A BBC TV show dealing with consumer protection issues will claim this evening that Apple is using a clause in its terms & conditions to refuse its cut-price battery replacement service for older iPhones. The clause says that any other damage to the phone must be repaired first, at full rate, before it will replace batteries.

The problem, says the BBC Watchdog program in a show to be aired this evening, is that this clause doesn’t appear to exist …

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The show focused on the issue after two viewers complained that Apple was refusing to honor its promise of free or low-cost battery replacements, offered in response to the throttling controversy.

Josh Landsburgh sent his phone off to have the battery replaced in February. Two days later, he received an email from Apple pointing out a small dent to the edge of the phone, and quoting a cost of over £200 before it would make good on its battery promise […]

David Bowler also contacted Watchdog. His phone was in perfect condition, but needed the battery replacing. This time, with no apparent damage outside, Apple told David there was damage inside the phone. The firm said the front microphone and speaker were faulty, quoting over £250 to resolve the issue.

Update: We’re now seeing similar reports in the comments on this piece.

Apple’s repair website states this policy.

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.

Customer service representatives claim that this is in the firm’s warranty terms & conditions, but the BBC said it could find no evidence of any such clause in the warranty documents.

Neither Watchdog nor dispute resolution lawyer Matthew Purcell, of Sanders Law, could find any mention of this requirement.

When asked for comment by the BBC, Apple merely reiterated the statement on the website.

Photo: iFixit


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