/ Shopping, Technology

Is Apple’s own repair service a rip-off?

A broken red apple

Apple iPod stuck on repeat? iPhone all hung up? Maybe your iPad is more a case of iWon’t? But why should we pay Apple so much for an official branded repair, when we can get the same fix for less elsewhere?

Like many big brands, if your Apple gadget flatlines, you’ll probably turn to its in-house repair service. And while the gadget medics will put your iDevice on life support, it’s likely you’ll pay through the nose for the privilege.

Apple’s official repair service isn’t cheap – and using it feels a little like being forced to use private health care.

Shop around for a better deal

Of course, you could find a cheaper option, but letting a repair shop that’s not approved by Apple tinker with your iPhone could lead to warranty problems.

Yet the prices are revealing: it can cost nearly £140 to get an iPhone fixed with Apple (or £146.29 for its mail-order service), compared to just over £40 for a similar repair from the non-Apple route (£45 to replace water damaged parts for example). Ouch – and it’s enough to make you sick.

Apple’s in danger of being seen to rip-off its customers. The company – and other electronics manufacturers – are using a worrying mark-up for the ‘privilege’ of their official repair services. So, not only do you have to pay a huge price for the latest iPhone, if it goes wrong (like the screen cracking) Apple is willing to lift an extra hundred notes from your pocket.

And if smaller repair shops can resurrect an iPod for much less, Apple needs to explain why it gouges consumers for going through its official channels. The materials used and the time spent are similar, if not identical, surely.

High repair price to force re-buy?

Maybe it’s a case of brand reassurance? Perhaps shoppers, having paid a princely sum for their beloved iPhone, are unwilling to trust anyone but Apple with repairing it. Fair enough, but could Apple have a more sinister motive?

By charging a high price – and Apple isn’t alone in its approach – could it be actively putting people off getting a repair to sway them towards a new model?

High cost repairs certainly make sense for the brands themselves, but for everyone else it pays to shop around. At least get various quotes before handing over your gadget – and hard-earned cash – to official repair services.

Emily says:
17 August 2010

Not only that, but in-house Apple repairs also take forever… I just got my MacBook back yesterday after they spent more than two weeks repairing cracks in its casing. This is a known fault for my model, so the repairs were free… but having to go without my laptop for a fornight was far from ideal. Especially as when I dropped it off the clearly clueless Apple employee said it would take a week to fix (and at the time I’d thought that seemed unreasonably long for a known fault that is fairly straightforward to fix)… I will not be taking it back to Apple for any future repairs, that’s for sure.

renata says:
2 February 2011

I love apple , I love them so much that’s evrything who will get the brand apple I will never buy again !!!. I’ve got a years old iphone 3 g after 11 months something got wrong . the iphone shut down automatically and I had to press the home button and the sleep button together to start it again . I send my iphone to applecare and this is the answer :

“Your IPHONE 3G has been inspected by Apple technicians, who have determined that it has been subjected to accidental damage or misuse, which is not covered by the warranty, the AppleCare Protection Plan, or other Apple repair program. Therefore your original product is being returned to you unrepaired. You should expect to receive it within two business days along with a letter that gives details of this assessment. ”

I call the customers department , two options was offer to me :
-£146 to change the iphone completly for a new 3g iphone ( who will maybe get the same problem after a year)
-to discuss with a technician from apple in leceister (uk) that I am not happy with them diagnostic

please note that apple didn’t offer me any repair for my old iphone or any cost for a repair !!!
I like the word “accidental damage or misuse” okay .. it’s like you speak to one doctor :
patient : I am sick doctor
doctor: let me to give you a diagnostic
patient : ( 2 days later)
doctor : hum… definitely you are sick
patient : so what’s my sickness doctor??
doctor : I don’t know but you are definitely sick
apple is doing the same , they accused me of accidental dammage or misuse but they are not capable to tell me what I have done and I swear I done nothing wrong to my iphone

John Dickson says:
17 August 2010

I have been pleased with my MacBook Pro since migrating from PC this April. I moved becasue I had a sense of Apple being the kind of company that is evolutionary. This is certainly true of its products, but despite its success and growth, it is sad to see such an organisation to be so un-evolved that it feels the need to fleece its loyal customers with pricey add ons, maintenance/repairs and dare I even mention the immaturity of its handling of the iPhone 4 . I think Apple’s leadership is missing a trick – to position Apple as a customer-enlightened organisation. I wonder if this is what is now beginning to disappoint its followers. We all hoped and deserve more. As history shows, if an organisation can’t evolve it’s customers lifetime experience it will eventually be replaced by someone who will – and being big in the market isn’t protection. It’s just part of the process of evolution.


You Can get your Apple iPhone insured for 2 years for £63 with Apple. This is much cheaper than the £15 per month that I know at least 2 people, known to me have. They signed up for it when they got the phone from the O2 shop. If you register Apple computers with them you have a 90 day warranty. I admit that the 3 year Apple guarantee based on the value of your computer is very steep.


I’ve used Apple’s repair service a couple of times – both under warranty. First time (several years ago) was pretty good, though it did take a little longer than I would have expected. Second time was brilliant – very friendly, helpful person on the phone, replacement part (mains adapter) arrived in the post the next day. Couldn’t ask for better!

Patryk says:
17 August 2010

I’ve had great success with AppleCare repairs. My MBP stopped working; I took it to an “authorised service provider” and had it back two days later, with no charge for the repair.

Rob Sammons says:
17 August 2010

This article isn’t correct if you take an iPhone out of warranty either the 1 year or 2 year apple care then they will charge you £140 to completely replace your phone, this is the same as water damage. I’ve seen it happen before at my local genius bar.

Also apples mac repair service has given me £2000 pounds worth of issues with an iMac and Macbook Air it cost me a 10th of that to cover

George Allen says:
17 August 2010

Just before Xmas my 2 year old MacBook Air screen hinges broke – the screen came totally detached. I took it to the Bluewater Apple store, and three days later it was ready for collection, cleaned and repaired… totally free. Yes, I’d bought a warranty; why doesn’t everyone? Oh, and a while back my (old!) 500gig TimeCapsule stopped working; the warranty on my MacBook covered it; and Apple gave me a NEW one!

I really, really appreciate Apple’s repair service.