Did I get a refurb already?

SLC Flyfishing

Suspended
Original poster
Nov 19, 2007
1,486
1,639
Portland, OR
I had to take my iPhone 5 in to the geniuses today because of a hardware issue. It didn't take them long to decide that I needed a replacement unit so they took it in the back and brought another out in a white box. It looks to be in pristine condition, no scratches etc. But I was wondering if I likely got a refurbished unit? I can't imagine that there are enough returns at this point for this to have happened from customer returns or defects, but perhaps it's refurbished from manufacturer defect unit?

Is there an easy way to tell? I noticed that the battery is mostly dead on this new unit, where my new one came with a fully charged battery.

Either way, I'm not overly concerned if it is. More just curious.

Thanks in advance.

Edit: I just noticed a chunk in the bottom corner of the chamfered part of the phone, probably a refurb, and is that something I should take back then?
 

Sebrina

macrumors member
Sep 13, 2012
46
0
I had to take my iPhone 5 in to the geniuses today because of a hardware issue. It didn't take them long to decide that I needed a replacement unit so they took it in the back and brought another out in a white box. It looks to be in pristine condition, no scratches etc. But I was wondering if I likely got a refurbished unit? I can't imagine that there are enough returns at this point for this to have happened from customer returns or defects, but perhaps it's refurbished from manufacturer defect unit?

Is there an easy way to tell? I noticed that the battery is mostly dead on this new unit, where my new one came with a fully charged battery.

Either way, I'm not overly concerned if it is. More just curious.

Thanks in advance.

Edit: I just noticed a chunk in the bottom corner of the chamfered part of the phone, probably a refurb, and is that something I should take back then?
Apple stores have a separate stock outside of their main store inventory list. This stock is meant for exchanges and replacements. I exchanged my white for a black one and the girl went in the back opened a closet and I saw what appeared to be about 100+ iphones, although the store was sold out of iPhones to the public.
 

rdowns

macrumors Penryn
Jul 11, 2003
27,397
12,409
I doubt Apple has had time to refurb any units at this point.
 

Shadowbech

macrumors 603
Oct 18, 2011
5,254
1,393
Apple iPhone World
TBH...it's way too early for refurbs to hit the apple stores for replacement units. Give it about 2-3 month after release then you will start seeing some places filled with refurbs for replacements.
 

MartyF81

macrumors 6502
Sep 5, 2010
318
206
Chicago IL
Its not a refurb. They ship new units to the store in those boxes because when they swap them out they dont want to waste expense on the box with stickers, manual, etc....

The white box goes back to apple with your bad phone in it to be refurbished.
 

boomhower

macrumors 68000
Oct 21, 2011
1,559
50
It's not a refurb, it is new. It's just different stock. Take it back in a month or so and you'll likely get a true refurb then. With the amount being returned for scratches and dings it shouldn't take them long to get plenty of refurb stock.

What is going to be interesting is the quality of refurbs. Traditionally Apple refurbs have been pretty much indistinguishable from new on the exterior even though dings and such are allowable. I'm interested to see if they do replace the casings or just let them be refurbs essentially as is.
 

cvaldes

macrumors 68040
Dec 14, 2006
3,237
0
somewhere else
I had to take my iPhone 5 in to the geniuses today because of a hardware issue. It didn't take them long to decide that I needed a replacement unit so they took it in the back and brought another out in a white box. It looks to be in pristine condition, no scratches etc. But I was wondering if I likely got a refurbished unit? I can't imagine that there are enough returns at this point for this to have happened from customer returns or defects, but perhaps it's refurbished from manufacturer defect unit?
There are probably a few units that fail final inspection and go to a refurb line for teardown and repair. While there probably aren't any customer refurbs at this moment, surely Apple and its manufacturing partners would already be in the process of setting up a refurb group.

After all, Apple probably had a 4-6 week prelaunch production ramp, to accumulate enough inventory for a 5 million unit launch weekend, and that would have generated a certain number of units that failed to meet final inspection.
 

Vctr

macrumors regular
May 24, 2012
209
2
For the people who were able to switch out their iPhones by walking into an Apple Store, where exactly do you live? Trying to see if I would be able to walk into an Apple Store in NYC to switch out my white for the black.
 

SLC Flyfishing

Suspended
Original poster
Nov 19, 2007
1,486
1,639
Portland, OR
Update:

So I took the phone back in this morning. I hadn't left the mall yet so it was pretty quick.

I approached the Genius bar and told them my situation, as well as showed them my papers from the phone swap.

The genius looked at the gouge and told me that it "wasn't that bad" and that there was nothing that they could do about it. He tried to claim that all iPhone 5's have blemishes and that no matter how many phones I tried, they'd all have something like that on them.

I of course told him that was crap, that my previous phone didn't have a scratch on it and that I couldn't accept a damaged unit considering the price they demand for these phones. No luck, he wouldn't budge. I then demanded my old phone back so I could exchange it with Verizon instead (I bought it in a VZW store). They said they couldn't give it back now that the swap had been completed.

By this point I was pretty livid. I'm sure the genius could tell, and he finally said that if I could get verification from VZW that they would exchange, he would try to get my old phone back.

The Verizon store wasn't open yet, so I went out into the concourse and dialed apple's customer service line for guidance. They said that the store needed to make it right, and to insist on speaking with the manager. I went down to verizon and waited for them to open. Sure enough, the manager there said they would exchange my broken phone for a brand new one no questions asked.

So I went back to the Apple store, and insisted to speak with the manager. Manager was only marginally more helpful. He took the damaged replacement phone in the back and must've been gone for about 20 minutes. When he came back he told me that they could give me my old phone back, but that if there was any hitch with Verizon and they ended up not exchanging my phone, Apple couldn't help me anymore. He said they're only letting people swap for cosmetic blemishes once at this point. I laughed because that wasn't even the reason I brought my phone in in the first place. I think it's lame that they are trying to force second rate hand-sets on people when they charge so damn much for them in the first place.

Anyway, Verizon did the exchange with no problem. Unfortunately, they are out of stock in the store at the moment so I am left with no phone while a brand new one is shipped to me from the Verizon warehouse. 2-4 days is what I've been told.

Fingers crossed that this next one actually works, and doesn't look like someone dropped it on the concrete.

Such a shame, I've had such positive experiences with Apple in the past. This one will be the experience that stands out the most though, they've lost a lot of trust from me.
 

zaxdude

macrumors 6502
Mar 11, 2011
263
8
I got a white-box replacement release day. It has a slightly different model number than a true "retail" box.

Mine (white box) is now ND642LL.

Retail box is MD644LL
 

ProMod

macrumors 6502a
Dec 29, 2005
554
45
So I took the phone back in this morning. I hadn't left the mall yet so it was pretty quick.

I approached the Genius bar and told them my situation, as well as showed them my papers from the phone swap.

The genius looked at the gouge and told me that it "wasn't that bad" and that there was nothing that they could do about it. He tried to claim that all iPhone 5's have blemishes and that no matter how many phones I tried, they'd all have something like that on them.

I of course told him that was crap, that my previous phone didn't have a scratch on it and that I couldn't accept a damaged unit considering the price they demand for these phones. No luck, he wouldn't budge. I then demanded my old phone back so I could exchange it with Verizon instead (I bought it in a VZW store). They said they couldn't give it back now that the swap had been completed.

By this point I was pretty livid. I'm sure the genius could tell, and he finally said that if I could get verification from VZW that they would exchange, he would try to get my old phone back.

The Verizon store wasn't open yet, so I went out into the concourse and dialed apple's customer service line for guidance. They said that the store needed to make it right, and to insist on speaking with the manager. I went down to verizon and waited for them to open. Sure enough, the manager there said they would exchange my broken phone for a brand new one no questions asked.

So I went back to the Apple store, and insisted to speak with the manager. Manager was only marginally more helpful. He took the damaged replacement phone in the back and must've been gone for about 20 minutes. When he came back he told me that they could give me my old phone back, but that if there was any hitch with Verizon and they ended up not exchanging my phone, Apple couldn't help me anymore. He said they're only letting people swap for cosmetic blemishes once at this point. I laughed because that wasn't even the reason I brought my phone in in the first place. I think it's lame that they are trying to force second rate hand-sets on people when they charge so damn much for them in the first place.

Anyway, Verizon did the exchange with no problem. Unfortunately, they are out of stock in the store at the moment so I am left with no phone while a brand new one is shipped to me from the Verizon warehouse. 2-4 days is what I've been told.

Fingers crossed that this next one actually works, and doesn't look like someone dropped it on the concrete.

Such a shame, I've had such positive experiences with Apple in the past. This one will be the experience that stands out the most though, they've lost a lot of trust from me.
Great post, and should give others some pause before just running into the Apple Store for a replacement. Once you do that, you're locked in. You have a designated replacement phone with a replacement model number, and your carrier can no longer help you.

I have some issues with mine, and I think I'm going to try to deal directly with Verizon rather than Apple. Never thought I'd say that!