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Controversy Over iPhone Battery Replacement

A controversy over the Apple's iPhone battery replacement program has come to light at the end of July as a consumer protection agency and a non-profit organization for consumer and taxpayer rights have written letters to Apple requesting a review of its iPhone repair policies.

The Apple Corp. should revamp its customer service policies to make it easier and less expensive for consumers to repair an iPhone, the New York State Consumer Protection Board said.

According to Apple’s website, the program costs $79, plus $6.95 shipping and it requires a full data backup.

“The repair process will clear all data from your iPhone. It is important to sync your iPhone with iTunes to back up your contacts, photos, email account settings, text messages, and more. Apple is not responsible for the loss of information while servicing your iPhone and does not offer any data transfer service“ the statement reads.

In a letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, CPB Chairperson and Executive Director Mindy A. Bockstein said consumers should not have to pay a $79 fee to replace the battery in an iPhone. One solution, she said, would be a redesign to allow a consumer to replace the battery instead of sending it away for a new power supply.

The CPB is also objecting to the $29 fee that is charged for a temporary replacement phone, as well as the 14-day trial period offered by Apple. The AT&T telephone service that comes with the iPhone carries a 30-day grace period, in which a customer can cancel without penalty.

Apple should also drop the 10 percent restocking fee charged when someone returns an iPhone.

"Finally we ask that Apple review its practices in disclosing contract terms and conditions, warranties and return policies," said Chairperson Bockstein. In Apple stores and online, these disclosures should be more prominent and conspicuously displayed, she said.

"A high-end cell phone shouldn't have to have low-end customer service," said Chairperson Bockstein.

According to Apple, the iPhone battery offers up to 8 hours of talk time, 6 hours of Internet use, 7 hours of video playback or 24 hours of audio playback. The standby estimated by Apple is 250 hours - more than 10 days. For those who are unable to spend three business days until the replacement is completed, Apple offers a loaner iPhone for $29.

Also the company said that the battery’s life is estimated somewhere between 300 to 400 charges, a usual value for any lithium-ion battery.
Also Apple states:”A properly maintained iPhone battery is designed to retain up to 80% of its original capacity at 400 full charge and discharge cycles."

Earlier this month the battery replacement policy was attacked by the Foundation for Consumer and Taxpayer Rights, a consumer advocacy group.

According to their complaint, because the details of replacement program were announced after the launch of iPhone, the customers weren’t able to take a fully informed decision.

In a letter to Apple, the group requested that the details about the battery replacement policy to be prominently displayed in stores and on iTunes.

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