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AppleCare+ may mean end of informal free iPhone replacements

updated 01:20 pm EDT, Tue October 11, 2011

Options for adding plan unclear

Apple is halting a policy of occasionally waiving the replacement fee for damaged, out-of-warranty iPhones, an Apple Store source claims. For some time the company has allowed Genius Bar workers to toss out the $199 replacement fee as a "one-time exception," the source explains. With the advent of AppleCare+, however, Geniuses will allegedly be blocked from offering free replacements at all. The AppleCare+ plan offers extended warranty coverage, but unless a phone is defective people must pay $49 each time for the first two repairs/replacements, and a higher amount if anything should happen afterward.

Complicating the situation is that many carriers and other vendors are reportedly selling the iPhone 4S without an AppleCare+ option. Apple itself requires that AppleCare+ be bought at the same time as an iPhone, which may potentially block some 4S buyers from ever having the extra coverage. The company's sales representatives are said to be offering different solutions, such as just calling Apple to get the option, or bringing an unopened 4S to an Apple Store.

The source does add though that people who don't get AppleCare+ with an original iPhone purchase should still be able to add it to a later replacement device. Under such circumstances the replacement fee will be discounted by $50, bringing the overall cost down to $249. AppleCare+ is formally launching on Friday for $99.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Pixelsmack

    Joined: Dec 1969


    So it begins. The downfall of Apple...again.

    The board members are messing with things that don't need messing with.


    All for the sake of typical Capitalistic greed they will gut Apple. Sure Apple was greedy with Jobs, but in far less corporate typical and smarter ways. This kind of c*** is something I'd expect from HP, Dell or Microsoft.

    Way to go.

  1. c4rlob

    Joined: Dec 1969


    the meaning of +

    I like that they used a +.
    Kinda stands in contrast to Google's use of + since Google fails at providing quality customer care for any of its services/products.

  1. MacTech84

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I agree...

    I recently had a Genius Bar appointment for my mac when I couldn't help but overhear what the guy next to me was saying because of the commotion he was creating. His phone was absolutely obliterated, he flat out told the person helping him that he threw the phone after it made him angry, and then proceeded to DRIVE OVER IT! He then expected Apple to replace it for this unofficial exception and I couldn't help but think this guy is nuts.

    Don't get me wrong this is an absurd situation but from a friend of mine that works for Apple, this is all not uncommon. Sure they are at record profits but come on, there is a limit in which someone has to finally say no to this type of c***. Seriously, if you break your own s***, you should pay for it.

  1. LenE

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Now I can go into an Apple Store, and get what I didn't know I had to get up front. Unfortunately, I have to stare at that unopened sealed box (once it comes), until I can find my way to the nearest store, two hours away...

  1. qazwart

    Joined: Dec 1969



    According to Stupid Apple Rumors:, almost 78% of the rumors are outright wrong.

    AppleCare+ might be extra coverage, but it probably isn't replacing the Genius' ability to handle customers as they see fit. Replacement of out of warranty products isn't something the Genius' do all the time. When the Geniuses are typing away on that Mac sitting in front, they're looking at your Apple buying history. If you've bought a new Mac every other year for the last two decades; you have an iPod Touch, and an iPhone; you've brought in a phone that's in good condition; and your warranty expired just a few weeks ago, they're going to replace your iPhone.

    If on the other hand, you've come in with a phone that's been thrown down, stomped on, and run over a half dozen times, and you're warranty has expired, good luck.

    This is not Best Buy. Apple has one of the best trained sales workforces in the world, and Apple gives that workforce a great leeway. This is especially true with the people behind the Genius bar. They're allowed, without any manager approval, override out of warranty conditions, and even offer on the spot replacement instead of repair.

    These people are trained to appraise the situation, look at customer history, and make their own decisions. It's one of the reasons why buying at an Apple Store is such a nice experience, and Apple would be foolish to futz around with it.

  1. jdonahoe

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The + is $30

    Other than spelling out a set exchange rate, the Applecare+ is no different than the older Applecare. I made the mistake of buying an Applecare for iPhone last week in anticipation of getting an iphone on Friday. Now it looks like I'm going to pay an extra $30 for the same service.

    I will say that I have had nothing but good results from the Genius Bar, even though the closest Apple Store is 60 miles away.

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