Apple’s ‘unlawful’ warranty practices may drive repair policy changes

MacBook /

While many value AppleCare and AppleCare+ extended warranties for their favorite devices, consumers have long had complaints about them. In a recent ZDNet article, contributor Zack Whittaker noted that the European Union has been pushing Apple to change its policies, calling its current warranty practices “unlawful.” Apple vice president Tara Bunch recently discussed potentially switching to a subscription-based model for both its AppleCare and AppleCare+ warranties at an internal company meeting, reported AppleInsider.

In 2011, Italian authorities fined Apple the equivalent of $1.2 million for misleading advertising with its AppleCare plans, with European Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding calling the company's practices “unacceptable” and noting that Apple “failed to clearly indicate the consumers' automatic and free-of-cost entitlement to a minimum two-year guarantee under EU law,” ZDNet reported. While Apple appealed the fine, it did not win the case, eventually changing its policies with a few minor tweaks in wording.

With the reported possible change to subscription-based support, existing warranty plans would be turned into a new support program called “One Apple,” which would allow a subscriber to gain tech support for all the devices it owns rather than requiring separate purchases on a per-device basis. The current AppleCare and AppleCare+ plans extend phone tech support and hardware repair coverage, enabling Apple users to use their coveted devices longer. As Whittaker noted, this news closely follows Adobe's announcement that it would be switching its support services to a subscription model.

Possible repair changes on the horizon
Ars Technica contributor Andrew Cunningham also reported on the AppleCare developments, noting that while the report did not indicate what the exact terms of pricing or coverage length of the alleged subscription plan would be, it does suggest that it would include 24/7 phone support and in-store training.

“Apple will also reportedly changed the way that iOS devices are repaired,” Cunningham wrote. “Currently, devices that break under warranty are swapped out for new ones, and the damaged units are sent to Apple presumably to be refurbished and re-sold. Under the new system, common hardware issues (problems with the speakers, receivers, home buttons, vibrator motors and batteries) will actually be fixable in-store, and customers will have their device repaired and returned to them rather than replaced outright. More advanced repairs (displays, cameras, power buttons and logic boards) will become possible in-store during the summer.”

While most of what is known about the potential policy changes has not been confirmed, many are speculating that the new program specs are unrealistic. After years of frustration with existing policies, many Apple device owners have already been irreparably turned off to the idea of purchasing additional support from the company. IResQ has been proud to provide alternative options for many years, offering more affordable iPhone, iPad, iPod and MacBook repair services that allow those frustrated with Apple red tape to maintain their favorite devices.

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