iPhone 3G apparently water damaged, warranty void

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by Vanilla Cocoa, Mar 12, 2009.

  1. Vanilla Cocoa macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2009
    Tucson, AZ
    As you may know from my last thread, I sent my iPhone 3G (black) to Apple because of a hairline crack near the headphone jack.

    So, Apple took a look at the phone (quite quickly after receiving it I may add), and are claiming "customer abuse or misuse - service declined." Why? Well, the water indicator on the dock port is red. They sent me a photo of this, and I've attached this. (No idea what that glass-looking thing is on the screen; that wasn't there when I sent it to them.) The phone has never had contact with water (or any other liquid). Two things also:

    1. If it did have contact with some kind of liquid, then wouldn't the functionality of the phone stop working? The FUNCTIONALITY is fine. It's the cosmetic issue - the hairline crack (and that's a known issue).

    2. A lot of other people are in the same boat as me. Seems to me the sensors are faulty or something.

    I've just spent the past hour on the phone with both iPhone support and customer relations, and they're standing by their word. They've shipped the phone back to me and it should arrive tomorrow (at least they send things overnight). I'm going to take a look at it when I get it, but I'm standing by my word also: it hasn't been in contact with water or any other liquid.

    My next course of action would probably be to go to the Apple Store and talk with the manager, and see what happens next. If that doesn't work, I'm not sure what I can do...

    Attached Files:

  2. TwoSpiritedBi macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2009
    it litmus paper, it turns purple when it gets wet. To change it back to white, apply anything acidic to it; lemon juice, alcohol, even eye drops work.
  3. Vanilla Cocoa thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2009
    Tucson, AZ
    They've already got it on record as the sensor red, so that's not going to work. Also, it's red/pink, not purple?
  4. TwoSpiritedBi macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2009
    my mistake, its just that the litmus paper we use in my science/biology turns purple. Apple probably uses a different type.
  5. Vanilla Cocoa thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2009
    Tucson, AZ
    Okay, I just received the phone back. Same phone I sent in (at least), and it doesn't have that "glassy" thing on the screen. (Tape maybe from the repair process? Who knows.)

    The water sensor on the dock port does look redish like their photo, though. I am not sure what I can do about this, but I am still planning on fighting this - the phone was not submerged in liquid. What may have caused it, according to a friend, was keeping it on the bathroom shelf with the (hot) shower on... but Apple doesn't tell you that's not safe to do. They say not to put it in any water source, but a shelf in a bathroom is not a water source. Putting it in the shower itself would be. :)
  6. kAoTiX macrumors 6502


    Oct 14, 2008
    Midlands, UK
    You leave your iPhone in the bathroom while you shower?
    Dude there is no way they will change their mind about repairing it if you did something like that. You realise hot water causes condensation which, if enough can accumulate to actual water droplets etc.

    This could also account for the 'cracked housing' I think you mentioned as the hot water could cause the plastic to become soft and weaker than it should be.

    You're fighting a one sided battle in my opinion.
  7. benfica88 macrumors regular

    Nov 21, 2008
    I also had the same problem recently. I got my original 3g back saying it had water damage. I was so meticulous with my phone I don’t see any way this was even possible. My phone would never even get close to water. I’m surprised they sent you pictures. I never received anything like that. I spoke with Bob Henderson and he was cool enough to offer me a Apple coupon but that doesn’t solve the problem. Apple was so naïve or actually maybe the opposite in putting a water sensor near the dock connector. Water sensors should be inside the phone, not on the dock connector and headphone connector. I can imagine how many people take their iphone to the gym and getting sweat in the headphone connector. I’m so not giving up this fight. I’m actually resorting to my credit card company to dispute this.
    Good luck. The more people that fight this the better. There’s a difference between legitimately having water damage and just having them exposed to the environment.
  8. sammich macrumors 601


    Sep 26, 2006
    OMG! Is that the bottom chrome lip of your iPhone? Did you try to sand paper it or something? Took me a while to realise it wasn't steel wool or something.
  9. KingHuds macrumors 6502

    Aug 2, 2008
    The headphone sensor is actually inside, its covered in the headphone jack so it can only get triggered from the inside.
  10. Vanilla Cocoa thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2009
    Tucson, AZ
    I don't think it's unreasonable to do what I did. I've had several phones (including the original iPhone) and this phone is the first to have such problems.

    Also, 10 minutes at the most in the shower... I doubt that's enough to cause any damage. And when I handle the phone after I'm all dried off, there's no condensation on it.

    As for your theory about the cracked plastic, well... anything is possible, but I doubt that's the cause of it. The cracking is a known issue and has been discussed a lot on this forum.

    I wish I still was able to go through my credit card company, but I used a debit card, and also, I bought it on July 11th so it's far out of the timeframe for a dispute.

    Yep, that's the bottom chrome. Just wear and tear from using it constantly. :)

    Yes, but the dock sensor (the one that's triggered) is on the outside.
  11. KingHuds macrumors 6502

    Aug 2, 2008
    Its not very outside...and I don't think Apple just threw them in there haphazardly. And until someone proves that all these water indicators magically change for no reason they aren't gonna replace water damaged phones.
  12. danstaunton macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2009

    I have had the exact same problem! Apple also sent me a picture of proof that I damaged the iphone via Liquid spill / submersion too. Basically my iphone stopped powering on, I'm pretty certain it was a fault with the battery, and I'm 100% confident that it wasn't caused by water contact - Since it wasnt in any contact with water :)

    I can categorically confirm that the iphone was never in contact with any water at all. I tried to dispute this but Apple were not interested.

    Have sent it off for repair by a independent repairs company, they said it will cost £39.99. Beats paying £400 for a new one which was recommended by the Carphone Warehouse.

  13. danc81 macrumors newbie

    Mar 25, 2009
    Where did you send your phone to for repair?

    I'm having exactly the same problem, phone started dying and wouldn't restore, been getting worse for a while, never been near any water whatsoever yet Apple sent it back the same day it arrived saying it was water damaged and o2 refuse to do anything about it.
  14. laura7news macrumors newbie

    Apr 20, 2009
    Boston, MA
    NBC affiliate story on iphones & water sensor

    I'm a producer at the NBC affiliate in Boston. I'm doing a story on people who have been told by Apple that the water sensor in the iPhone has been tripped, when they never submerged it in water.

    Apple markets the phone to be taken everywhere so many users, like yourselves, believe it shouldn't be designed to be so sensitive to moisture in places like the bathroom or the gym, and that Apple should do something about it.

    If there is anyone from New England posting on this board who has had this issue, please be in touch. My contact info. is below.

    Thank you!!

    Laura Stebbins
    Special Projects Producer
    WHDH.TV - CW.56
    7 Bulfinch Place
    Boston, MA 02114
    617-725-0769 (p)
    802-238-0833 (c)
  15. zkaudio macrumors member

    Jul 4, 2007
    my iphone has NEVER been in water... I went in to the store because the silent/ringer switch fell off. The genius bar guy said that it was a very common issue and that the switches were not well attached. He was all ready to replace the phone when he looked in the bottom and said it had been submerged in water (not true) The headphone indicated passed the test and had no signs of submersion.

    The only possible explanation for the false positive is that I live right on the beach and the air is damp here. The phone has NEVER even been near water. I am even more peeved at the fact that my issue has NOTHING to do with the functionality of the phone circuitry. It works perfectly, but their poorly designed switch fell off in my pocket. I'm very disappointed in this obvious "out" apple has designed into their warranty. This is an admitted physical design flaw..which had nothing water... and was not covered by my warranty because my phone falsely failed 50% of a test designed to determine cause of internal circuitry failure.

    I understand the relevancy of a submersion test, but I am 100% positive I have never had my phone in contact with water, there is clearly flaw in their system that must somehow relate to moist air. I'm kind of at a loss now. Anyone know where else to go when a store is completely unhelpful? It's not enough money to pursue legal action, but man, I really wish I had a lab to do some testing of water vapor's effect on the test strip.
  16. floss.ryan macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2009
    i have the exact same problem, my phone wont accept or make calls, so i sent it off to be fixed and after a few days they found out it was water damaged, but didn't tell me! i only found out by going into an o2 shop. it'll cost £130 to fix, and it's taking ages to send the phone back to me, so i cant get it replaced from insurance til i have it, and i go on holiday next week for 3 weeks with no phone or ipod!

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