Monique Chevalier wanted her shattered iPhone fixed — cheap and fast. So she went down to her local Batteries Plus franchise and handed over the severely damaged device. The technicians there promised to repair the screen for $139 in just one hour. So how did this transaction end up with Chevalier being blacklisted by Batteries Plus?
Chevalier’s tale is a reminder that you get what you pay for. If you want to pay a bargain price for a repair you may need to lower your expectations.
A shattered iPhone
“I shattered my iPhone screen, and the digitizer broke, too,” Chevalier reported. “So I brought it into Batteries Plus for a screen replacement. Since the digitizer was broken, it was stuck on my locked screen. Everything else was completely normal.”
Unfortunately for Chevalier “completely normal” did not describe her cellphone. The pictures and video that she sent me showed an iPhone with a questionable future. With a shattered screen and a broken digitizer, there isn’t much you can do with an iPhone.
The digitizer is under the glass screen. And if it’s inoperable, nothing happens when you touch the screen. The repair of an iPhone with this type of damage is more complicated than one with just a shattered screen. So I wasn’t quite sure what “completely normal” meant to Chevalier.
But when I read her complaint, I sympathized. Coincidentally, on that same day, I had my own iPhone tragedy.
As I was taking a laundry basket down a flight of steps, my dogs startled one of my kittens, Sherman. In the ensuing chaos of cats, dogs, me and my laundry — my iPhone and the basket tumbled down the stairs. My laundry survived. My iPhone didn’t. And I became the not-so-proud owner of a shattered iPhone 7 myself.
Still reeling from the sudden demise of my iPhone, I opened Chevalier’s email. Naturally, I wanted to help.
But what exactly was the problem?
Did Batteries Plus repair this shattered iPhone — or not?
Chevalier paid the $139 fee and handed her phone to the Batteries Plus technician. After about an hour, the employee called to tell Chevalier that he had successfully fixed her iPhone.
“When I got home, I turned my phone on and saw that everything worked great,” Chevalier reported. “But the home button wasn’t sitting flush. It was slightly raised.”
She noticed on her receipt a six-month guarantee. So the next day she decided to take the phone back to Batteries Plus. She showed the technician the “slightly” raised button and asked him to fix this new problem.
“I came back in an hour, and the home button was still raised,” Chevalier reported. “He said I could bring it back when the manager was in if I wasn’t pleased.”
She wasn’t pleased. A few days later, Chevalier returned to find the manager.
“The manager said they could give me $20 to walk away or they could replace the screen again,” she recalled. “I said I would like the screen replaced again since it’s still under warranty.”
The manager agreed to replace the screen and set to work.
Once more, Chevalier returned in one hour. She took her iPhone and left.
Getting blacklisted by Batteries Plus
This time, Chevalier found a problem with the actual screen. She says that it appeared that Batteries Plus replaced her screen with a thicker piece of glass. It also seemed to have an odd coloring. So she went to the T-Mobile store to compare her repaired phone with a new iPhone 7 Plus.
“I asked the manager at T-Mobile her opinion,” Chevalier reported. “That manager told me mine was definitely not an OEM replacement screen. And she didn’t think the techs had installed it properly.”
So Chevalier headed back to Batteries Plus with her newfound information. And here’s where things took a turn for the worse.
Chevalier accused the store of using parts from China — not official Apple parts — to fix her phone. The Batteries Plus employees asked her if she wanted the original (shattered) screen put back on her phone. She agreed. And so the technician took her cell phone and put the original shattered screen back where it started.
The technicians returned her iPhone and her $139 and asked her to leave the store.
Even though she had asked the employees to do this, Chevalier seemed shocked that they also put the damaged digitizer back.
“I touched the home button to see what working condition my phone was in,” she complained. “Then I saw that they also put the broken digitizer back on my phone.”
Batteries Plus had returned the phone to its non-working condition and returned Chevalier’s money. This resolution seemed like an even exchange. So I asked what she hoped our advocacy team could do.
A refurbished 7 Plus or $550 to replace her shattered iPhone
Chevalier told me that she believed that Batteries Plus further damaged her iPhone by bending it. And because of their six-month guarantee for repairs, she wanted either an Apple refurbished iPhone or $550.
I tried to follow this logic, but I couldn’t.
When we advocate cases, we try to be fair to both sides of the customer and company equation. And, although we sometimes get requests to present wildly outrageous resolutions to companies, we always turn these down.
Elliott Advocacy is all about mediating fair resolutions.
Contacting Batteries Plus
But before dismissing this case, I contacted the owner of this particular Batteries Plus for clarification. I also was curious how the technicians re-installed a shattered screen.
The owner had a slightly different perspective concerning Chevalier’s experience.
His store employees were trying to satisfy Chevalier’s ongoing repair complaints, he said. However, she demanded that the technicians return her money and let her keep the screen they had installed. The manager refused. She could have one or the other, but not both. That’s when she asked them to reinstall the shattered screen.
I asked the owner how the employees reinstalled the shattered screen — a seeming impossibility. He said it’s straightforward, the screen pops out in one piece. It’s on top of another piece of glass. And that’s on top of the digitizer.
The owner explained that his employees did not cause any damage to her iPhone. He suggested that when she shattered it, that may have caused the “bending phenomena” that she later complained about. His employees didn’t bend her iPhone, and after some loud conversations in the store, they no longer wanted to work with her.
The final straw? Threats of violence
The Batteries Plus team came to believe that her expectations could never be satisfied. They decided it was best to refund and return her phone.
But the owner wanted to address her complaint about the OEM screen. An OEM screen is the “Original Equipment from the Manufacturer.” Only Apple or a certified Apple repair center would use an OEM screen. Batteries Plus is not a certified Apple repair center. Nor are most of the low-cost iPhone screen replacement services that you might see advertised.
He pointed out that her complaint about the “Made in China” screen ignores a simple manufacturing fact. Although Apple designs its product in the USA, for the most part, the company manufactures the iPhone in China. And most iPhone parts are made in China or a nearby country.
And finally, he explained why her last visit was the final straw. This time she brought her boyfriend along. In a heated discussion, the boyfriend threatened to beat up the manager of the store. And that’s why she was asked to leave and not come back.
She’ll need to take that shattered iPhone somewhere else — or fix it herself
Chevalier denies all allegations that her boyfriend made any threats at the store. She says she only wanted her iPhone fixed. And she didn’t ask for her money back.
I suggested that Chevalier take her iPhone to the Apple store for an official repair. Unfortunately, Apple charges significantly more to repair the type of damage that Chevalier’s iPhone initially sustained. There is a flat rate to repair the screen (7 Plus, $169). But if anything else needs to be repaired, there is another fee (7 Plus, $351).
Batteries Plus iPhone repairs: $139
Apple repairs: $488.
If Chevalier had been aware of Apple’s repair costs, she might have considered, the “slightly raised home button,” tolerable. And this unpleasant situation at Batteries Plus might have been entirely avoided.
And what about my iPhone? While I was researching this article, I watched a YouTube video about “repairing your own shattered iPhone screen.” I ordered a $35 shattered iPhone repair kit from Amazon and fixed my screen myself — no drama included.