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Wannabe Geek


Topic # 89157 26-Aug-2011 14:13
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Hi everyone,
This is my first post, though I feel like I have read through several hundred forums on the subject of hairline cracks in the white 3gs.
Why i have started my own is that I have found myself in quite a strange position between Brightpoint and Apple, and in a way Dick Smith Electronics (with whom I purchased an extended warranty and an Iphone 23 months ago). 

Here is where my journey began:
I noticed that my white Iphone 3gs had suffered a chip around the headphone jack and upon closer examination noticed tiny fractures encircling the jack, on top of the sim tray, around the power button, the microphone, the speaker, and the charging port. 
These fractures mostly encircle these areas (so for a circular speaker it is like a circle inside a circle), yet there are small fractures radiating out from the actual input/output to these circles.  These seemed to me to be stress fractures, as there was no point of impact, no cracks anywhere other than around the inputs and outputs, and the back of the phone itself is immaculate as this phone has always from day 1 been in a case.
In the charging port, there were about 7 evenly spaced straight lines running straight back from the charging port up the back of the phone.
The chip that had come out of my headphone jack appears to be a point where three fractures met up with each other, causing a kind of triangular chip to fall out.  As a result, my headphone jack now malfunctions (makes a loud faulty noise when connected with earphones or speaker, and then jams playback onto fast forward and freezes ipod).
When I searched this fault online I saw hundreds of posts and many forums regarding this problem, most within warranty.  It seems that apple has no problem replacing the phones for this problem when they are in warranty, and I also read some positive posts about out of warranty claims being successful.

Here is where Dick smith comes back in.  When i purchased my iphone I bought the DSE extended warranty, so I called and reported my problem.  I was informed that while they did not cover cosmetic damage, they do cover a headphone fault, though not if it is caused by a manufacturing fault or by me.(They indicated that this fault sounded caused by one or the other). They also advised me that if they did accept my job, they would repair the headphone jack and not replace the unit.  This seemed a terrible idea as this phone seems to be literally falling apart and will only get worse.  

I then called Apple, explained my problem, and a senior advisor told me that yes they know about this kind of fault, and advised me to send the phone to Brightpoint for assessment.  I did not get this persons name, and have learned a hard lesson since, as he also said that if brightpoint found the phone to suffer from hairline cracks it would be replaced for free.

I then sent the phone to brightpoint and received their reply yesterday: hairline cracks and no problems caused by me.  They said however they had no information from apple that this was to be treated as a warranty issue, and said they would charge me $400 for an out of warranty replacement.  Brightpoint instructed me to call apple and have them call Brightpoint if they agreed to a free replacement, so I called Apple back and got a new supervisor who.... told me my phone was out of warranty.  When I mentioned the previous phone call he asked for the persons name who I had talked to and when I didnt have it he said he would investigate. 

He called me back last night and said that he had received the photos of my iphone from brightpoint and in his opinion the fractures were rather scratches, caused by me, and the chip a result of mistreatment (even though the phone was in otherwise perfect condition, aside from the hairline cracks, and the chip was geometric in shape).  This guy went way out of his way to avoid using the phrase 'hairline cracks' and when I asked if he had talked to brightpoint about their decision that the phone suffered from hairline cracks, he said he didnt need to as he has the photos himself, though he may at some stage get back to them.

It is worth noting here that Brightpoint have treated me well and are further investigating my claims as we speak, and will send me an email with their opinion and with the photos of the hairline cracks.  They did however say the cracks do not photograph well and that perhaps that is why apple thinks they are scratches.  They have repeatedly informed that this is a warranty issue, while apple told me that this is both a warranty issue, and an issue with whether or not my phone suffers hairline cracks.

Where do I go from here???  I have an application for the disputes tribunal, but I feel stuck between brightpoint and apple.  Apple referrred me to brightpoint, then disregarded their opinion. There is also Dick Smith to consider. I don't even know who to address my claim to.

At this stage it is not really about the money, it is about the fact that I spent over a thousand dollars on this phone and have treated it with care, and it hasnt even lasted two years.  The second person I spoke to at apple was also quite harsh to me about it, which seems wrong when there is so much information out there regarding these faults.  
It seems so hard to get a statement I can use in tribunal from everyone, who just refer me to each other repeatedly.

Any advice is much appreciated.
Photos to come.
Sorry for the really long post!

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Uber Geek


  Reply # 512505 26-Aug-2011 14:21

If apple are aware of the problem, then it sounds like a manufacturing defect with the material. You are also protected by the CGA if purchased for personal use. Some extended warranties can be a waste of money as they can offer less protection than the CGA if you read their fine print. Write a letter to the general manager of DSE or Progressive enterprises which I believe owns it,  and explain the situation and what you want them to do, as they are the ones that should be handling it.

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  Reply # 512507 26-Aug-2011 14:22
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Apple will never admit that their product is at fault.




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  Reply # 512518 26-Aug-2011 14:41
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I had a white iPhone 3G and it suffered from the same issue - there are loads of posts around the world about the white iPhone being brittle.

You've got nothing to lose by keeping up the fight - if you've got an extended warranty sounds like you might have more luck with DSE

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Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 515095 1-Sep-2011 14:41
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Hi, I have been having trouble logging in, so I created another account just to let anyone who reads this post know what happened with me, and brightpoint and apple.
Brightpoint reexamined my phone and wrote me an email saying that what I had were not hairline cracks but markings, caused by normal usage.  whatever that means.  Just when I had resigned myself to sending  my phone for repair with the dse warranty group (since I had a written opinion that this damage was not my fault), I received calls from brightpoint and apple saying that they had decided to replace my phone anyway due to the faulty headphone jack.  So very confusing, not really sure what happened, but to anyone out there in my position, let them know when you think you have a right to a replacement, and the wheels of big business will take it from there.  Be prepared to feel guilty and like you are wasting peoples time, but who knows, at least this once story had a happy ending (though a miserable beginning and middle).  One more thing - I have been using my 1st gen ipod touch while I have been without my phone, it is 5 years old and all its inputs and outputs are immaculate, made of metal.  So if they can make a first gen ipod last this way, what is up with the iphone 3g and iphone 3gs??  

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  Reply # 515121 1-Sep-2011 15:17
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CYaBro: Apple will never admit that their product is at fault.


Apple often admit when their products are at fault, and adjust warranty rules accordingly - often times extending service periods well beyond when the warranty expires.

This is a known fault with the white iPhone and Apple has acknowledged it. 

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Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 516764 5-Sep-2011 11:35
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Yes that is what I had read online, so I went into this thinking that they would acknowledge the very obvious cracking on my phone, which had also caused a fault with the headphone jack.  I read online that you may have problems with the cosmetic nature of the damage, but if it has caused a fault you 'probably' wont have a problem.  Apple refused to admit the hairline cracks though, and still havent.  They are replacing the phone out of an act of 'goodwill'.  I always knew that this was a manufacturing fault, but at this point no one has acknowledged it to be so.  What are markings, caused by normal use, that lead to an electrical/mechanical fault, if not hairline cracks?  This refusal to admit the cracks was my entire problem.  Apple never denied that the 3gs phones suffered from this problem, they just denied that my phone suffered from it.  Brightpoint said it was cracks, but when I pushed them to confirm in writing, they backed down.  I thought at the end of this I was going to have to use my email from brightpoint saying normal damage to get my extended warranty company to accept my claim.  But DSE were only going to fix the headphone jack, not the problem with the case, which was degrading very fast and was about to have many more problems with the charging port etc.

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