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Old Apr 26, 2012, 01:45 AM   #1
andyx3x
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What an Apple Store genius told me tonight about replacement iPhones

I went in tonight to get my white Verizon 4 16gb replaced. Let me start by saying that I've owned every generation of the iPhone and this is the first time that I've ever had to have one replaced.

The genius took my new phone out of the black box that everyone talks about and I then decided to ask him about refurbished iPhones. I started by saying that I knew this was a refurb and asked him about the process that I had seen mentioned many times on these and other forums.

I asked was it true that they send back returned iPhones and replace the front, back and battery and whatever issue there might be and then give them out as replacements. He told me no, that this was in fact a new iPhone. He said that was the process they used to use, but now every replacement is a brand new phone. He said the returned phones are sent back and then melted down.

So there you go. The genius seemed to really know what he was talking about. I'm curious what others think about this.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 01:47 AM   #2
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So there you go. The genius seemed to really know what he was talking about. I'm curious what others think about this.
The key word is in bold.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 02:06 AM   #3
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The key word is in bold.
You seem to disagree. If so, tell me why.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 02:34 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by andyx3x View Post
You seem to disagree. If so, tell me why.
I don't know what they really do, but what the lowest-level type of employee on the ladder says about the refurb process doesn't really seem relevant. They have no way of knowing what goes on the manufacturing side, they just get the product.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 03:34 AM   #5
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Oddly enough a Genius at the Glasgow store told my sister and I the same thing on Saturday when she returned her iPhone 4 due to a faulty home button.

Exact words were, "Here is your replacement and this one goes away to be destroyed".
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 04:37 AM   #6
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Oddly enough a Genius at the Glasgow store told my sister and I the same thing on Saturday when she returned her iPhone 4 due to a faulty home button.

Exact words were, "Here is your replacement and this one goes away to be destroyed".
This seems logical. The cost to apple to refurb vs. use a new one is probably significant.

Think about it. Replacing the glass and battery does not seem like an adequate refurb.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 05:41 AM   #7
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If the fault is cosmetic then new glass and battery seems logical. If it is hardware related, I would believe they got destroyed. I wouldn't believe what the geniuses are told to tell.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 06:31 AM   #8
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Haha bs man, they refurb them and those go out to 3rd party agents like insurance companies.
Also I see no reason why Apple would not issue a refurbishment as a replacement, always remember the geniuses don't know EVERYTHING. After all they are just store clerks.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 06:40 AM   #9
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always remember the geniuses don't know EVERYTHING. After all they are just store clerks.
I would think they would know whether a replacement phone is a refurb or brand new.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 06:48 AM   #10
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Haha bs man, they refurb them and those go out to 3rd party agents like insurance companies.
Also I see no reason why Apple would not issue a refurbishment as a replacement, always remember the geniuses don't know EVERYTHING. After all they are just store clerks.
The people who work at Best Buy are just store clerks. I'm not saying everyone who works at the Genius Bar is a genius or that this particular one was correct, but they're pretty high calibre, all in all.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 06:55 AM   #11
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I would think they would know whether a replacement phone is a refurb or brand new.
You ever notice how the only thing missing from the refurb section of the apple online store is the iPhone... Also if Joe public hears 'yes it's a refurb' they'd be up in arms, where as I hear that and think 'AH put together properly' it's all about what the customer wants to hear.
I say this as when I had screen flicker issues with my MBP every genius I spoke to told me a different story
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 07:21 AM   #12
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While I also think the people at the store don't really know this kind of stuff, I'm inclined to agree with that guy.

I suspect it's far cheaper for Apple to just break down broken phones for scrap material and give you a new phone. Paying people to sit at benches doing tiny repairs and THEN having to put a repaired phone through a series of tests to make sure it really works... I feel like that has to cost more than what they pay Foxconn to just run 1 more off the assembly line.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 08:12 AM   #13
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IMO, when you do get a replacement unit, they usually hand out either a "Brand New or Like new device that is equivalent of yours" they never said that it is a refurbished unit. I've asked them about this one before, and they said that it is never a refurbished unit and would never hand out a refurbished unit, so technically what the genius told you is correct.

However, it is likely that they "could" re-use some parts. Such as glass, and stainless steel. Of course, I'm sure they would have to melt and re-use them. (Recycle), so technically they are clean. But otherwise it should be new.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 08:25 AM   #14
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I find this interesting.

I thought about it for a while and I guess I figure "who cares?"

Even if it is a "remanufactured" or "reconditioned" unit, it looks brand new, it (presumabely) works whereas the one that you're bringing in presumabely does not, it's quick, it's painless, etc.

I'd like to think we're all getting "brand new" units but from a business perspective I really wonder if they do recondition them and send them back out. I wouldn't blame them.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 08:27 AM   #15
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Is there some sort of date built into the serial number? Can't we just see when it was made?

Plus wasn't there just a thread saying due to low stock of white refurb iPhones the customer gets a new one?

Also aren't the refurb boxes different? Why would they take a new iPhone and put it in a different "apple certified box".

AND apple does have refurbed phones that are cheaper then new you can buy. Why would it be cheaper for them to give you a significantly more expensive phone when they have cheaper refurbs?
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 08:38 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by andyx3x View Post
I would think they would know whether a replacement phone is a refurb or brand new.
Why would you think this?
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 08:48 AM   #17
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They sell all the refurbs on Woot.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 09:41 AM   #18
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A few months ago when I had my wife's iPhone 4 replaced (home button issues) the Genius told me that they were giving her a new phone, not a refurbished one as in the past. So i'm guessing there was some sort of policy change that everyone at Apple was made aware of. Now the "destroying" part I'm not sure of, but doesn't sound too far fetched to me - it's probably cheaper to build a new iPhone that to pay an employee to refurbish it.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 09:52 AM   #19
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Maybe/maybe not.

But an Apple store employee is not any more privy to internal logistics/manufacturing information than we are watching tech news sites.

They are at the far bottom of the totem pole, and the turn around for retail store employees is so high, there's no reason for Apple to share that info.

They are fed only the information that Apple want customers to know/think.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by VSMacOne View Post
A few months ago when I had my wife's iPhone 4 replaced (home button issues) the Genius told me that they were giving her a new phone, not a refurbished one as in the past. So i'm guessing there was some sort of policy change that everyone at Apple was made aware of. Now the "destroying" part I'm not sure of, but doesn't sound too far fetched to me - it's probably cheaper to build a new iPhone that to pay an employee to refurbish it.
It's not that far fetched to gather them all up in one place, ship them back to China in a bulk shipment to be evaled/refurbed by cheap labor. It's logistically feasible to do it cheaply.

What they do, is still shrouded in mystery. An Apple store employee isn't going to be privy to those processes.

The phone is still a 'new phone' to that customer. Just like when someone goes and buys a 'new' used car. It's s commonly obfuscated phrase, "Did you hear Joe got a new car at Discount Used Autos?".
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 10:10 AM   #20
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Maybe/maybe not.

But an Apple store employee is not any more privy to internal logistics/manufacturing information than we are watching tech news sites.

They are at the far bottom of the totem pole, and the turn around for retail store employees is so high, there's no reason for Apple to share that info.

They are fed only the information that Apple want customers to know/think.

----------

It's not that far fetched to gather them all up in one place, ship them back to China in a bulk shipment to be evaled/refurbed by cheap labor. It's logistically feasible to do it cheaply.

What they do, is still shrouded in mystery. An Apple store employee isn't going to be privy to those processes.

The phone is still a 'new phone' to that customer. Just like when someone goes and buys a 'new' used car. It's s commonly obfuscated phrase, "Did you hear Joe got a new car at Discount Used Autos?".
Nothing is far-fetched. As far as we know, Apple could be using them all to build a space-ship. All we have is limited info.
Nevertheless, the iPhone that was given to me as a replacement was BRAND new, not new to me - in the past when Apple used refurbs for replacement phones, NONE of the Geniuses I worked with to replace phones ever told me that I was getting a "new" phone. So there was definitely a change in policy that occurred sometime in recent months.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 11:43 AM   #21
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A few years ago, the word on the street was that half of replacement iPhones were refurbished, half were brand new, and the customer didn't know which he was getting. Don't know if that was true.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 11:49 AM   #22
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Farming out the refurbing on phones is much cheaper than producing a new phone. Why dump the phone in the trash? Doesn't make sense.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 11:50 AM   #23
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I wonder if my 4S that I got replaced in late February is a refurb or a brand new one, they did tell me something similar about my old one being melted down or destroyed. So this process might have been in place for a while
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 12:53 PM   #24
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I had a 3Gs replaced a while back due to white hairline cracks appearing in the case (white). I ran the replacement through Apples warranty checker (my 3Gs was weeks old when replaced) and the end of warranty date showed as 4 months BEFORE my original was due to expire.

A simple email to dop change adjusted the warranty, but this suggests to me mine was a refurb, not that you could tell in any way however.

This isn't to say however that they haven't since changed the process.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 01:07 PM   #25
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That's just his opinion, ask another Genius and you will hear a different story. Perhaps he was trying to keep on the right side of you? It makes no business sense to melt down returned devices. It is cheaper to replace the problem as there is an abundance of parts in the production line. Lesson, don't believe everything you hear...
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