My Battle With Apple

SmashedSmashed

Ted Rogers
Rogers Corporate Office
333 Bloor Street East, 7th Floor
Toronto, ON M4W 1G9

November 13th, 2008

I am writing this letter to Ted Rogers and the Apple Board of Directors to express my complete and total dissatisfaction with the both Rogers customer service and the Apple iphone 3G “limited” Warranty.

On November 10th, 2008 I had the great misfortune of dropping my iphone two-and-a-half feet onto the floor. I wasn’t particularly concerned as I had confidence in Apple and its products however upon retrieving my phone from the floor my heart sunk; the entire glass panel on the device was shattered like a baseball through a window including razor sharp pieces of glass. Luckily the device was still responsive but I sliced my finger trying to use it but I was confident it could easily be repaired by either Rogers or Apple under their respective warranties, or if need be with minimum out of pocket expense.

My first phone call was placed to Rogers’ customer service who informed me that they were unable to assist me with the iphone and quickly transferred me to the Apple Support line. I wasn’t worried as I figured Apple always stands by their products and happily waited on hold for 10 or so minutes. While on hold I handed the phone to my fiancé so I could unload the groceries into the car, and she explained the incident to the Apple representative. With no sense of empathy, or compassion, the Apple representative informed her that the phones are never repaired and “accidents” are not covered under the one-year (or the Apple Extended) warranty but if I sent my phone in to Apple I could have it replaced for the low price of $199; the out-of-warranty repair price. I was not impressed.

Having been a Rogers customer for many years I had previously learned the fastest way to reach a representative and quickly stated “Cancel my account” to the automated system and was greeted within minutes by a live person. I asked if it would be possible for Rogers to split the repair cost with me or credit me for unused time during a repair process but was informed that because it was an iphone there was nothing they could do. However I could easily buy another phone for under $100 if I so desired and they’d gladly place my order for me on the phone. This was not an option; I renewed a 3-year contract with Rogers because I wanted an iphone not some other phone. If this was how a loyal customer was treated I no longer wanted to be a customer.

I instructed the representative that I wished to cancel my account; if loyalty was not important then I no longer want to be a customer. After a few seconds of typing I was hit with the charges: $500 plus taxes to cancel my services. $560 to cancel my services? $400 for the 3-year contract and then $100 for the data contract. sigh I was trapped into a contract with Rogers and the $200 repair was better than $570.

I once again called Apple and verified my account. Once again no compassion or empathy for my $300 loss and was only asked if I was ready to pay the $199 for a “refurbished” phone. I was silent for a second, refurbished meant it was repaired and I was instructed last time that the phones were NOT repaired and simply replaced. I asked what happens to the broken phones returned to apple and the word “repaired” was used. I stressed the fact that my phone still worked, was completely responsive and that only the front glass damaged, but the $199 charge was strongly reiterated.

While I was talking to the Apple representative I did a quick search on ebay and found a replacement screen for $10 including free shipping; I may as well attempt to fix the phone myself. I mentioned this to Apple but was told that replacing the screen myself would void the warranty. I responded that my warranty was already void because I had to pay the “out-of-warranty” price anyway. I may as well make sure the phone is broken before I send it back. There was nothing but silence on the other end of the phone so I hung up.

This got me thinking. With the amount of these phones sold I can not be the only person this has happened to. Not once was I informed that Rogers can not do anything with the iphone and that the Apple warranty only covers their issues and ANYTHING not done by Apple is not covered:

This warranty does not apply: (a) to consumable parts, such as batteries, unless damage has occurred due to a defect in materials or workmanship; (b) to cosmetic damage, including but not limited to scratches, dents, and broken plastic on ports; (c) to damage caused by use with non-Apple products; (d) to damage caused by accident, abuse, misuse, flood, fire, earthquake or other external causes; (e) to damage caused by operating the product outside the permitted or intended uses described by Apple; (f) to damage caused by service (including upgrades and expansions) performed by anyone who is not a representative of Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider (“AASP”); (g) to a product or part that has been modified to alter functionality or capability without the written permission of Apple; or (h) if any Apple serial number has been removed or defaced. Important: Do not open the hardware product. Opening the hardware product may cause damage that is not covered by this warranty. Only Apple or an authorized service provider should perform service on this hardware product.

I understand that it was my fault that the phone broke however in my mind people drop things and this should have been considered as a practical part of the design process. I guess no one at Apple has ever dropped anything: (e) to damage caused by operating the product outside the permitted or intended uses described by Apple.

If anything should come from this letter I would expect Apple to have a more compassionate repair process for the iphone or upgrade to a more resistant glass front.

An extremely dissatisfied customer of both Rogers and Apple,

Steve