Does Apple Really Care? Testing Out Apple Care in the Philippines
In theory, getting a care program to repair a damaged iPhone free of charge is convenient. After all, the AppleCare Protection Plan not only provides direct access to Apple’s telephone technical support network. It can be purchased in any region and is also honored in all accredited Apple service centers worldwide, with planholders getting global repair coverage for both parts and labor.
But in practice, is it really worth it? For starters, the free repair option must be availed during the standard one-year warranty period. Planholders merely have the option to extend their service coverage up to three years from the item’s purchase date.
And then there’s how the customer service team handles the aftersales work. Let's take two of the most prominent Apple service providers in the Philippines and compare them to see which one is the better option.
Power Mac Center
Back in February 2014, the Power Mac Center has announced that it will be offering a unit repair program for the iPhone 4 and succeeding models. This program was said to be the same as the one offered in the United States.
According to an article on Yahoo News, iPhone owners can have their units repaired in the Philippines at no cost by Apple-trained technicians, using Apple-certified parts and tools. These are also ready for claiming within 72 hours. The Power Mac Center also services other iPhones, regardless of service eligibility, though these repairs will be subject to fees.
However, there are a few major limitations to this program. For one, this specific Apple Authorized Service Provider reserves the right to refuse "jailbroken" iPhones and those with heavy cosmetic damage. Its repair program also does not apply to iPhones from both Smart and Globe.
While this was initially received positively, there have been numerous complaints about how slow the turnaround was. Some customers also complained, saying they have been charged fees when repairs were supposed to be free.
Let’s take a look at this post from the Philippine Mac Users Group (PhilMUG) forum for example:
In this instance, a customer managed to secure a complimentary battery replacement from Apple’s chat support. However, the Power Mac outlet informed the customer that they would be billing the person for repairs. There was an apparent lack of coordination in that instance.
That said, customers have given generally positive feedback for some branches, despite the fact that this one noted a slight mishandling of their device by a different service center.
PhilMUG chairman johannes (Johannes Sia) also noted last January that Power Mac Center has taken steps to be more active in the forum to quickly address concerns.
Beyond the Box
Inaugurated back in August 2011, Beyond the Box also offers a same unit repair program with a reportedly more responsive customer service. This is thanks to having an active presence in Mac user forums.
The problem is that sometimes, their technicians tend to make mistakes as well, as in this case of one customer getting her iPhone back with more damage.
To be fair, the contact for Beyond the Box did respond to this complaint and managed to resolve the matter.
As it turned out, the BTB technician admitted to damaging the iPhone, and that they would repair the phone.
Based from looking at the forums, getting an AppleCare plan for your iPhone beyond the one-year warranty is not recommended. This is especially since Apple tends to release a new model every two years. If you’re the extra careful type that takes additional measures to protect your devices by equipping them with a durable casing or a screen protector, you might want to consider saving up for that new model instead. That’s instead of spending an extra $99 for the plan.
However, if you prefer to stick with the iPhone you have, then it’s your call if you want to get a plan. Just be sure that you can trust your service centers enough to turn over your phone quickly. Or at least, you should be proactive enough to follow up on the status of your device. After all, having an extended care program is only one part of taking care of your phone.