Apple recently announced a replacement program for its customers that may have been affected by a faulty sleep/wake button on their iPhone 5. According to a statement of the firm, a “small percentage” of handsets manufactured after March 2013 have been facing issues with the sleep/wake button mechanisms that prevent the smartphone from being turned on or off or locked in the usual way. Now Apple will be offering another alternate to these customers. The company will offer an extra $80 to the owners who are interested in a trade-in for their qualifying faulty iPhone 5 smartphones.
However, Apple is giving this additional credit only to customers who specifically ask for an upgrade at the Apple retail stores. Moreover, the phone must be in perfect working order, apart from the sleep/awake button issues. This means if an owner has front screen issues or any other problem with the phone, they will not be offered the extra $80 credit, even if their phone’s serial number qualifies. Furthermore, Apple also requires the devices to be upgraded to iOS 7 before the replacement is carried out.
This offer is also valid only to Apple iPhone 5 customers with qualifying faulty devices in the US, who may receive up to $350 in credit for their phones when they trade-in their device. This amount is $80 higher than the maximum being offered to customers with non-affected iPhone 5.
Interestingly, this trade-in offer will not be publicized on the media and Apple retail store employees have been instructed to inform the customers only when they ask about options to upgrade to an iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c. According to 9to5mac, Apple may have taken the decision not to publicize this deal for fear that customers may feel that they are being lured towards upgrading their phones with new contracts, when that is not the case.
Meanwhile, for those customers who just wish to avail the free repair deal, Apple has launched a dedicated support web page for their replacement program. The support website contains instructions for iPhone 5 device owners and guides them through the process of how to check their smartphone’s serial number to see if they qualify for the free repair.
If a customer does qualify for the program, he or she can send the device for an inspection through the mail or take the smartphone to an Apple store or authorized service provider from where the phone will be sent to an Apple Repair Center for servicing. Before sending or taking in the phone, the owner of the device has been instructed by the firm to back up all their data and erase their information and settings.
Additionally, if they are taking their phones to an authorized service provider or to an Apple store, they may also choose to get a 16GB iPhone 5 on loan while their smartphone is being fixed, which may be as long as six days.
The replacement program is already underway in the US and Canada since Friday, Apr. 25 and will commence in other countries from May 2. The replacement deal is also good for up to two years from the date the affected smartphone was purchased in case the sleep/wake button problem arises at a later period. On a related note, it is not known for how long Apple will offer $80 credit on upgrades since the firm has not said much on the trade-in deal so far.
Apple is also offering a refund to the customers who may have paid for an out-of-warranty replacement to rectify this issue. However, this refund offer does not extend for any other issues iPhone 5 owners may have faced.
It is very rare for Apple to offer free fixes for their products so this replacement program and the trade-in credit offer of an extra $80 for qualifying faulty iPhone 5 devices are quite a surprise. It will not be an exaggeration to assume that Apple has gone the extra mile to offer better customer services to maintain their customer base and keep the loyalty of the fans intact.
By Faryal Najeeb