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Consumer group warns Apple, AT&T on iPhone

updated 05:30 pm EDT, Fri June 29, 2007

FTCR iPhone warning

The Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights (FCTR) today warned Apple CEO Steve Jobs and AT&T chief Randall Stephenson that both executives must agree to new consumer safeguards with regard to the iPhone that will hit store shelves at 6:00 p.m. ET this evening. FCTR founder Harvey Rosenfield points to two "serious potential problems" with the current iPhone launch in an open letter. "Unlike all other handheld phones, the iPhone battery is not user replaceable," Rosenfield wrote. "If news reports are correct, the iPhone battery could require replacement within one year." The fact that neither Apple nor AT&T have disclosed whether they will charge customers to replace failing batteries has led the FTCR to officially call upon both firms to provide free and immediate replacement at retail locations for the life of the iPhone.

Rosenfield points to lofty cancellation fees imposed upon customers who wish to leave their cellular contracts early as the second major problem for the highly anticipated gadget.

"The companies have announced that consumers must agree to a two-year contract for AT&T wireless service to activate the iPhone; they will also impose a hefty $175 cancellation fee for early termination," said Rosenfield. "FTCR says that such fees are unnecessary, and that consumers should be permitted to cancel the contract at any time based upon device failure, loss or theft, inadequate wireless service/coverage or any other reasonable basis."

The FTCR is a non-profit organization that has filed several lawsuits against companies such as AT&T, Cingular, T-Mobil, and Nextel as well as Apple itself on behalf of the public. The organization aims to challenge the practices, services, and charges of wireless companies, and was responsible for suing Apple on behalf of second-generation iPod nano owners who were charged by the Cupertino-based company for the replacement of defective LCD screens.

by MacNN Staff




  1. scottrussell

    Joined: Dec 1969


    say what?

    azfinkster says what? It's interesting that these guys are making a stink about this today, isn't it? I'm not a big fan of cancellation fees, but these are what allows the phones to be sold at subsidized prices. I'm right, right?

  1. Pismo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    So you mean we, the consumers, won't be able to figure out a way to install a new battery into our iPhones just like we've been doing so for our iPods for years?

  1. jogdish

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I always wonder what it would be like to be married to people like this.

  1. chulitomio

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Everyone else has to pay for their cell phone battery when it has to be replaced, but Apple has to give out *free* batteries forever? What?

  1. iChick

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I smell a rat. Nothing but a bunch of sue-happy idiots.

  1. Gee4orce

    Joined: Dec 1969



    How many people change the battery in their watch ? In fact, if you don't have your watch battery changed by a professional, you'll probably void the warranty.

    Why is the iPhone/iPod singled out by crazies like this ?

  1. l008com

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I agree that contract termination fees are a rip off. However as far as the battery goes, I'm sure apple will have a $99 (or less) battery replacement program that will work just fine. I'm not concerned about that one bit.

  1. elroth

    Joined: Dec 1969


    it's not all that

    If you follow the link in the story and read the letter sent to Apple and AT&T, it's actually pretty reasonable. Whoever edited this story really went over the top. The group didn't "warn" Apple about anything. They basically just asked that Apple clarify its battery replacement policy; said they "hoped" the batteries won't fail like some of the early iPod batteries; said there shouldn't be such a high cancellation fee (since the iPhone is not being sold at a discount); and said there should be a 30-day return policy, so that people can more reasonably get out of the 2-year commitment (with no restocking fee). The tone is nowhere near what the MacNN story makes it out to be. They end by wishing Apple and AT&T "success" in meeting the needs of consumers.

    I think they should have sent the letters out sooner, but the iPhone details just came out. (I don't think either the batter or the contract will be a big deal in the end.)

  1. Will53

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Design flaw

    Well, I don't know about watches, but to swap the battery in every mobile I've had, has been easy as a piece of pie. Replacing the battery on my old iPod Mini was nothing of the sort! Yes, I bought a replacement and it was replaced, but it is not for the impatient!

    I cannot understand how a company like Apple, famous for their industrial design, can't make it easy to change a battery? And using a paper clip to get the SIM-card out isn't that innovative, either.

    Aside from that, I hope the phone is a great success:)

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Why do we have to be so responsible for everyone? People can make buying decision for themselves. Customer delight drives the market and if apple fails to delight, they will adapt or fix the product. Or another company will provide a solution like the 24 hour iPod battery replacement services on the market.

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