Help! Apple wants to charge me again for AppleCare coverage

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By Christopher Elliott

Susan Lennon’s iPhone gets stolen in the mail, but Apple assures her she can use her AppleCare coverage on its replacement. So why is it asking her to sign up again for AppleCare? 


I’ve had an ongoing nightmare with Apple since last October when the new iPhone14 Pro I ordered online was stolen between the Apple store and my home. 

I purchased AppleCare coverage to go with the phone. When I ordered a replacement, I asked if I needed to cancel the AppleCare and buy it again. A representative told me I didn’t and that Apple would automatically append it to my phone.

I did not get a refund, and I assumed naïvely that it was all taken care of. Fast forward to earlier this year when I got a notice in my settings that I had one day left to purchase AppleCare on my current phone.

I have been an Apple customer since 2008, and this is by far the worst experience I have ever had. I would like a refund of $270 for AppleCare. Can you help? — Susan Lennon, Rocky Hill, Conn.


Apple should have been able to transfer your AppleCare coverage from your stolen phone to your replacement. At least that’s how I read the company’s terms and conditions, which say that if Apple replaces your device, it will “automatically transfer your plan to your new device.”

What went wrong? A closer look at Apple’s rules suggests that it can’t transfer some AppleCare policies, and your iPhone — because it was stolen — may not have qualified. If it didn’t, then someone from Apple should have told you immediately.

But before we get to the resolution, here’s an obvious question: Is AppleCare worth getting? AppleCare is an insurance product that covers the repair or replacement of your Apple device in the event of accidental damage. It also gives you priority access to the Apple telephone technical support line if your iPhone or MacBook stops working properly. 

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I believe AppleCare should not be necessary. The company ought to repair or replace its products and offer priority customer care for all of its products, regardless of warranty status. But technology companies like Apple can earn hundreds of millions of dollars by selling customers a promise to take care of their devices, so who am I to interfere?

Getting the attention of someone at Apple should have been easy. But it wasn’t, and I think I know why. Since AppleCare doesn’t normally cover a stolen phone, and you didn’t have the AppleCare conversation in writing, there was no record that Apple had agreed to transfer the policy. (Related: La-Z-Boy furniture delivery delay: How do I get my recliners now?)

AppleCare problems? Here’s how to appeal to an executive

Apple failed to help you through normal customer service channels, which is highly unusual. I list the names, numbers and email addresses of Apple’s executives on my consumer advocacy site, A brief, polite email to one of them might have helped. (Here’s how to fix your own consumer problems.)

You reached out to my advocacy team for help. I contacted Apple on your behalf. Separately, you also sent an email to Apple’s CEO. A representative responded and credited you for the full amount of your iPhone’s AppleCare plan.

Is AppleCare worth it?

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About this story

We’ve had an awful lot of lost-package cases lately. (Apple is hardly alone. Here’s a lost Google Pixel case.) But this one received a higher priority because it’s gift-giving/device upgrade season, and our team figured there might be other readers with the same problem. I’m lucky to work with an incredible team on a project like this — Dwayne Coward and Mel Smith helped advocate this case, Andy Smith and his team handled the editing, and Dustin Elliott created the illustration. I researched, edited and fact-checked the article.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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