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Apple Dumps Product Support Onto Suppliers

By David Richards | Monday | 15/04/2013

EXCLUSIVE: Apple Australia who has moved to expand their range of third party products that they sell in Apple stores, is refusing to take responsibility for warranty claims,with customers told to go direct to suppliers.

Customers who have purchased docks, headphones and accessories from an Apple store in Australia are not told about the lack of warranty support, until after they have purchased a product and are given a receipt, where a small line of text indicates that customer service is not supplied by Apple. 

In one case a customer purchased a $454 pair of Beats Headphones from Apple's Chatswood store but after discovering that they were faulty was told by Apple staff that he had to go back to the distributor which at the time was Sydney based Convoy.

The only problem was that Convoy were no longer the distributor of Beats headphones with the Company now indemnified from having to take responsibility for faulty Beats headphones after they lost the rights to distribute the US headphone brand late in 2012.

Last year Steve Vega of NSW spent over $3,225 buying products at Apple's Chatswood store along with a new 21" iMac he also purchased a $454 pair of premium Beats headphones and a $899, 64GB Apple iPad. He also paid out $117 for 'One to One membership'.

When his Beats headphones failed to work he contacted the Apple Chatswood store only to be told that it was not Apple's problem and that he had to contact the Company detailed on his receipt. 

This is where things got tricky because the Company listed on the receipt Convoy, is no longer the distributor for the Dr Dre Beats headphones. The new distributor is Ingram Micro Mobility who is not set up to deal direct with consumers.

Unlike other mass retailers Apple appears to not want to take responsibility for third party products sold in their stores, instead consumers are given a receipt with the name of a distributor who has supplied Apple. There is no telephone number or address for the customers to chase up.

Steve Vega said "I paid a premium price for the headphones and I was shocked that Apple refused to support a warranty claim for a product purchased in one of their stores. When I contacted Apple their staff told me I had to contact  the Company listed on the receipt. They then supplied a copy of the receipt, when I contacted Convoy I was told that they were no longer the supplier of the Beats product".

Geoff Mathews the CEO of Convoy said "We no longer supply Apple stores with Beats products. When we parted Company with Beats we were indemnified from any Warranty claims. These are now being handled by Ingram Micro Mobility, who are the new distributor. If the Apple customer is still having a problem we are more than willing to help him out with a pair of similar Monster headphones".

An Apple spokesperson said that they would investigate the claim.

A major third party supplier to Apple said "Apple don't want to take responsibility for any third party products. They charge full recommended retail in most cases but when it comes to delivering service for third party products they dump the liability back to the supplier. Most other retailers take responsibility for the products they sell in their stores but not Apple". 

"The likes of JB Hi Fi and Harvey Norman would simply swap out the product with the store taking responsibility for dealing with their supplier as a lot of distributors are not geared up to handle consumer inquiries" they said.

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