Apple’s other Store problem

Apple’s currently fighting the likes of Epic Games (and indeed most governments) over the monopolistic-like and closed nature of the iOS app store. There are some damn good reasons why it needs to remain closed, but equally, Apple isn’t doing much in the way to prove that they are a good-natured company that’s out to protect both developers and consumers. There are still a considerable number of scam apps out there, and with developers increasingly complaining about the review process – to the extent that some of them are abandoning Apple completely.

But it isn’t just the software app store that I think Apple has too much control over. It’s buying their physical products too. Practically every time I go and buy an Apple product outside of the physical or online Apple Store, I immediately hit a problem with the warranty (standard or otherwise).

I bought some Beats Studio3 Wireless headphones in June (prior to getting the Apple AirPods Max – though the story is similar for those as well). I want to start using them until I can properly determine if the AirPods Max are faulty and need to return them (not at the cost of Apple holding on to £600 of my money while they send out a new pair and wait for me to return the faulty ones – Asus does a better job of this with their standard return to base policy on their kit – no holding charge required).

Anyway, I went to check the warranty on Apple’s site but it told me that it was not eligible as no proof of purchase could be found. So I called Apple – as I always do because the blighters do not have any online mechanism in which to dispute the warranty of the product. We spent much time going back and forth with me trying to find an invoice from Zavvi. No joy. I have to contact Zavvi. This wastes my time so much.

You need to email their AppleCare team in Ireland with a receipt in order to establish proof of purchase, after which if the product falls within the grace period in which to buy AppleCare, you can do so. If not, at least you got the standard warranty. In the case of these Dr. Dre headphones, if Apple doesn’t get the proof of purchase, it reverts to the purchase date from the supplier – which in my case is September 2020 – so I’d have only a few days warranty. These headphones haven’t even been unboxed yet.

Apple is the only company that I know that seemingly picks a different grace period per product type for its extended warranty: 60 days here, 90 days there, or an entire year of purchase. HP and Dell allow you to buy extended warranties throughout the standard warranty period of the product, often even going beyond that when it expires. But not Apple – nope. It shows Apple’s complete lack of commitment to the environment – profit over continual use, even if their products are fully recyclable. And given how bad the earpieces are on the Dr. Dre headphones, that extended warranty should be extended from two to three years minimum.

The problem I have is that the company that I bought these headphones from doesn’t provide an invoice – I just got an order dispatch and that’s it. That’s not good enough for the almighty Apple. So I’m hoping Zavvi can help.

I had to undergo all of this for the AirPods Max too. I bought them via my EE account, but they don’t register the purchase with Apple so there’s me, having to call Apple and spend 20-30 minutes registering the bloody things with them in order to buy the extended warranty. Likewise for the M1 Macbook Pro that I bought from Amazon.

I understand the need to be able to provide proof of purchase outside of Apple’s stores, but they make it so much more difficult than it needs to be. I should be able to buy an Apple product from anywhere, regardless of wherever I bought it from, and get a standard warranty or extended warranty from them without all this fuss. Upload proof of purchase invoice/receipt to them, get the warranty. As easy as that.

When HP had a similar issue with my HP Omen laptop, they based the warranty on when Amazon received it. A quick support ticket (took less than 5 minutes) with proof of purchase from Amazon and the issue was resolved in less than 24 hours.