Apple Waiving iPhone 4 Restocking Fee, Report Says
Apple is reportedly waiving the restocking fee on the iPhone 4, should consumers, frustrated by the iPhone 4's faulty formula for displaying signal strength, want to return the new smartphone. AT&T, however, says its restocking fee is still in place for now.
Apple is waiving its traditional 10 percent
restocking fee for customers wanting to return iPhone 4 handsets, according to Computerworld, which cites an AppleCare
support representative as confirming the new policy.
Calls to Apple's New York flagship store regarding the restocking fee, however, were redirected to a media help line, which was slow to offer a response.
News of the fee being waived follows a July 2 open letter on the Apple site, addressing a number of complaints about the iPhone 4's antenna, software and reception. According to a number of users, the iPhone 4's reception dips considerably when it's held in a way that covers its bottom left corner. In the letter, Apple said it had investigated the matter and was "stunned" to discover that signal strength on the iPhone, rather than being reduced, was being incorrectly reported.
"The formula we use to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display is totally wrong," Apple spokespeople said in the letter. "Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly displays two more bars than it should for a given signal strength."
The letter went on to say the faulty formula also applies to the iPhone 3GS and 3G handsets, and "within a few weeks" Apple will be issuing a free software update applicable to all three iPhone models to correct the formula.
Apple is already facing at least two lawsuits regarding the antenna issue. A suit filed in a California District Court accuses Apple-in allegedly failing to disclose news of the antenna defect-of perpetrating "a massive fraud upon hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting customers."
A second suit, filed in a Maryland District Court, accuses both Apple and AT&T of a number of sins, including deceptive trade practices, intentional misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation and fraud by concealment.
Apple began selling the iPhone 4 June 24. Within a day, antenna trouble was already being reported-though with apparently no effect on sales. Apple later announced that in just three days, it had sold 1.7 million iPhone 4s, making this the most successful product launch in Apple's history.
Even if Apple is truly waiving its restocking fee, AT&T, its U.S. carrier partner, has not yet joined it in this decision. An AT&T online customer service representative told eWEEK July 5, "We are not offering to waive the restock fee at this time."