Thursday, April 15, 2021

The Mystery of “White Spots” on Apple Trade Ins

Nick Statt (also: 9to5Mac, MacRumors):

The situation soon changed after his laptop arrived for inspection. Suddenly, McGloin was told his MacBook was worth just $140, less than half what Apple originally quoted. The mysterious culprit: “display has 3 or more white spots,” the Apple Store app told him. It’s a defect McGloin doesn’t remember ever seeing, and one that he should have noticed: typically, white spots on an LCD display are evidence of serious damage or burn-in and are clearly visible.


The company he had been dealing with was not actually Apple, but an Atlanta-based contractor named Phobio. Founded in 2010, Phobio is an enterprise service provider that specializes in offering white label trade-in services other companies can pass off as their own.

McGloin also found Phobio had a pretty questionable online reputation when it came to Apple products.

Dan Moren:

I’ve used Apple’s trade in program a few times in the past, and while I haven’t run into these issues, there does seem to be an odd recurrence of this “white spots” problem—all the more puzzling because several cases, customers have declined the trade in, gotten their devices returned, and been unable to discern the problem described.


Either way, it’s certainly not the experience that Apple probably wants for its customers, especially since many if not most of the people trading in old Apple products are using the money towards the purchase of new Apple products. But because Apple doesn’t highlight the fact that its returns are done through a third-party, it’s Apple that gets the blame—and it’s the one that needs to fix any issue here as well.

Darío Maestro:

Same thing happened to me. They sent a fake picture of my iPad Pro with a dead pixel and adjusted trade-in value to -$400. After I pushed back, they returned it to me. iPad was completely fine. I traded it in at an Apple Store for the full value.

I bet Phobio is great at privacy, though.

David Heinemeier Hansson:

Both Apple and Phobia refuses to answer any questions about the shady program. What the hell?

Becky Hansmeyer:

This happened to me!

Curtis Herbert:

Me too with the Apple trade in program! It was some of the glue causing a color change. Although in my case after I knew what to look for I did see them. But it is apparently common enough there should really be a warranty repair program.


3 Comments RSS · Twitter

Yup same thing happened to me last year when I sent in my iMac. "It won't boot". And they sent me a screenshot. Which indicated they used a bad OS image to boot. Quote was $670, revised to $220. They shipped it back to me, I booted it up, and then sold it on eBay for $1150.

The iPhone 6 battery recall program did the same thing to me. They sent me pictures of a random device with damage and claimed that I had previously had the device serviced by an unauthorized third party. They refused to install the new battery, flagged my phone in Apple's system as tampered, and kept the $39. Apple has turned into the world's biggest scam operation.

I’ve had many bizarre experiences with Phobio, including them returning a trade-in laptop unprompted weeks after I had already spent the gift card, and never contacting me to tell me why. Luckily not a horrible experience for me, lol, but not sure why Apple sticks with them.

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