Design Patterns for Modern Life

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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Getting an iPod repaired outside of warranty

I bought a fourth generation 40Gb iPod sixteen or so months ago. I've been very happy with it and regard it as an excellent purchase. I have suffered none of the battery problems that seem to have afflicted so many users and have not been overly upset by Apple's DRM technology (although if I had thought deeply about it, I'm sure I would have been).

However, my days of happiness were brought to an abrupt halt in February when my iPod developed a fault: it would no longer synchronise with iTunes and various tracks would refuse to play. The culprit (as identified by a rather unpleasant clicking noise) was the hard drive.

I had chosen not to invest in "Apple Care" and so was resigned to the possibility of having either to buy a new one or pay £166.29 to have it repaired since I was outside the 12 month warranty period.

However, 16 months does seem an extraordinarily short time for an expensive electrical item to last so I thought I'd check out my rights. Interestingly, the Sale of Goods Act has something to say. So I thought I'd give it a go.

I bought the iPod from Micro Anvika on Tottenham Court Road so my contract was with them (and not Apple, one should remember). I must admit that I was expecting some resistance to my request for a free (or discounted) repair so I took along a letter.

Here's what I wrote:



21 February 2006

Micro Anvika
245 Tottenham Court Road
LONDON
W1T 7QW
Your Neference: xxxx
Invoice Number: xxxx

Dear Sir,

I purchased an iPod and an iPod mini from your store on 10 October 2004 (sixteen months ago).

The iPod has recently developed a fault which prevents synchronisation with my PC. I have tested on two separate computers and believe the fault is due to a defective hard drive on the iPod; it makes an unpleasant clicking noise when I plug it into any computer.

The Sale of Goods act requires that goods sold are of satisfactory quality. An aspect of quality is durability. Sixteen months is unsatisfactory for a product as expensive as this.

I enclose the original receipt and the faulty iPod. Please can you repair the iPod.

Please note that I have moved house since purchasing these items; the address on the invoice is out of date. My current address is as above.

Yours faithfully,

Richard G Brown


The guy at the repair desk sounded sceptical but said they'd take it in and let the manager decide what to do. To my amazement, they called back the next day and said that, in the light of what I'd written, Apple would repair (or replace) it for free. I didn't even need to contribute towards the repair.

I picked up what seems to be a brand new replacement yesterday. Excellent!

So: the lessons here are: 1) know your rights, 2) be polite, calm but assertive, 3) buy your electrical goods from Micro Anvika: they don't screw you over and do what they say they will. Good job, guys!

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