My first defective iPhone – AppleCare Warranty Case – A True Story! – The Broken Power Button.

Apple’s customer support is not really really having a good reputation in the EU, especially since they tried first to limit the 2 years warranty to 1 despite it’s an EU law. I have been an early adopter of the shiny new iOS7 and installed the beta, Especially I was happy about the new looks, the new notification center, the control center and the new photo app and the improved multi-tasking.

Then suddenly I notied with the latest beta version, that the Power Button reacted slow on input, I thought this was due to a bug in iOS 7. In the night of last Thursday, when Apple released the new iOS7 in its final version, I had the problem like others that the device crashed while updating and ntoiced that the combination to reset the phone didn’t work well either. I thought damn, the bug is still there. and opened a case under the topic related to firware issues. I was then seeing a message on the screen with “you have decided to call Apple later.

Hotline hours Monday-Sundy.

Your Case Number (You might be asked for this).”

On the following Saturday, I noticed that the problem with the unresponsive power button worsened and decided to google to see whether it’s a known “common” problem.

I found then this (in German). It was exactly as described and pictured there and as in the youtube embedded video: First the right side of the button gets unresponsive, the next step would be that the full button fails.

Since I am a very fair seller and I wouldn’t like to sell a partly damaged phone to a co-worker, friend or on ebay (and I am proud of my 100% positive profile. No neutral no negative ever!) I decided I call them on Sunday. The welcoming message said, Sunday, only limited support is available and when I provided my case number I was told to try again on Monday. So I decided to go without case number this time and was transfered to a German agent that asked standard questions like serial number, IMEI, AppleID, iOS version. When I told him I have a case ID already, he checked it up, found the case ID but said all fields were empty, no AppleID connection, no Serial Number, no error description or IMEI of the iPhone 5 in question. He assumed I didn’t fill the info. When I told him that I didn’t receive a copy by email, he told me I was supposed to call the next day as this happened. I asked him “How I am supposed to know? I got my case ID and thought it’s like at all customer support systems that this is containing all info and my problem”. I told him I first assumed it was caused by a bug in iOS7 rather than anything else, when I found out yesterday that the problem worsened, on the last day of thw 1 year manufacturer warranty covered by AppleCare. He tried to send me to the trader as by EU law this is aupposed to cover the 2nd year of limited warranty as I am 1 day over the manufacturer warranty now becase the ticket is empty. I told him, I didn’t not fill anything, I was simply not asked for additional information but was forwarded straight to the screen with “you have decided to call Apple later.” .

I have told him I noticed problems on Thursday night already when the iOS7 was released but I thought it was because of a software issue but just found out on the last day of the 1 year manufacturer warranty that it’s a hardware failure but that was after Apple’s hotline times. And I would rather not deal with my trader (in this case O2 Germany – Telefonica who are slow … (reports on the internet say O2 takes 4 weeks and longer as told e.g. in this thread of O2 Germany’s forum). I surely didn’t feel like waiting for that long.

The Apple Supporter put me on hold and told me a few minutes later a repair ID number and that UPS will pick it up while I am on holidays the coming week (and guess what, an UPS driver really came at 6 PM today and picked it up! 🙂 ).

We had a few cases of AppleCare returns with iPads at work, and in both cases they rather replaced the device with a new one instead of repairing the device that was sent in. I assume the same will happen with mine!

If you are interested to learn about the power button problem in English, check this.

If you are interested on the EU law rules for warranty and how Apple modified their tables according to it, check this (in German).

Interestingly, the power button problem has also been seen on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s previously. However the difference is: in such cases, it was long after the warranty, while the iPhone 5 powerbuttons, if they break, usually break within the warranty time!

An English video of the faulty button can be found on youTube here.

All in all, I am glad I found this out before it was too late. And the Apple Supporter was nice enough to believe my (seriously true!) story!

I can understand how Apple tried on the phone to protect itself from warranty fraud/misuse, but I felt like I was seriously not responsible for the faulty ticketing system that didn’t even request any info and only provided a case number without any user info, device info or error description!

Luckily, I was believed!

This is my 2nd experience with Apple’s customer support and can say I am happy with how I was helped!

Thank you, Apple!

And the new owner of my old iPhone 5 will be happy to get a wonderful shiny and 100% working device for his money! 🙂

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