Apple whinge

Wet iPhone

I have an iPhone 3G which I bought a year ago and it’s safe to say I love it dearly and can’t live without it. I am also extremely careful with it even to the extent of always having a napkin on my desk for it to rest on so that it doesn’t get scratched. Anally retentive you ask? Mais oui.

Recently though, the battery performance had become steadily worse to the point a few weeks back when it reached the point of being “officially crap”. So, given that is still under warranty and the official specs say standby time of 300 hours compared with the 5 hours I was actually getting, I thought it was worth trying for a warranty replacement.

I gave the phone to Mobistar, the retailer I bought it from, and they sent it away to the Apple designated repairer, Dynafix. I was quietly confident given the pristine condition of my phone and the truly crappy battery life. However, a couple of days later I was dumbfounded to receive notification that my phone warranty was void due to water damage. Water damage?! My phone had never been anywhere near water unless you count the sweat from my hand when holding it on a warm day (and no, I don’t sweat that much!).

Accordingly I replied with dissatisfaction and requested a second assessment and explanation as to how my iPhone could be water-damaged when it has never been wet. Some days later I received the same standard un-thinking reply – water damaged, warranty void. I was offered the options of purchasing a replacement (non-current model) 3G for 385€ (US$500), having it returned unrepaired, or (kindly I thought) they would dispose of my phone in an environmentally friendly way.

I was feeling distinctly litigious at this point and I replied confirming they should send it back unrepaired and also requesting contact details of Apple so I could make a formal complaint about how, if my phone really is water-damaged, it is not fit for purpose. A week later my phone was returned to Mobistar and I, tellingly, received no reply to my email. I’ve just sent them another email strongly requesting they provide a channel for complaint. I’m always very suspicious of companies that will only provide email contact details and no phone numbers so you can’t yell at them!

My phone is functioning as it was when I sent it, perfectly normally yet briefly due to impaired battery life. I am planning to replace it myself as there are several places where you can purchase fresh batteries. I’m hoping this will actually solve the problem.

Of course, during this saga (why is everything in my life a saga…?) I consulted the Oracle (Google) on whether there were any other cases of battery failure being blamed on water damage. It seems there are… thousands. Including lawsuits (in the US) and general whingeing everywhere else. I am not alone! I guess there is not a lot I can do about it although I do intend to continue emailing Dynafix every day for the rest of my life until they reply. Can I automate that? I will report back on the success or otherwise of my iPhone surgery once I have the new battery. For now I just have charging points available everywhere – desk at work, desk at home, car, and next to bed…

I’d like to say that I now hate Apple and I’ll never buy another Apple product and I did actually tell Mobistar and Dynafix that in a moment of petulance, but I was lying. I still find my iPhone incredibly useful and I’m looking forward to the next enhanced generation with excitement. Let’s just hope it doesn’t leak as much.

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    • Kevan
    • May 21st, 2010

    They said the same to me. It never got wet and they just say water damage. I HATE DYNAFIX and my mobile operator. My phone is only 5months old. I can’t believe it they ask me 50eur just to get it back unrepaired and 250eur to repair it. They are fucking insane. I am so mad. I m going to contact my lawyer. This is ridiculous!!!

    • Yep. And there doesn’t seem to be anything I can do about it. Now they just don’t reply to my emails at all.

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