Apple cuts 30-day iPhone return policy to 14 days ahead of Angela Ahrendts’ arrival

Apple has reduced their 30-day iPhone return policy to 14 days ahead of Angela Ahrendts’ arrival

“It was the second such cutback in as many weeks. At the end of February 9to5Mac reported that Apple will be charging $19 per incident for out-of-warranty chat support that used to be free,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt writes for Fortune. “The timing of these changes — in late February and early March — is interesting. Spring is only a week away, and spring is when Angela Ahrendts, the former CEO of Burberry’s, is expected to move into her new role as Apple’s new senior vice president for retail, reporting directly to Tim Cook.”

“Apple seems to have learned from the Browett debacle,” P.E.D. writes. “If cutbacks in Apple’s vaunted service and support need to be made, better to make them before Angela Ahrendts arrives.”

Full article here.

19 Comments

  1. Cook seems to have learned his lesson here. Get the bad news out of the way before the new retail chief steps into office. Not sure why he’s doing it now; maybe it’s to deflect any criticism of Ahrendts to show how great a hire she is.

    Any way you look at it the bean counters have taken over, and it doesn’t look good. Cook’s natural reaction is to cheapen the product at the expense of user experience. iOS 7 is a prime example of that. Tasteless man.

  2. They really need to figure out a way to offer an extended Apple Care that the customer can purchase before the previously purchased Apple care runs out. Maybe paid chat and phone support is their solution, but I would prefer that it looked more like Apple Care.

  3. Removing benefits is never a good idea no matter the timing. It is not like Apple is losing money as a result of some exceedingly generous return policy. This sends a bad signal all around. Apple, get off your high horse now or watch your advantage slowly seep away.

    1. Actually, it does cost them money. The returned phones cannot be resold as new. Also, they are just matching the policy of all of their competitors, which also makes most of their carrier partners happier as well.

      In any case, does anyone really need a month to figure out if they want to keep a phone or not?

      Remember, this policy is RETURNS, not replacement if something is wrong with the phone. Regarding replacement, I’ve found Apple to be more generous by far than the competition.

    2. bean counters are starting to assert themselves….

      mr. apple is making money hand over fist, they can afford the minimum cost of retaining the 30 day limit. there are not that many people who return stuff.

      they are fools to endanger their good reputation for customer care and service. it is one of the things that sets them apart from the rest.

      as a consumer i like to feel like i am getting a fair deal, and do not like feeling as though i am getting chiseled – cutting back on the 30 day limit is chiseling, by reducing a pre-existing standard.

      not a good move. hope they reverse this one

  4. What was wrong with the 30 day return policy?

    I don’t know how to spin this positively, because where I’m standing, it looks like Apple is just dicking over some of their customers in the hopes of making slightly more money. If anything, Apple should spend more to improve support and services, to defy the laziness and greed that naturally tends to afflict companies when they make it to the top.

  5. Bad move, Apple. Your legendary customer support is one of the things that generates your immense brand loyalty. Stuff like this sacrifices that reputation for a few extra dollars, and it will cost Apple in the end.

    … Why am I directing that at Apple? It’s not like anyone from there (or at least, anyone in a high enough position to matter) reads this site or its comments.

  6. More pissed about the phone support ding than the return policy. Fourteen days is plenty to change your mind. But the tech support has always been great at Apple way way way back. With profit maritime so the envy of the world, this is something Apple can afford. That being said, while Apple’s ‘computer’ margins are small comparably to others and support can help sales, their dominance in tablets could be affecting tech support. This may also signal Apple marginalizing their computer lines in favor of tablets. Either way, it’s sad to Apple charging for calls.

    1. You do realize that Apple has always charged for phone support right? Apple’s devices come with 90 days of complimentary phone support, or 2 years for iOS and 3 for Macs of free phone support with Apple Care. It’s only their chat support that they will now come in line with phone support and charge if you are past 90 days or have no Apple Care.

  7. How could this possibly be a good idea? Those who praise this move are taking RDF fanboyism to a whole new level. These are the same people who’d be fine if the iPhone screen was still 3.5 inches with iOS still remarkably unable to multi-task. A bunch of complacent suckers. You disgust me.

  8. M$ lost money on the Xbox for years, yet now they have big marketshare in that category.
    Apple could lose money(or an interest point) on customer service and in the long run get more customers by being flexible and giving good truly human service. Even if they are winning on customer service already, they should lose money widening that gap. An elephant never forgets, nor do I. Some people still have principles. I paid over $200.00 at an Apple Store for a new iMac SuperDrive that had a disk stuck inside, then I asked for the old one back(I paid for it), but they would not even let me see the old one, must less have it back. They said it was in the small print that I had signed. I only wanted to see it for proof that they actually replaced it. I will never ever forget that and, though I love their products, don’t trust Apple customer service henceforth as far as I can spit.

  9. I wish Apple had just left things the way they had been, but then again, I ain’t running the company.

    Apple’s support has always been superb for us, and we’ve been Apple customers for 25 years. When one of our dogs chewed through the cable to my 30″ monitor, Apple replaced the cable free of charge after our warranty expired, not that it should have covered a cable chewed in half by a dog in the first place.

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