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The Apple Genius Bar: Doing the Right Thing

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I wanted to share a recent experience I had with Rogers, Apple, and the Genius Bar. Recently, I had some issues with the touch screen on my iPhone 4S. I started to notice the far left side of the screen was not responding to touch controls. I noticed it mostly in games, and thought it might have something to do with some faulty code in the game or something. Then it got worse. The whole first row of apps and folders on each screen could not be opened, because the screen was simple not responding. If I was lucky, I could find them in the switcher, and open them from there, but most times I would have to open them from Spotlight. It was also quite frustrating trying to type any word containing letters on the left side of the keyboard, if I couldn’t use an app in landscape.

After looking online to see if this was a common problem, (it’s not really), I found a few suggestions to try and fix this. The usual, ‘Reboot the device’ and ‘Restore the firmware’ suggestions were there, but I figured this was a hardware issue. I read that it may be caused by a loose connection inside. Well, the back is easy enough to remove, so I opened it up, but there was nothing obviously loose. I didn’t want to poke around in there too much, so I just closed it back up.

I had purchased my iPhone 4S in October of last year, so I knew my warranty was still good. I got it on contract from Rogers, so I went back there to ask them what they could do. Well, it turns out the Rogers will not do warranty work or equipment replacements at their retail locations. You have to get the Rogers rep to send away your phone, and Rogers mails you a new one. How long is that gonna take?! Is there a “loaner” phone, while I would be waiting for my new iPhone? The Rogers rep was really up front with me in saying, I would probably be better off going to the Apple Store myself, as they would just swap it for me. Great advice, except there is no Apple Store where I live, in Victoria, BC. Ugh.

So, 2 days later, I’ve got some time to do some traveling. From my place, to the ferry, to a bus, to a Skytrain, and then walk to Richmond Centre, and find the Apple Store in the mall, it took about 4 hours. I get an appointment right away with someone at the Genius Bar, while giving a quick explanation of what was wrong with my iPhone. The guy booking the appointment did a quick test to confirm the issue (also checking for water damage, which is NOT covered by the warranty). The Genius Bar guy did some quick tests, then took the device out back. Said he’d be right back. 10 minutes later he comes back and asks if I have a recent backup saved. Of course I do. I back up a couple of times a day. 🙂 He says, “We are going to exchange it for you then.”. Those were the nine words I wanted to hear!! He already had the new phone in his hand. He swapped the SIM card for me, and got me to Erase and Reset my old iPhone. I signed the screen on his modified iPod Touch with my finger, and I was done. I walked in there at about noon, and was out before 12:30pm with a new white 64GB iPhone 4S. Superb customer service.

A quick foot note to my story: My old iPhone had some previous software issues, which made me need to restore the firmware. I was jailbroken on iOS 5.0.1, and had to restore to iOS 5.1, losing my jailbreak. The new iPhone 4S I just got from the Genius Bar was still on iOS 5.0.1, so I was able jailbreak and get all my favourite Cydia apps and tweaks back. Happy ending! 🙂

Feel free to share your Rogers or Apple experiences in the comments below, good or bad.

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  • Bekk45

    i had a very similar experience at an apple store, my old iphone 3gs’s software just started going whack, and they didnt know what was wrong with it.

    10 minutes later i walked out with a new iphone. apple is by far the best for customer service

  • Rio

    That awesome, I always love how easy things work at the Apple Store. 

    I have had 2 encounters with my iPhone 4.

    1. I Cracked the back glass of my iPhone. Took it to the store and the rep told me that it would cost me around 30$ which was fine with me. I sat on one of the MacBooks and played around while he went to the back to switch the glass. no more than 15-20 mins later he is out. Told me that he is sorry he took so long and that because of that it will be free :).

    I could care less about the 30$ but the fact that he told me he took to long shows how amazingly honest they are. I would have been willing to pay the 30$ even if he took an hour.

    2. Microphone would not work.  The moment I explained it to the rep, he said ‘ah common problem, will give you a new one if that is ok. Boom I am out of the store in no more than 20 mins. 

    Love it!

  • Justin Bourne

    We just replaced my wife’s 20+ month old (out of warranty) iPhone 4 today at an Apple Store due to crushed screen. No questions asked – cost $169 but WAY cheaper than early upgrade with Bell or buying a new phone outright!

    A few months ago I brought in my MacBook Pro after I’d dropped it on concrete which messed up the screen and dented the case. Still in warranty period though I was honest about the damage source. No issues – Apple replaced the screen and case for free! The irony: they apologized that I had to bring my MacBook back the next day as they didn’t have a screen in stock!

  • LR10

    My iPhone 3G a few years ago fell out of my pants pocket while sitting down and the screen cracked. Took it right to the genius bar, explained the problem, the guy told me to be more careful, and came back in 10 mins with the screen replaced! I don’t even think I was on warranty anymore. 

  • Nice story, and how awesome is that your replacement was on iOS 5.0.1! 😉

  • Leo

    Last year I got a dead pixel on my iPad 2 and they replaced it right away, no questions asked 🙂

  • Hollanights

    Ha ha. I know who exactly this is that did this. Nice.

  • BrodieTheDog

    Honestly. I wish apple seriise was what it used to be.

  • Emailtowilliam

    I also had great Apple service. After about a year, my iPhone 4 started dropping calls. Did the usual hard reset, restore, etc., and still the same issue. I had Apple Care as my phone was more than one year old so I called Apple. They asked me a few questions then he said he would ship me a replacement and I just have to return the damaged phone in the prepaid box.

  • Syuyu

    I recently called in to rogers to ask about the 50% discount on value packs and got it but while I was on the phone the lady decided to offer me the new iPad for 99$ with a data plan. I asked her a few questions and if it would be the 64 gb model and she said yes. Two days later I get an email confirmation that rogers was going to be sending a samsung galaxy tab, called in and emailed on several occasions to find out what had happened and it turns out the offer i originally got does not exist and it was only ever for the galaxy tab. As compensation i ended up with an extra 50 long distance minutes a month for two months. Kind of disappointed.

  • Syuyu

    As a sidenote my apple store experiences have always been more pleasant but i wont go into detail because it’s a similar enough story to the rest of the ones posted.

  • Steve14699

    Ya apple customer service is great… I’ve swapped my iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s with no issues and recently I ordered an iMac… When it got here it had a dead pixel so I called the apple store and they let me swap it although I was supposed to ship it back and get a new one… Funny thing is the iMac they gave me also had a dead pixel so when I went back again the next day they had a new one all ready to go… They let me open the sealed box and test the screen before I left the store and then they gave me a $20 app store card to say sorry

  • JMCD23

    Not Rogers, but Fido when I bought my 3GS on release. Similarly to you, my screen was unresponsive for 5-30 seconds sometimes. I called Fido tech support and within about 5 minutes of explaining the problem and the remedies I had tried (firmwire flash, restore etc) the rep said I would receive a new phone with a prepaid box. This was late afternoon, by 10AM the next day UPS had delivered a brand new phone with a prepaid box and instructions for the old phone. It was some of the best customer service I’ve ever had.

  • Weebsurfer

    My story is pretty much bang on with yours, except when I went to Rogers, every response was pure BS. My iPhone 4 was out of warranty so pretty much the best I could get from Rogers was a $500 replacement. They did NOTHING for me. On the phone, nor at the stores. If any of them had just said “your best option is to go to the Genius Bar”, I’d have been happy with that. Luckily, a few google searches pointed me to that option. I got an out of warranty replacement for $149. A heck of a lot better option than Rogers offered. If they’re gonna sell the product they should honor the same service, or at least KNOW what service is available.

  • They will give you one free exchange even if you can’t replicate the problem. I had a sticking home button and I oils not replicate it, it worked perfectly in store and they took my word for it. I asked why and the genius bar person said they do 1 without question and after that it’s not that easy.

  • Simon B

    I was wondering if you nice folks here would offer me some suggestions to resolve the issue that I’m facing – actually a couple of issues to be honest.
    To start, I am one of those people who seldom to never uses a headset with my phone. I either rely heavily on text messaging (WhatApps, iMessage) or simply answer a call by putting it up to my ear. 
    I started noticing a problem with my iPhone 4S after a few months of using it. One day, while I was listening to music (with earphones), someone called and out of reflex, I answered the call. I noticed that the audio was really bad. There was this feedback and echo-y effect to my voice and the person on the other end of the call noticed the same problem too. I tried a few more calls and was able to replicate the issue. So I immediately googled the issue and apparently it was a known issue with the iPhone 4S because it has 2 microphones. One at the bottom, and the other at the top next to the headset jack. Apparently, the one on top is used to cancel out ambient noise to make the voice clearer. 

    Some of the common suggestions were to toggle the speakerphone on and off, unplug the headset during a call, and a few other unverified solutions but none of that works for me. I took the phone to the Apple Store in Metrotown and the Apple Genius told me to to wait for iOS 5.1 and that it would fix the issue (this happened before the release of iOS 5.1). So I waited and updated but the issue persists. 
    The guy at the store also told me that he could not guarantee that the new phone would not have the same problem because it seems to be a software bug, if I swapped it.

    Now I am in a dilemma as to whether I should get it swapped or just live with it since like I have said, I rarely use a headset with the phone to make calls. 

    This is the main issue but there’s also another issue that’s been bothering me. Does anyone play Scamble with Friends? I have the free version and I can play it a few rounds then it would crash the phone. The symptoms are that the screen would shift from the top to the bottom until I couldn’t even see the power-ups. Then, it would just crash. Is anyone else experiencing this issue?

    Sorry that this is rather long but would appreciate any thoughts on this.

  • Wen

    I would expect someone writing for iphoneincanada should know this already. Apple never fixs iPods/iPhones at their genius bars. They always hand out replacement/refurbished units instead, and then send the faulty units back to the factory for repair, put them in a new case, send it back to the store and hand it over to the next guy with a malfunctioning device.

    Plus, you really should have gone to the Apple store first without even letting Rogers cross your mind. I even had my 2 years old 2008 macbook pro replaced by a brand-new 2010 model once.

  • I had a phone issue with my 4S (no sound), which I had purchased through Rogers. When I brought it to a Rogers store, they also advised calling Apple, although Rogers did say they would take my phone for repair and return it in about two weeks. No thanks!. Called Apple, as I’m not near an Apple store. The rep immediately suggested he’d send me a new phone and I could then send my broken one back to Apple in the same box pre-paid. The new one arrived two days later. Very smooth transaction. Apple rocks!

  • Wynncy

    Apple changed my Iphone 4s twice for different reasons.  It is true that Apple doesn’t give a hard time to customers when their IOS devices needs to be replaced.  One thing though….all I know is that the new device they are giving to customers are not really new as in new inside a sealed box.  I asked them what they call it and they said “replacement phones”.  But since I got my Iphone from BestBuy, people at BestBuy told me it is a refurbished one.  Which one is true?  Can someone tell?

  • Coluch

    This is a unique story, where the Apple store collides with the reselling of the device:

    I still had a 2-year-old iPhone 3G carrier-locked to Fido when the iPhone 4 came out.  I decided to sell it and upgrade, but since it was so old, my sales expectations were low.It had a hairline crack up the centre of the rear plastic casing (maybe a centimetre long from the dock port), so on a whim, I asked the Apple genius bar about it.  Even though the phone was out of warranty, they replaced it on the spot since the cracking was a “known issue”.  This replacement iPhone 3G was much easier to sell with a fresh receipt from Apple.  But it gets better!

    I sold the replacement 3G for $200,  but after a couple of days the buyer complained that it was often rebooting on it’s own.  Oh No!  I didn’t want to sell a bum phone to someone, so we went back to the Apple store together. Apple replaced it again, but this time with a 3GS!  Amazing!

    So in the end I got $200, leapfrogged the 3GS generation and went from a measly 3G to an iPhone 4, and my lucky buyer got a new 3GS without a contract for only $200!  Everyone won because Apple was so generous with their returns.

    And guess what, they are still the most profitable company on the planet without being stingy jerks to their customers.  I love that.  Make insanely great products and treat the customer right when something goes wrong – it’s almost a lost art these days.

  • I had the same experience TWICE with the Genius Bar.  They’ve swapped my iPhone 4 for new ones on two separate occasions for two separate issues.

    They’ve also done the same for me with my MacBook Pro which had a battery die.  Actually, the first time it died, it was already out of warranty but they gave me a new one anyways.  The second time, the warrantied battery died within 200 cycles and they not only gave me a new one (three years after original purchase) but they saw my charger was fraying and gave me a new one because it was a hazard.  That battery has recently gone kaput itself (over a year later…my MBP is now 4 years old).  I could probably go get another battery if I asked I’m sure but I think I’ll just hold out a month and buy a new MBP instead.

    Apple probably figures that with the volume they sell, they can afford to take a few defective products back and still maintain profit.  They build customer loyalty and they aren’t losing much because the number of returns is microscopic compared to the number of products Apple sells…like Costco.

  • Kel

    Nice story.  I had my iPhone4 replaced by Apple last year before I got the iPhone4S.  My phone was actually purchased outside of Canada and its factory unlock.  Apple decided they will replace it for me even though it wasn’t purchased in Canada.   My replacement phone is also factory unlocked. 

    However, one thing to be aware.  All Apple replacement iphones has the model# begins with “LLxxx, so if you run across an iPhone with this model number, it gives you a good indication this is a replacement iPhone.  If you decide to keep you iPhone, doesn’t affect you one bit, but for people that plans to sale their current iPhones when the new one comes out, a replacement iPhone will lower its value.  Also for people that plans to buy an used iPhone, stay away from anything that has LLxxx as the model#.  Apple claims everything external is brand new, like screen , buttons, case etc.  But internal, like the pcb, chips etc can be refurbished. 

  • My home button was becoming VERY unresponsive on my iPhone 4 32GB. I backed it up right before I went to the Apple store just in case they had to take it for repair. And as I was at 11 months since I had purchased it I did not want to lose the warranty.

    They checked for water damage looking in the ports with a flash light, which there was none.

    Almost right away the Genius said “I’ll get you a new one”

  • Werdner

    I’m not sure what the point of this article is, and the title seems a bit misleading. You had a defect on a device that was covered by warranty and the device was replaced.

    I think opening the phone yourself was a bad idea and an unnecessary step which risked voiding your warranty. I wouldn’t bother with carriers anyways and would go straight to the apple store, but thanks for telling us that warranties work!

  • Definingsound

    Was able to replace my iPhone 3G for crap battery life at the end of the 1 year warranty period. Knowing this excellent policy, I did not make any attempt to treat my iPhone 4 battery well – I charged it to full, from half many times a day. My office, my car, and my home all had spots to charge my phone, and I was tethering for Internet access so sometimes the needless charging was unavoidable. Near the end of my 1 year warranty period I couldn’t keep a charge longer than 10 hours, and I went in to swap the phone. The Apple store screwed me (Fairview Mall in North York); making me wait for over an hour for a “genius” – because I had missed my original appointment time by 5 minutes. I went in 3 separate times, each time bringing more proof and documentation than the last, and each time they told me lies to get me out of the store. Back in the 3G day, Apple customer service was very good, but they have slipped far far down the scale of customer service now that they’re the most purchased handset in the world. I wish they were still as good as when they had only the 3G and needed to increase market share. Now they’ll replace phones for issues you can demonstrate in the store, but if you are only getting 55 minutes of talk time on a device advertised as having more than 4 hours, Apple reps have been trained to screw you out of warranty service. They should be up front and say “We’ll help you with anything (except battery life)”.

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