Repair policy not as straight forward as it seems

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by steve23094, Feb 17, 2016.

  1. steve23094 macrumors 68000

    steve23094

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    Apr 23, 2013
    #1
    So everyone has heard of Apple's policy that they won't touch a product for repair if it's been serviced by an unauthorised agent, whether it's under warranty or you're expecting to pay for service.

    The thing is I'm not sure all is as it seems.

    I was in an Apple Store the other day waiting for my GB appointment and overheard an interesting conversation. A person beside me had smashed the screen on his iPhone and was wanting to pay for a replacement by Apple. The Apple staff member explained that because the screen had been replaced by a third party they were not going to touch it, a common enough occurrence.

    The odd bit. The customer was offered the opportunity to buy a new iPhone for £229 (it could have been £259 or £279, I don't recall exactly), but the customer would leave his busted screen iPhone with Apple. Now to me the only reason they would do that would be to repair the broken unit and sell it on for a profit as a refurb unit.

    If the policy is in place because Apple can't guarantee any damage by a third party and don't want to be held responsible then they shouldn't be taking broken phones to sell on.

    It sounds like this policy is a crock of crap.
     
  2. off_piste macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    I don't see the big deal. If Apple wants to take the phone and refurbish it, thereby taking on warranty responsibility, why do you care? If there's an issue they'll fix or replace.
     
  3. steve23094 thread starter macrumors 68000

    steve23094

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    #3
    I don't because my phone isn't broken. But there are hundreds of thousands of people out there that do when they have been unfairly turned away for any and all types of service because of this policy. If it's a paid repair it's only the repair itself that is warranted so I don't see any reasonable reason to flat out refuse to touch a device. They obviously don't have a problem repairing it when they can make money selling the refurb. Don't you see the double standard here?
     
  4. adamhenry macrumors 65816

    adamhenry

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    #4
    The policy makes sense to me. If Apple repairs a phone that has been worked on previously by a third party, they are putting their warranty on the third party's work as well. I.E. If a third party does poor work/uses poor parts during a batt. replacement and then Apple replaces the screen, Apple is now responsible for anything that goes wrong with the phone including the battery.
     
  5. off_piste macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    I suspect there's more to it, like encouraging people to spend money with Apple for repairs. In that case they're totally consistent if they think they can drive more more service repairs their direction by having such a policy. I can't be bothered to care whether someone who has already had a third party work on their device is forced to do so in the future.
     
  6. jasie02 macrumors 6502a

    jasie02

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    #6
    It is out of warranty cost they are offering, for UK is £ 256.44 for all latest models, see link below, and instead of repairing, Apple genius always could choose to replace with refurbish unit instead.

    Apple genius is following "guideline".

    https://www.apple.com/uk/support/iphone/repair/other/
     
  7. mattopotamus macrumors G5

    mattopotamus

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    #7
    This. It is an OOW repair, so not a repair under warranty. The same thing would happen if your phone was destroyed and you did not have AC+

    They give you a refurb phone, not a new one.
     
  8. steve23094, Feb 17, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016

    steve23094 thread starter macrumors 68000

    steve23094

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    #8
    So I get that the price is considered an out of warranty repair cost, but that's not what I'm getting at.

    Because Apple are keeping these phones that are swapped I'm making the small jump of logic that they are being refurbed and resold.

    Either third party repairs are a problem and customers are getting stiffed when their refurb fails out of warranty. Or they're not a problem and Apple are just driving profit by refusing repair (a screen replacement is not worth £260).

    It's interesting given the recent talk of Error 53 and the focus it brought to this policy. There are laws for cars and third party repairs, it's time for the same thing to be implemented with tech.
     
  9. C DM macrumors Westmere

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    Oct 17, 2011
    #9
    To me it seems t's basically mostly down to what was mentioned earlier:
    By taking in the phone that was replaced they might be simply recycling it, they might be using it for some parts that they would first test and verify are good enough, or they might be refurbishing it and in the process testing and verifying all the components and the full device itself so that it could perhaps be used as a replacement for someone (now that Apple went through the effort of refurbishing it, testing it, and basically taking on the further responsibility of providing warranty on the full thing if and when it is provided to someone).
     
  10. mattopotamus macrumors G5

    mattopotamus

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    #10
    Look at it like this:

    They do not know what all has been replaced by the 3rd party. If they fix the screen and something else goes wrong, apple does not want to have to deal with a device that someone else touched.

    Once they take the phone, they probably completely strip it down in their own shop and you practically get a brand new phone when you buy a reburb.

    People should be happy that apple does anything. It is in writing that they will not service/honor warranties on phones repaired by a 3rd party.

    You bring up the point of repairs with cars. How does it work for a car under warranty? Do you have to take it to the dealership/authorized repair shop for repairs if you plan on cashing in that warranty? I always lease my vehicle so repair is included, so that is a serious question.
     
  11. adamhenry macrumors 65816

    adamhenry

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    #11
    It would be stupid to work on a phone containing someone else's shoddy work/parts and assume liability for the previous work and parts. I don't think they would want to sell them either for the same reason.
     
  12. iceterminal macrumors 68000

    iceterminal

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    #12
    It really helps to understand the repair policies after you understand the difference between refurbished and re-manufactured.
    Completely different. Apple does both. As for their reason to keep the previous unit (if they do that), it would suggest re-manfacturing and not refursh/resell. However, either way they will still apply a certain warranty to it.
     
  13. steve23094 thread starter macrumors 68000

    steve23094

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    #13
    In the EU car manufacturers have to supply third parties with repair manuals and processes. Provided the repairer uses approved parts this does not invalidate the warranty.

    More info here:-
    http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/general-advice/right-to-repair-campaign.html
    --- Post Merged, Feb 17, 2016 ---
    See my post above regarding car repair.
     
  14. adamhenry macrumors 65816

    adamhenry

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    #14
    An EU law regarding car repair has no bearing on phone repairs.
     
  15. steve23094 thread starter macrumors 68000

    steve23094

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    #15
    Now you're being deliberately obtuse. The reasoning why this should be enforced in law is exactly the same (from the link):-
    • Keep repair costs down <- this is a big one
    • Provide security for independent garages and specialists such as auto-electricians, air conditioning specialists and body repairers <- obviously change this to phone repairers
    • Ensure you don't have to wait too long or travel too far for servicing or repairs <- this happens to people all the time, some countries have no approved repair agents.
    That's your bearing.
     
  16. adamhenry macrumors 65816

    adamhenry

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    #16
    The fact that something should be a law doesn't make it so. That is your lack of bearing.
     
  17. steve23094 thread starter macrumors 68000

    steve23094

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    #17
    That's an incredibly well reasoned point, carefully thought out. Thanks for your useful input into the thread.
     
  18. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68020

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    #18
    You've clearly never worked in a repair business of any kind.

    It's incredibly common for someone to seek factory-authorized repair following inept attempts at repair, just as people go to doctors only after their home remedies fail. Often, the result is a unit (or patient) that is in worse condition than it would have been in otherwise.

    Fixed-rate repair charges like Apple's ($X to replace the screen, $Y to perform any out-of-warranty repair) are based on the average, known cost of doing that kind of work. And because it's a business, there's a profit built into the price. In the case of the second, higher repair rate, it is enough to cover the kind of damage typically done by an inept third-party repair. However, if that repair was so bad that every part of the phone was damaged... that it can't be profitably repaired - perhaps they just close the thing up and hand it back to the owner, "Sorry, we can't fix this, it's too badly damaged."

    Further, Apple (like most shops), warrants the quality of their repairs. In Apple's case, there's a 90-day warranty on repairs. So, if there's hidden damage from the first, unauthorized repair attempt that surfaces within that 90-day period, Apple may be required to perform a second repair. In other words, once Apple agrees to make the repair, they take ownership of all the problems the unit may have.

    The screen replacement charge assumes that only the screen has been damaged. Once it's known that an unknown/unauthorized person has worked on the unit, one can no longer be sure that only the screen will need to be repaired - other repairs may have been attempted that were not mentioned, or the repair was inept and other components were damaged. So, Apple has a policy of charging a higher rate under the circumstances. You may not like it, but since it is a flat-rate repair, rather than a time-and-materials repair, that's what they'll quote. Either you find the price acceptable, or not. The repair shop is under no obligation to fix every broken thing that comes in the door, and you have no obligation to accept the quoted price.

    Apple has a network of Authorized Service Providers, independent businesses that provide local employment. Apple provides training, technical manuals, etc. to ensure to the public and to Apple itself, that the repairs will be competent and to company standards. While it's entirely possible to find competent repair from un-authorized sources, there's far less assurance that it will be competent. The difference is that Apple is willing to stand behind the work done by its Authorized Service Providers. It has no obligation to stand behind the work of other shops and individuals.

    I have a suspicion that that same European laws that require automakers to sell parts and manuals to repair shops also licenses those repair shops and holds them to standards of quality and ethics in order to protect the public from shoddy work - the government is simply doing what the manufacturer might otherwise have done.
     
  19. lordofthereef macrumors G5

    lordofthereef

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    #19
    This was likely the Apple store or the specific employee trying to be generous and lend a had. Unless policies have changed internally, this is not Apple's standard policy. Employees and managers do get a certain amount of discretion.

    I ran my iphone 4 through the wash on launch night. The Apple policy was a $200 replacement (the good old days) at the time. They must have felt pity on me because they told me they would do a reduced $100 fee. I was more than ready to pay $200 considering this was my fault and $200 is far better than $650. Long story short they brought out a new (white box, but obviously new based on the timing) phone and told me they would take care of it, and to check my jeans before doing laundry. Obviously this was a nice jesture and not standard operating procedure.
     
  20. TheIntruder macrumors 6502a

    TheIntruder

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    #20
    Apple's policy is straightforward. They won't perform repairs on devices previously repaired by unauthorized parties. Nothing presented has indicated that has changed.

    Taking a phone in exchange is not repairing the phone in question. And, conjecture aside, no one except Apple truly knows what will happen to that phone, including its retail workers.

    If that unit were to be put into the refurbishment pool, it would receive a new case, and battery, at the very least. The logic board, if salvageable, would be vetted and receive a new serial number (though some have indicated they have discontinued this practice). The screen, having been broken, would obviously be replaced. Is it still the same phone when 3/4 of the major components have been replaced?

    Or, it just could have been shredded and recycled.

    I've experienced the policy first hand, with a phone the local Apple store tech damaged during a recall campaign, and then tried to blame on a non-OE part from a 3rd party repair, which was patently false.

    It was quite interesting to see multiple Geniuses stammer and rotely recite the policy again and again.

    The store was caught in a no-win situation -- they had either accepted, and made repairs to a "tainted" phone in violation of their own policy, or had damaged a "safe" phone during the repair. Either way, they were negligent, and opted to provide a replacement, rather than repairing the phone in question. But only after managerial intervention.

    That, in itself was even more extraordinary since the phone in question was an overseas model, and the incident took place in a U.S. store. It might also have explained why a phone that had never been damaged or repaired was accused of having a non-OE part.
     
  21. jasie02 macrumors 6502a

    jasie02

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    #21
    Here is what really happen. Original defective iPhone, or any Apple product, need to go back into recycle/repair bin because in order for Apple genius to provide a solution if not paid in full, he/she will have to submit a defective device back same as original device, then he/she could provide a refurbished device, at certain cost. The cost will depend on the situation.

    In the past , I had exchange several defective Mac accessories, like power adapter, defective TB/DVI cable came along with original Mac and still under Applecare+.... and each and every time I was ask to give them defective device, then they will remove new/refurbish device from the box, put in the defective device, and put that into defective return bin, with $0 cost from me.

    This is a way to ensure there could be inventory check to account for any potential missing/stolen inventory. Apple genius will never allow to give away any device unless there is full price paid. Even under warranty, they will need original defective device. Any product give out not paid full price, will need to have a defective product return, along with some $$$ ($0 in case of under full warranty) depend on the situation.

    They might or might not care about device went through 3rd party repair or not, but in the case OP reported, it is likely they are doing a favor, but still follow process of required defective device.
     
  22. steve23094 thread starter macrumors 68000

    steve23094

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    #22
    Some thoughtful and considered posts here, others not so much.

    But I did digress off my original point. The main thrust is whether Apple considers third party repairs too risky to get involved with. Their 'we won't touch it' policy says it is, their 'we will take it off your hands and resell it' says it isn't. Talk about having your cake...

    Some more thoughts. There are defenders of a flat repair fee and how that integrates with the replacement phone policy. Whatever happened to a quote for repairs? Pretty much every other company works in this manner (cars, TV's, builders, appliances, retail stores, authorised Apple repair agents and so on).

    But I'm getting off track again.
     
  23. C DM macrumors Westmere

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    #23
    Well, again, there's the assumption of it being resold, and in the same state that they take it in, which is likely not the case as they could and often do simply recycle the devices, or perhaps just reuse some parts after testing them and making sure they are original and up to their standards, or even if they do refurbish/remanufacture it then they are going though the process of checking all the parts and perhaps replacing any that are not original and making sure that all of them are up to their standards so that they could essentially "certify" the device and use it as a replacement device (often enough a free one for various replacements) and attach their warranty onto the whole thing. So it's not really the same thing.
     
  24. lordofthereef macrumors G5

    lordofthereef

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    #24
    If Apple works like any of the major other players that "buy back" your phones, they simply pile many of these things up and sell them in huge lots to be sold by "mom and pop" shops, etc.

    Another way to look at it, if they are keeping the devices to be sold as their own returns, is they simply want dis incentivize unauthorized third party repairs. They also want to incentivize you buying a new phone from them. Because even at a $200 discount (example of a buyback price) they've made money off the new handset they sold you.
     
  25. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68020

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    #25
    It depends on how you look at it. There's nothing wrong with having a "nuanced" policy. I've already explained possible reasons why.

    You may think it's due to resale value, but that's pure supposition. It can be something as simple as, "At the lower price, the economic risk is too great, at double that price (or more), the risk is minimal." There was a time, not so long ago, that Apple did not do screen-only replacements - every repair came at the same, higher price. They decided they could make customers happy (and prevent a certain amount of third-party repairs, no doubt) by offering a much less expensive screen-only repair. But to offer the lower price, they had to set additional conditions.

    You're also missing half of the economic impact of a swap-out - it's not just that Apple is getting a unit they can then resell - they've also given the customer a unit of equal value.

    Apple treasures customer satisfaction. In a traditional repair environment, the shop always repairs the customer's unit. They'd never swap-out because the risk of getting a unit with more issues than are immediately apparent is substantial. Why give the customer a perfectly good swap-out when you may be getting a lemon in return? Apple accepts that risk. In return, they're buying above-average customer loyalty and satisfaction (and charging a higher rate). The customer walks out the door with near-instant gratification, rather than going days (or more) without a phone, waiting for their own unit to be returned to them.

    Oh, and when other companies issue quotes for repairs? In most cases, all that means is they have several more tiers of fixed-rate repairs. A certain job carries a certain price. It's less common today (than it once was), to get a true time-and-materials repair quotation. You won't know how long the repair took, because you're not paying for labor, you're paying for a service. Hey, I just came from the dentist. Thanks to insurance company reimbursement policies, every procedure has its established price, regardless of whether the doctor runs into complications during the procedure, or zips through it in record time.
     

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