iPhone Tragedy Turned Customer Service Win

How much do I love Apple? As if people didn’t already know it, anyone who talks to me for the next month is going to get an earful about how much I love Apple. I have been an Apple fanboy for many years. I was even going to name my first son Mac ( I say this now the father of only girls, knowing full well that even if I had a son my wife would never have allowed me to name him Mac). But I say this to put the gentle reader at ease while reading the following harrowing tale.

Last Friday, I exited my car and slipped my 3-week-old iPhone 4 into my sweatshirt pocket. I then proceeded to assist my daughter out of the car when I heard the sickening crash of iPhone meeting pavement. I looked down, and paused while my brain processed what had just happened, and then went pale and nearly threw up. I had cracked – no, shattered – the front glass on my iPhone.

For nearly 4 years I tossed my 1st-generation iPhone around like a potato and it had not so much as a scratch on the glass. But here, 3 weeks into new iPhone ownership and I have shards of glass falling out into my ear as I try to make calls.

After a few minutes of self-deprecation and verbal abuse, I regained my composure and started to look at my options. I put a piece of packing tape over the wound so I could at least staunch the flow of glass bits falling out. The phone was still functional, worst case I just use it this way.

I bought the iPhone at Best Buy, which is very uncharacteristic of me, since I prefer to buy all of my Apple technology straight from the mothership. But that’s another story involving a Roomba vacuum. Having declined the Geek Squad warranty (which carries a criminal $15/month premium — but DOES cover breakage from accidental dropping) I didn’t think I’d have much luck with Best Buy. Sure enough I called and asked if, being under 30 days, it was possible to add the warranty and immediately use it, she assured me it was not. Apparently the Squad likes to see the phone in pristine condition before covering it. Makes sense.

A quick search online afforded me a few options. It seems Apple charges $199 to replace an iPhone with cracked front glass. A local wireless shop would charge $150 for the service and sites like iResq.com could repair the iPhone overnight for $130.

I decided to set up an appointment at the local Apple Store Genius Bar to see what they said. I was greeted by the genius and I showed her my iPhone. She was sympathetic and asked how long I had owned it. I told her just a few weeks. She told me that unfortunately damage caused by dropping the iPhone was not covered under AppleCare warranty. Makes sense. However, she said Apple would be willing to make a one-time exception and replace it for free, with the understanding that if I break it again (a prospect that right now seems laughable) I would have to pay for it.

I was stunned and thrilled. What a spectacular turn of events. I walked out of the store minutes later with a new iPhone. Thank you Apple, for treating your customers like they matter to you.

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