Update on Apple Watch case

Matt Caron found a crack in his Apple Watch’s glass face just three days after his one-year warranty expired. Both Apple and the store (Best Buy) said he didn’t qualify for extended warranty repairs.

“Good news and bad news,” Caron said on Sept. 20. “I’ve been advised that the hardware engineering team agreed with the technician that my watch doesn’t qualify for this support program.”

Apple Canada suggested he go back to Best Buy to ask for free repairs. But since Best Buy denied his claim before, he didn’t have the energy to reach out again.

“Apple then said it would make an exception and fix my screen at no cost to me (normally $300),” Caron continued.

“I was disappointed with the decision. Not that I didn’t want my watch fixed, but I felt Apple didn’t believe my story and failed to address my concerns. Why did this happen and what prevents it from happening again?

“I know I should be happy that the screen will be repaired at no cost, but that is almost secondary to how I was treated and how others are treated with the same watch problem.”

It’s a familiar story. Product makers find a problem with a product, but don’t make it public. They wait for a class action to be filed or a flood of complaints to hit the media.

If the defect is safety-related, companies may issue a recall. But if there’s no immediate danger, they may try to make secret deals with complainants in hopes of avoiding publicity.

So, in the interests of transparency, I’m publicizing this case and asking readers to share it.

Remember the iPhone 6 battery replacement program in 2017? Apple was embarrassed by media reports that it was slowing down the phones to make them last longer and offered a low-cost replacement program as a result of public pressure.

That’s what can happen when frustrated buyers learn about a widespread problem with a product and push for reform.

Author: Ellen Roseman

Consumer advocate and personal finance author and instructor.

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