Apple has made changes to its online chat support service, which may require some customers to pay a price per incident. This policy change may be a cheaper option for customers as opposed to dialing Apple’s telephone support line. For customers whose AppleCare coverage has expired, when entering their device’s serial number in the support portal, they will be notified that they might be asked to pay a $19 free during the chat session. Apple’s support staff has been given flexibility in deciding when to charge customers-however, customers with quick inquiries like “how to change time display format will likely not be charged anything.

Charges can be asked to be waived in advance by customers, if their issues fall into one of the few predefined categories like, “I recently purchased an Apple branded software and am having problems using it with this computer.” AppleInsider reports that an Apple support representative has said that when customers pay for their incident, they have a 30 day coverage whether online or via phone. In other words, customers who have a case online, can continue to receive support on the same issue over the phone or again online without having to pay any additional fees. Customers can save as much as $30 compared to what AppleCare’s telephone per-incident charges.

The live chat service was introduced by the company last August and announced that it would soon turn into a fee-based option starting late February. Apple is said to have developed a unique payment method designed specifically for live chat. This allows customers to fast-track hardware replacements and repairs which typically require a credit card.

Source: AppleInsider