The main symptom of this issue which was serious enough to result in a big recall was that users would "suddenly experience shorter battery life or need to be charged more frequently." Guess what, we had one of these in our home and we wanted to replace the bad battery.
Apple doesn’t have a store in Vienna, Austria, but it has a premium reseller called Mc Shark that handles any replacements and warranty related issues. We went there to get a new battery, but the Mc Shark RMA employee warned us that Apple might charge us €39.99 and can refuse to replace the battery since the phone was dropped. He claimed that there might be some water related damage or general device damage that would cause them to decline the warranty. Mind you, Apple called customers to get a battery replacement as it messed up and used substandard batteries to begin with. Scratching or dropping a phone has nothing to do with it, it does not change the fact that the device was shipped with a faulty battery.
The €39.99 fee was for the technician’s time that he would take to determine whether or not the RMA would be fulfilled, so we decided to give a replacement a shoot, as our iPhone mentioned could only hold a charge for a few hours at best. Here was our reasoning - even if Apple charges us €39.99 for nothing, we would walk out with a nice story to tell.
The chaps were quick to replace the battery and emailed us a day later and we got the phone with the new battery but we didn’t know if they accepted the warranty or not until we picked up the phone. So in the end we got a phone with new battery, but iTunes didn’t want to get the updates from the day before and decided that data from November 2014 should be restored, causing a lot of unnecessary work.
Just thought we should share this story, as this is not the way how to keep your customer happy. Apple’s scare tactics and charging consumers to fix a phone they messed up are simply not good for business, especially for a premium brand that prides itself on good support.