Background: IPhone X purchased November 2017
My phone developed a fault in November 2020 with the Face ID sensor which stopped working. Rang Apple who got me to take it to Service Plus, their authorised service agent for diagnostic. Turns out there was a fault with the “True Depth Sensor” which stops Face ID from working. Apple then said that because it was outside their standard 2 year warranty, and because the component is not repairable or replaceable, my only option was to pay ~$900 for a replacement iPhone X. I argued that under the Consumer Guarantee Act, the 3 years that I owned the phone was not a reasonable length of time to expect an iPhone to last free from defect. They sent my case to their legal department and to no surprise, they disagreed and declined to offer any future help. If I wanted to take it further, I had to write to a PO Box in Australia.
So decided to take Apple to the disputes tribunal. After lodging my claim, I got a letter from the District Court just before Christmas that my case would be heard the first Monday in March.
I read up on Geekzone and another couple of Nz reddit posts from people who took Apple to the DT and won which gave me a lot of confidence and prepared me what to expect from the process.
The hearing was very straight forward. I wrote out everything I wanted to say, sticking to the facts and quoted relevant sections of the CGA and why they should apply in this case.
You’re not allowed lawyers so you represent yourself. A few others noted that when they went to the DT, apple didn’t even bother attending in any capacity. But evidently, someone from Singapore teleconferenced in. Apple basically stuck to their claim that their warranty is two years and they deem that reasonable.
My claim was that apple are a maker of premium products, which is reflected in the price, and at $1799 which at the time was the most expensive cellphone on the market, you would expect it to last longer than 3 years. The adjudicator asked how long in my opinion it should last and I replied that apple typically offer 5-6 years of software support therefore it’s not unreasonable to expect hardware to last a similar length of time. My phone was in otherwise pristine condition.
The adjudicator gave apple a chance to offer me a remedy before having one imposed on them by her. The best apple could offer me was a half priced new device which I declined.
The adjudicator after hearing from both sides decided to reserve her decision and I would receive her decision in a weeks time via post.
Fast forward to today and I got a letter in the post informing me that the case has been found in my favour and Apple are to provide me with a full refund of $1799 within 30 days.
All in all I am very happy with the outcome. The hearing was rather relaxed and a really accessible process which is a relief. It shouldn’t be this hard to get businesses to follow nz consumer law butI called their bluff and won. Don’t be afraid of going to the DT if you have issues with companies not doing the right thing. Remember, David does beat Goliath.
I actually just now got an email from apple requesting a phone call so I could provide them my bank account details to make the payment to me and to organise the return of my X to them.
Also forgot to mention that I spoke to a guy here on Geekzone who also had an out of warranty iPhone X with exactly the same fault as me who got a replacement X under the CGA. Yet Apple wouldn’t do the same for me. So they’re not being consistent with their customer service. They could have avoided all this if right at the start just replaced the phone under the CGA when I challenged them on it.