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.