**PSA: This post is going to detail my very unfortunate experiences with Apple lately. If you are a huge Apple fan and/or not interested in reading my complaints, come back to tomorrow for more running related fun :)
Annnnd the iPhone saga continues....
Remember that weekend from hell I had a few months ago (here) which was capped off by me having to replace my 18 month old iPhone at full price?! Yeah, so it turns out the new phone I bought wasn't new at all (didn't know that at the time), and I already started having problems with it, less than 3 months after I bought it (unbelievable). When I purchased the phone back in April (for $269 I might add), I was told I was getting a new phone at a great deal. Yeah right! So, I wondered why this new phone only came with a 90 day warranty, but I made sure to keep track of the time in case I had any issues before that very limited warranty expired. Well, a few weeks ago, I already started having issues with this "new" phone! I would get the white Apple freeze screen randomly and the phone would just shut off (this began to happen frequently right before my other phone completely died). The touch screen would intermittently just stop working. And it would also intermittently not accept a charge unless I removed and reinserted the charger. After having gone through what I did 3 months ago, with a phone that didn't even last 2 years, and now one that hasn't even made it 3 months, I had pretty much reached my breaking point with Apple.
This time, I marched into the Apple store Friday night with a clear head and guns blazing. I thought about my experience there back in April, when I was sad, complacent and kept apologizing to THEM for being upset over something that was not my fault, and decided this appointment was going to be very very different. (I told you my thinking and attitude had changed over vacation; I was serious.) I was determined not to leave without a new phone in hand. There was absolutely no way I would let the 90 day warranty pass on this one, and then be out another $269 when the already failing phone ultimately died.
I checked in, then waited a few moments until the customer service rep who was assigned to me came over. She was friendly and listened to me as I explained the issues, then hooked the phone up to her iPad to get the diagnostics. The only issue she saw was that the battery performance had decreased, but she told me she didn't see any hardware or software problems. Her solution? Make sure to turn off the phone completely 2-5 times a week and buy a new charging cord because there's probably something wrong with it. (Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that the "new" phone I bought back in April didn't even come with a new charger?!) I assured her my charging cord was fully intact and in great condition, and told her neither of her 'solutions' were going to solve the problem of having a defective phone. I told her since I was still under the 90 day warranty, I'd like an exchange for another phone so that I don't get screwed out of another $269 if I come back next month and the phone is dead. She said, "Ok, we'll get you a new phone", and proceeded to leave. When she came back her story changed. She said she could not get me a new phone unless she could replicate the problem in the store. I told her I had no control over what she could replicate or whether the phone would decided to act up in the 20 mins I was sitting inside the store, but regardless I would not be leaving without a new phone. (HELLO NEW JILL!) I then asked for her manager.
When the next guy came walking over to the table, I recognized him instantly. He was, frankly, a giant d-bag to me when I was in in April. He preyed on my emotions at that last appointment and was condescending and rude. I contemplated writing a letter of complaint to the store or Apple corporate back then, but had had such a trying weekend I just wanted to put it all behind me. My major sticking point back in April was that Apple was manufacturing $800 pieces of technology that they wagered would only last 1 year (hence their measly 1 year warranty on new phones). It is absolutely unacceptable that Apple banks on people upgrading their phones every 2 years and so designs their components to die on or before that time frame. When I explained that a phone dying after 18 months was unacceptable to me, this jerk responded "That's just how things are made these days". Really?! Is this the kind of person Apple wants representing their brand?!
So when he came sauntering up to me Friday night I was absolutely determined not be demeaned by him again. I simply explained the issues I was having (again) and told him I'd like a replacement phone since I was still under the 90 day warranty. He gave me the same line stating if he couldn't replicate the problem in the store, he couldn't exchange it. I told him I wasn't leaving with a defective phone and would stay until he replaced it. He said, "That's fine, we're open til 9 tonight. You can sit here until then". WTF?! How does this person even have a job here?! He proceeded to then somehow blame the phone not working on me. He said, "Did you set this up as a new phone when you received it, and not from backup like we told you to? I assured him I did, to which he replied, "Well maybe you made a mistake". I shot back in the sternest voice imaginable, "No, I don't really make mistakes". (Haha, where did that come from?!!? Sheer anger I guess.) It was then that I asked to speak with the highest store manager present. He told me they were extremely busy and he'd see what he could do. He came back a little while later and I asked him if he was getting the manager. He told me the manager would just tell me exactly what he did and there was no way I'd be able to get a new phone. He then said I should go home and "Call Apple". I told him I would not be wasting my time doing that. That I was sitting here right now and this would be resolved tonight.
The store manager finally came over, and I gotta say, this guy was about a million times nicer than self-righteous tech guy. I explained my problems again (3rd time) along with what I went through 3 months ago and told him that at this point I may never buy an iPhone again. I told him I absolutely would not leave until I got a working phone since the warranty on this one was about to expire. It was also at this point I explained how dissatisfied I was that I was misled into thinking I was getting a NEW phone back in April, when in fact, it was refurbished. He told me that refurbished didn't really mean 'used' and many of the components were new. Perhaps they just used 1 screw from an old phone but everything else was new. UM RIGHT. The store manager gave me the same spiel about them not being able to replicate the problem, therefore being unable to replace it. I said, "I don't care what you have to do, I am not leaving without a new phone." He kept saying he "understood my frustrations" (yeah, sure you do, it's not your money) but his hands were tied. He then left and came back a few minutes later. At this point, his tone changed and he said "Ok, we're going to make a 1 time exception and get you a new phone". FINALLY!!! I actually couldn't believe they were going to do THE RIGHT THING. Apple is a multi gazillion dollar company. A "new", used phone probably costs them about 5 cents. But to someone like me, another $300 is a huge expense, especially for something that isn't my fault!!! The store manager gave me his card to get in touch with him in the event I had any future problems and then said the tech manager would be handling everything for the exchange. Oh greeaaat.
Horrendous tech dude comes back out and says "So it looks like we're getting you a new phone". THAT'S RIGHT I said triumphantly. I guess not being able to screw me over anymore took quite the toll on his ego. He took his time doing the paperwork for the new phone and in the meantime, I started copying down all my contacts, which I lost last time, since I would once again have to set this up from scratch. When he came back out with the "new" (ie. refurbished) phone, he was oddly nicer to me. I'm guessing the store manager instructed him to change his demeanor but who knows. He opened the box and as I took a look at the replacement phone I noticed a huge scratch in the metal along one side. He said "Oh I'm so sorry, I've literally never seen that before" and continued telling me how these refurbished phones are always in perfect condition. (Riiiiiight). Anyway, I told him I would not be taking a damaged phone. So, this meant him having to go get another phone and re-doing all the exchange paperwork. When he came back out, he asked me to inspect the phone before we proceeded and this one was even worse! There was dirt underneath the glass all around the edge of the phone and the home button was all sticky!! I put it down and told him I would definitely not be taking that phone. He asked me to show him the defects, which I did, and then became extremely irritated as he would have to re-do the paperwork for a 3rd time. Not my fault dude. Complain to Apple or your tech guys who are trying to sell consumers dirty, defective used phones for $300.
In the past, I would have apologized profusely at this point, even though nothing here was my fault. I apologize all the time for things that aren't my fault, but I have started to realize what an extremely detrimental habit this is. Therefore, I did not apologize. I just told him I was going to need a defect-free phone. When he came out with the 3rd one I inspected it thoroughly and didn't find any obvious defects so I told him that one would do. He finished the paperwork, and then was actually nice enough to offer to help me set up the phone and was even able to save my contacts this time. He didn't hesitate getting in one last jab though - "You realize this was a 1 time exception. If you have issues with the new phone, even during the 90 day warranty, we're not giving you a new phone." Well, I can assure you sir, that if I do have problems with this "new" phone, I will mostly certainly be returning for it to be repaired or replaced at no cost to me. Good night.
All in all I wasted over 2 hours of my Friday night in the Apple store, for a problem that should have never existed with a 2 1/2 month old "new" phone in the first place. I am quite frankly extremely disgusted by the current quality of Apple products, along with their business practices and customer service. I will be sending my complaint to them directly and probably to their Towson store as well so that they can see firsthand what I was put through - through no fault of my own. I am so glad I didn't take no for an answer or let their attempts to blame me or put me down discourage my drive to make them do the right thing.
I've had an iPhone since 2009 but at this point I'm seriously considering switching to an Android model. If anyone has experience with Samsung Galaxy or something along those lines I'd love to hear your input!
**I don't like this blog to be a place of negativity but felt this story needed to be told, in the hopes Apple would be made aware and held accountable.
The rest of my weekend was relaxed and fairly lovely, and included exploring a new hiking trail with a friend, so there's that. Hope you all had a better Friday night and a great weekend :)
Have you ever had terrible customer service experience with a company?