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59 posts

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# 73799 22-Dec-2010 15:41
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So I did something terribly stupid last night and had my (2 week old, sigh) iPhone 4 out in the bathroom, and it ended up going for a swim in the toilet bowl. Yes, I'm an idiot. Especially after just having my MacBook Pro replaced by insurance last week due to water damage. D'oh.

This one's a little more complex though, as before I dropped the phone in the toilet it was faulty. For the past 4 or 5 days I've been intermittently getting the "This accessory is not optimized for iPhone..." pop-up message along with a loss of all audio pretty much every time I unlocked the phone. On top of this, a couple of times a day I'd notice the phone had No Service (and being someone who works in the Telecom head office, I'm definitely not in a signal dead spot!) which was only rectified by switching the phone off and on again upon which I'd get full coverage once more. I meant to call Apple to report the faults yesterday after I left work, however ended up going straight out to dinner and didn't get home until late so had decided to call in the morning. Then I dropped the phone in the toilet.

I called Apple this morning and explained the entire situation to them. They were very good to deal with (in fact, totally faultless customer service - so very rare!) and agreed to pay for half of the repair cost due to the initial manufacturers fault (which they took my word for, unquestioned, which was very appreciated). Apple did state that if I'd notified them yesterday before I water damaged the phone then I would be eligible for a warranty replacement.

I then contacted State Insurance to lodge a claim to cover the other half of the repair cost. After explaining the situation to them, they advised that a claim would be rejected, as due to the fact that the phone had a manufacturers fault prior to the damage, it was a write-off anyway and that it was water damaged was now irrelevant. They explained it two me as two separate incidents, one being the manufacturers fault, the other the water damage, and advised that the former overrides the latter as the phone would have been written off and replaced anyway. They seemed to think that if Apple refused to cover this under warranty then it should still be replaced under the Consumer Guarantees Act.

I've now sent the handset to Renaissance for a damage assessment, and I'm hoping they can diagnose the initial fault independently of the water damage (though I realise this may be next to impossible!). Then contacted Citizens Advice for advice on the CGA and was unhelpfully told that I was an idiot with no leg to stand on (and that was the personal opinion of the lady I spoke to, she was useless at giving me any kind of useful legal information).

Does anyone maybe have better insight than me as to how I should broach this with Apple? I'm more than happy to pay for the repair should I be outside my rights as a consumer here, and I take full responsibility for being a total idiot in dropping an $1100 phone in a toilet. But if there is some legal leg I have to stand on here, that would be a far more preferable outcome!


Thanks in advance

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  # 420512 22-Dec-2010 16:22
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You will not be covered by the CGA. I would say you have no rights as the phone has been for a swim.

John

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  # 420518 22-Dec-2010 16:24
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You have no rights under the original warranty, and the CGA is only a protection of consumers against manufacturers and retailers not providing full or compliant services/products.

The CGA does not cover you breaking your stuff.

The problem here too is that how can anyone guarantee the manufacturer fault was there before the handset was water damaged?






 
 
 
 


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  # 420547 22-Dec-2010 17:00
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it's probably too late now, but if you had simply told state about the water damage and ignored apple's offer then you would have had the insurance claim processed no problems, wouldn't you?

by that I mean you probably have some level of excess to pay (let's say $100) and the insurance covers the rest. so whether the insurance had to cover the whole cost of the phone or just the half that apple wouldn't pay, you are sill going to have to pay $100.  so why bother with apple at all?

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  # 420581 22-Dec-2010 18:22
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In my view Apple are going out of their way to be helpful, and I believe that it would be unreasonable for you to expect anything more from them under the circumstances.

I'm sorry to hear of your misfortune, but I honestly think you should just put it down to bad luck and accept whatever cost you're in for.

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  # 422925 31-Dec-2010 12:04
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NonprayingMantis: it's probably too late now, but if you had simply told state about the water damage and ignored apple's offer then you would have had the insurance claim processed no problems, wouldn't you?

by that I mean you probably have some level of excess to pay (let's say $100) and the insurance covers the rest. so whether the insurance had to cover the whole cost of the phone or just the half that apple wouldn't pay, you are sill going to have to pay $100.  so why bother with apple at all?


The insured has an obligation to fully disclose all relevant circumstances when making an insurance claim. What you're suggesting in the first paragraph is insurance fraud. Anyone attempting such stunts and caught will (at best) have their insurance policy cancelled and a record of such entered against them - for the next 5 years or so, getting insured will be all but impossible; at worst, it's probably a criminal offence.

Johnr:You will not be covered by the CGA. I would say you have no rights as the phone has been for a swim.


No, you're wrong. There's no rule that says the CGA doesn't apply merely because a phone has been in for a swim. IF the OP had proof, e.g. a photo or whatever, of a prior defect, then he can make a claim in respect of that defect. What Apple isn't obliged to cover are damages arising from user negligence but the existence of a subsequent damage caused by user negligence does not absolve Apple of its own responsibilities. One doesn't necessarily follow the other.

On the other hand......

freitasm:The problem here too is that how can anyone guarantee the manufacturer fault was there before the handset was water damaged?


Clearly the most intelligent/pertinent response so far, along with Alasta's. To the OP: consider yourself lucky in all the circumstances that Apple didn't try and fight your initial claim for lack of proof. You got the best that you could have received and this is coming from a RL lawyer.




 




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  # 422927 31-Dec-2010 12:10
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The CGA also has "goodwill" clause. I think your situation is very unique and it will require a lot of goodwill from Apple. So far it sounds like they have been very accommodating and if State doesn't want to cover the other half of the warranty repair, then I would say you are still very lucky!

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  # 422973 31-Dec-2010 13:23
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scooby101: I then contacted State Insurance to lodge a claim to cover the other half of the repair cost. After explaining the situation to them, they advised that a claim would be rejected, as due to the fact that the phone had a manufacturers fault prior to the damage, it was a write-off anyway


I would question this. Making the assumption the phone has (had?) the fault that the OP describes, how do they (the insurance company) know it is a write-off? Are they saying that beause the phone displays the error message and does not always connect to the network, that it's value is zero?

If the [many] remaining functions of the phone were still working prior to the damage, then surely it must have had some residual value at that time. Perhaps this value is about the same as the portion that Apple have not offered to pay Wink

Just because the phone was exhibiting a fault at the time, does not mean that it has no value whatsoever.

Just my 2c, but it may be worth a further followup with the insurance company.

 
 
 
 


Ham

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  # 422993 31-Dec-2010 15:06
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Doesn't apple do a swap with a refurb unit for ~$350 if you break your phone? or if it develops a fault outside of warranty?

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  # 424437 5-Jan-2011 22:38
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They do in Australia (alot less than $350 too), not sure about NZ?

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  # 428615 18-Jan-2011 21:33
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Yes, do they replace iPhones in NZ like they do in Australia?

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