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What It Takes To Change Batteries: Customers Report Terrible Experiences With Apple’s Battery Replacement Program

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When Apple admitted it was deliberately starting to throttle older iPhone models when the battery reaches a certain point, users naturally fumed.

Apple argued that it was a preventive measure: lithium-ion batteries degrade overtime, and forceful throttling is one way the company can prevent too much battery strain, which could cause random shutdowns.

Even still, users were angered by news of such practice. Many even alleged that Apple was throttling older iPhones to force users into buying the latest model. Others cried that it was a clear example of "planned obsolescence," a consumer tech term that means purposefully making a product so that it stops working after a certain period has passed.

As an apology, Apple announced a battery replacement program for iPhone users that slashed the price of a new battery from $80 to $30. It's the best solution by far — though it's not free — because changing the battery actually refreshes the phone's performance. Additionally, CEO Tim Cook promised that an upcoming software update will have an option to turn off throttling altogether.

So, everything's good right? Apple just avoided a massive PR disaster.

Well, not quite. It seems the company's battery replacement program isn't all it's cracked up to be, according to a report by the Washington Post.

Apple's iPhone Battery Replacement Program Gets Flack

People across the United States are reporting that they're having a difficult time trying to get their batteries replaced by Apple. Customers from Silicon Valley, Washington, and a lot of other cities are sharing stories of long waiting times, dropped customer service calls, and hard-to-schedule appointments.

"I'm disappointed in them. As far as I'm concerned they should have recalled the phones and replaced all the batteries for free," said David Cohen, a customer from San Jose, who was apparently told that Apple didn't have a battery for his iPhone 6. He placed an order for a new one and was told to wait several weeks. Still no battery, though.

Other customers claim that it's taken weeks to even get an appointment. Some were told flatly that batteries weren't available. There's even a case where, after a customer finally got an appointment and went to the specified store for the scheduled replacement, was told there were no batteries.

The customers' terrible experiences paint a picture of what's really happening: Apple doesn't seem to be servicing its users properly, likely because it didn't expect that its throttling practices would get mountainous levels of backlash, let alone be discovered and get traction in the first place. It's also indicative of the battery replacement program being a rushed solution. One can only imagine the levels of chaos that would ensue had Apple made battery replacements free of charge.

Apple: Head To Authorized Service Centers

The company has said that customers who want to get their iPhone's battery replaced may go instead to an authorized repair service, which Apple has listed on its website. But while many of these service centers aren't seeing the same level of demand as Apple's own retail locations, they aren't immune to delays, according to Georgia Rittenberg, president of ComputerCare.

Since ComputerCare is an authorized Apple service center, it gets components directly from Apple, including batteries.

"Therefore, we deal with the same inventory constraints as the Apple retail stores," Rittenberg said.

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