Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is once again facing trouble regarding its iPhone battery replacement program. The Cupertino giant has been reportedly accused of finding unnecessary faults and demanding repairs to minor faults before replacing iPhone batteries. A BBC Watchdog investigation has revealed how Apple is making use of shady tactics to squeeze money from customers by forcing them to pay for minor faults in iPhones before replacing their batteries.
Apple faced consumer backlash last year after it was forced to admit that it deliberately throttled performance of older iPhones to push customers into buying new and latest models. The company faced multiple lawsuits regarding it. Although Apple said that it was done to preserve battery life and prevent the device from behaving abnormally. Since then Apple started offering discounted or free battery replacement to users of iPhone 6 and onwards.
The tech giant is trying to profit from its battery replacement initiative by pointing to smallest flaws in the iPhone and making owners pay more than what a battery replacement would have cost. One Watchdog viewer, Josh Landsburgh, told the programme that he received an email from Apple, after he sent off his iPhone for battery replacement in February, drawing his attention to a small dent on the edge of his iPhone and quoting a cost of $272 to be paid in advance before the battery could be replaced. Another viewer, David Bowler, had his iPhone in perfect condition apart from the battery. The company required him to pay $340 for a faulty speaker and microphone before they could replace batteries. When his device was tested, both components were working fine.
The firms’ repair website claims that – “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.”
The iPhone battery replacement programme was perhaps a way for the company to get out of battery throttling conspiracy. Apple reduced the cost of the out-of-warranty battery from $79 to $29 (for iPhones 6 and later models). However, this does have a caveat. The iPhone maker has made it clear to its CSR that ‘any and all damage‘ must be repaired first before it’ll carry out battery replacement; and this would obviously include cosmetic damages too, though any mentions about this couldn’t be found on Apple’s support page or by the Watchdogs.
This news has put Apple in the centre of controversy again. Being one of the most trusted companies in the world it shouldn’t have asked users to cough up more money than required. Of course, if the customer chooses not to comply with Apple’s demand and gets his battery replaced at a local repair shop he would nullify his Apple warranty. At the time when Apple should be working on rebuilding users’ trust, it is finding new ways to be loathed.