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NY agency warns Apple over iPhone battery

updated 09:30 am EDT, Tue July 31, 2007

NY agency warns Apple

Reinforcing growing anti-Apple sentiment about its iPhone battery policies, one state agency is politely trying to get Apple's attention. New York's Consumer Protection Board issued a letter to Apple's CEO Monday asking for the iPhone to be a little more consumer-friendly. The gentle nudge to the hugely successful company follows a class-action lawsuit--filed last week--against the company over the iPhone battery. The state's consumer protection agency cited both replacement procedures and costs in its letter and also said that consumers should be able to replace the battery themselves. The agency also said that Apple should review its standard disclosure practices and restocking fees.

In the letter, CPB Chairperson and Executive Director Mindy A. Bockstein urges Apple to revamp its customer service policies to make it easier and more affordable for consumers to repair an iPhone.

"A high-end cell phone shouldn't have to have low-end customer service," Bockstein wrote.

The iPhone battery loses 20 percent or more of its capacity after 400 cycles, according to Apple's documentation and customers are forced to turn to Apple for replacement.

Apple's three-day battery replacement program allows owners with dead batteries to exchange the dead cells for a $79 service fee plus $6.95 shipping & handling. The service is designed for iPhone owners who only require service because the battery's ability to hold an electrical charge has diminished and will not replace the battery if the device shows signs of damage due to accident or abuse.

Customers can rent an iPhone, while their device is being serviced, but Apple's charges $29, which the New York agency believes is too much. In addition, they suggested that Apple drop the 10 percent restocking fee charged when someone returns an iPhone and reviews its practices that disclose its fine print.

"We ask that Apple review its practices in disclosing contract terms and conditions, warranties and return policies," said Bockstein. In Apple stores and online, these disclosures should be more prominent and conspicuously displayed.

Last month the the Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights warned Apple as well as AT&T about charging iPhone owners for battery replacements, calling on the companies to provide consumers with free and immediate replacements at retail locations for the life of the iPhone.

by MacNN Staff





  1. PookJP

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The iPhone is a wonderful product, but the battery policy seems misguided. Not only is it a genuine inconvenience to consumers of this extremely expensive gadget, but the replacement policy establishes it as quantifiably inferior to its rivals. Plus, it's never a good thing when the populous at large sinks their teeth into an easy-to-chew problem. I still hear that "iPods only last a year!"

  1. bhuot

    Joined: Dec 1969


    How about Microsoft

    Why don't they warn Microsoft about being unfriendly to consumers? There certainly is more evidence there. How about they sell Windows, Office, and Visual Studio for $3, like they do in China, after all it isn't even worth that much.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iPod != iPhone ?

    Why is there so much buzz around the iPhone battery ? The iPod had the same kind of battery for ages with the same service and things are OK now.

  1. myramoki

    Joined: Dec 1969


    get iphone & entitlement

    Okay, color me confused. Is it not the policy of everyone that if you've got a phone, any old phone, and the battery dies, you have to actually BUY a new one? Whats so special about an iPhone that we should be entitled to free lifetime battery service?

    Granted, I think the battery replacement cost is too high, having to send it to Apple is massively inconvenient, the inability to replace it yourself is just plain stupid, etc etc. But I certainly wouldn't expect to just get a new battery for free forever. Last I checked, when you buy a car, they don't give you gas for the life of the car.

  1. Toyin

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Here's a thought

    Apple is not responsible for the technology of how rechargeable lithium batteries function. The battery will still have 80% life after 400 CHARGE CYCLES (not charges). Apple, unlike a lot of other electronic companies, is being upfront BEFORE you buy the phone.

    Don't like it? THEN DON'T BUY THE F**KING PHONE!!!!

    I'm so tired of these frivolous, greedy, and asinine law suits. They just add more expense to the product, which in the end hurts the consumer.

  1. Will53

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iPod and iPhone

    The reason why it is so much buzz about the battery issue, is that this is a phone, not an iPod, although it has an iPod integrated. But an iPod is nothing you can't be without for a few days, but I cannot be without my mobile without risking to lose some jobs. And it is rather inconvenient to have to first go to the nearest Apple dealer which is quite some distance away form where I live in Norway, and then I will have to pay to rent a phone while I am waiting. Instead of just buying the battery and swap it myself, like you can do with every mobile phone in the market - except iPhone. Yes, the battery will probably last longer than the time most will keep the phone, but still. This policy by Apple is unnecessary and annoys customers. So, if a replaceable battery would make the phone 2 millimetres thicker, who'd care? Make it user-friendly in all aspects, I'd say.

  1. PookJP

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: iPhone and Entitlemen

    "Okay, color me confused. Is it not the policy of everyone that if you've got a phone, any old phone, and the battery dies, you have to actually BUY a new one? Whats so special about an iPhone that we should be entitled to free lifetime battery service? "

    You answered your own question in the next paragraph. The issue isn't that the battery won't last forever; no reasonable person would expect that. The issue is that Apple requires its users to be without their phone for 3 days. That's just bad policy. An in-store battery replacement program would fix it.

  1. ViktorCode

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Much buzz about nothing

    Battery policy was made to look like a real problem, but it is not. What percent of all iPods sold had battery problems? How long do you expect to use iPhone? Answering these questions I came to the conclusion that this policy is the last thing I should worry about when using iPhone.

    But of course, if you are going to use iPhone for 5 years or more, then battery policy may get you into a trouble of *gasp* replacing it.

  1. fashizzle

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Give me a break

    "But an iPod is nothing you can't be without for a few days, but I cannot be without my mobile without risking to lose some jobs."

    Are you kidding me?!!! You mean you can't even take a dump without missing a call?! Look what society has turned into - a sea of dorks dependent on gadgets. I bet you have a "bluetoof" earpiece stuck in your head 24/7 too (secretly thinking that you are a modern rendition of the Terminator, or in the least a latte-drinking cyborg sent back to "earf").


  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969


    not the only battery

    This is a classic example of being a victim of one's own success! There are plenty of devices such as shavers, electric toothbrushes and so forth that do not have a user replaceable rechargeable battery. Why is Apple being singled out? Harrumph!

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