Applecare deposit greater than cost of device?

Going to the Genius Bar today for my PowerBeats Pro not holding a charge because they’d have needed to do a card hold for over $300 to do a mail-in exchange.

The thing is, I can go to Apple’s website and buy brand new ones for $100 less than that.

Is there a reason the card hold for an AppleCare exchange would be more than the retail price of the product?

My guess is that the difference is the $300 is probably the “official price that no one pays” and $200 is the “sale price that is always on sale” but when doing an exchange like this they are restricted to the official price.

Just a guess, tho.

It boils down to MSRP not what you can actually purchased them for. Apple is just making sure that the product is returned. Seems like a good incentive to keep certain customers honest.

I felt bad for folks who didn’t have enough available credit to cover this cost last spring when the stores were closed and I was working for AppleCare. The hold was removed normally within a week of the original product being returned.

Worse were the folks who only had a Debit card to use. Those funds were placed “on hold” and some banks would hold them for up to 30 days after Apple cleared the hold.

That’s the crazy thing.

MSRP is apparently $249. Current price is $199. But they wanted a $300+ deposit.

I wonder if it’s just a mistake, because they list $249.99 as the replacement value they would charge if you didn’t return the replacement.

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Yeah that’s super weird. Seems like there had to be a glitch in the system. I wonder if they were originally $299 or something.

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That’s a possibility.

The thing that really frustrates me is that problem was that the battery was dying sooner than normal, so I called in. There’s no way to check battery health on the device, so they offered mail-in or Genius Bar. I took “Genius Bar” because I use these all day, every day, including for my business phone calls, and I was hoping to get it dealt with on-site.

Genius Bar hooked them up to their laptop, said “the firmware is up to date”, and indicated they couldn’t do anything else. So they shipped it to the repair depot, and my estimated time to get them back is a week or more.

The work order included “depot repair”, at a quote of $0, and “2 part flat rate quote”, at a price of $198. The Genius Bar person didn’t seem to know why that last item was even on there, as I have AppleCare, but she seemed to think that was a “worst case scenario” or something.

If Apple tries to charge me almost $200 for repair on headphones that I have AppleCare on I’m going to be Very Cranky. Although the little speaker grilles fell out quite a ways back, so I have the suspicion they’re going to bill me the “accidental damage” rate, even though the problem has nothing to do with that - it’s the battery.

I honestly can’t even imagine that PowerBeats Pro are repairable in any meaningful way, so it kind of stumps me as to why - with all the electronics in these things - they have no ability to just query a battery health and make a call that way.

We’ll see how it goes, though.

What about taxes? They are not 25% for sure.
Something odd here, I did many mail exchanges, never paid anything other than the official price.

It was something like $322 total. I figured the $22-ish was the tax part, so the $300-ish must be the device part.

I believe the original price for PowerBeat Pros was $299. The $198 cost is ONLY if they determine you took them apart, left them in a Hot Tub or something else outside of warranty. Don’t be surprised if they end up replacing all components for you.

Taking something in to the Genius Bar saves you a possible expense (ie: hold on credit card) and it can be shipped to your home/office. Just need to live somewhere that a Genius Bar is open currently.

That makes sense. A big part of my disappointment was that the Genius assisting me had no clue whatsoever what the $198 would even be for. I very much felt like the person hadn’t been trained, and they didn’t seem eager to summon anybody who did know, even though I tried to clarify multiple times.

A lot of repair depots (I assume the Genius Bar, included) have fixed rack rates for different repairs. Some cost accounting group in the background sets the rates based on labor, materials, overhead burden, margin, etc. The front office repair team doesn’t necessarily have insight into the rate breakdown, but they should be able to tell you want action will be taken – according to a write-up in their script.

Yeah, that was my whole question.

Two lines on the work order. One that’s a cost of $0, one that’s a cost of $198. I have AppleCare+, and no mention of the lower AppleCare+ ADH fee as even an option.

I asked what the $198 line was even for because I have AppleCare+, and there shouldn’t be any situation where I have to pay $200 for repair. They didn’t know.

I asked about the AppleCare+ discounted service rate, because that’s not listed anywhere on the work order. They didn’t know.

I asked if the $198 was going to be auto-charged to a card I have on file, because I very much am not okay with spending $200 to fix headphones that didn’t even make it a year. They thought that probably wouldn’t be the case, but couldn’t actually tell me.

The work order was generated by “the system”, so no edits.

And when I’d called in previously and they were asking about the $300 deposit for replacement, I had the same issue. I asked what would happen if they got my PowerBeats back and thought there was nothing wrong with them. Would they charge me the $300, because they’d shipped out the new pair already? They didn’t know.

The whole process, start to finish, has very much been lacking any information or transparency whatsoever.

I don’t need guarantees, but all it would’ve taken for me to be happy and not stressed out is a very simple explanation like:

  • We’re going to send your stuff to the depot.
  • If we determine that there’s nothing wrong, we’ll ship your old product back to you. You (will/won’t) have to pay for return shipping, which is usually around (fill in a number)
  • If it’s broken and covered by AppleCare+, no charge.
  • If we determine there’s accidental damage, it’ll be $29 per earpiece, so up to $58 total.
  • If we determine that somehow you intentionally destroyed them, we’ll offer to replace them for $198.
  • If any money needs to be collected, we’ll call/email/whatever you with your options before we do anything.

You could seriously put that procedure on a 3x5 card and hand it out to every employee. The AppleCare service rates would be different for every product, but that shouldn’t be hard to look up, should it?

The “what happens when things get sent to the repair depot” shouldn’t be a complete black box to Genius Bar employees.

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Sad. Seems like the Apple Care / Genius experience has deteriorated. Perhaps a result of staffing challenges from the current crises? Or from changes in Apple management?

Luckily, I have not needed a Genius Bar visit for a few years – in that case the Genius bar rep whisked away my non-responding HomePod and had a replacement in my hands and out the door in less than 10 minutes.

My in store experience with Airpods over a year ago was similar. 20 minutes or so in store with troubleshooting and such and I walked out with new earpieces.

This last time I felt very much like my Genius was poorly trained and/or poorly supported.


My experience with replacing broken Apple AirPods (microphone no longer worked) was that Apple listed the fee for a separate right AirPod and for a separate left AirPod. The price for two pieces was more than the cost of a new pair, put that was a hold that was not processed as a charge since my old AirPods were returned on time. The hold cost for one was less than the price if I was buying a new pair but more than half the price of a pair. So it looked like the cost to repair two was going to be more than just buying them. Since they were covered under either AppleCare or warranty, i don’t remember, I paid nothing. Also, the new ones were shipped to me immediately, with boxes arriving later for me to ship back my broken original AirPods. So great service, but confusing numbers. I did mine by shipping them back, since there are no Apple stores near where I live. Just my experience.

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Just updating the saga. After I dropped them off at an Apple Store, it took a week and a half for them to get to their repair depot. Half a dozen hours after I got the email that they’d received them, I got an “unable to replicate problem” email - so they’ve decided there’s nothing wrong, and they’re sending them back to me.

We’ll see how they work, I guess - but ultimately very frustrating.

UGH. That’s so frustrating. If someone goes through the hassle of returning them, Apple ought to replace them just out of ‘customer sat’. Whatever cost Apple would incur is certainly a rounding error on 30 seconds of profit.

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And…confirmed. They took the time to wrap them up in plastic as if they were new, and they removed the piece of adhesive velcro I’d put on the bottom of the case - but no replacement, cleaning or other action.

The (standard format, printed) note they included (helpfully?) let me know that there was no charge for the diagnostics. I guess I can be glad that they didn’t charge me to not fix my problem?

At this point, as much as I like their computing products (phone, Mac, iPad), I’m pretty sure my next pair of Bluetooth headphones is not going to be from Apple.