Apple Repair Policy Benefiting Thieves
Can you pick out the criminal?
Consumer rights journalist Mitch Lipka wrote an interesting op-ed for Reuters highlighting what he describes as the potential rampant abuse of Apple’s repair policy by criminals.
Apple’s return policy is an interesting exercise in convenience over confirmation. When buying a new iPhone Apple ties the simple one year warranty, and even the Apple Care extended warranty, to the product's serial number and nothing more. The owner of the device is not described at all when Genius Bar folk check a device's warranty status. Lipka claims this makes “the ease of trading in stolen iPhones and selling their replacements makes them nearly as tempting as grabbing cash."
Obviously the lucrative legitimate second-hand market for iDevices and Mac products wouldn’t benefit from a more complicated warranty system, but Lipkin argues the current system makes it too easy for criminals to steal, break, and then sell replacement iPhones.
Lipkin highlights the case of a local college girl who had her iPhone swiped, and then received an automated email informing her that her repaired iPhone was ready for pickup at a local Apple Store. When she tried to claim the device the Apple store employees wouldn’t give her the phone because she wasn’t the one who brought it in.
While it would be easy to write off Lipkins concerns as somewhat paranoid, iPhone do attract more attention during thefts as they accounted for 70% of phones reported stolen to the NYPD between January and October of 2011.
Any MMi members have their iDevice stolen or have a similar experience to the girl mentioned in Lipkin’s piece?
*Yes using Find My iPhone seems like the obvious solution, but if the iPhone isn’t on and is “broken” it becomes somewhat useless.*