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PSA: New Apple Watch Owners Have to Return Entire Device for Ill-Fitting Solo Loop or Braided Solo Loop

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
50,065
11,338


With the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple introduced two new band options, the Solo Loop and the Braided Solo Loop. These new bands are unique because they have no clasps, buckles, or other fasteners, and instead use a stretch design to allow them to pull onto the wrist over the hand.


Because these bands are not adjustable, Apple sells each one in nine different sizes to make sure each person gets a snug fit. To get the right sizing, Apple offers a printable tool [PDF] and also measurement comparisons so you can estimate size, but as it turns out, that sizing isn't always accurate and Apple's returns for ill-fitting bands ordered with one of the new Apple Watches are a hassle.

Customers who chose a Solo Loop or a Braided Solo Loop along with an Apple Watch Series 6 or SE and have a poor fit can't just return the band for a new size -- the entire Apple Watch has to be returned since it's considered a set.

Unfortunately, there are limited supplies of the new Apple Watch Series 6 models and the new bands, so customers forced to make a return are now having to wait from late October to late November for a new Apple Watch, depending on the model chosen.

There are complaints about Apple's return policy for the Apple Watch bands on Twitter and on a long discussion of the Solo Loop and Braided Solo Loop bands on the MacRumors forums. Apple Watch models that are not fitting properly must be returned in full, and Apple's online support staff has been offering no alternative.

Some MacRumors readers appear to have had luck getting a different-sized band without exchanging the entire watch in an Apple retail store, but it's not clear if that's going to be an option for all users, especially as most Apple Stores seem to have limited band stock. From the MacRumors forums:
I assumed if you ordered the incorrect size, you could keep the watch and just return/exchange the band. But Apple support through chat said you have to return the watch and the band. That's so wasteful. And frustrating. I'm selling my S4 watch and the buyer will have to keep waiting until it's all sorted out.
For those who haven't ordered yet, it's worth reading through the Solo Loop discussion on the MacRumors forums because it's filled with anecdotal fit tips from people who have already been able to try a Solo Loop or Braided Solo Loop. Several people have found Apple's printable measurement tool to be inaccurate, as some have even found measurement comparisons incorrect.


There seems to be a preference for a slightly snugger Braided Solo Loop due to stretch, while people have had less trouble with the Solo Loop, but it varies by person. A snug fit is also required for the Blood Oxygen monitoring feature to work properly. The best way to get a good fitting watch is to visit an Apple Store, but of course, that is difficult in some places where Apple Stores haven't reopened, and in others where the pandemic is continues to be a concern.


At the current time, there seems to be no clear option for people who have an ill-fitting band beyond waiting, but hopefully Apple Watch stock will improve and shipment estimates won't be quite as long as Apple's current November estimates.

Article Link: PSA: New Apple Watch Owners Have to Return Entire Device for Ill-Fitting Solo Loop or Braided Solo Loop
 
Last edited:

mattan_lines

macrumors member
Feb 25, 2016
53
100
I mean, it makes sense but at the same time it's utterly ridiculous. If I purchased a MacBook that came with a bad charging block, they wouldn't make me turn in my MacBook with it, they'd just replace the block.

Like yeah, the watch was "configured to order", but the value of the goods remains the same either way.
 

agenda893

macrumors regular
Jul 17, 2004
119
41
I guess I’m glad I ordered my braided size 6 band separately. I didn’t have much choice though - waited a few hours on launch day to order and shipping times had already slipped. Should have my navy blue watch with nylon band next week, and braided band in mid November...
 
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rcjlfk

macrumors newbie
Jul 5, 2018
4
16
This is surprising but not. When you look at shipping times for a single Apple Watch model, let's say Graphite Stainless 44mm with the sport loop. Depending on the band color you choose the shipping times are a week to a month and a half. If you look at the solo loop, depending on the size of loop you choose it varies as well.

It really would work easier if you had the price for the device and then the price for the band and they ship independently of one another.
 

depaulsunny

macrumors member
Jul 1, 2008
65
32
I’ve had to deal with this. Here’s how you get around it.

You HAVE to go to retail store. Make sure the store you go to has the right size/band in stock otherwise you’ll waste a lot of time for no reason.

Tell the Apple Employee to process a “No receipt return” and process it as an exchange to the band you want.

They will need a manager override but as long as you don’t have a difficult employee/manager, it will be done.
 

swingerofbirch

macrumors 68040
I did AppleCare Support, both on the phones and chat. You weren't allowed to apologize for policy no matter how asinine it was. You could say something like you were sorry about their frustration, or say that you were sorry about the experience of the band not fitting. But you could not criticize Apple's policies. (And you had to lie, too. In so many ways.) Hopefully that person keeps their job.
 

MacDevil7334

macrumors 68000
Oct 15, 2011
1,563
2,632
Austin TX
So...Apple created bands that have to be ordered in a fitted size, in the middle of a pandemic when many people can’t/won’t go to a store to try them on, and then had no game plan to handle returns when people inevitably ordered the wrong size? Bad idea all around.

It’s time for Apple to completely decouple the purchase of a watch from the band. You should be able to buy just the watch on its own without a band. And you should never have to return the watch if you want to return the band it came with. Crazy bad customer experience here.
 

sykeward

macrumors newbie
Jul 22, 2016
19
113
Portland, OR
If only they had someone at Apple who was good at inventory and supply chain management, perhaps even known for it, they might be able to smooth situations like this out. Ah well, I guess it can't be helped.

In all seriousness, what is stopping them from just shipping a new band that's the correct size to the customer? For a non-adjustable band that many people might not have an opportunity to try on, you'd think that one free band exchange per watch would be the type of premium experience that Apple would aim to provide for its customers. Even if every single customer requested a new band and sold it, what harm could that do? Reduce the values of the bands on eBay? It's not like the cost of materials to Apple is all that much.
 

MacDaddyPanda

macrumors regular
Dec 28, 2018
202
241
USA, CA
When I bought my Series 5 the SS milanese loop wasn't available. I just bought the watch I wanted and ordered the SS Milanese loop later.
Cause ordering the watch with the SS Milanese loop to begin with would have extended the delivery of the watch.
 

russell_314

macrumors 68000
Feb 10, 2019
1,825
2,468
USA
I did AppleCare Support, both on the phones and chat. You weren't allowed to apologize for policy no matter how asinine it was. You could say something like you were sorry about their frustration, or say that you were sorry about the experience of the band not fitting. But you could not criticize Apple's policies. (And you had to lie, too. In so many ways.) Hopefully that person keeps their job.
You mean you weren’t allowed to talk crap about the company you work for? That must be a new concept LOL
 

QCassidy352

macrumors G4
Mar 20, 2003
11,255
4,118
Bay Area
I can attest to this from working at Apple. When customization started last year or the year prior, it was such an annoyance. The system made us jump through hoops to do a band swap/exchange.

So bizarre.
Last year I was able to swap out my band (bought with my S5 watch) in person at an Apple store with no issue. I believe that they had to process it as a return of the entire watch, but in reality, the watch never left my hand; they just took the old band and gave me the new one.
 

JGIGS

macrumors 65816
Jan 1, 2008
1,361
1,209
CANADA!
I guess I’m glad I ordered my braided size 6 band separately. I didn’t have much choice though - waited a few hours on launch day to order and shipping times had already slipped. Should have my navy blue watch with nylon band next week, and braided band in mid November...

That's actually a good idea. Though, I wish the buying the bands on there own weren't so dang expensive. I'd have a few extras if that was the case.
 

MrGimper

macrumors 604
Sep 22, 2012
6,575
7,184
Andover, UK
So...Apple created bands that have to be ordered in a fitted size, in the middle of a pandemic when many people can’t/won’t go to a store to try them on, and then had no game plan to handle returns when people inevitably ordered the wrong size? Bad idea all around.

It’s time for Apple to completely decouple the purchase of a watch from the band. You should be able to buy just the watch on its own without a band. And you should never have to return the watch if you want to return the band it came with. Crazy bad customer experience here.

TBH the same logic could be applied to why would anyone buy a band that you can't try on and prove would fit correctly. I wouldn't
 

rainafterthesun

macrumors 6502a
Jun 23, 2010
514
487
So...Apple created bands that have to be ordered in a fitted size, in the middle of a pandemic when many people can’t/won’t go to a store to try them on, and then had no game plan to handle returns when people inevitably ordered the wrong size? Bad idea all around.

It’s time for Apple to completely decouple the purchase of a watch from the band. You should be able to buy just the watch on its own without a band. And you should never have to return the watch if you want to return the band it came with. Crazy bad customer experience here.
To be fair, this was on the docket way before the pandemic.

Only jobs would be crazy enough to say scrap the whole thing and start new even as production is beginning after molds are made.
 
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