Has Apple been running a battery scam?

Apple is facing accusations that it has been ripping customers off by deliberately slowing devices down and charging customers artificially high repair costs as part of a battery replacement service.

Is Apple overcharging for battery repairs?

Back in December, Apple made the controversial announcement that it had been slowing down its iPhones to help “preserve battery life” – and subsequently apologised for not telling people sooner. Understandably, customers weren’t happy, and by way of recompense, the tech giant offered discounted or free battery replacement for owners of the iPhone 6 and later models.

Everything about the offer wasn’t as it seemed though as, upon taking Apple up on the offer,  some customers found they were being charged 10 times the quoted discounted rate, seemingly because of existing damage to their handsets that impaired the routine replacement of batteries.

But an investigation from Watchdog, the BBC’s consumer affairs programme, has found Apple was quoting extortionate repair prices when phones had even the most minor, superficial damage.

One customer was quoted over £200 because of a small dent on the outside edge of the phone, while another was given a bill of £250, citing a faulty microphone for the high repair bill.

Both customers took their phones to independent phone repair specialist, and had their handsets fixed for a fraction of the cost quoted by Apple, and with no issues, something the manufacturer had refused to do without fixing the microphone and speaker first. The only trouble is, although going to an independent repair shop will save money, it will also invalidate the warranty.

How do iPhone batteries age?

All rechargeable batteries becomes less effective as they get older, as the chemicals in them age and gradually lose their ability to hold a charge.

Although age and the number of times the battery has been charged are both factors in this chemical ageing process, the way you use the device can also affect the performance of the battery over its lifespan. If, for example, you leave or charge a battery in a hot environment, this can cause the battery to age more quickly. Extremes of cold can also affect the battery life.


To find out more about iPhone’s rechargeable battery and the factors affecting its performance, check out Apple’s guide to iPhone Battery and Performance.

And if you experience sudden, unexpected shutdowns that cause you to lose a call or miss taking a picture, contact Apple support on 0800 107 6285 or visit your local Apple shop.

What is Apple’s official line on phone repairs?

Apple’s repair website states: “If your iPhone has any damage that impairs the replacement of the battery, such as a cracked screen, that issue will need to be resolved prior to the battery replacement”. It also offers a fresh 90-day warranty on any device it has serviced, even if the original guarantee had long expired.

And if you contact the company via its webchat service, you’ll be told the firm makes it clear within its warranty that “any and all damage” must be repaired first before the battery is replaced. The trouble is, there doesn’t actually seem to be any mention of this in the actual warranty itself.

So, instead of rebuilding trust with a genuine offer, Apple is putting up barriers for people needing repairs, and further eroding trust and confidence in the brand.

Apple sent the BBC the following response:”When it comes to iPhone battery replacement, if your iPhone has any damage that impairs the replacement of the battery, such as a cracked screen, that issue will need to be resolved prior to the battery replacement. In some cases, there may be a cost associated with the repair.”

Have you had trouble with an iPhone battery? Share your experience with our business community.