Fiasco at the Apple store – why you shouldn’t buy an iPhone

My latest Apple rant. Why shouldn’t you buy an iPhone? As a near 30-year loyal customer of Apple products I was aghast at the way my iPhone issue was handled by Apple. Here’s what you should know if you have a problem with your iPhone, whether under warranty or not.

iphone and apple store problems


It’s no secret I’m an Apple fan. Friends know it. My kids give me Steve Jobs memorabilia for gifts. My husband and kids know my fantasy list of “Favorite Steves to meet: Steve Jobs, Steve Martin and Steve Wozniak. While Jobs has been removed from the list, I sure have been cussing a lot to him, as the iOS7 update has laid to rest a brand new 4th Gen iPad as well as my iPhone 4, still under warranty. I promptly returned the 1.5 day-old iPad to Walmart without a problem, and saved a few bucks buying a 2nd gen iPad from a used software store. The iPhone, however really surprised me.

When you buy an iPhone – be advised – carriers are not allowed to stand behind their products

Even if they’re authorized representatives, such as AT&T, Apple will not allow carriers to swap iPhones if yours breaks – even if it’s under warranty. Instead, here’s what happens:

You are told that even though the product is defective through no fault of your own, AND under warranty, you must pay Apple $540.00 for a replacement phone UNTIL they receive your broken phone. Then they credit your credit card or refund your debit card. They do not simply ‘hold’ the payment – they actually cash it.

Even though our local AT&T store has a full inventory of new iPhones, as well as iPhone 4 (such as mine) Apple will not allow ATT&T to serve as an agent or bond and keep and return your broken phone.

In my case, my iPhone was literally caused by Apple. The update was required as some apps were becoming unusable. Although I followed the proper steps to upgrade the iOS7, my phone was in an endless ‘update loop’. I am no newbie when it comes to Apple. I’ve installed my own drives and did my own IT for years with Apple (that was the way it was done back then). So I went through the appropriate steps, going through iTunes, deleting everything on my iPhone, reinstalling, upgrading my operating system on my Mac and trying again.

The iPad, as it turns out, was returnable as all Apple products are – except phones.

With the phone, I had 2 choices:

Pay the $540 (no possible way of getting around that, as per Apple tech support, even though it was Apple’s fault and they said so themselves)

Or drive to our “local” Apple store – 2 hours away. I made an appointment for the Des Moines Apple store. This is how they do things – no walk-ins.

Since the $540 is earmarked for part of our house payment, the drive was the obvious choice since I use my phone for business.

I set out early – not even stopping for a bathroom break. Found the store, raced to the bathroom, arrived in the store and was told I missed my appointment! So, here I wait – likely with other people who have driven from various areas.

The service is good – polite people and all, but the policy is terrible. All of this for a phone. I would have simply bought a dumb phone had it not been under warranty. I refuse to have to buy something when the manufacturer’s preferences caused a perfectly functioning phone to stop working.

My question is – I’ve lost 4 hours of work and $63 in gasoline for the drive here and back. Who will pay for that, Apple?

Plus, I am still left with a phone people want to steal. Sometimes I wish they would. At least then I might have an insurance claim and I could purchase a Galaxy phone. But with Apple I’ve come to expect common sense and a great user experience. Have they set their sights too high?

As always, what made this fun, interesting and a lot less frustrating were the fabulous people I met along the way:
The incredibly nice lady at the information desk at the mall, with whom I chatted after my Apple store visit. The informed, high-tech, white haired gent who sat next to me at the Apple store – we had a fun conversation and I learned a lot! And the Apple tech, who was awesome and brilliant.


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