MacRumors

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
53,506
15,228


Apple has reversed course and created an online band-only return method for customers who purchased an Apple Watch Series 6 or Apple Watch SE with the wrong size Solo Loop or Braided Solo Loop band.

Apple's new Series 6 and SE models can be purchased with new Solo Loop or Braided Solo Loop band options that have no clasp or fastener, instead using stretch to fit over the hand. As there is no on-band sizing mechanism, the Solo and Braided Solo Loops come in nine sizes, leading to fit issues.

braidedsololoop.jpg

As we reported on Monday, customers who ordered and received a new Apple Watch with a Solo Loop or a Braided Solo Loop and then found that the band did not fit properly were told by Apple's staff that the only online return option involved returning the entire watch.

Following customer complaints and the attention the issue received, MacRumors can confirm that Apple has changed its policy and is now allowing bands to be swapped out online without the need to return the entire watch.

We were able to initiate an online band swap without needing to return the Apple Watch this morning, something that we were not able to do yesterday, suggesting the policy change happened today. Customers are able to send back the poorly-fitting band and will receive a new one when the old one is received.

GameClub exec Eli Hodapp, who first raised the return issue, was also able to initiate a return of his Braided Solo Loop without having to return his entire watch, and he was also provided with a free Sport Band for his trouble.




We have seen other anecdotal reports of similar situations on Twitter, where Apple has allowed customers to return their bands online without having to return the entire watch and wait for a replacement, which is a much improved solution as the wait for a new Apple Watch online is weeks at this point.

From the launch of the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple has been able to do in-store band swaps for those who got an ill-fitting band after getting the wrong result with Apple's measurement tool, but not everyone lives near a store and not all stores are open at this time.

In-store returns can be somewhat confusing for employees and the process can take some time as the swap is worked out, but MacRumors has initiated two separate in-store band exchanges with success.

For those who need to do an online band swap and want to be able to send the band back without returning the entire watch, a phone call is needed. The online support staff is not able to initiate this return process and it must be done over the phone.

Online support should know about the new process and will direct users to call, but if you're having trouble with the online chat, try an over the phone support solution.

Article Link: Apple Now Allowing Band-Only Returns For Ill-Fitting Solo Loop
 

Buran

macrumors 6502
Oct 22, 2007
405
253
I'm hard of hearing and the phone is hell. Come on, Apple. Make it right.

Texting anyway in hopes they'll help with that fact explained.

Followup: They did, though the rep who helped me said I was her first case! She was so relieved I was understanding and patient. (I've had friends who've worked tech support. It can be a thankless job. And they're doing everything they can to help out.)

She agreed with me that the third hole from the largest on the M/L sport band is a size 6.

Followup 2: I forgot to note that while I didn't get a sport band sent out, the rep did ask me whether I had another band to use. I have a big box as I first owned a Series 0 (and then a 3 and a 4 and a 5 and now a 6), so I told her so; she probably would have offered one otherwise.
 
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ronntaylor

macrumors regular
Jan 16, 2004
221
3,203
Flushing, New York
Glad to know. I was worried about our order coming early next month. We used a tape measure and input the data at Apple online. Don't know if it's more likely to be a better fit compared to the printed tape tool.
 

Hodapp

macrumors 6502a
Jul 10, 2003
582
56
New York, NY
Love eating all this claim chowder from people in the original thread who were trying to blame me for getting the wrong band when the Apple support agent repeatedly reiterated that the nylon loops ran big and I did order the right size based on my measurements using the paper tool. Nom nom nom.
 
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JW313

Suspended
Sep 16, 2020
167
312
Had a band issue on a sport loop and went to exchange it in store. They couldn’t swap it with another color in store due to the “package sku” and for my trouble replaced the band with the same color and gave me the color I wanted free as a thank you.
 

iFan

macrumors regular
Jan 3, 2007
220
653
Love eating all this claim chowder from the people in the original thread who were trying to blame me for getting the wrong band when the Apple support agent repeatedly reiterated that the nylon loops ran big and I did order the right size based on my measurements using the paper tool. Nom nom nom.

I'm glad they were able to solve this for you with a common-sense solution. Should have been thought through better in advance for online orders (this was never an issue in store.)

Some of the people in the store and support teams in Cupertino are super, super smart and creative and others are freshly popped out of an MBA program with little experience.
 
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Skoal

macrumors 68000
Nov 4, 2009
1,707
488
Glad to know. I was worried about our order coming early next month. We used a tape measure and input the data at Apple online. Don't know if it's more likely to be a better fit compared to the printed tape tool.

I used a tape measure and double checked with the cut out tool and both have the same size result. I measured my actual wrist circumference tightly and not how I think the band should sit on my wrist.
 

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
22,606
28,626
Agreed. But they’re fixing it fairly quickly. That’s a good thing.

Now wait for the wave of people complaining that they only get the replacement band they’re entitled to and not the extra freebies the original poster mentioned.
It sure seems like this is happening a lot with Apple the past few years. A firestorm erupts online and then they modify a policy. Good grief sales/marketing/retail should have known customers might need to exchange these new bands for a different size. They should have had a policy in place when the new watches went on sale.
They really need to make the watches a separate package from the bands moving forward... that way they can ship and do the combos more efficiently / faster.
Agreed. Also for existing watch owners doing an upgrade they may not need a new band. They shouldn’t have to purchase one if they’ve already got a drawer full of bands.
 

suzanne5ive

macrumors newbie
Jun 21, 2010
15
2
Glad to know. I was worried about our order coming early next month. We used a tape measure and input the data at Apple online. Don't know if it's more likely to be a better fit compared to the printed tape tool.

You might be in luck, the size I was given based on my measurement also obtained with a cloth tape measure was accurate. I bought the solo loop separately at a local store.
 
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zorinlynx

macrumors 604
May 31, 2007
6,660
11,352
Florida, USA
It's about time. There was no reason for this controversy at all! Apple should have just replaced bands alone from the start.

The funny thing is Apple was shooting itself in the foot in addition to annoying customers. All those returned Apple Watches have to be re-sold as refurbs, or used as warranty replacements. This situation was taking new inventory and turning it into used inventory, for no good reason at all.
 

suzanne5ive

macrumors newbie
Jun 21, 2010
15
2
It sure seems like this is happening a lot with Apple the past few years. A firestorm erupts online and then they modify a policy. Good grief sales/marketing/retail should have known customers might need to exchange these new bands for a different size. They should have had a policy in place when the new watches went on sale.

Agreed. Also for existing watch owners doing an upgrade they may not need a new band. They shouldn’t have to purchase one if they’ve already got a drawer full of bands.

I’m completely ok with getting a new band, especially if it’s one I don’t already have in my collection.
 
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wvayens

macrumors member
May 5, 2015
69
46


Apple has reversed course and created an online band-only return method for customers who purchased an Apple Watch Series 6 or Apple Watch SE with the wrong size Solo Loop or Braided Solo Loop band.

Apple's new Series 6 and SE models can be purchased with new Solo Loop or Braided Solo Loop band options that have no clasp or fastener, instead using stretch to fit over the hand. As there is no on-band sizing mechanism, the Solo and Braided Solo Loops come in nine sizes, leading to fit issues.

braidedsololoop.jpg

As we reported on Monday, customers who ordered and received a new Apple Watch with a Solo Loop or a Braided Solo Loop and then found that the band did not fit properly were told by Apple's staff that the only online return option involved returning the entire watch.

Following customer complaints and the attention the issue received, MacRumors can confirm that Apple has changed its policy and is now allowing bands to be swapped out online without the need to return the entire watch.

We were able to initiate an online band swap without needing to return the Apple Watch this morning, something that we were not able to do yesterday, suggesting the policy change happened today. Customers are able to send back the poorly-fitting band and will receive a new one when the old one is received.

GameClub exec Eli Hodapp, who first raised the return issue, was also able to initiate a return of his Braided Solo Loop without having to return his entire watch, and he was also provided with a free Sport Band for his trouble.


We have seen other anecdotal reports of similar situations on Twitter, where Apple has allowed customers to return their bands online without having to return the entire watch and wait for a replacement, which is a much improved solution as the wait for a new Apple Watch online is weeks at this point.

From the launch of the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple has been able to do in-store band swaps for those who got an ill-fitting band after getting the wrong result with Apple's measurement tool, but not everyone lives near a store and not all stores are open at this time.

In-store returns can be somewhat confusing for employees and the process can take some time as the swap is worked out, but MacRumors has initiated two separate in-store band exchanges with success.

For those who need to do an online band swap and want to be able to send the band back without returning the entire watch, a phone call is needed. The online support staff is not able to initiate this return process and it must be done over the phone.

Online support should know about the new process and will direct users to call, but if you're having trouble with the online chat, try an over the phone support solution.

Article Link: Apple Now Allowing Band-Only Returns For Ill-Fitting Solo Loop
I was able to do an exchange through online chat this morning with out having to do it over the phone.
 

jz0309

Contributor
Sep 25, 2018
3,071
9,780
Temecula, CA
Apple does have listening skills ;)
now go on and fix the battery drain issues with watchOS 7.0 and iOS 14.0 ... I know, updates released this morning but no mention of battery drain
 
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SuperCachetes

macrumors 65816
Nov 28, 2010
1,103
736
Away from you
Love eating all this claim chowder from the big-brain geniuses in the original thread who were trying to blame me for getting the wrong band when the Apple support agent repeatedly reiterated that the nylon loops ran big and I did order the right size based on my measurements using the paper tool. Nom nom nom.

To be fair, a lot of the flak you got in the other thread was because many people read your screenshots and thought you were being rude towards the CSR. As I recall Apple got raked over the coals too, for their ridiculous return policy.

I'm glad you may have played a part in Apple making it right, even if they were a bit late in doing it.
 
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himanshumodi

macrumors 6502a
May 18, 2012
564
607
India
while it's easy to say apple should have done this fast - the fact that they fixed it so fast is commendable. Breaking SKUs into components on the all ERP systems is nightmarish.

It is hard to imagine that over the past 6 years of AW existence, customers didn't feel the need to replace just the band, which could have given Apple that insight to set up their systems accordingly. I would have thought it might have happened enough because of post-purchase dissonance - you didn't quite like the color, or thought some other band was a better option because of which you wanted to return just the band. Or maybe people didn't mind replacing the whole thing earlier because the wait times were lesser? Or it had happened but the analytics just didn't reach the right people at Apple?
 
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jlsm511

macrumors 6502
Feb 26, 2008
382
153
KMIA
I just got off the phone with Apple Support. I wasn't offered a temporary band or anything. I was just told they put in a request for the band swap and that I would get an email within 24 hours. I still have my second order for a S6 Ti with a Sport Loop in case this turns out to be a wild goose chase.
 
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