Consumer Rights: How to complain about a broken iPhone

by , Consumer Rights Producer Apple 22/08/2013
Broken iPhone

Mobile phones are increasingly important to us these days offering a plethora of apps to keep you amused – and the ability to phone and send text messages if endlessly playing Candy Crush Saga becomes too much.

But what happens if you have a broken iPhone and it’s not your fault? In our recent mobile phone reliability survey of 11,000 Which? members, we took a look at the most common mobile phone problems. Screen problems, such as unresponsive or frozen screens, and software problems, like random rebooting, proved particularly commonplace.

Apple has a service answer centre to help you diagnose and fix your iPhone problems yourself but if this doesn’t work, or if you own an Android, Windows Phone or BlackBerry handset, follow our tips below.

My mobile phone is faulty, what can I do?  - our trusty Consumer Rights guide

“I bought my iPhone as part of a contract”

Did you get your phone as part of a contract? That could mean your rights are against the mobile phone service provider – so think Vodafone, O2, T-Mobile etc – as opposed to where you bought the phone from.

If your phone is refusing to play ball, you may be entitled to a free repair or replacement as part of your contract – it is worth checking your operator’s terms and conditions first.

You have rights under the Supply of Goods and Services Act. This noble sounding act means that if you enter a contract for goods and services you can expect them to be provided with reasonable skill and care – so the handset should be of satisfactory quality.

“I bought my iPhone outright”

If you bought the phone yourself, your rights are against the retailer as opposed to the manufacturer. Remember the three rules from the Sale of Goods Act (handily, these can be applied across all faulty goods) – goods must be as described, of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose.

If the fault develops within six months its up to the retailer to prove that the fault wasn’t there when you bought it. After six months, you may be required to prove you didn’t cause the problem yourself –  for example, in the case of a frozen screen, you may have overloaded your iPhone with too many apps. Time to get rid of Angry Birds?

“Can a mobile phone ombudsman help?”

Not getting anywhere? You need to give your mobile phone provider a chance to resolve your complaint – but if it is not resolved within eight weeks, send a letter of deadlock to your provider, and take your complaint to the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman acts as an independent referee between you and your provider and can look at both sides of the dispute.

Your provider will either belong to Cisas or Ombudsman Services: Communications. Take a look to find out which, and then follow our guide to help you achieve redress.

More on this…

Mobile phone reviews – read our verdict on the iPhone and its rival handsets
How to complain about slow broadband – we explain
What to do if you’ve been charged a huge mobile phone bill – while travelling abroad

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