A BBC WATCHDOG INVESTIGATION has found that Apple is attempting to profit from its iPhone battery replacement initiative by forcing customers to pay for unnecessary repairs.
If you've forgotten, Apple was last year forced to admit that it's deliberately throttling the performance of older iPhones running newer versions of iOS. At the time, the firm justified the move by claiming it prevents processors from demanding too much power from older Lithium-ion battery packs, which degrade over time struggle to deliver the peak currents and battery life they could when new.
While Apple claimed it was hamstringing iPhone performance to deliver a good user experience, the firm, following a number of complaints and threats of legal action, reduced the cost of out-of-warranty battery replacements from £79 to £25.
"We are able to do the work we love only because of your faith and support - and we will never forget that or take it for granted," Apple said at the time.
However, it seems the initiative isn't all that it seems, with Watchdog views complaining that Apple is demanding money for "unnecessary" repairs before it will honour the cut-price battery replacement.
One viewer, Josh Landsburgh, told the programme that Apple required he paid £200 to fix a dent on the outside of his iPhone before they would replace the battery.
"I was shocked. I used to study engineering for a bit, so I knew how the phone was put together and I knew that dent wasn't affecting anything," Landsburgh said.
Another Watchdog viewer, David Bowler, complained that Apple refused to carry out a battery replacement before he coughed up £250 to fix a supposedly-faulty microphone and speaker. Watchdog tested Bowler's iPhone, and found both components to be working correctly
"I feel as if I'm being ripped off. It's made me feel as if I've lost faith with Apple products," Bowler said.
In a statement given to the BBC, Apple said: "When it comes to iPhone battery replacement, if your iPhone has any damage that impairs the replacement of the battery, such as a cracked screen, that issue will need to be resolved prior to the battery replacement. In some cases, there may be a cost associated with the repair."
Apple also claims to have told customers that its warranty makes it clear that cosmetic damage has to be repaired before it'll carry out battery replacements. However, Watchdog, nor dispute resolution lawyer Matthew Purcell of Sanders Law, could find any mention of that.
Purcell said: "I think consumers are getting annoyed because at a time when Apple should be rebuilding trust, it seems like they're putting barriers in the way of people getting their phones repaired." µ
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