iPhone Recall Loaner: Can I Just Keep It?
April 28, 2014 6:21 PM   Subscribe

I went to get my 16GB iPhone 5 repaired or replaced under the iPhone 5 Sleep/Wake Button Replacement Program today, and after some testing and such I was issued a loaner phone (also a 16GB iPhone 5) and told that mine will be repaired in about 6-8 days. I think I'd like to just keep the loaner, and it seems like that may not be encouraged but may be possible...

During the process, they had me sign an iPhone Loan Agreement, which covers the terms of the loan (return date, permitted use, deleting your files when you return it, etc.)...but, the second clause of the agreement has me thinking. It reads, verbatim:

Failure to Return Loaner Phone. In the event that you fail to return the Loaner Phone to Apple by the Return Date (i) Apple will obtain full ownership rights in the Customer Phone, and may use or dispose of the Customer Phone as Apple sees fit; and (ii) you will obtain full ownership rights in the Loaner Phone, and accept the Loaner Phone provided to you as a full replacement of the Customer Phone. All original terms of sale, including the remainder of any warranty terms still in effect, that applied to the Customer Phone shall continue in force and shall apply to the Loaner Phone.

I've been having weird battery issues for a while with my original phone that have not resolved with software updates and restores and that the Apple rep kind of blew off today, this new or refurbished phone they gave me is in slightly better physical condition, I've already had to backup and wipe my old phone, restore this loaner from my backup, and I don't want to have to do that all over again in a week, and it's also kind of a hassle for me to get back to the particular Apple Store where I initiated the repair (and they refused to mail me back my phone after repair since I'd brought it into the store so I could get the loaner). I mention all of this only to explain why I would want the loaner over my original and also why I'm not feeling super-inclined to go out of my way to make Apple's collective life easier.

The entire contract is one page, 10 clauses, and nothing else in it mentions any other penalties for not returning the loaner.

YANML, obviously, but: Does it look to you like I'd be OK if I just never went to pick up my old phone and kept this one?
posted by rollbiz to Law & Government (3 answers total)
I just brought mine in for the same thing, and the way they explained it to me is that if I did not come in to swap the phones within 14 days after being notified that my phone was ready to be picked up, then I wouldn't get it back and I'd have to keep the loaner. Hopefully someone who works in Apple Retail can offer some more solid advice in here. In my case, the loaner is in much much worse shape than mine...so I'm counting the days until I can be reunited with my original.
posted by destructive cactus at 6:42 PM on April 28, 2014

Best answer: IANYL, but that language doesn't admit of much ambiguity. If you keep it, it sounds like the following things will happen:

(1) Anything you gave to Apple when you initiated this process will remain theirs. Chargers, the handset, any accessories. When you say you wiped your old phone, does that mean - are you certain that means - that all of your data was removed from the phone before it was in Apple's hands? Because "may use . . . the Customer Phone as Apple sees fit" likely includes doing whatever they want with anything that remains on your old phone. (Within limits, of course - so if you had Google wallet or something, Apple probably couldn't start racking up charges on your account - but you get the idea.)

(2) The loaner phone becomes your phone for all intents and purposes.

(3) Did you have AppleCare on your old phone? It will cover your new phone. If I were you, however, I would fish out your AppleCare documents and read the fine print to ensure that there's not some exclusionary clause that applies in this situation. Your old warranty will also cover your new phone, if any of the warranty remained.

The end.

You could also just ask your Apple person about all of this. The clarity and brevity of those terms suggests that this is a common situation that Apple plans for and isn't bothered by. The thing I'd be worried about: are you sure that your loaner phone is, actually, better? How old is the loaner? How many times has it been wiped and restored? How many hands has it been in? Maybe I'm an over-worrier, but. Etc.
posted by sevensnowflakes at 7:26 PM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

That language in the contract does sound like Apple is willing to swap. I would try just not returning the loaner. Probably the worst that happens is that they call you a few times and ask you to return it.
posted by chickenmagazine at 7:21 AM on April 29, 2014

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