20th November: I should update this article following a call from Apple Executive Relations today. Apparently you can ask for a complaint to be logged without sending a letter, which I sent this morning as it happens, and the lady who advised me that the Apple Watch was ‘very fragile’ will be spoken to (I feel bad about that). Anyway, I have to send photos of my wife’s Apple Watch and we will see what happens from there. Must say the lady I spoke to today was very professional and allayed some of my concerns, but I remain skeptical about the strength of my wife’s particular series 4 watch.
My word. I have spent many £1,000’s on Apple products over the years and have had the occasional problem with iPhone and Macs, but on the whole the support I have received has been way above what I have experienced from any other company.
A tipping point over the weekend, however, was reached when I was advised that to get a response to a complaint I had to write a letter. Yes, a letter has to be sent to the biggest tech company in the world to achieve any kind of response. For those of you who are unaware of what a letter is it would involve typing or writing some words on a piece of paper, folding up the paper, putting it in an envelope, buying a stamp to stick on the envelope, finding a postbox (that is a red thing that you may see very occasionally) and then putting it through the slot at the top. At this point it will be collected by the Royal Mail, driven to a sorting office and it will then presumably find its way to Apple where someone has to open the envelope, read the letter and then move it to the correct department. The biggest technology company in the world…
My complaint surrounds the problem my wife is having with her series 4 Apple Watch, detailed here, and the fact that to return the watch I have to pay up front (£269). This presumes that the reason the watch has broken is definitely user error and that it could not possibly be a failure of this particular device, or what is in my opinion a design fault.
My anger was not helped by the support agent I spoke to repeatedly telling me that the screen is ‘very fragile’ and that it will break if dropped. I am sure that she was trying to make me feel better, but it had the opposite effect. It should not be fragile and especially as Apple touts the use of Ion-X strengthened glass. No other watch, not one that I have owned and I have owned many, would break in the same circumstance and so I remain perplexed as to what Ion-X strengthening really is. I guess it sounds good in the marketing, but I am seeing little evidence of the benefits.
The end result is that I am returning my stainless steel Apple Watch, scared to wear it now if I am honest and won’t pay AppleCare+ for the privilege, and my wife’s watch will sit on a shelf until it is needed for freelance etc. It’s sad, but my faith in Apple has been knocked in a big way.