iPhone X iPhone X has strange spot on screen. What to do?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by firesinis, Mar 13, 2018.

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  1. firesinis macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    #1
    Got a brand new iPhone X 10 days ago, and recently noticed a strange spot on the screen, which you can see here. I'm not sure exactly what it is; it doesn't behave like a scratch since it only becomes visible if the screen is smudged/oily (notice how I smudged the area around it so I could capture it on camera), and when this is the case it is even visible with the screen on at certain angles/lighting (but it's not visible all the time). If I clean the area with a microfiber cloth, the spot becomes completely invisible (while scratches normally don't, hence why I'm saying it's a strange thing).

    A friend to whom I showed it said it could be the oleophobic coating that was slightly scraped off; the only thing that touched this screen (other than fingers) is the headphones that come with the phone, which have been in my pocket with the phone in one occasion, but they are plastic, so I'm not sure they could cause what we're seeing. I have seen some reports of the iPhone X's screen being remarkably susceptible to scratches more than previous iPhones, though, so who knows.

    Normally since I'm within 14 days of purchase I'd just walk in an Apple store and swap it for a brand new one, but here's the catch: I traveled overseas shortly after I got the phone, and the Apple store where I'm at says that they can't process a return or exchange for a new retail unit since the phone has been bought in a different country. They're offering me the normal warranty procedure for manufacturing defects, which is either to replace the screen or replace the unit with a white box one (which may or may not be a refurb, I'm not sure).

    Since the phone is so new, I'm wary of accepting either of these options; who knows what swapping the screen could do to the integrity of the water resistance? And getting a reconditioned unit 10 days after buying a brand new phone is also disheartening. What's more, if the coating on some of the iPhone X's screens really is as fragile as some reports say (this guy comes to mind), I might very well end up with a unit whose screen will be damaged anyway after a few months of use. (I know some people will say that *your* screen is perfect, but keep in mind that not all units are exactly equal; I myself never had a single scratch on any iPhone since the 3G, and I never used screen protectors either). The only other remaining (extreme) option would be to book a rushed flight in order to get to the US within the 14 days of purchase and get a brand new phone, but this would cost almost as much money as the price of the phone itself.

    So, what's your opinion/advice? What would you do in this situation? Keep the phone? Swap the screen? Replace with a a white box unit?

    Thanks for reading.
     
  2. m0sher macrumors 6502

    m0sher

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2018
    #2
    What a conundrum your in.

    If you can see this ‘smudge’ when viewing movie playback, picture viewing, or video stream I’d go the route of exchange. Sure you may get a refurbished but it will be under your Apple care or carrier insurance still if something should go wrong with that too. Chances are it was inspected and tested so it’s not. Before accepting it, give the replacement a look over if you go that route.

    If you only see this when on a black border and only if you look at your iPhone at an angle, then you could keep it if it doesn’t bother you knowing it’s there.

    Personally If the smudge can be seen during any daily use at all, I couldn’t live with it, as it will be all I look at once seen.

    I feel for your situation of buying it overseas.

    I had a similar situation with a son on vacation who got his phone stolen and we replaced it during the trip. Luckily we were in the states (Hawaii) still but could have been overseas.

    Morale of the story for others to take away from this, is don’t buy a phone out of your country if it can be avoided.

    Let us know what you decide.
     
  3. JPack macrumors 68040

    JPack

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2017
    #3
    Put a glass protector on and call it a day. The defect is small enough, you won't notice it.

    We're 6 months away from the 2018 iPhone launch. If you had bought your phone last year, then maybe exchange it. I wouldn't settle for a refurbished unit or be satisfied with a pried up display.
     
  4. Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

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    Jul 12, 2016
    #4
    The Decision really is up to you. But if you do decide to accept the warranty replacement, Apple’s white box iPhones are very good and are thoroughly inspected. It’s just a matter if you can live with the defect on your display now or not.
     
  5. firesinis thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 29, 2007
    #5
    Update on the situation.

    Chatted with Apple Support and told them about the problem and how I think it's unacceptable to pay full price for a phone and walk away with a serviced or refurbished unit in less than two weeks of ownership. I specifically stated that the only acceptable solution for me was a brand new phone, and if it wasn't an option then I was ready to buy a quick 500 dollar two-day trip to the US just to return the phone (the irony is that this phone is so expensive that even though I'd lose the 500 from the ticket I'd still get 750 back and be free of a phone that's causing me a headache).

    The person I was chatting with told me that since I was bringing the issue to their attention still within the return window, and considering that I am currently overseas, then the return policy would still be effective upon my return. Moreover, she said that since I would still be a month or so abroad, customer relations would also contact the local Apple Store to see if they could make some sort of arrangement to solve the problem. Finally, she asked to set up a call from customer relations to sort out the details of what would be done.

    Fast forward to the call from customer relations. The person who called me back was totally oblivious about the issue he was supposed to sort out and the arrangements that were supposed to be made. He asked for a moment to read the notes, and upon returning he simply kept repeating that I could have the phone serviced under warranty (no, thanks) and refrained from confirming or denying that the original Apple Store where I bought the phone would honor the extension of the return period.

    I contacted support via chat again and asked to be escalated to a supervisor about the issue. Supervisor said said that even though the original support person told me they would extend the return policy (and I have it in writing, since Apple emailed me the chat transcript), the decision was actually at the discretion of the Apple Store where I bought the phone. I ended the interaction with the distinct feeling that Apple will not honor what their first support representative promised, and what's worse, since now it's too late to be able to make it to the US in time for the return, their having promised me to honor the return and then backpedaling effectively made me lose the window to just catch the flight and return the phone. Disgusting.

    Does anyone have any advice on how I could escalate the issue further to someone at Apple who would have the power to resolve the issue?
     
  6. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

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    Jacksonville, Florida
    #6
    You main problem is you being outside of the country where you purchased. That is not Apple’s fault. Sounds like you need to accept the refurb.
     
  7. TiggrToo macrumors 6502a

    TiggrToo

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    #7
    And this is why I never buy anything of value if I know I'm about to head out the country for an extended period of time.

    Whilst it's easy to 'blame Apple' for this, the OP seemed to have made three fudemental mistakes:
    • They purchased an iPhone X then left the country during the vital 14 day return window.
    • They apparently did not get the first statement of extending the return window in writing.
    • They expected all Apple Stores in all countries to operate by the same set of rules when they simply can't - returning an A1901 ATT based phone in a country such as Japan that sells the A1902 variant being an obvious issue, local and national sales laws being a second.
    It's a tough situation and personally I feel the best the OP can hope for is throwing thenselves at Apples mercy. Trying different reps might ellicit a more positive spin, but I fear the die is cast already.

    At a push the OP could ask to have the call pulled and listened to, but I'm unsure if they'd do they or even how long the recordings live for before being erased.
     
  8. firesinis thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #8
    I contacted Apple suport after leaving the store and explicitly asked if there was any solution other than getting the refurb, because otherwise I was prepared to arrange a quick two day trip to the US just to return the phone, as this would be still better in my view than to be stuck with the refurb. I was asked what was my original return date and was told by the support person that because I let them know of the problem within the return window, they would make a note of the case and when I came back to the US on the original planned date the return option would still be available to me, so I didn't need to bother with an early trip. At a later time, a random person from Apple customer relations calls me to see if I still needed a warranty repair, I tell him that I don't because they would allow me an extended return window, and the guy tells me that eh, that's not guaranteed and that will depend if the store's manager will allow it or not, and I'd better take the warranty repair. So I lose the opportunity to go back to the US and return the phone within the proper window because an Apple person tellls me I don't need to, only to have a different Apple person later contradict the first one. How is that not Apple's fault?
     
  9. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

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    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #9
    Depending on who you talk to, you can get different answers. You bought the phone and immediately left the country only to find out you have a defect. Extending your return date would be "good will" on Apple's part but there is no guarantee.

    In the end Apple does not HAVE to do anything more that replace your device with a white box model.
     
  10. firesinis thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    #10
    Ah, but I do have the first statament in writing, as Apple sent me the chat transcript: (I changed my name and the name of the Apple advisor)


    "firesinis

    If there is no resolution to this issue, my plan was to book an emergency two-day trip to the US just to return this phone. It will cost me money, but less than paying full price for a 10 day old refurb or phone which will already have been pried open.


    Apple advisor

    I will check further options for you.


    Apple advisor

    Since you did contacted us within the time frame of the return policy that we have we might be able to consider it, but I will still double check it for you so we can be 100% sure.


    firesinis

    Okay, I would just like to know what are the options that are available to me.


    Apple advisor

    Will be surely checking that out for you, firesinis. One moment please.


    Apple advisor

    Thanks for being patient. As per double checking my resources, you will still be able to get a replacement option if the device really needs to be replaced as it was advised by the Apple Retail Store where you first got the device checked.


    Apple advisor

    As it has been diagnosed with hardware issue this is will be covered by your limited warranty. As long as there will be no accidental damage on the phone once you return it to the store.


    Apple advisor

    I will also put my notes here on the case that you did contact us regarding the issue.


    firesinis

    But isn't this the same that the local Apple Store offered me? Replacemente under warranty, i.e., replacement by a white box unit versus a brand new retail unit?


    firesinis

    Like I said, if it comes to that I will just fly to the US tomorrow and return the device.


    Apple advisor

    Because you did relay the issue to us before going into Brazil, you can still process the replacement once you come back to US. And we will consider the Return Policy being activate when you have relayed the concern to us, so the replacement option that was provided by the Apple Retail Store in Florida Mall, will still be available.


    firesinis

    Okay. Florida Mall Apple Store is okay, as long as 1) The replacement is a brand new retail unit and 2) Have it on the notes that I'll only be able to be there at the end of April/beginning of May.


    Apple advisor

    Will take a note of that!"



    Also, regarding the difference in model, this is not an issue for the local store, they have the model I need, it's just that they want me to take the refurb unit and refuse to give me a retail unit.
     
  11. TiggrToo macrumors 6502a

    TiggrToo

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    #11
    Well,that's different (you didn't state that originally). Call them again and ask to speak to a supervisor and tell them you have this in writing. If necessary go up another rung in the ladder. Remind them that an Apple rep gave you instructions that, whilst they may not be allowed to have said, they did however say it and you expect Apple to hold up their end of the deal.

    Keep this transcript and push them hard.

    Stuff in writing will win out in the end.
     
  12. MacDawg macrumors Core

    MacDawg

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    #12
    I am not too sure the Apple Overlords are going to necessarily be compelled to honor the remarks of an Apple Underling in chat
    They may, but I don't believe they will have to, especially if the underling 'promises' something that is contradictory to published policy

    If it were me, I would either keep what I had or take the white box and be done with it
    In the end, I just want my phone to work, and once it is out of the box, none of them are "new" anymore anyway
     
  13. firesinis thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 29, 2007
    #13
    You are not wrong. I honestly wish I was more like you. But in the end, if it's just a matter of the phone working, I might as well buy one that doesn't cost upwards of a thousand dollars. I sincerely expected more from Apple.


    But some are newer than others, so much so that they do sell refurbished phones that are cheaper than new ones.

    I think what matters most is that the customer feels that they're getting their money's worth. When this isn't the case, this is when the customer starts to look at other pastures.
     
  14. Harthag macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 20, 2009
    Location:
    U.S.
    #14
    Not to be a jerk, but the scratch in oleophobic coating is likely from your headphones being in the same pocket. Dust / lint scratches this phone’s oleophobic coating (happened to me). You damaged the screen and want Apple to give you a new phone is how I interpret your issue.

    Man up and sell it / take the loss and buy a brand new phone. Or take the white box replacement you’ve been offered and run, and get on with life.

    Sorry OP, if I am wrong and your phone came out of the box with the defect then you are 100% in the right to demand a replacement. If this happened after you bought it, it sucks, but it’s abuse of the return policy. I and others got flamed for exchanging phones due to legit screen defects and other tech defects out of the box. This is far worse in my opinion.

    No disrespect OP, it’s an internet forum and you wanted opinions, that is mine. Good luck with whatever you decide.
     
  15. BasicGreatGuy Contributor

    BasicGreatGuy

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    #15
    Get the refurb. 99.99% of the time they look like a fresh out of the sealed box new. No reason to turn down the refurb. You should read the Apple warranty and return policy before buying. They are not obligated to give you a new phone off the retail shelf.
     
  16. firesinis, Mar 16, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2018

    firesinis thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    #16
    That might as well be true, and if I was certain that this was the case, I wouldn't even bother. But how is it that I keep putting the headphones, car keys, sunglasses, etc continuously in the same pocket with the same phone and the screen fails to exhibit any further similar damage? Logic dictates that multiple other similar spots would have appeared by now, but it isn't the case.

    Moreover, like I said, the Apple representative himself acknowledged it as a manufacturing defect, I manifested my desire to return the product within the return window, and he advised me to wait to see it if would resolve itself, and if not they would swap it out for a new one. The problem persisted, the next Apple representative stated that there was no need to rush a trip to return the product as they would make a note and let me return it later. Now Apple says "sorry but we will not honor what the representative said." My mistake was to believe the Apple representatives, no more, no less.

    I am not one of the people who flame others for wanting to have a device which is free of cosmetic issues. I have damaged products before and owned up and paid the fee to repair them.

    I took no offense by your opinion. Rest assured that it is welcome and I thank you for contributing.


    Yes, they are not obligated to give me a new device. But they are obligated to accept the return of the device as per the writing in the recepit; I manifested my desire to return the product within the window they allow for that, as I was not satisfied with it; they advised me to instead wait and see if the problem would resolve itself and if not then they would take it back; the problem persisted and they refused the return, despite what was said before. It migh not be illegal, but it is immoral at best and a bait-and-switch tactic at worst, in any case it is a terrible way to treat a customer. In the end, one of the reasons I pay higher for Apple products is for the excellence of support. If it comes to them simply pointing the fine print on the warranty and show me the front door, then I might as well buy from any other company with garbage customer service.
     
  17. Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

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    Jul 12, 2016
    #17
    I disagree with this. Unless you have direct experience with a white box replacement or refurbished iPhone, then it’s an option you should consider. Apples inspections with their refurbished iPhones are meticulous. They literally resemble new iPhones, it’s just a matter if you can accept the fact that it may not have the “New” entitlement with plastic wrapping on the box.
     
  18. firesinis thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 29, 2007
    #18
    Well folks, there's been a plot twist.

    Motivated by the quote from the poster above, which said
    I decided to dig deeper to see what Apple is actually obligated to do. I discovered that indeed in the US they are not required to give you a new unit, as their warranty document clearly states that in the event of a warranty claim they may do (at their discretion):

    (i) repair the Apple Product using new or previously used parts that are equivalent to new in performance and reliability, [or]
    (ii) replace the Apple Product with the same model (or with your consent a product that has similar functionality) formed from new and/or previously used parts that are equivalent to new in performance and reliability,

    So it looks like that legally they can do pretty much what they think it's best, the only caveat being that if they're not giving you the exact same model but a similar one they need your consent.


    But since I am in Brazil right now, I decided to check Apple's local warranty policy. To my surprise and joy, the local rules are not the same as the rules for the US. Here's how the local warranty policy reads (emphasis are mine):

    (i) repair the Apple Product using new or previously used parts that are equivalent to new in performance and reliability, with your written consent, [or]
    (ii) replace the Apple Product with the same model (or, with your written consent, a product that has similar functionality), formed from new and/or, with your written consent, used parts that are equivalent to new in terms of performance and reliability,

    So it looks like that unlike in the US, Apple not only needs my consent to do stuff to my phone, it needs to be in writing. Since I didn't give them written consent, they can't force me to accept a screen replacement. Unlucky them.

    Next possibility is to replace the phone with a product with similar functionality (which, in the case of the iPhone X, can at worst be a GSM only iPhone X, as opposed to the CDMA/GSM model that I bought, which I don't mind since I don't use CDMA anyway). That is an option to which I am ready to consent, but there's a caveat: as per their own warranty terms, the replacement may only contain used parts if I give them written consent, which I won't. This rules out a refurb.

    Guess what's the only options remaining for them? Brand new phone or refund. The very worst case scenario is they give me a white box replacement claiming it's brand new. If it comes to that, is there any way for me to check if this is the case?

    Anyway, I will be returning to the Apple Store tomorrow with these terms printed out and demand to speak to a manager. If they don't budge, I will sue.
     
  19. Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2016
    #19
    Again, white box replacement iPhones are not “New”. They are like new. Meaning the display could be replaced, new battery and casing. They go through inspection and will appear to be new. But they are not labeled new either. It is possible that white box replacement could be a new phone, but that’s a rarity.

    If the situation does not work out to your liking, and you want to sue them legally, so be it. But dont go to the store with a bad attitude thinking that you can start demanding and giving orders to Apple. It Doesn’t work like that and you will quickly find out they will not assist you if you intend on being abrasive.
     
  20. firesinis, Mar 17, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2018

    firesinis thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #20
    So considering that the local Apple policy says that they will give me a device with only new parts unless I give them written consent for the device to contain parts that are not new, does that rule out white box replacements? Or what you’re calling “like new” counts as new here?

    Some other interesting bit that is on the FAQ from the Brazilian Apple Support page regarding iPhone repairs:

    “As part of the service, Apple may replace the iPhone with a new one according to applicable law. Apple does not employ previously owned or refurbished parts or products in the process of repairing or replacing an iPhone.”

    Again, to me it looks like it rules out anything but brand new, but I admit that my interpretation may be wrong. Thoughts?
    --- Post Merged, Mar 17, 2018 ---
    Just a follow up, here’s the exact same passage extracted from the US version of the same FAQ (I just swapped out pt-br for en-us on the url of the page):

    “Your replacement iPhone will be new or equivalent to new in both performance and reliability.“


    So the US. version says they will give you a new or like new phone. The Brazilian versions goes at length stating that the replacement iPhones will be new and they don’t use any used or refurbished units or parts.

    I really don’t know what to think anymore.
     
  21. firesinis, Mar 17, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2018

    firesinis thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 29, 2007
    #21
    Update.

    Went to the Apple Store this morning armed with the original Apple Support chat and local Apple Warranty terms printed out ready to demand a new phone. Talked to the representative at the entrance and asked to speak to the manager. He asked what it was about and I explained my situation, he didn't have a problem getting the manager.

    Manager comes in, I explain the whole thing, show her the chat transcript and the warranty terms. He listens without saying a word until I'm finished. After that, she tells me four things:

    1) She agreed that the AppleCare representative clearly told me that I could get an extension of the return window of my original phone, and set an expectation that I would still be able to return the phone to the original store at the end of my trip. That being said, the Apple Store really isn't obligated to process any return after the original window is over, and the decision really is up the store's manager. However, store workers have to honor what customers were told to expect, so calling the manager and showing the chat transcript should almost certainly have they authorizing the return with no major issues. She told me however to call customer relations again and have them contact the store ahead of time to be 200% certain just in case (the 200% was a joke she made because the AppleCare chat person told me they would double check if the extension was possible so they would be 100% certain before answering me).

    2) They would be happy to give me a new retail box unit as a replacement to my phone, but tax laws prevent them from being able to do so, as retail box replacements are really processed as a return of the previous unit and a sale of a new one; since retail phones have different prices and pay different taxes at different countries, this makes the transactions impossible to match. White box replacements are different because they are not a return/resale.

    3) I asked about the bit on the Apple site FAQ stating that Apple does not use preowned or refurbished parts on replacement phones, which is absent on the US FAQ. She told me that Brazilian law does not allow companies to issue refurbished phones or use refurbished/preowned parts to do repairs under warranty or out of warranty. So they would issue me a white box replacement which would be brand new, just not in a retail box. I asked again if by brand new she really meant "like new", and she said no, it's not "like new", it's brand new off the factory as the law requires them to. She added that even if I do an out-of-warranty repair, say I water damage my 3-year old iPhone 6S, in the US they will charge me a repair fee and give me a white box replacement which be a refurb unit, but in Brazil the white box is required by law to contain a new unit. Not "like new", it's really new.

    4) I ask her then why the first time I went there they offered me the screen swap of a refurb, seeing she just told me they can't offer refurbs; she tells me they could not possibly have offered a refurb, only a replacement unit, which I must have assumed that was a refurb because in the US the white boxes are refurbs. I must admit that is is very likely that they said "replacement" and I personally interpreted it as refurb. Anyway, what's do I have to gain by opting for the screen swap if the white box is brand new? Answer: a) some people like to retain their original unit with the serial number matching the box, as they believe this increases resale value; b) new units can always have different problems of their own, which would create the possibility of having to go back again for a different issue, whereas I already know my unit doesn't have any other problem.

    So there it is folks. I will still call customer relations and try to confirm the return extension, but moral of the story is: bring your damaged Apple devices with you on your next trip to Brazil instead of repairing them in the US. You will walk out with a brand new device from the Apple Store.
     
  22. Gaura Mohana macrumors regular

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    Feb 24, 2011
    Location:
    Gainesville, FL
    #22
    You're being a pain in the ass. The reality is refurbished units are far more trust-able over a brand new unit.
     
  23. firesinis thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 29, 2007
    #23
    Okay, but this is now irrelevant since I do not have access to a refurbished unit at the moment. If you read my reply, the local Apple Store cannot by law issue refurbished units as replacements, only new units.
     
  24. Harthag macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 20, 2009
    Location:
    U.S.
    #24
    If the store will issue you a white box replacement that is technically brand new and not refurb, by law out there as you say it is, what is the problem? It makes no difference in resale value if the box doesn't match the phone serial. I've sold a couple like that on Swappa. Mint condition phone is what retains resale value. Just take the white box "new" phone and be done.
     
  25. m0sher macrumors 6502

    m0sher

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2018
    #25
    @OP Glad you got your new X phone. Sounds like this one is flawless, I read no complaints. What an ordeal to get it, persistence wins in the long run, glad a forum member persuaded you to stay on it.

    Thank you for updating us, good read.

    ———————-

    Morale of story to everyone, don’t buy a cellular phone out of your own country if you read this.
     

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25 March 13, 2018