My worst iPhone 7 Plus purchase experience

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by NoHardFeelings, Dec 9, 2016.

  1. NoHardFeelings, Dec 9, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2016

    NoHardFeelings macrumors newbie


    Dec 4, 2016
    I just had the worst experience of buying an iPhone in Thailand, one of the so-called “developing” countries. The experience was so bad that I decided to write this to raise an awareness that there is work to be done to improve the customers' experience in buying and getting Apple services potentially in many countries.

    For the record, I am a loyal customer who have lived both in the US and Thailand. I have bought and obtained services from both countries. And while the services are mostly fine in both countries, I am still struggling to comprehend the stark difference between the service in the "developed" countries and the "developing" countries.

    Long story short: it's a stack of one faulty service after another. From extra-long waiting time to limited options to unprofessional handling of the device, I am still in shock of how careless Apple services can be in the "developing" countries. I even decided to email Tim Cook myself but didn't get a reply. Of course, there were many important things to attend to rather than making things right for a frustrating customer, but this really gets me to the edge. So much for the "providing best customer experience" mantra.

    I got a defective iPhone upon purchase.

    It was a display issue that was subtle enough that I didn't notice it until when I was back home two hours after purchase. In Thailand, when buying through a carrier, you can’t return the phone. (The return option had been "removed" by Apple a year ago). So my only option was to take it to an AASP.

    Ok, I can live with that, I thought.

    However, at the AASP, you don’t have any option to replace the phone, unlike in the US, because AASP is not allowed to stock any iPhones.

    Ok, I understand that you might need to take precaution because you don’t have an official Apple Store with all the authorized experts here in Thailand.

    Then, I was told that the phone needed to be sent to Singapore for direct evaluation and repair. The whole process would be excruciatingly long 10 business days (which is 14 days in total).

    Ok, this is how it is in Thailand. I will wait.

    While I was waiting, there were not enough iPhones for me to borrow, so I had to drive home by myself without the GPS, and did all other things in my life without a phone.

    Ok, just some small hassles to get through.

    After two weeks of waiting, I got back to AASP. My original iPhone screen issue was fixed, and the screen was replaced for me. However, the iPhone came back with a much worse appearance than when I sent in. The phone was literally 3 days old, during which I put on a case the whole time, before I sent it to the AASP. Now, it was full of scratches and small specks (I suspected they were Jet Black coating peels because I couldn’t wipe them out) that maybe was caused by the technician sliding the phone carelessly on the table while fixing it. It was very unprofessional. The AASP representative said Apple might not even be responsible for this, because “cosmetic issues are out of warranty". But they agreed to open another ticket for me, in which I have to wait for ANOTHER TWO WEEKS.

    I just can’t stand this really bad buying experience.

    If you get a defective phone, and many will get one, you can’t return it. You can’t replace it. Your wait for it to get fixed is potentially two weeks. Your AASP might not have iPhone to borrow, because it doesn't have enough. And if the phone comes back looking WORSE than when you sent it, Apple might not even cover it or fix it for you, because “cosmetic issues” are out of warranty. Even if you get the cosmetic issues fixed or the phone replaced, you’d have to wait another two weeks, totaling FOUR WEEKS of waiting time instead of getting a replacement phone right away, at the same time paying for a carrier service you didn't use. This is so bad when you pay almost $1,000 for this experience, the same premium customers in US, UK, or Japan paid.

    Is this how Apple should treat their loyal customers in "developing" countries?

    There are many things that Apple has done a terrible job here.

    Why doesn't Apple offer any replacement options for defective phones in Thailand and other "non-Apple Store" countries? Why does a buying experience in these countries have to be much worse than the “developed” ones like the US? It would have been much better to have that option, even with the requirement of rigorous inspection process first.

    Why is there no better Quality Control for iPhone repair to make sure the appearances of the phone sent in are maintained more with care? Apple calls their service AppleCare after all.

    Apple should have been more up front about their responsibility if the repair job isn't up to "their" standard, or if the device appearances aren't the same after repair. In fact, they should hurry up in these cases because it's way beyond acceptable to have customers waiting for a month for problems they didn't create.

    If you are living in countries with Apple Stores, lucky you. Otherwise, when you get unlucky, you can get extremely unlucky, and Apple couldn't care less.

    EDITED 12/22/2016:
    TL;DR: It could have ended worse, but now I am much happier with the outcome. I got my phone replaced and a moderate gift as a "compensation" from Apple. Five weeks total of repair / replacement process.

    After sending my phone to Singapore twice (totaling four weeks), Apple refused to replace the cosmetically damaged phone caused by Apple technician. I was shocked and didn't know what to do next. I decided to call Apple directly via a phone call, directed to Apple in Singapore. I was directed to a Senior Advisor at Apple and tried to negotiate with him that I deserved a replacement phone, and I gave him all the info and photos I had. After a careful consideration, he called me back to inform me that he would do this as a one-time exception.

    However, AASP informed me that I had to wait another two weeks (this would be six weeks in total to get an iPhone to replace a brand new, but defective one) in order to request the replacement phone from warehouse in Singapore; there was no way around this.

    I only wanted to start using a brand new, working iPhone 7 Plus as soon as possible. Once I learned that it wasn't happening that day and there would be even more wait, I simply asked if Apple would do anything to compensate for this long period of disappointment I was going through. The second Senior Advisor I talked to was polite and empathic and she promised that she would try to find something by bringing this up in a meeting. The next day she called me to offer me a choice to pick a gift on Apple website under a moderate budget. I felt better because of this.

    Meanwhile, the AASP I sent my phone to also tried to rush my case since the staff remembered I kept coming back. So it took only a week instead of two weeks to get the replacement phone.

    As of now, I am a happy iPhone 7 Plus user. As for the gift, I picked the iPhone 7 Plus Leather Case (PRODUCT)Red. It's the first time I've ever used a case sold by Apple since it's expensive, but I am really impressed with the quality. I attached some photos of my replacement iPhone with the case below.

    Just like @pika2000 said, even without strong consumer protection in Thailand, this ended up being a better scenario that I had expected. There were things that could be improved as I mentioned in the original writing, but at least Apple was willing to make things right for an unhappy customer.

    I hope my story would be useful and informative for those who might be in similar circumstances in the future.


    My phone before I sent to AASP (took them at home out of admiration):




    My phone I saw at AASP the second time (before I sent it for another cosmetic issues ticket). The tiny scratches and specks like these may look small in photos but several of them together really degrade the look of the product, as if it's been used heavily for months. These specks are not dusts! I think they are coating peeled off from careless handling because I couldn't wipe them away. The AASP staff also couldn't wipe these away. Otherwise, I would have deemed the whole experience acceptable.:

    IMG_5122.JPG Screen Shot 2016-12-09 at 4.59.03 PM.png Screen Shot 2016-12-09 at 4.59.30 PM.png Screen Shot 2016-12-09 at 4.59.55 PM.png


    After five weeks: a replacement phone and a gift from Apple.



  2. pika2000 macrumors 68040

    Jun 22, 2007
    Developed countries have strong consumer protection laws.
    Developing countries do not.

    As much as you want to rant on Apple, it is often not much they can do. With these Apple authorized centers, they are not exactly Apple. Think of them like Best buy. Do you get consistent great service from Best buy? But they are also considered as authorized service center.

    I wouldn't say that service in the developing countries worse per se. More like inconsistent. I had may iPhone and Macs serviced in Singapore, and my experience was inconsistent, even with the same center.

    So yeah, it sucks living in countries with no official Apple presence. The bright side, it's not any better with other companies. In fact, Apple's support, regardless how bad, is generally better than others.

    Why doesn't Apple offer any replacement options for defective phones in Thailand and other "non-Apple Store" countries?
    Maybe import/export and sales regulation of the country? There are many factors. Adding on the high probability of fraud in this markets, I can't blame Apple. There are also inventory control and regulation.

    Why does a buying experience in these countries have to be much worse than the “developed” ones like the US?
    Because it's not the US? Plus, buying experience in US Best Buy is not great either in my opinion. The difference is the consumer protection laws such as returns, which are non-existent or non-enforceable in many emerging markets.

    Want US level lifestyle, live in the US, I guess.
  3. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
  4. tma888 macrumors member


    Nov 3, 2016
    Thailand is a nice place...I especially enjoyed Patpong ;)
    I feel sorry for your experience about the whole Iphone incident.
    Comeback back to America... or perharps come live with us in Canada :)
  5. NoHardFeelings thread starter macrumors newbie


    Dec 4, 2016
    Thanks for the reply. I have bought an iPad from Best Buy, and, at least, I was able to return the device. In Thailand, unless you buy the device directly from Apple website, you have no choice.

    I also think that they *can* do a lot more. There's nothing stopping them from going beyond what the law requires. What's wrong with Apple stocking a few replacement phones at AASP for rare cases like this (brand new, defective phones)? They in fact had this option but revoked it a year ago, probably because of the high rate of fraud as you mentioned. I'd still feel much better if they have this option for honest, loyal customers to wait a few days for careful inspection before replacement instead of going through repair process, and all that trouble to follow.

    True, but what about people who are not capable of affording such option? I believe Apple will leave behind thousands, if not tens of thousands people frustrated without change in their services in these countries.
  6. deano1972 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 16, 2016
    United Kingdom
  7. sunking101 macrumors 604


    Sep 19, 2013
    I feel your pain. I hate it when a product needs a warranty repair because it always, always comes back with scratches. In the past I have kept sub-standard products purely because I would hate them more if they came back scratched. Basically some repair guy who doesn't give a monkeys about your item and who deals with hundreds per week is let loose on your stuff. It's a worrying prospect for those of us who baby our kit.

    I once had a Toshiba laptop that developed a keyboard issue and was sent to the Toshiba-approved repairer as per their instructions. It left my possession in mint condition and came back to me with scratches all over it. I eventually got my money back but it was a ton of hassle and it soured me on warranty repairs for life.
  8. posguy99 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 3, 2004
    Apple wouldn't. AASP's aren't Apple, they have to pay for parts. You're asking a service provider to tie up money to sit on a shelf.

    Don't ask me to speak to the idea that they were supposedly doing it a year ago, it wouldn't make sense that they were... so if they were, people who took advantage of it were very lucky.
  9. NoHardFeelings thread starter macrumors newbie


    Dec 4, 2016
    Just read your thread. I hope you get your issue sorted out.

    I don't think it's all bad to claim a device under the warranty. I happened to claim my Macbook Pro for the screen coating problem at the same time I claimed iPhone 7 Plus, and the Macbook Pro came back perfectly fine. The quality of service is just inconsistent, and I think that is especially true for the Jet Black phone because of its fragile coating.

    Actually, up to a year ago, it's the carriers who offered returns and replacements. Now, they have explained it online and to me in person that Apple no longer allows such policy with carriers in Thailand. I really don't see why it has to be this way since you can still return the phone if ordered online. Yes, I regretted I didn't order it that way, but this begs a question: does the post-sale Apple services have to be this mediocre when not ordering through Apple website directly? Think when you buy an iPhone from Best Buy or AT&T and have to go through my experience.
  10. pika2000 macrumors 68040

    Jun 22, 2007
    Considering Apple is willing to open stores in Hong Kong, where retail space is ultra premium, I believe that Apple not having actual presence in some countries are due to regulation/taxation laws, not because Apple didn't want to. Eg. Indonesia. Any foreign company cannot sell their stuff directly, they have to go through locally owned distributor, no matter what.

    I wouldn't know Thailand's specific laws, but Apple is not stupid. As I have mentioned as well, as bad as you think your experience is, customers of other companies are having worse experience. And for the locals, the way Apple and its service centers operate might be better than they have ever experienced.

    I understand your frustration, but you have to be realistic. Again, if you expect US level standard of living, live in the US. These emerging markets are called developing countries for a reason, they are developing. The locals are learning bit by bit about things like customer service, etc. It will not happen overnight.
  11. laudern macrumors 6502a

    Jan 5, 2011
    It sounds to me that you need to start campaigning for better consumer rights in your country. You would probably have more success in getting what you want than complaining about it here to us. Unless complaining is all you want to achieve????
  12. Sunny1990 Suspended


    Feb 13, 2015
    Your post make me jealous :D (just joking)
  13. MacHead84 macrumors 6502


    Aug 25, 2013
    I am a guest in the land of smiles
    As an expat living in Bangkok more than 10 Years I feel sorry to hear about your bad experience with Apple.
    But it could be also that Apple in Singapore fu**ed up your phone. You don't know 100%. And there is no Apple Care for IPhone in Thailand. Only for Macs, IPads and IPods. They give you a one year "hardware" warranty for the IPhone but that's about it. e.i. buttons stop working or internal parts. If Apple officially acknowledge a problem like the latest battery issue with the 6s they replace you the battery. Or when there was the bend-gate with the 6 Plus they replaced the whole device no matter if you bought at Carrier or authorized re-seller.
    I know its not much but at least a little.

    I got the 7+ from TRUE and went immediately to one of the many phone shops in MBK and got it protected. (Anti Shock film)

    Take it easy and try not to get angry about it to much.
    Sawasdee Krup
  14. NoHardFeelings thread starter macrumors newbie


    Dec 4, 2016
    I have actually achieved a couple of things by posting here. I got to hear third-party opinions, so I could be more realistic about my expectations. I got to know that I am not alone who's experiencing the issue, and I could use that when submitting feedback to Apple. I also got some sympathetic comments, which are always welcomed. The only thing I didn't achieve here is to hear advice possibly from someone with the same issue in the past and managed to get Apple to be fully accountable for it.

    Comments like this are always appreciated. Thank you, MacHead84.
  15. thadoggfather macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2007
    What is the screen issue that prompted the repair process out of curiosity ?
  16. NoHardFeelings thread starter macrumors newbie


    Dec 4, 2016
    It's a light streak from bottom left corner toward the center of the screen. Clearly seen for over any bright and light backgrounds, when viewing from an angle. Could be uneven glue, and it's definitely not a crack.

    Unfortunately, I didn't notice the streak during my 20-min inspection at the carrier store, because the streak was subtle enough to remain invisible when looking directly at the screen. Otherwise, I could exchange the device right there before payment and avoid the whole AASP hassle.

    The "I-paid-premium-money-so-I-deserve-perfect-device" mindset doesn't work out very well when there's no Apple Store in your country.
  17. thadoggfather macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2007
    That stinks
  18. ipulsecases Suspended


    Dec 9, 2016
    dude , did you try to order on online from U.S. apple store ? Then ship to your coutry 
  19. macfacts macrumors 68030


    Oct 7, 2012
    Translation: if the law allows it, Apple will screw you over.
  20. Donald00 Suspended


    Dec 11, 2016
    My iPhone 7 plus is perfect. Screen white perfect, brightness perfect, battery good for 10 hrs 60% brightness and more important no hissing in recording. Weeks 48. Love this iPhone more than any iPhone I owned on past
    --- Post Merged, Dec 11, 2016 ---
    Welcome to south east Asia. There is no place around as USA, Europe, New Zealand and Australia. Law is not protected consumer right on the rest of the country. So be careful of your purchase before leave store.
  21. myrtlebee macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2011
    Baltimore-Washington Metro Area
    Sorry that was your experience. A number of years ago I sent in an iPod Touch 4th gen for repair (here in the United States) - and it was returned to me with a note saying they could not see the issue (and so, no repair was made), but it also was scratched and nicked to all hell even though it was pristine when I sent it in. It was awful. Ever since, I try not to let my items be sent in for repair. Unfortunately, it's not much better when you bring your item into an actual Apple Store for examination or repair. I went to the Genius Bar this past spring with a MacBook Air I had at the time and the genius (who was at least 45 years old), was manhandling my Air like it was nothing- grabbing it by the bezels, closing it and turning it upside down while moving it across the wooden counter. I said sir, excuse me- please do not handle my device that way, and I took it right from his hands and walked out.
  22. Donald00 Suspended


    Dec 11, 2016
    totally understanding that. nothing is perfect. my past experience sent my Rolex to service at RSC and back with scratches, but in the USA when complaint rapidly sending back again and problem been fixed. a developed country consumer satisfaction is guranteed because of law.
  23. thadoggfather macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2007
    Damn that sounds horrible. Turning the machine over without feet and sliding it across. Reminds me of when they would do that with iPhone back on the first gen scratching the hell out of the apple logo. Like what on earth are you doing?? U could hear the grit between phone and table working it's way in
  24. NoHardFeelings thread starter macrumors newbie


    Dec 4, 2016
    Thanks for sharing the story. I started to see that the repair experience is rather inconsistent all over the place, including in the US or UK. I wonder how Apple hires their technicians and staff. Clearly several of them don't love Apple products as their customers do.

    (I say "inconsistent" because my MBP claim I filed at the same time as the iPhone 7 Plus came back perfectly fine.)
  25. deano1972 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 16, 2016
    United Kingdom
    Just to update on mine that went in for apple mail-in repair and came back still faulty and with scratches.

    Went to the Apple Store this morning and they've given me a replacement. Going to set it up later, so fingers crosssd it's a good one this time

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