iPhones, iPods, and MacBooks are Super Expensive. What do you do when they fail?
As we all know, Apple products are more expensive than their Android counterparts, due to the panache and trendy image that Apple has managed to cultivate among consumers. And to be fair, Apple products are usually pretty good quality, so not all of the extra money you spend goes to the Apple image.
But even good manufacturers sometimes turn out bad products. And even a decently made phone can have minor defects that can be really annoying. For instance, your new $600 iPhone may have a scratch on the screen. Or a spot in the corner that always looks purple. Or a fuzzy sound in the earpiece. Or an annoyingly loud vibration. Or maybe the software doesn’t update correctly or the apps don’t work right.
Apple offers a 1 year limited warranty on most of their products. The warranty is pretty typical of electronics. It covers “defects in materials and workmanship,” but excludes lots of stuff. The biggest and most common sense exclusion is damage that occurs after you’ve bought it, and which wasn’t caused by a pre-existing defect.
Some other exclusions are:
- “consumable parts” like batteries that naturally weaken or degrade over time;
- Damage caused by unauthorized repairs (repairs by anyone other than an Apple dealer);
- Damage resulting from using non-Apple parts (i.e. a case or speakers);
- Products that are stolen or have had serial numbers removed.
More important to you than the exclusions are the procedures that you have to go through to get an actual warranty repair. Under American warranty law, you have to give a manufacturer a reasonable opportunity to cure any breach of warranty. To take full advantage of this, Apple has a specific procedure for making a warranty claim.
First, you need to keep proof of the purchase.
Second, you need to contact Apple online or through an Apple Store.
Third, you either bring the product to an Apple store or mail it back to Apple.
Apple will then decide whether or not they want to honor the warranty claim. If they do, then they’ll either repair or replace your product. Usually, they replace it, so be sure to download your data to an independent source and delete your personal information.
If they don’t fix it, however, then you’ve got a legal problem. Usually, a denied warranty repair request happens because the manufacturer doesn’t believe your story. They think that the damage you want repaired was caused by you, and not their manufacturing. Sometimes this is obvious: a cracked screen is extremely unlikely to be Apple’s fault. It is possible, of course, but rare. If something like this happens, then it’s very important to take photos and document the condition of the iPhone or iPad on delivery.
In fact, you should ALWAYS document any defect as much as possible. Take screenshots and photos of the defect. If it’s a sound defect, make a recording. If it’s Apple software that is malfunctioning, then you should video it while it’s screwing up. Because if you need to take legal action, it’s your case to prove. You’ll have to present evidence that it was their defect, and not your fault.
Assuming you can prove that the defect was there when you bought the iPhone, then you can take legal action. Now at first glance, it seems like it may not be worth it to hire a lawyer for a $600 phone. Even though that’s a lot of money, lawyers are even more expensive, right?
Not so fast. Thankfully, there’s a law called the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, which says that if a manufacturer fails to honor a valid warranty request after you’ve complied with their warranty procedures, and you have to sue them, then if you win, they have to pay your lawyer’s fees. This means that even if you sue them for $500, the Court can make them pay your lawyer, even if his fees are in the thousands.
So if you have a defective cell phone, computer, or tablet, then do your best to get the manufacturer to repair it. But if they don’t, keep your proof and call a lawyer.
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