I have recently become involved in a dispute with Apple Computer’s. Following Apple’s failure to respond to a ‘Letter before claim’, I'm posting all this to try and get advice and suggestions from any experts out there that might have some insight! These are the details:
• On the 27/11/2010 my IPhone 4 was stolen in Belfast city Centre
• On the 28/11/2010 I contacted my mobile provider and had the SIM card and handset blocked. In the UK and Ireland, this renders the handset useless as all carriers within the UK/Ireland will not service a handset with a blocked IMEI number. The handset has also been reported stolen with the police.
• On the 06/12/2010 I receive an automated feedback email from Apple inviting me to participate in a follow-up web survey regarding my recent ‘in-store repair’. Not realizing at the time what was going on, I contacted the Belfast Apple store to enquire. I was informed that someone had entered the store the previous week with my handset complaining that it was faulty. The person was given a brand new handset (apparently in line with Apple processes) and my stolen handset was retained by Apple. They confirmed the serial number and IMEI number of the handset, which matched the details on my original packaging and delivery slip.
The staff said I had received the email because the phone had still been registered to my Apple account, but that they could not return my phone or give me any details about who came into the store with my phone. They also said they could not divulge any information to the police as this was a breach of customer confidentiality.
• On the 03/01/2011 I sent Apple a ‘Letter before claim’ informing them of the details of the case, and to let them know I would be taking the matter to court if it could not be resolved amicably. The letter was registered and I have confirmation that they received it at their headquarters in Ireland on the 07/01/2011.
• After not hearing from Apple for 3 weeks, I got in contact with the Customer Relations Manager at the Irish headquarters. The ‘Letter Before Claim’ was addressed to him, but he said he knew nothing about it. I explained the case, he said he would investigate the matter and get back to me within 24hrs. I didn’t hear from him for a week, and began trying to contact him. This took a few days as he did not answer his phone, or respond to my voice message.
• When I did eventually track him down, he said he has passed this on to another department who was supposed to contact me. He then said he would deal with the matter personally and get back to me within 24hrs.
• This was on the 4th of February. I receive an email from him on the 8th apologizing, and saying he would contact me the following day.
Again I received no call, and another email on the 10th apologizing, and again stating he would phone me on the 11th.
At this stage I sent him a strongly worded letter expressing my anger at the way this was being dealt with. It is now the 15th and I have not had a call, or a response to my last email from him.
I have spent an absurd amount of time running after staff at the Apple headquarters in Ireland, being passed from one person to the next, and have now spent over £30 pounds in phone calls trying to get some answers and seem to be no closer to finding a resolution. I feel this case is straight forward, Apple are knowingly in possession of stolen goods, and at this stage have probably rebuilt the phone and sent it out for re-sale. Does this not constitute laundering of stolen goods?
So any thoughts? What would you do? Any comments/suggestions are welcomed!