When buying an Apple product, the user knows that they are getting a robust, powerful, and well-designed piece of hardware.
Apple have cornered a unique market, where their products are considered very fashionable and for the unique, but at the same time sell millions of units of their iPhone, iPad, and other assorted hardware.
Just as their approach is unique, there are also some individual quirks and potential pitfalls in their warranties. It pays for the user to be aware of these, lest they find themselves with a malfunctioning device and no warranty to cover it.
We will look at some of the facets of the different Apple warranties and illustrate how they work.
The Different Warranty Periods
Apple One-Year Limited Warranty
When it comes to working out how long a device is under warranty for, the answer can be more complicated than expected. Apple, as standard, offers a one year limited warranty with any and all of its products. This means that Apple guarantee that their product – whatever it may be, will operate in a certain way for at least one year.
The ‘Limited’ part of that warranty means that Apple will not fix the device if the user has done certain things that have caused the device to malfunction.
An example would be if the user had opened their iPhone and tinkered with the insides, thus breaking it.
In order to make a claim on their warranty, the user can visit their local Apple store or an Apple-Authorised Service Provider. Alternatively, Apple Support offers a good, quick service over the telephone.
Another useful service offered by Apple and included in their as-standard one-year warranty is telephone support. 90 days from the user’s purchase of an Apple device, they have access to technical help from Apple’s class-leading support helpline.
EU-wide Consumer Laws
The European Union has a raft of laws designed to protect consumers from unscrupulous practices and to ensure that companies give them adequate time to return faulty goods.
In fact, there is a six-year period for UK consumers in which they can, in theory, have faults with their devices fixed by Apple.
In practice, however, there is indeed a six-year window in which a UK consumer can return an item to Apple for repair; there are some important conditions.
The device, in order to qualify, must have been defective upon delivery. EU consumer law does not cover post-operational faults or defects at all. This is entirely covered by Apple’s own warranty.
The burden of proof that a device is faulty or broken rests with the manufacturer – in this case Apple, until 6 months has passed. After this point, the burden falls entirely on the consumer.
Proving that something is inherently broken after half a year is a big ask, and odds are the consumer will fail in their bid.
AppleCare Protection Plan
A paid-for plan, AppleCare is a warranty option that extends every service available to the user, and provides a robust safety net in case of breakage or malfunction.
The pricings and periods of cover differ depending on the device purchased. The MacBook Air plan, for example, comes with a price tag of £199. This includes three years of technical support via telephone and servicing and replacement options for hardware components.
The plan for an iPod Touch or Classic is a more modest £49. Again, this includes Apple’s top class telephone support and two years of additional coverage for the device. The policy also includes cover for up to two incidents of accidental damage. However, these come with a £25 excess fee, so it pays to be aware of these stipulations before buying in.
The AppleCare protection plan offers 3 years of extended cover for a variety of Mac models from Apple Display monitors to Apple TV’s, iPads, iPhones, and iPhones all subject to 2-year plans.
A very important caveat to both of Apple’s above warranty plans is that neither covers damage resulting from liquid.
Every iPhone and iPod manufactured since 2006 has a ‘Liquid Contact Indicator’ installed. This small recess, usually at the side or bottom of the device, is a white or silvery indicator that will turn red if it comes in to contact with water or substances containing water – tea, coffee, soft drinks, etc.
Even a device with the AppleCare Protection Plan will run afoul of this, leaving the user with a damaged, useless phone and no recourse for replacement or repair.
This indicator means that there is a sure fire way for Apple to tell if the phone is water-damaged and, therefore, not their responsibility.
In May 2013, Apple announced new plans for its AppleCare Plan, which would roll out on a trial basis in the US first, with possible movement to Europe later on.
The new outlook hopes to combine an Apple user’s devices, whatever they might be, and have them all covered by a single AppleCare plan.
Apple reasons that this would be cheaper and more convenient for the user, whilst making it simpler for Apple to keep track of a user’s devices and access pertinent information quickly, should technical assistance be required.
There is no solid information on what time scale these new plans would apply for, nor any pricing information as of yet.
When looking at warranties, especially those such as the paid-for AppleCare Protection Plan, reading the small print is key. A warranty, especially one that is paid for, can lose the consumer money on both their damaged device and the clause, should they not be aware of the various stipulations contained therein.
Caveats and sub-clauses, such as the ‘Water Damage’ policy above, outline how there are always loopholes when it comes to such agreements.
The consumer needs to be as aware as possible before making a commitment, and understand their rights to repairs and replacement devices, whilst also having a firm understanding of what will void their warranty.
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