Damage to iPhones Totals $5.9 Billion Since 2007

Are consumers hard on these phones or are they just fragile?

The release of the iPhone 5 has created record sales for Apple's smartphone, which is the company's major profit center. But the consumers who shell out $199 and up for the device have paid a lot more than that.

SquareTrade, a company that sells smartphone insurance policies, has released a study showing that damaged iPhones have cost U.S. consumers $5.9 billion since their introduction in 2007.

Based on a survey of more than 2,000 iPhone users, the results combined the cost of repairs, replacements and insurance deductibles for cracked, dropped, pummeled, kicked, and water-damaged iPhones. The study also found that in the last 12 months alone, 30 percent of iPhone users damaged their device.

Hard on their phones

The study also shows that younger consumers are clumsiest with their iPhones: half of iPhone users under 35 have had an accident.

The top five iPhone accident scenarios, according to the study, are:

  • Phone dropped from my hand
  • Phone fell into a toilet, sink, hot tub, swimming pool, lake, etc.
  • Phone dropped from a lap
  • Phone knocked off a table
  • Phone drenched by some liquid

Common complaints

Complaints about the fragility of iPhones are nothing new. Consumers generally expect problems to be covered under warranty but usually find out they are not.

“Less than one month after purchasing an iPhone4 which AT&T suggested for an upgrade, my iPhone went out, no screen, nothing,” Robert, of Slidell, LA, wrote in a ConsumerAffairs post. “The AT&T store could do nothing. I was told to go to an Apple store and make an appointment first, of course. Apple store took phone in the back room, came out several minutes later and said phone not warranted because of liquid-wet. Phone was not wet (was in a life proof case) but they proceeded to show me red dots in phone to indicate wet.”

But SquareTrade says it sees plenty of problems with iPhones caused by moisture.

The toilet drop

"We were astonished at how many people drop their phones in the toilet as well as how frequently an innocuous drop from the hand actually killed the device,” said Ty Shay, CMO at SquareTrade. “We look forward to seeing what the new iPhone 5 users report with regard to durability."

Because of common accidents and the high cost of repairs, the SquareTrade study suggests many iPhone owners resort to improvised repairs.

For example, 11 percent of iPhone owners surveyed are currently using a device that is cracked and 6 percent have taped up their iPhone as a solution.

Story provided by ConsumerAffairs.
Consumer Affairs

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