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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > iPhone, iPad & iPod > Apple Falsely Accused me of tampering with my iPhone..now I'm out $1000+

Apple Falsely Accused me of tampering with my iPhone..now I'm out $1000+
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Falsely_Accused
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Join Date: Feb 2015
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Feb 19, 2015, 01:12 AM
 
TLDR: Apple won't replace my under-warranty iPhone 5S, even though they agree it has a hardware issue that would normally covered, because a sticker with the serial number inside the phone is "mis-aligned" indicating tampering. The phone has never been 'tampered with/opened' at least ever since I got it from the Apple store.
  • I bought (unlocked from the Apple store) my iPhone 5S on the day it came out.
  • In July 2014 I had it replaced under warranty in the Apple Store
  • Fast-forward to today when I had another hardware issue (screen turning blue and in constant reboot cycle). I took it into the Apple store and was told that it was a hardware issue and they would replace the phone but they just needed to "run some tests" first.
  • 30 minutes later I was informed that the phone would not be replaced because they (a technician and two different managers) have seen an internal serial-number sticker that is mis-aligned which supposedly proves my phone has been opened
  • My phone has never left my possession since I received in from the Apple store as a replacement in July
  • This phone has never been taken in for any type of service by ANYONE since I received it from the Apple store
  • I have never attempted (nor would I even know how) to open my phone
  • I asked the Apple store to take photos of whatever sticker they say was mis-aligned and they did but they refused to show me the photos (they said it was confidential or something that made no sense) but did promise to upload the photos to my Apple file so that they could be reviewed centrally by an engineer
This is absolutely bizarre. What possible motivation would I have to take my phone to non-certified repair technician when it's currently under Apple care (meaning if I took it anywhere else I'd have to pay)?!? The only theory the manager in the store could suggest is maybe someone would open the phone to remove evidence of water damage but I asked and she confirmed that the sensor (or whatever it is maybe just a chemical thing) inside that checks for water damage did not indicate any such damage.

I am completely cutoff from my business, friends and family. I can't afford a new phone at the moment and have no idea how I can prove to Apple that what they're accusing me of is totally false and unfair.
Has this happened to anyone here before? Can anyone suggest a possible recourse? How can I prove my innocence?

Current Status (will provide updates here with latest news): I have escalated the issue on the phone to a Tier 2 technician who sent a request for an engineer to review the photos. I have also complained to Apple Customer Relations who said I should wait for the engineer's result to come back but if they agree with the store then I am out of luck.
     
andi*pandi
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: inside 128, north of 90
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Feb 19, 2015, 01:07 PM
 
did they take the phone from you? If they've refused to work on it why didn't they give it back?

Is it possible they gave you a refurb when it was replaced in july 2014?

Odd.

Which apple store, and are there others nearby?
     
Falsely_Accused  (op)
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Feb 19, 2015, 01:41 PM
 
did they take the phone from you? If they've refused to work on it why didn't they give it back?
Yes they gave me my phone back and supposedly added photos of the inside to my cloud-based internal file
Is it possible they gave you a refurb when it was replaced in july 2014?
The replacement phone I received in July appeared to be the same as any replacement phone I've received from Apple (I've owned every iPhone since the first one so I've had a few). Aren't all replacement phones technically 'refurbs' that go through a factory process?
Which apple store, and are there others nearby?
Fairview Mall in Toronto, I will try talking to the manager of the store that gave me the replacement phone today. There are definitely a few stores in Toronto.
     
FireWire
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Location: Montréal, Québec (Canada)
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Feb 20, 2015, 04:00 PM
 
Companies will try to find any reason not to honor the warranty.. my girlfriend had been having problem with her blackberry for some time and when she try to have it fixed, the young lady (which is not a technician) "discovered" that one of the battery connector was a bit off (by less than a mm) and that she "damaged" her phone, making it ineligible for warranty. This pin was due to the frequent removing of the battery to reboot the phone when it was frozen and was normal wear and tear (especially since I could put it as it was before with my nail..).

for your problem, even if you did open it, I'm pretty sure they have to honor the warranty anyway. They have to prove that you caused damage by messing inside. The simple fact of opening it is not enough. For the same reason a car company can't end the warranty if you changed the oil yourself or used another brand of parts, as long as the part or work you did didn't cause any damage related to the current claim.
     
ghporter
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: San Antonio TX USA
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Feb 21, 2015, 09:57 AM
 
Contact AppleCare. Tell them your situation. Having had my 4s replaced THREE times, I can tell you that it's almost certain that your replacement 5s was a refurb, not new. AppleCare will be able to chase down that particular phone's history. If you give them a chance, they will likely fix this issue for you.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
   
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