My worst Apple service experience ever over a bit of plastic

I’ve just had the worst experience with Apple customer service ever and all for the sake of a cheap bit of plastic.

I bought the Apple watch for my wife as a gift. She loved it but wasn’t keen on the white band and wanted the black one. I’d heard that Apple were swapping bands for people if they were unhappy with them rather than have people undergo a complete refund process. Good I thought, I’ll do that for her and make her happy.

My first disappointment was being told I by an online chat representative they can’t do this for me. I’d have to ring Apple in the morning. Sigh. Ok.

I ring. “Ok what colour what do you want to swap to?”the chirpy Apple rep asks. I answer black and am told it’s not on his drop down menu for exchanges so he can’t. We go round and round. I explain I’m not happy with his answer, he tells me nothing he can do. I ask to speak to his manager – he tells me he doesn’t have one. This annoys me even more as I know this is a lie from past experience. When I explain this he tells me he could raise it with a manager but there would be nothing they can do either.

Finally I resign and ask what is the address / system for raising a complaint. I’m told there is no complaints department at Apple. Is it just me or is that hugely arrogant?

OK then I’m now told my account is marked and if I just call back when the black bands are available again they can sort an exchange for me. I ask where I should be checking and he directs me to the Apple Uk online store. So I do this whilst we are talking. There in front of me is the 38mm sport band in black available to order. I tell the rep this. Cue silence, confusion and lots of “are you sure?”

“I’ll speak to my manager as a special exception”.

Now this is where it gets stupid. I am told that I can’t have the black strap as an exchange as it’s not available for the silver sport Apple Watch, only the Space Grey.There is no way at all I can exchange it. What? Really?

I try to reason with the guy and ask if its made from the same plastic and has the same mechanism then it’s exactly the same as the white  band but its black. So there is no logical reason if I can swap to a pink one why I shouldn’t be able to swap to a black one.

Stonewalled. Can’t be done.

I inform him I will be sharing this bad experience as far and wide on social media as I can. If Apple won’t give me an official method of complaining then I’ll complain in my own way.

Well done Apple you’ve made me a very unhappy customer over a cheap bit of plastic that costs you almost nothing.

“A watch as unique and individual as you are” said Apple.

Unless you want it in black.



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  1. Storm Garelli

    I think your disappointment/frustration is based on a misconception that has not been sufficiently dispelled by Apple, and has been proactively promoted and worsened by virtually all the tech press.

    The misconception is that Apple are offering a “band exchange” service. But they are not.

    Like any Apple product, they are offering an industry-leading product exchange service so that unhappy users can return any Apple product within the first few days (14?) if they are not happy for any reason. Then they can receive either a full refund or swap it for a different replacement product.

    In the case of the Apple Watch, the “product” is the combination of a Watch and a Band. There are a curated/defined set of Watch/Band combinations that Apple sell as products, and you’ll find that you can exchange any of these product combos for any other, within the 14 day e change period.

    I believe that the confusion has been caused because Apple is trying to be more efficient in the administration of these Apple Watch exchanges by suggesting that when the Watch element is the same, then just the band can be exchanged ( the advantage to Apple being that they don’t have to take in so many Watch components that can then only be offered as “refurbished”)

    So in the case of your wife’s silver Sport Watch with White Band, you will be totally at liberty to exchange it for a Space Grey Sport Watch with its standard Black Band (paying the difference, just like any normal product exchange). And you would also be at liberty to exchange it for any other silver Sport Watch with any of the standard band colours that are offered as standard products – in this case, Apple would then offer to swap just the Band for the reasons outlined above.

    But you would *not* be able to swap the White Sport band (that came with your Silver Sport Watch) for a Black Sport band (because that isn’t available for the silver Sport Watch). Of course, you would still be able to swap the whole Watch/Band combo for the Space Grey/black product and pay the difference,

    The bottom line is that Apple have never said they will be operating a “band swap”service. Much of the tech press has misunderstood this and perpetuated the problem. Hence the frustration of customers like you.

  2. That’s an apt answer to an ineestrting question

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