The Feedback that Apple Wouldn’t Let Me Submit

John Laudun
3 min readFeb 18, 2023
Photo by on Unsplash

I recently purchased an iPhone 14 for my daughter. I was willing to do so because of the promised $200 trade-in value for her iPhone 11. (We are not a rich people.) I received the trade-in box, and I did all the things one does to return a device in good repair correctly: I wiped the data and I wiped the case. It practically shimmered as I slipped it into its return box.

A few weeks went by, and I received a notification that the iPhone 11’s trade-in value had been changed. Oh! I thought. It’s so nice they are going to offer more! What I learned was that the phone’s value had been changed to $0 Did I still want to trade it in?

The only information I received on the change was “Reason: Unknown/3rd party components.” That’s not at all helpful. And, unhelpfully as well, the email informing me of the change came from a no_reply email address. (That’s shitty corporate policy at its best.)

So I did what any geek would do: I tweeted Apple Support who, unhelpfully, told me to go to the Apple Store. I clicked around and around and around on the Apple Store website, but there were no places to find more information.

I finally called Apple, and I got a helpful person who heard me out, but could not offer any more information. I assumed it was a third party doing the trade-in checks, because the process felt so under-considered. No, she assured me. It was Apple. She offered to send out another box and let the phone get checked again.

It was then that I remembered, because I was dealing with a human and not a series of unhelpful web pages or unhelpful tweet bots, that we had in fact replaced the phone’s screen. But not at an Apple Store, because the closest one is an hour and a half away.

And not at the established, I think, authorized repair shop because those people are assholes. One time, after I had cleaned my daughter’s keyboard of spilled chocolate milk I asked them if I could bring it by for them to check my work, they told me I would have to drop it off; it would be a 4-day wait; and there would be a minimum of a $75 bench fee. I called the other place in town that does iPhone and Mac repair work. They told me to swing by. They took the computer in the back to check something. When they came back, having fixed a key I hadn’t gotten quite right, they waved me out the door insisting they couldn’t charge me for that.

Tim Cook, pay attention: your authorized stores are staffed by jerks and the people doing the real work of making Apple a brand with whom they want to interact are outside your apparently “authorized” domain.

Because now I have a phone that isn’t worth the $200 trade-in on which my purchase of the new phone was premised, and I’m not entirely sure that it was the screen replacement that was the problem: because the reason for rejection was overly broad.

I would have submitted some or all of this to Apple, but the feedback form cuts you off about 100 words in, and I clearly had more to say.



John Laudun

Cultural Informatics Researcher focused on Stories, People, Networks