For iPhone owners looking to get your battery replaced at a discounted price as part of Apple's mea culpa for throttling performance, be warned: The trip might end up costing you more than the advertised $39 if your iPhone isn't in good shape.
According to the BBC, Apple has figured out how to make an extra buck off its battery replacement program by asking its customers to pay for other repairs, such as fixing a cracked screen or other seemingly unrelated damages, before getting a fresh battery installed.
The BBC tracked down a number of customers who were hit with pricier charges than were expected. One customer sent their iPhone off to have the battery replaced only to be greeted with a bill for a screen repair on top of the initial fix.
Another iPhone owner reported being quoted a charge of 10 times the amount of the battery repair in order to replace a faulty microphone and speaker. Instead of going through with the fix, the customer asked for the device back and took it an independent phone repair specialist who determined the components were in working order.
The accounts are in line with some complaints that have surfaced online since the start of Apple's battery replacement program. A number of redditors have posted to the r/Apple subreddit complaining about similar interactions with Apple throughout the battery replacement process, with additional repairs and accompanying fees springing up unexpectedly.
In fairness to Apple, the company does specifically stipulate on its website that "any damage that impairs the replacement of the battery" will have to be addressed before a new battery can be installed. The company also makes clear that those fixes likely won't be free. The Australian site states that they put a temporary authorisation on your credit card that "will cover any additional damage we might find during the repair".
In a statement to the BBC, Apple basically reiterated that position:
When it comes to iPhone battery replacement, if your iPhone has any damage that impairs the replacement of the battery, such as a cracked screen, that issue will need to be resolved prior to the battery replacement. In some cases, there may be a cost associated with the repair.
Obviously, if a damaged component is preventing Apple's repair team from replacing the battery, it's understandable that some additional fixes may need to be made. Given Apple has basically removed any dead space from inside its devices to make them as slim and compact as possible, it may also be the case that a seemingly unrelated issue such as screen damage or a busted speaker may cause some complications.
Still, it doesn't seem like the best way to build goodwill with customers, especially seeing as the program was launched as a way to quell the considerable amount of backlash the company got for throttling the phones in the first place.