What to Do If Your New Apple Product Is a Lemon (or Generally Defective)

iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Pro Credit: Jonas Leupe / Daniel Romero
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Apple is known for its reliability, but that doesn’t mean the company is perfect. Sometimes its devices fail not once, not twice, but repeatedly. We’re looking at you, butterfly keyboard. When you purchase a device and it turns out to be a dud, you’re not stuck suffering with it. You can do a few things to get rid of the defective device and replace it with one that meets Apple’s standard for quality and reliability.

Return It Within 14 Days

Apple, as well as most retailers that sell Apple gear, have a 14-day return policy. If you encounter problems right from the start, you may want to return your Apple product before this window expires. There are a few exceptions to this return policy, though.

You can’t return the item if you damaged it or somehow caused the issue. It also is more challenging to return items with engraving or similar customizations. In this latter situation, you must have an apparent defect.

Some retailers, including Apple, charge a restocking fee. You shouldn’t have to pay a fee for a manufacturer’s defect, but you may have to ask (or argue) that the fee be waived.

Replace It Within 30 Days

Not every retailer has a 14-day return policy. Some let you return an item within 30-days. Keep this in mind when purchasing. If two retailers have the same item at the same price, buy the product from the one with the extended return policy.

If you bought from a retailer with a 14-day return period, don’t give up. Some stores may bend this policy, especially if you are willing to accept an exchange instead of your money back.

Repair It Within a Year

If you start having issues after a few months, you are not SOL. Yes, you cannot return the item to Apple for replacement, but you can contact Apple to have the item repaired. All Apple products have a standard one-year warranty that covers manufacturing defects. You can bring the defective item to an Apple Store or an Apple Authorized Service provider for evaluation. You also can have it serviced via Apple using the company’s mail-in program.

Use AppleCare

If you purchased AppleCare for your device, you can easily have it repaired through Apple or an Apple Authorized Service provider. You pay extra for AppleCare, but it extends the original one-year warranty and covers accidental damage. You may have to pay a small deductible, but Apple will fix the item even if you caused the issue.

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