll do well in bad times", and he is spot on.  Make more money while doing your customers a service.  Win-win.
  • Reply 20 of 45
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,789administrator
    airnerd said:
    airnerd said:
    nunzy said:
    Other companies do this all the time, but they pick unfairly on Apple. Typical.
    This weekend I had a windshield chip repaired.  They told me before they started there is a chance as they are trying to fix it that the crack will spread and require a new windshield.  I signed that I acknowledged that risk.  Is that what Apple is worried about as well, that they may cause more damage when trying to open/repair?  If so couldn't they have that option of a waiver signed before they open a dented case or chipped screen?

    I fully get why they won't bother with that hassle, but seems they could make these annoying trolls shut up if they were willing to pass the risk to the customer in some minor instances.  If the screen is spider-webbed then no chance, but that little nick could probably still be opened without doing more damage.  
    They could do that sure, and that's what the third-parties generally do. They just choose not to.
    I know, I just wonder why they choose not to.  It would be more money in Apple's pocket and they could control the products going into their phones which is something they have said before they care about.  Why force someone to go put a non-Apple certified product in their phone?  


    And before anyone does it, which I know they will, please don't tell me about their recent earnings report.  That's saying Apple doesn't need to make any more money, which is naive and disappointing to shareholders like me.  A great businessman once said "Manage in good times so you'll do well in bad times", and he is spot on.  Make more money while doing your customers a service.  Win-win.
    It's not unrelated. Apple's repair work is technically under services, but has never been about profiteering off the customers.

    It's 100% an accountability issue. They just don't need to do it, or want to. There's no forcing, here. Either pay for the repair from Apple, or go to the third party.
    edited May 2018
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