Apple "denying warranty work".... does the FTC need to get involved?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by rijowysock, Jul 6, 2013.

  1. rijowysock, Jul 6, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2013

    rijowysock macrumors member

    Jul 10, 2008
    this has been a major issue for me, and several friends...

    A: Consumer goes to apple store, online, or carrier and purchased Apple product (Apple iPhone 5)..

    B: Consumer has problem with product within the 1 year warranty time.

    C: Apple store claims that they are unable to service the product under warranty for one of many reasons:

    1: the anodizing is rubbed off the corners of the product, and therefore was abused/damaged (happened to me, the edges rub off when placed in pocket regaulrly)

    2: the anodizing is a different shade than a normal iphone 5 and therefore is not an apple product (happened today at apple store with a friend)

    3: the product has a ding on the corner, and therefore we can no longer warranty it due to abuse (i had screen problems, and the ding on the back corner "voided all warranty")

    4: the product does not seem defective to us, enjoy your day (while problem still exists)

    5: so forth.

    D: Now the consumer is out of luck, and has a defective device that now carries no warranty as the Apple Store marks the serial down as "out of warranty"

    ***please note that on the above instances none of the products were ever tampered with or worked on, all 100% apple products just being used and getting "normal wear and tear"***

    obviously this does not "directly" relate, but I find this mimic's Car makers in the past trying to void warranties based on the use of aftermarket parts and their was a huge lawsuit to prove that aftermarket parts do not void the cars entire warranty... i.e. :

    basically the store can say whatever they please to void said warranty, and the consumer has absolutely no recourse... we need someone on our behalf to fight for our rights.

    I feel that we as consumers of these $650 and greater cost devices need to fight against the store for our rights and privileges, I assume that since it has happened several times to me and people i know there is surely a hoard of others that fall into this same boat... I now have a useless $650 iPhone 5, and have to purchase another outright just to make calls.


    the FTC should be able to fight with us, because based on their requirements... they cannot void the entire phone warranty for one localized problem, only voiding that affected part.

    but in this case, when nothing has ever been changed/repaired... they obviously cannot void the entire phone warranty.

    also, the FTC says that outside repairs can be made? (not sure if this applies to the electronics side of products)
  2. braddick macrumors 68040


    Jun 28, 2009
    Encinitas, CA
    I've not heard of this happening first hand, with anyone I know and it's never come close to happening to me.

    Either I am lucky or you are unlucky.
  3. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    10 months out and there has been no outcry.

    Next time, consider one of the other "insurances" like FourSquare? and if any prob, they just replace, no question asked, although some of them allows 2 replacement /year(?) or $50 bux per incident(?), but YOU CAN DENT ALL YOU WANT.
  4. markthrash macrumors 6502


    Jun 21, 2010
    I have a good 94 days left with warranty on my iPhone 5. Took it in yesterday because my battery was a complete flop according to the Genius representative's diagnostics test. Got it replaced, no problems. He was super nice and helpful to me. He did check for water damage or things along those lines to see if he could still help me out, but even that went super smooth.

    There was one rude lady who worked there but I just ignored her and asked someone else. The staff, much like every place else, has a variety of employees, so you either get a good, helpful person or you don't.
  5. rijowysock thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 10, 2008
    i guess i am unlucky

    so i should pay for aftermarket insurance to solve valid warranty issues?

    the manager was not even helpful, told us "it was an aftermarket part installed on phone" but it's never been modified or touched.. then he would not even show us the part, or verify it was theirs or not..

    the phone is direct from apple, untouched.. YET the bottom portion of the phone is "clearly aftermarket" because of it being a different shade of black

    ...... every phone in the store was a different shade of black.
  6. Mlrollin91 macrumors G5


    Nov 20, 2008
    Ventura County
    1: I know hundreds of people with iPhone 5s, and not one of them have experienced an issue of the coating "rubbing off" because of it going in and out of a pocket, myself included.
    2: Not sure what is going on there.
    3: Technically, if your phone has any physical damage, obviously including water damage, warranty is considered void unless you have AppleCare +. Even a little ding, there is no way to prove the ding did not cause a hardware malfunction.
    4: Every single company that I deal with, with any technical problems, require you to replicate the issue when taken in for service. Cars, electronics and so on. If they cannot duplicate the issue on site, how can they prove there is an issue and you are not out to screw the company over. I've had to take my car in 7 times for the same issue before it could be replicated by the dealer. Its frustrating but understandable. Worse case catch the problem on video and that is usually enough for Apple to do something about it.
  7. rijowysock thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 10, 2008

    1: you're telling me that none of your friends w/ black 5's without cases have "shiny corners"? i'm very familiar w/ anodizing from having a business that manufactured anodized products and i'm very aware of anodizing fading and wearing.. it's not made to last forever, only DLC/PVD coating will not fade... but can chip.

    my corners are shiny from the "blunt edge" where they rub on clothing when entering/exiting said clothing.

    3: how would you feel, if you bought a brand new car.. 5 year 50k warranty... and you're driving down the highway and a rock cracks your windshield... you later have transmission problems and they deny your warranty claim because the rock that hit your windshield might have caused "hardware issues" with your car...?

    i feel that as the auto industry was forced to honor their warranties... these electronic companies are getting a little crazy and need to be put in check...

    we are expected to carry a product with us day in and day out and it not show any wear at all?

    4: the gentleman said the problem did not exist, told us to have a good day. we asked him to show us and he would not... we walked over to the iphone display, plugged phone in and problem still existed (the lightning cable not being recognized)
  8. Mlrollin91 macrumors G5


    Nov 20, 2008
    Ventura County
    No, I do not know a single person with shiny corners. Maybe we all take better care of our devices, but after 5 months my device doesn't even have a single knick in the bezel.

    Your car analogy is horrible. But if you have damage on your bumper and your radiator breaks, they do not have to honor your warranty because you hit something that may or may not have damaged the radiator.

    Additionally, here is what voids the iPhone's Warranty:

    "This Warranty does not apply: (a) to consumable parts, such as batteries or protective coatings that are designed to diminish over time, unless failure 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 another product; (d) to damage caused by accident, abuse, misuse, liquid contact, fire, earthquake or other external cause; (e) to damage caused by operating the Apple Product outside Apple’s published guidelines; (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 an Apple Product that has been modified to alter functionality or capability without the written permission of Apple; (h) to defects caused by normal wear and tear or otherwise due to the normal aging of the Apple Product, or (i) if any serial number has been removed or defaced from the Apple Product."

    It is clearly stated that damages to the device void all warranty.
  9. abz1981 macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2011
    Sorry to hear about your experiences. I have had the total opposite. Just the other day I had my Iphone replaced due to an internal camera crack (the genius told me about the crack). I also had 1 major visible ding and 3 smaller ones on the corners of my iphone.

    The end result is that the genius replaced it free of charge due to internal camera crack on the lens.

    Amazing service I had. If I was you I may simply suggest speaking to the manager or trying another apple store or call apple direct.
  10. rijowysock thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 10, 2008
    i'll make sure to leave my apple products at home in their original packaging instead of using them/touching them/so forth.

    you must work for apple, i will put $100 down... that if i asked 5 random people to view their iphone that at least 40% of them would have "shiny edges"... unless of course they have had a case on phone since inception.

    also my car analogy was perfect, my anodizing is faded..... therefore my entire phone warranty is void... (not related to eachother)

    as far as e-arguments... you win.. because you're clearly a genius... i'll continue living my life as a failure and leaving my apple products at home because they do not warranty anything having to do with the phone, they might as well not even have a warranty on product with their disclaimers.

    heaven forbid we have earthquakes here.. because the earthquake event itself affects my warranty according to apple... so if i have battery issues after being in an earthquake... warranty is done/nil/fin/voided! does this mean everyone in norcal has a voided iphone warranty due to random tremors?
  11. HidingAmatanth macrumors newbie

    Jul 2, 2013
    I've had run ins with a "Genius" or two who were anything but. I got around them by asking to speek to the person over one and with the other I went to another store (I'm lucky enough to have three within driving distance).

    The case with them denying the phone was an authentic Apple product is insane. This is why they have serial numbers. Did the person who you were seeing even bother to check it?

    Did all of this happen at one store?

    Try emailing/calling Apple and have your friends with issues do the same. Start out as polite as you can be though. It makes you sound more reasonable/believable than if you start out "swinging".

    And if that doesn't work, tell them that you will file a claim. That has gotten their attention in the past.
  12. s15119 macrumors 65816


    Nov 20, 2010

    As far as I'm concerned, once you use that term "fan boy" you lose all credibility. I just can't take you or your "complaints" seriously.
  13. Dalton63841 macrumors 65816


    Nov 27, 2010
    Sorry, but this right here is the end point of the argument. When you bought the phone and registered it, you accepted a contract, and part of that contract was stating that you understand and accept the warranty as stated.
  14. pdutta2000 macrumors regular

    Jun 4, 2008
    Hey is the Riley from 6speed and Paneristi? If so good to see you.

    As for this situation I've had something similar. When I got my 4S from my office the bottom screws were damaged. They do make millions of these phones so there's a high probability of damaged phone or discolored phone getting out. The phone wasn't working well so I took it to an Apple store where I was accused of tampering and denied. This is a store that I love and has only treated me well so it was a shock. I ended up returning it through my carrier instead without issue. You might try that. I also learned that the Genius helping you matters the most. I got a girl that was clearly angry at being there and overwhelmed with the work. Now I only schedule Genius appointments on Sunday mornings before the full store opens. Everyone is happy and they can focus on you.
  15. swingerofbirch macrumors 68040

    Oct 24, 2003
    The Amalgamated States of Central North America
    I had an iPod with a dent back in the early 2000s, maybe 2003. It's very hard to remember.

    Anyhow, it had a very small dent on the back of it. At some point it stopped working. I sent it into Apple. They wouldn't repair it because they said it had been damaged (their evidence was the dent—I would have called it more of a small indentation, barely visible).

    Here's where the warranty turned out to be to my advantage. The warranty said something like Apple would not cover issues cosmetic in nature such as scratches and dents. I told Apple that they could not say that an issue was both cosmetic in nature and also capable of causing a device to malfunction, as cosmetic by its very nature conveys something superficial. In other words, they could not define scratches and dents as cosmetic, while claiming in my case that something they defined in the warranty as cosmetic was causing functional problems.

    I always said I should have been a lawyer (never made it through college), but it worked!
  16. shenfrey macrumors 68000

    May 23, 2010
  17. iBreatheApple macrumors 68030


    Sep 3, 2011
    Apple CS has always treated me like gold. The only thing I've started noticing in the last year is that they've cracked down on the 90 day only phone support.
  18. Brian Y macrumors 68040

    Oct 21, 2012
    Denying warranty coverage is always a last resort for Apple - do you think they want to stand there arguing with you and have an awkward conversation? Especially since they've been told to cover excessive annodization marks under warranty.

    Personally - until we see a photo of the phone in question, I'm calling BS.

    Also - I lose respect for people on here when they reply to anyone questioning them with "You must work for Apple then.". Oh, and for the record, my launch day iPhone 5 (black) is flawless. I keep it in a case, and treat it like a £600 device, not a £10 toy.
  19. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I can't tell from the original post (its very awkwardly composed) but is he getting denied service because the finished rubbed off or there's other visible damage, i.e., dents or cracks?
  20. Shrink macrumors G3


    Feb 26, 2011
    New England, USA
    I find your confusion perfectly understandable as I, too, could not discern the exact reason for the denial of service.

    Rubbed off anodizing, a dent (or dents), and other signs of hard use are mentioned. Also, one of the posts quotes the Apple Warrantee, indicating that the "damage" OP reports in his/her phone voids the warrantee.

    It is my impression that OP is angry that s/he is not receiving the service to which s/he believes s/he is entitled. And also is suggesting (considering) contacting the FTC to register a complaint.

    A final note...while it is certainly possible that the particular tech was ill tempered, or unfair...based on the tone of the posts I wonder at OP's attitude upon presentation of the problem. My experienced (granted...a small N), having made more than a few visits to the Genius Bar, has always been very pleasant, and the various tech with whom I have dealt have been unfailingly polite and worked diligently to resolve my problem, or replace my device.

    OT: Take care in the miserable weather, neighbor...stay cool!
  21. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I find if you go to any support person with a chip your on your shoulder or are demanding they usually start pushing back. If the OP presented his issues like he presented it here, that might have been the case.

    I've always had very good service with apple. My wife dropped her phone and the camera stopped working. The genius replaced the phone, no questions asked, even though it was by her own doing.
  22. jaw04005 macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    The anodized layer has rubbed off my iPhone 5 too in spots and even on the back some. However, it didn't prevent Apple from replacing it. I suspect Apple is well aware it's common. As for dents, Apple can only claim you violated the warranty if the dent interferes with the product. In some cases, it'll be up to you to argue that point. However, most geniuses don't expect your iPhone 5 to be in perfect condition.

    If you have a legitimate problem, use AppleCare phone support or if all else fails email Tim Cook.
  23. SMDBill macrumors 6502

    Apr 12, 2013
    Regardless of why the anodized surface rubbed off, THAT problem (the anodized finish) should not be covered by Apple. However, that is an inadequate excuse to use to not cover a problem with the electronics in the device. As I read and re-read the warranty quoted, it basically says to me that they will not cover those types of issues, but it doesn't seem to suggest the entire warranty is void if any of the factors addressed in it apply. It seems to be misinterpretation of the context.

    In my mind it simply says if you scratch it, the battery fades over time normally, if you dent it, if you break the screen, etc....those are not covered by the warranty. But it does not say that if you scratch it, the entire warranty is void. Unless there's more to it than what was quoted, the stores seem to have taken the extreme position on the warranty and stepped outside the bounds of the intent of the words themselves. I would never expect Apple to fix my phone for a scratch, but to suggest it cannot have a scratch without voiding the entire warranty would make me think twice before buying again.

    I can scratch my car and still have my engine fixed under warranty. Why can't someone do that with a phone? It's a wear item for goodness' sake just by how it is used and carried around. I agree with the OP on the grounds of their claim.
  24. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Square trade. ;) He can use four square to check in at the apple store.

    OP: I deal with your kind daily. The FTC? Please! No, you don't need to get them involved. You need to relax and try to talk to Apple again. Like someone else said, if you go in with a giant chip on your shoulder they wll likely tell you to kick rocks. I know I would.

    I haven't seen this issue first hand. Of all friends who own the black iPhone 5, this is a "problem" they've never experienced.
  25. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    No, OP the government doesn't need to get involved every time you have a dispute with a company.

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