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Bite back at Apple and their service

iPhone maker caught slowing older devices – how to get redress

Apple has been caught slowing down older iPhones. Whilst customers might suspect that this was done to encourage them to upgrade their devices, the company said in a statement, quoted on the BBC website, that it “wanted to prolong the life” of those devices.

The BBC News article says that “Apple has now confirmed that it made changes to IOS to manage ageing lithium-ion batteries in some devices, since the batteries’ performance diminishes over time.” The company is further quoted as saying that “Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, [when they] have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components.”

The company’s statement continues “Last year, we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future. Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers.”

In the US some 15 class actions have been started against Apple and the comments on that article are interesting too.

In an attempt to regain favour, Apple is reducing the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement by £54 — from £79 to £25 — for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later. Apple’s statement on the 28th December 2017 A Message to Our Customers about iPhone Batteries and Performance

cables Apple caught slowing down batteriesCan you beat Apple? Yup

On 15 January 2013 I bought an IPhone 4s. The Terms and Conditions told me that I had a one year warranty in addition to my consumer rights. Readers of this blog and followers of me on Facebook and Twitter know what I think of warranties. If you are new here you need to know that I am yet to find a warranty that gives you more than your statutory rights. Often this “Look at us giving you a free warranty for however many years” is to throw you off the scent. Most people would think that after their free warranty of a year or two that’s it they can’t get anything if things go wrong. WRONG.

What the Apple warranty does do is say you can claim using the warranty or your consumer rights. Where this may be helpful is that consumer rights would mean your contract is with the seller which may not always be Apple. The warranty is with the manufacturer Apple in this instance. Although cynically I know that most people would go into an Apple store and be told that the phone is out of warranty and then be out of pocket. Now, that isn’t right. I know it isn’t right and said so when my phone battery was cutting out at 40%.

Well, in March 2016 I’d had enough of the situation and went to the Apple store. The conversation went something like this:

bite back at Apple & get a free battery on picture of mobile phone with The Complaining Cow logo on itMe: My phone’s battery is cutting out at roughly 40% charge. I’d like a replacement battery for free.

Member of staff: Is your phone under warranty?

Me: No, it is over 3 years old.

Member of staff: We can’t replace it for free then.

Me: Under the Sale of Goods Act 1994 goods are expected to last a reasonable length of time. I expect a battery for a phone to last more than 3 years. (Ensure now that that you would use the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

Member of staff: Oh, your consumer rights, let me take the phone for you and change the battery over.

They changed the battery successfully, easily and for free.

So, Apple, you can be pretty damn sure if you’ve slowed down my battery on my iPhone 5s I’ll be after a free battery.

What does this mean for the current situation?

You could try what I did. Say that under the Consumer Rights Act 2015  you are entitled to products that last a reasonable length of time.

The iPhone was released in September 2014 so you are looking at the same length of time for the battery as mine, or indeed less.

In this instance of Apple slowing the battery down I would argue that it hasn’t lasted a reasonable length of time and therefore is a breach of consumer law. Even if they argue they have slowed it down to lengthen its life, there shouldn’t have been a need to slow it down.

If they say no, put your complaint in writing following these tips. Threaten to take them to the Small Claims Court if they do not provide you with a new battery. If they still don’t, do it. I’m not a lawyer and it hasn’t been tested in court but it sure would be fun to try and set a precedent. This is another reason why Apple is likely to give you a free battery as a goodwill gesture. Imagine risking the influx of cases for the sake of £25?!

Do it, and then come back and tell me how you got on!

I asked Apple for a comment on what it would do if anyone quoted their Consumer Rights to get a new battery. There hasn’t been a response to this question. Draw your own conclusions.

Here are my Top 20 tips for complaining effectively


Cover of How to Complain updated 2019 large cow logo


For masses more information, consumer rights, advice and template letters GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!



Further action on the Apple battery

11/01/2018 The Guardian reports Apple questioned by US Senate over practice of slowing down iPhones saying “The French fraud watchdog, which is part of the finance ministry, opened an investigation last week over alleged “deception and planned obsolescence”, following a complaint by a consumer rights group.

A 2015 French law makes intentionally shortening the lifespan of a product in order to encourage consumers to replace it illegal, with possible fines of up to 5% of annual turnover and jail terms of up to two years.”

Jolly good.

Complaining about faulty goods

To complain or not complain

Do you complain or not complain?

Which complaining herd are you in?

Complaining effectively and not just for complaining’s sake all started here for me. Then some months ago, whilst successfully task avoiding and hunting through threads on LinkedIn, I came across Steve Clarke’s thread.  He challenged people not to complain for 7 days.

You can see where he is coming from. Not focusing on rubbish instead of the job in hand, positive thinking and all that. Of course there were the sheep who followed Steve and did all that “cow” towing about how it completely changed their lives! But being the argumentative soul that I am, I waded in with the fact that sometimes complaining is necessary. You gain redress, bring about change and can bring in funds!

Moaning and complaining – the difference

John Towers posted this: “Would it be valid to draw a distinction between moaning and complaining? I would suggest that a complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction which the person voicing it would expect to result in some sort of positive remedial action (probably by somebody else!), whereas a moan is a negative and apathetic response by someone who is not prepared to take responsibility for a situation”

Now that is probably a more eloquent way of explaining the difference between moaning and complaining than mine in the “About” page! We also agreed that where services for vulnerable people are concerned complaining is not only good it is essential! We work in businesses where we have to be ready to make and deal objectively and fairly with complaints, not least because it is stipulated in relevant regulations. That in turn makes improvements in services, why wouldn’t you want to have that approach and make a difference in any other kind of service?

Art to effective complaining

Steve did concede though that “Yes there’s an art to effective complaining – where you see a positive outcome”. Hey I’m an artist! He also wrote how he didn’t complain when an organisation contacted him while he was on holiday when it was clearly at fault. Steve was satisfied with not complaining and just confusing them. Me, I would complain and gain redress from them for inconveniencing me with their errors!

Steve and I were possibly arguing semantics at times, but in essence you are looking at not complaining and just getting on with the task in hand or complaining effectively and getting a positive result. To be fair they probably both have their place, but I’m a Change Manager, I want to affect change, have fun and if I gain redress for others and myself where applicable all the better. I had to stop arguing with Steve on Facebook and LinkedIn when I found out that he was using my posts in a seminar as how he got someone using one social network to engage on another. Someone called me a stalker because of the length of my post! NO! It was a long post because I used lots of evidence to back up my argument! Interestingly Steve did not engage in the debate. Perhaps more sensible than engaging in debate with me maybe or not practising what he preaches…?!

Is good enough good enough?

I disagreed with Steve’s “Good enough is good enough” stance arguing that “Good enough is not good enough” (Steve Jobs’ legacy!)   I also disagreed with him when he said that an email sent with grammatical errors didn’t matter. So I do hope that this Blog is good enough and there aren’t any errors!!! (Typos are different to grammatical errors remember!)

The 7 Day Challenge thread was probably one of the main inspirations for writing a Blog! (Cheers Steve!) Firstly there was no way I was rising to the challenge! Secondly, because I’ll use any tool available to me to prove my point, I decided to use a Blog!

Do share – which herd are you in?

Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow BBC Breakfast TV Discusses How We Complain in the UK

laptop on someone's lap phone in one hand