By Michael Hitch
Tech giant Apple has left a sour taste in a customer’s mouth when staff at the Bondi Junction store withheld an iPhone belonging to a twelve-year-old girl after she left it at the store to be repaired on 29 December. The screen of the phone was cracked.
When she returned on 31 December to pick up her phone, the minor was offered a new replacement phone.
She did not know how to transfer data from her old iPhone to the new one. so she refused the offer and asked for her old phone back, only to be denied this by staff.
She left and returned with her father, practising lawyer Alex Tees, who managed to retrieve his daughter’s phone from the Apple staff.
Mr Tees described his daughter’s ordeal as “unreasonable” and said the nature of the terms and conditions of repair, and Apple’s behaviour towards his daughter, was “completely unconscionable”.
A minor cannot be held to a contract
“Their, what I’m assuming is a, background contract falls completely outside of legislation if this is what’s allowed to happen, especially when dad’s paying extra to insure a phone that technically isn’t his,” he said.
“She is a minor and as such she cannot be held to a contract. If they say it’s ‘their phone’ in the terms and conditions, then that’s simply not on.
“They even told her that they’d already wiped the phone just to get rid of her. Then when I got there they said the phone was still there and still fully functional. In other words, they lied to her… what kind of an example is that for a twelve-year-old.”
City Hub attempted to talk to an Apple representative, and while they weren’t able to provide a response, they referred us to Apple’s repair terms and conditions.
In section eight, regarding the transfer of information, Apple states that:
“If the repair service involves transferring information or installing software, you represent that you have the legal right to copy the information and agree to the terms of the software licence, and you authorise Apple to transfer the information and accept such terms on your behalf in performing the service.”
This City Hub writer is confused… could Apple have not backed up and transferred the data during their “repair” process?
Mr Tees notes that Apple’s staff behaviour undermines contractual obligations and inspires customer distrust for the company. Mr Tees suggested that a local phone kiosk may offer a customer more satisfaction in telecommunications.
“There is a systemic fault with Apple iPhones. From generation whatever they’ve gone up to, they’ve all had problems with the microphones … but now they’ve got problems with their people,” he said.
“We know these are calculated faults and it really calls the contract into question. Instead of getting Apple to fix them, I’d rather get the fixer down the road who can do the same work for $70 or $80 and with less hassle.”
Apple Bondi was contacted but did not respond for comment.