/ Technology

Has Apple been charging its customers for unnecessary repairs?

iPhone battery

Apple customers have been charged hundreds of pounds for repairs, which may be ‘unnecessary’, in its discount battery replacement programme. Have you been affected?

Earlier this year I asked if it was right for Apple to be actively tinkering with our old iPhones.

In a nutshell, Apple introduced a ‘feature’ into operating system updates that slowed some phones down. The reasoning was that tempering performance would help to avoid unwanted issues caused by older or degraded batteries.

Apple attempted to rectifying the situation by offering a £25 battery repair (reduced from £79) to all affected customers. Unsurprisingly this has proven popular, but some of the hoops you have to jump through have not.

Aside from the fact that Apple determines whether your phone really needs a new battery, there’s another rather large caveat to this cheaper price.

Added costs

Apple’s repair website states 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. In some cases, there may be a cost associated with the repair.”

This might seem reasonable at first glance, but as reported by the BBC and seen on last week’s Watchdog, consumers are not happy at what Apple is trying to charge for.

One customer was quoted £200 to fix a small dent in the edge of the phone before Apple would make good on its battery promise.

Another had a phone that appeared to be in perfect condition, only to be told there was ‘internal damage’ that needed fixing.

A few bad apples?

And Apple customer service representatives appear to be singing a different tune to Apple’s repair policy, stating that ‘any and all damage’ must be repaired to benefit from the battery replacement service.

One customer, having been quoted £250 before the battery could be replaced, took their phone to a third-party repair centre who replaced the battery with no issues, something Apple had refused to do.

Is Apple unfairly burdening customers with unnecessary repairs, and should it be doing more to appease customers after the recent bad press? Have you attempted to take an iPhone to an Apple repair centre for a discountedreplacement battery, or had repair issues with any other Apple products?

Comments
Member
Member

I don’t expect that customers in the US will be happy if the same terms apply there. Some are quite vocal and help guide Apple to behave more responsibly. I suspect that Apple is replacing phones with refurbished ones rather than changing the battery, hence the additional charges.

Meanwhile I will carry on using my four year old iPhone, which is working fine on the original battery and would not be covered by the battery replacement programme anyway.

Member

Via YouTube, I’ve been watching a number of Louis Rossmann’s video blogs.

He seems to do quite a lot of business as a 3rd party repairer for Apple products. He seems to enjoy tackling challenging repairs that Apple won’t carry out at all – or for which they would take a long time and/or charge high fees.

He also seems to be quite forthcoming about all the restrictive practices that Apple employ, to maximise their revenue from both sales and service activities.

Luckily for me, I can only afford to own a cheap Android phone, which is a down-market model that has a user replaceable battery, a memory card slot and a standard headphone socket.

Member

I don’t know what to make of Apple, but sometimes they can be very generous. When I took a faulty MacBook Pro to an Apple Store it was three and a half years old and had only a one year guarantee. I had not paid for an AppleCare extended warranty. It was repaired free of charge. It had obviously been dropped because of slight damage to the edge of the case and the base.

Here is a list of the charges that Apple waived in May 2015:

Repair Estimate
Item Number Description Price Amount Due
661-5847 Display Clamshell, Glossy £ 338.00 £ 338.00
661-6160 Board, Logic, 2.2 GHz £ 339.00 £ 339.00
S1490LL/A Hardware Repair Labor £ 24.00 £ 24.00
VAT £ 140.20
Total £ 701.00 £ 841.20

The laptop still works fine and although the battery is intended to last 1000 charge cycles, it’s still OK after 1724 cycles.

If Apple let me down I will report it on Which? Convo and make use of my legal rights, which Apple draws attention to on their website. Goodwill has been enough so far.

Member

They’ve done the same for me. And more – they once sent me a brand new iPod in addition to replacing the battery on an older one, because they took a week longer to do the battery than they expected.

Member

Yes, I’ve had similar experiences with Apple too. They can be very good when they are good.

Member

I once took an iPad 2 to the same Apple Store to enquire about the cost of replacement of the screen, which was slightly cracked. I was quoted a high price and was told that what they would do is to provide a refurbished model. That’s why I suggested above that the supplementary cost for replacing the battery on a damaged iPhone may be because it will be swapped for another one.

Years later, the iPad still works fine despite the cracked screen, though it does not get much use now I have a smartphone.

Member
DerekP says:
14 August 2018

£338 would buy quite a decent brand new PC!

Presumably even Apple aren’t greedy enough to expect anyone to actually spend £840 on the repair of a three year old PC.

So that was a generous repair.

Member

Very generous indeed. My laptop was repaired in May 2015 and it’s still in frequent use. I know other people who have not been so lucky with getting free repairs or refurbished machines but I think it helps to buy direct from Apple, which I’ve almost always done.