Was I wrong here? (web consumer complaint)

About a month ago, my beloved iPod gen5 decided it wouldn’t hold a charge any more. After a bit of discussion on these boards, I decided to ship it to a place I found on the web, which services iPods. I filled out their form, pre-paid $49 for a new battery plus $10 for lifetime warranty on said battery, and shipped it off to them with a note in the comment field: “Will not hold a charge.” A few days later I received an e-mail msg from the repair shop saying this (verbatim):

Repair shop: “You sent us a black video iPod, order number 18575, with the complaint “will not charge”. The logic board is the defective part:
it is not charging the battery as it should. Replacing the logic board instead of the battery would cost $99.00 more than the $59.00 battery replacement charge. Do we have your permission to change the logic board?”

I was bummed that the problem wasn’t an inexpensive repair, but that’s life when you’re an Apple addict. Anywho, here’s the series of emails that we sent back and forth (verbatim):

Me: "Please return it without the repairs. The $160 is too expensive for a $299 device. Thank you for your assessment. "

Repair Shop: “Just so you are aware the price you were quoted by Peter was discounted by over $60 due to your sending it in for battery service. Once it is repaired it would be considered much more cost effective than buying a new one since it will be primarily new due to the type of repair.”

Me: “Thanks for the e-mail. I appreciate the discount you’re offering but
it just doesn’t make sense for me to spend $160 for a year and a half
old ipod, when a brand new one (with 60% brighter screen and longer
lasting battery) retails at Apple.com for $250. Or I might wait until
the gen.6 is released (announcement pending today) and put my money
into that. (Had Adam quoted me $220 (!) to repair the logic board
that would have made the decision even easier.) As is, I’m just not
willing to spend $160 to repair it. I appreciate your diagnosis and advice but please return the iPod to me at your earliest convenience.”

Repair shop: “Lisa,The cost of returning your iPod will be $25. Please let me know if you still want your iPod returned. The other option would be for us to buy out your iPod.”

Me: “Please return it.”

Repair shop: “I won’t be charging you $25, sorry for the confusion. Your iPod will ship back today!”

Shortly thereafter, I received my (still) broken iPod. Then I got my cc statement and saw a $59 charge. I couldn’t call them because I received this e-mail: “Currently our phone is down due to a major storm in the area.”

Me: “I see that my credit card has been charged $59 for the battery replacement. Did you actually replace the battery given that it was the logic board and not the battery? If not, please refund the $59 less the $25 diagnostic fee you quoted below.”

Repair shop: “Yes the battery was replaced since it was paid for.”


Me: “So you replaced something that wasn’t broken even though you knew that
it wasn’t the source of the problem? Just verifying before I dispute
the charges with American Express.”

Repair shop: “Feel free to dispute the charges, you ordered a service for a parts replacement and we replaced those parts that under your own self diagnosis you thought were bad. We tested your iPod thoroughly as a common courtesy and found further issues. We followed through on what you asked for which was to replace the battery. You haven’t asked for a refund of the charges for the battery you only asked to clarify the charges. We will also be forwarding the same things to american express as our rebuttal to your claim. My suggestion would be to read our terms and conditions for information about refunds on parts installed and also chargeback fees.”

Me: “I paid $59 because I, as a lay person, believed the problem was with the battery. You diagnosed otherwise. A reputable repair shop does not replace items that don’t need to be replaced. I would like the $59 refunded, minus the $25 diagnostic charge. Or, at the very least, please return to me my original battery which, by your own admission, was not defective.”

So, honestly. What’s your opinion? Am I wrong here?

No, of course you’re not wrong. They’ve been completely illogical about the whole thing and have already charged you for their diagnosis and time. Your last paragraph is exactly the way I see it and I’d dispute the charge straight away.

And just FYI, the 6th gen iPods are already out. $250 will get you an 80 gig iPod Classic.

Moot point, but there it is.

I think you’re being very reasonable. Good luck!

You’re absolutely right- you told them to return it w/o the repairs. IMO, “repairs”
includes replacing the battery.

That actually sounds fairly typical of shady businesses, it sounds to me like you got scammed and barely avoided an even bigger scam. If I were you, I’d be wondering whether they actually replaced the battery at all, and just charged you the $59 for the hell of it.

I’d be amazed if the logic board was even faulty.

Believe me, it’s definitely crossed my mind. What really got me was the “It’ll cost you $25 to get your iPod back. Or, we can offer to buy it from you.”

I didn’t ask what price they’d offer but it seems like a really ripe opportunity to scam consumers. You tell them that the repairs will be costly and then offer to buy it from them for $50 (or whatever). If it wouldn’t be such a pain, I would take it to a local service center and make sure it was the logic board. I wonder if there’s any way to know if the battery is new…like a serial number or date.

Dispute the charge, and send the whole story to consumerist.com just to cap it off.

I would definitely post the company name to warn others and possibly put some pressure on them.

Very shady. I’ve replaced an ipod battery before and it isn’t difficult. When they realized this wasn’t the problem and you were asking for it to be sent back without repairs, they should have been able to put the old battery back in. Hell, they should have done it when they came to the conclusion the problem was the logic board.

The whole time I was reading your post, I was thinking, “it isn’t the logic board.” Not because I know how the damned things work, but because their behavior struck me as strange even at that point. Do you really have a new battery? Can you open it and tell? If so, is it possible it does hold a charge now?